Ghana Stories and Tips

Getting to and from Larabanga

Half the fun of traveling in West Africa is in the actual traveling, and much of the adventure lies there as well. It seems that the further north one travels, the more difficult transportation becomes. This is certainly true in the case of Larabanga.

You'd imagine that since Mole National Park is a major tourist destination, the Ghana government would have made it easily accessible. This is hardly the case. To reach Larabanga, one must first travel to Tamale and immediately purchase a ticket on the afternoon OSA bus. Tickets can be purchased at the main lorry park and cost 8,000 cedis. The bus does not leave on time, but it's necessary to arrive at the station promptly as the queue begins to form, and being at the back is not good at all.

Once the bus arrives and unloads, there is a mad rush for the door and insults are hurled about. Since there is little transport to Larabanga and neighboring towns, items such as gigantic crates of tomatoes and huge tins of U.S. AID cooking oil also must fit on the bus. The short of it is that you're lucky if you get a seat, and if you do, you'll likely be stuck holding all of your belongings, and possibly someone's child.

The ride to Larabanga takes about two hours with a stop in Damongo to drop off people and supplies. The road is unpaved, very bumpy, and very dusty. Tying a kerchief around one's face would help at least with the latter.

Leaving Larabanga is similarly complicated, especially if you are moving on to a different destination. The only places you can really go are Wa and Tamale. Ask locals about what days/times a vehicle is likely to come through, and where to wait. They don't necessarily run on a tight schedule, but if you budget in a day or so for leaving the village, it ought to be adequate.

The road on to Wa is even harsher than the one from Tamale, and the vehicles that travel there are small tro tros that travel at extreme speeds. Tourists rarely take this route, so other passengers in the vehicle tend to be genuinely interested in who you are and what you're doing (they usually assume you're Peace Corps). This conversation helps pass the time on the four-hour journey into the upper-west region.

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