Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

Monkeys

Months ago, two coworkers and I went to Kintempo for the weekend to see the Kintempo Waterfalls and visit the monkey sanctuary.  If anyone in Ghana is reading this and wants to do the same thing, here’s my advice.

First, the waterfalls are pretty but not spectacular.  They’re a short walk from the road, not a hike.  The first two were small, but the third was large.  It was super muddy, like the chocolate waterfall from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.  My coworker said that last time she visited in March it was smaller and you could sit under a ledge inside the falls.  In September, though, at the end of the rainy season it was much bigger.  We splashed around and slid down the rocks, but there was so much gushing water that I could barely stand.

Kintempo Waterfall #3

Kintempo Waterfall #3

In Kintempo, we stayed at the Yakam Guesthouse.  It was nice and came with breakfast (an omelette, toast, and hot drink).  Only one breakfast was included per room, though, and an extra was 7 Cedis so it’s not worth buying a second.  Yakam also served Ghanaian food for dinner, but at 20 Cedis a meal we decided to search the town instead.

Kintempo is small and there aren’t many restaurants.  Most of the food can be found in food stands near the bus station.  The first night we had fufu and soup in a small restaurant.  The second night we got Indomie fried noodles and brought it back to our hotel room.

On Sunday we went to the Monkey Sanctuary, which is about a 45 minute drive from Kintempo.  We first went to the bus station to get a tro to Nkoraniza.  A taxi driver offered to drive us and wait and bring us home for 100 Cedis.  We said no because his price was outrageous, but actually we should have hired him.  We should have argued him down to 60-80 Cedis instead of walking away.

We waited an hour for our tro-tro to fill before driving to Nkoraniza.  Then we got out in a small town and waited another hour for so for a taxi to take us to the Monkey Sanctuary.  It felt like the whole town (all 30 people) watched us wait for the taxi.  When a driver appeared, another man stepped forward to do the bargaining.

“300 Cedis,” he declared.  “100 each.”

“No,” argued my colleague.  “That’s too much.  3 Cedis each.”

“Fuck you!” the man yelled.

I was shocked.  I’d never heard a Ghanaian swear like that.  Ghanaians often yell, but the man’s sudden anger still surprised me.

My coworker wasn’t daunted, however. “5 Cedis each,” she persisted.

“Ok,” suddenly the man was all smiles again.  Weird.

We crawled into the taxi and went to the Monkey Sanctuary.

At the Sanctuary, we met a young German girl who was volunteering there for 4 months.  Our guide walked us through the forest and told us stories about the monkeys.  They have two types there: brown and black.  We only saw the brown ones, though.  Our guide was excellent and the monkeys were super cute.  We fed them bananas out of our hands and didn’t get Ebola.

Contracting Ebola

Contracting Ebola

We ended the tour at another small town around 3pm.  We caught a taxi to the closest bus station.  We had hoped to get tro straight back to Kintempo, but instead we had to go in the opposite direction to Techiman.  Once in Techiman, we went back to Kintempo.  After arriving around 6pm, we decided to stay another night instead of traveling through the dark back to Tamale.

All in all, it was a lot of driving and unnecessary waiting for tro-tros to fill, but we saw some beautiful Ghanaian landscapes and got to play with monkeys.  A success!

Monkeys!

Monkeys!

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