Sunday, 20 January 2013


You won’t find Nsawam in any guidebooks – its main point of ‘interest’ is the large prison on its outskirts. But it’s just 45 minutes northwest of Accra along the Kumasi road, and the surrounding hills make it well worth heading out here. The lack of a tourist trail adds to the adventure – you could be one of the first people to go walking on them.

Walking on them for pleasure, at least. Farm tracks weave their way across the hills, connecting village to field to village, through fields of papaya, maize and cassava. And it was one of these tracks that we followed to create a new Ghana Mountaineers route.

In the village
Most tracks are steep in Ghana – no messing about with zigzags here – and we lost our breath as quickly as we gained height. The pause to regain it was a chance to admire the stunning early-morning view. The cloud that drifts in from the sea at night is caught between the closely packed hills, providing a scene rarely found on the more widely spaced hills around Krobo. The inversion, with the peaks bursting through the white blanket, was a fitting reward for yet another early start.

Stephen had brought maps of the area – one from Google, another from an obscure Russian website – but once in among the trees on our first summit, they were of limited use. Still, we were creating a new route so it didn’t really matter; we followed our noses in a vague direction of somewhere over there. The air was cool, and the walking easy, so why rush?

As walks in Ghana go, it was uneventful – no snakes, no ants, no secret cannabis farms – leaving plenty of time to enjoy the area. We passed through fruit farms, villagers preparing for church, the occasional bird in the trees.

At the occasional clearings, we saw further inviting hills to the south and further north, noting down inviting ridges and potential climbs. And that’s the problem with exploring new areas – you come back with a list of even more hills to tick off. There’s plenty more to be discovered around Nsawam.

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