Sunday, 7 October 2012

Beach


Palm trees
The coastline east of Accra gets far fewer visitors than the resorts to the west. Yet Ghana guidebooks sling out the usual clich├ęs when describing the beaches here – unspoilt, peaceful, off the beaten track. Would Prampram be a hidden gem or a damp squib?

With James, a friend from Accra, we drove past the port city of Tema along the road that eventually leads to Togo, turning off for the village of Prampram. After a quick browse of the beachfront options described in our well-worn Bradt guide, we decided to try the Golden Beach Resort.

Pulling into the car park, the resort instantly gave off a neglected air. Piles of building materials cluttered the garden, evidence of half-completed or abandoned renovations. The paint on the resort’s buildings was heavily faded and peeling. The staff stared absently out to sea, with little to do as only two other guests occupied the cracked plastic chairs spreading across the beach.
Rubbish

At least the resort wasn’t quiet. Celine Dion powered out from the resort’s speakers, which vibrated precariously with every high note. We ordered drinks, and joined in with the sea watching, which seemed to be Prampram’s main activity. Two shipwrecks just offshore provided a little interest, but a large dump of plastic rubbish spoiled the view. The Golden Beach Resort does little to encourage its visitors to hang about; when Celine gave way to Chris de Burgh and Phil Collins, it was time to move on.

Boy on horse

The next settlement along the beach road is Ningo, formed of the villages of Old and New Ningo. We opted for the Comme-Ci beach resort on the basis of it having the most advertising signs along the road. The bright red signs suggested a little more life and Comme-Ci was certainly a step up. A boy offered us horse rides as soon as we arrived, and a chubby waiter pottered straight over to welcome us and take us through the food options (rice, or chicken and rice).
Comme-Ci resort

After eating, we walked along the beach. All along the top of the sandbank that lined the beach were deserted, half-completed buildings, which seem to line so much of Ghana’s coast. It’s hard to know why so many have, apparently, been abandoned. Perhaps the owners are waiting for money to finish the project, or are going through one of Ghana’s notoriously protracted land negotiations. But these deserted concrete shells gave the beach between Ningo and Prampram a melancholy, unfulfilled appearance.

It’s easy to describe any trip out of Accra as worthwhile, and Ningo in particular beats a Sunday spent in the city. But it’s hard to see either resort competing with the bright lights of Bojo Beach or Kokrobite any time soon. Except among Celine Dion fans.

Chillin', innit


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