What would it be to travel on a boat in Ghana on the largest man-made lake in the world? That was my question when someone during my travels told me that there is a boat going from the North part in Lake Volta to the South.
I did my research on this idea and discovered that not far from Nkoranza, the place where I was staying most of the time, there was a ferry leaving to the South. The boat left from Yeji around 4 am on Wednesday morning.
To make sure I wouldn’t miss this boat, I went to Yeji on Tuesday and spend my whole day in Yeji. In the mean time I could figure out where the boat was leaving from, explore the market, see fisherman coming in, explore some abandoned buildings next to the lake and connect with the locals to play some cards games.
While it seems boring to spend a whole day in a random village with no tourist attractions, this visit wasn’t boring at all. You will be forced in this way to connect with locals, and this will give you some lovely social moments.
I watched for example television with the kids on the streets in the evening. All the children gathered around one television. I think this is how it was when the first televisions where introduced in Europe. Besides that I also played some card games with some other guys on the street.
On the boat
Then the moment was there. Night time and waiting for the ferry to arrive at the dock. Somewhere around 5 am the ferry arrived, because it is Ghana and things never arrive on time. It was literally just a ferry, realizing I would be stuck on this boat for at least 3 days if the trip went fast, I knew this ride would give me some real sleeping problems in the end.
After everyone and everything went on, from people and cars to goats, cows and chicken, it was time to departure. This was the moment of no return. Locked on a ferry on a beautiful lake.
At the moment this happens I could only do three things, listen to music, enjoy the view and read a book or a combination of those things of course. While some people find this relaxed, I really had some difficulties in getting used to this.
I decided to spend most of my time on the upper deck. So I could enjoy the view, see the fisherman and get some fresh air. At the moment I wanted to sleep I went back inside on my table and slept on the table. I can tell you from experience, my body isn’t used to sleep on a iron table for that long. My back started to heart quiet badly after the 2nd day and my sleeping time didn’t last longer than one hour sessions.
Of course people told me before the trip will take 3 days, but this is Ghanaian days. In the end it was 4 days, almost 5 days, that I was stuck on this ferry. During the trip we stopped at some places in the middle of nowhere. Mainly to get some cattle of the boat and some new cattle on the boat.
This trip was definitely a real experience. The lake was beautiful and I met wonderful people. Would I recommend it, definitely yes for the adventurous people out there. Being locked on such a primitive ferry isn’t something you can do on many places.
But would I do it again? Definitely not, my sleeping hours became too bad at the end of the trip, and my back started to hurt too much. Besides that I am a person that needs to do stuff, and you can’t do anything on a boat besides looking at the same lake for 5 days, listen to music and read a book. At least an experience I will not forget anymore.