Monday, November 24, 2008

The Coal Pot Queen: Camping in Gbele Game Reserve

This weekend we decided to test out our camping skills and to explore some of the practical issues which might arise when we begin our overland journey to Capetown in just over 4 months time. It was great fun camping, but freezing cold! However we are now quite re-assured that we can rely on our new tent and our ‘coal-pot’ (charcoal cooker) for any essential camping stops on our journey.

We took a trip to Gbele Game Reserve, about 120km East S.E. of Lawra along a very rough dirt road. Our home for the weekend was a new tent that our friends, Dave and Jan, brought out earlier in July

We were able to pitch in a good shady spot 6km into the reserve.

The Gbele Reserve is bisected by the river Kulpawn which is really good for bird watching; our camp site, which also hosts 3 luxury tents, was just a few hundred metres from the river. We were the sole occupants of the site; it was wonderfully peaceful with amazingly clear, starlit skies. When we signed the Reserve’s visitor’s book we observed that only three other visitors had signed in since we last visited 15 months ago. The reserve has huge potential and very friendly and helpful guides; but insufficient training prevents the guides from being able to identify even the commonest of birds (which is what tourists are keen to know) and a consequent lack of confidence prevents the guides from voluntarily imparting the vast amount of local knowledge that they have about the plants, trees, their various uses etc. So much potential, for both overseas and Ghanaian tourists!
After the night time cold at Gbele, when we got back to Lawra it was 35 deg Celsius (95 F) inside our house at 7.00pm!

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