Saturday, 8 December 2012


Hannah birdwatching
After a fraught couple of days battling to get our passports back from the Ghana immigration office, Hannah and I needed some peace and quiet. And few places around Accra are quieter or more peaceful than Barbara’s Village, tucked away behind Langma beach. 

The ‘village’ is a circle of huts and stilt rooms modelled on Nzulezo village in western Ghana. On arrival, the resort was deserted apart from the eponymous Barbara and Moses, the barman/manager/handyman. The beach resorts in Langma probably lose many potential customers to the bright lights of Kokrobite, chiefly Big Milly’s, which are nearer Accra and better known. Barbara’s village also sits away from the beach, which is likely to put some off. But others’ loss was our gain; we dropped our bags in our hut and headed for the empty chairs around the bar.

Some sort of cactus
One of the many attributes of Barbara’s Village is the garden. The circular bar is surrounded by overhanging trees and an array of brightly coloured flowers and shrubs. These in turn attract the birds and I got out the binoculars to watch the weavers, shrikes and sparrows going about their business. Hannah joined in for once. “There’s a red one over there,” she nodded, barely looking up from her book as a Barbary shrike bounced about beneath the trees.

A barbary shrike

People head to the beaches around Accra to escape the city and enjoy some nature. So you cannot then complain if nature then surrounds you. But there are limits, even for ardent nature lovers like myself. The grass roofs of the huts match the traditional style for this part of Africa, but they also provide an ideal residence for mice. And the ones in our roof seemed to be indulging in a Led Zeppelin-style orgy, given the amount of banging and squeaking that went on.

A bronze mannekin

The rodents continued into the early hours, so with little chance of sleep I got up at dawn. The resort was louder at 6.00am than in the afternoon, with the birdlife in full song. I sat and watched the morning routines, as sparrows and bronze mannekins tended their nests in the rafters of the bar, and weavers flew across with more grass for their nests.

One of the legacies of the many foreign-owned beach bars along Ghana’s coast is the spread of proper coffee, in place of the filth that is Nescafe instant. When Moses appeared, I ordered a pot with which to enjoy the early morning activity. Barbara’s might be too quiet for some, but at that hour, it was perfect.

The bar

* Don't let the mice put you off visiting Barbara's Village. They have, according to Moses, been "dealt with".

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