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My picturesque and crazy African West Shore Tour

African West Shore Tour

5 countries, thousands of kilometers, millions of impressions…

This time, a bit bored with the majority of single-country trips I usually do, I decided on something more unorthodox and yes, you could say… “crazy” – venturing in a 5-country travel extravaganza along the Gulf of Guinea at the Western coast of the African continent.

Five countries, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, collectively known as the “African Golden coast”, were waiting for me, hiding countless gems of fantastic nature, exotic surprises and eye-popping contrasts that only Africa can offer.

Similar, yet quite different

The interesting thing is that all of them have similar climate (sun, beaches, ocean – what’s not to like?), food and historic tradition – former French and British colonies. Togo was even a German colony between the wars. Yet all speak different local languages, there’s a multitude of tribes, traditions, shamans and creeds and – if you pass from one country to the next and so on – you’ll discover an African patchwork so motley, colorful and picturesque that it will… take your breath away.

The food

The kitchen… well, let’s say it’s not for the light-hearted. Rats, squirrels, snakes… each and every form and shape of moving, crawling and breathing protein will be put to good use in a frying pan or a kettle and maybe it’s better if you don’t ask what kind of meat exactly is hiding under the dark brown sause. Economic picture is far from brilliant, so people have to utilize every gift of Mother Nature, that could  be bred, or caught… and cooked.

Especially popular is the aguti, known as a grass cutter, of sugar cane rat – a nice, fat, friendly creature, that looks just like a huge guinea pig, stays quietly in a box in some aguti-breeding farm (very popular in Nigeria), eats a lot, and waits… to be eaten.

Architecture

There’s no systematic approach in this direction, of course, but some cities try to outperform themselves and you can find a bombastic copy of some European building or style, right next to the typical landscape of an African town – crowded neighborhoods, no pavement, noise and dirt, explosion of colors… a picture I’m afraid is hard to convey thru 10 or 20 photos. But…

Less blah-blah, more authentic photos

After absorbing (and analyzing) the reaction and responses to my humble blog so far (thanks, guys!), I decided to take a creative route towards more visual material and unique personal experiences, discoveries and surprises, and to spare you the history and facts for each country, which you could easily find yourself. That, I hope, will make for a lighter, easier read and leave you with more fresh attention to browse thru the photos. I swear, I shoot them myself…

Abidjan Cathedral Saint Paul, Ivory Coast, designed by Aldo Spirito

 

Ivory Coast – a local lady

 

On the highway to Yamoussoukro – the capital of Ivory Coast

 

The cathedral of Yamoussoukro – a copy of the Vatican in… the jungle?!

 

The cathedral inside. I admit it , impressive

 

Local restaurant called Maki

 

Local dish – called Agouti or the Grass cutter. Very “proteinous and tasty”, national gourmet delicacy in Nigeria…

 

Do you think it’s an aperitif?

 

Local menu – grass cutter, rats, squirrel, hedgehog, pangolin. Pick your poison!

 

The main product of the area – cacahuete or peanuts

 

The fort of Elmina in Ghana was built by the Portuguese and later run by the Dutch. It is documented to be the oldest European building south of Sahara.

 

Fort Elmina, Gana – Similar forts have been built by British, Danish, Swedes, Germans, as everybody wanted to profit by the lucrative slave trade.

 

The fishing port of Elmina – one of the biggest in Ghana

 

Fish market in Elmina. Hygiene is not in high-esteem, but local people obviously have the needed immune system.

 

A native of Ghana 🙂

 

Accra – The Capital of Ghana

 

English Premier League rules – somewhere on the coast of Ghana

 

Sunrise in Lome – Togo

 

The voodoo market in Lome, Togo, is like a well-supplied local pharmacy where a professional shaman, witch or voodoo priest could find all needed ingredients for a powerful and mysterious potion.

 

The voodoo market – From skulls of all kinds and sizes, to snake skins and teeth, bugs, and other goodies – fill your bag and get the fire going…

 

 

 

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