Saturday, 24 September 2011

Mount Iogaga

I had spotted Mount Iogaga from the summit of Krobo two weeks before. It’s one of the more distinctive hills in the plains north of Accra, steep-sided with a pointed peak. Thick forest covers the northern slopes, contrasting with the fields carved out on the southern flanks. Having admired it from afar, I was pleased a chance to explore came around so soon.

On route to Iogaga is a large agricultural project, led by Chinese investors. A clearly well-used dirt track led to a collection of buildings, where we parked up and headed along a rutted track to the hill. Heavy rain over the preceding week had turned the red earth into a thick gloopy mud; I was relieved my walking boots and sticks had arrived earlier that week. (Or rather, had finally reached me; they had been stuck in Ghanaian customs for six weeks for no apparent reason.)

Another steep climb kicks off this route. No calf-sparing zigzags in Ghana, just a direct line to the top. The shade of the forest helped keep us cool for the first half hour, but soon we were back among the tall grass. Kevin slashed away at the front again, and I secretly wondered if he purposely chose overgrown routes to give him and excuse to get the machete out.

Approaching the summit, we passed through a small bamboo forest before reaching the top. Another wearing walk was again rewarded with spectacular views – the payoff of hiking in Ghana’s crazy heat is quickly realised when you reach these breezy summits. Lunch was a leisurely affair, brightened by the many butterflies that joined us.

After descending through fields of yams and maize, we reached the cars once more and headed for the Aylo's Bay Leisure Spot on the Volta River. The post-walk beer is a ritual for the Ghana Mountaineers, and few places are more scenic than this tranquil spot. We cooled off slowly – Mike even stripping off for a quick dip in the water – before reluctantly making our way back to Accra.

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