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Monday, February 6, 2012

TRAVELOGUES OF THE FORMER GOLD COAST (DAY 5:DEC 20, 2011)

After numerous calls and internet searches, my hostesses and host finally find out the Bobiri Forest and Butterfly Sanctuary (which was highly recommended by Astro, my landlady's daughter) is in Kubease. My landlady's son 9whose name I don't yet know) was especially nice, calling his office to notify them he would come late so as to ensure I get on board the bus that would take me safely to Kubease on the outskirt of Kumasi.

I get to Kubease and brace myself for the one hour walk to the Butterfly sanctuary. It is a very long, lonely and scary walk as I keep imagining that a wild animal will jump out at me from the forest. Of course, while I fear most animals, I realise the most dangerous of them is the human animal especially these days when people will do anything for money.

I finally arrive at the sanctuary after a walk (8 kilometers!) that took almost an eternity because of the distance. Not for the first time, I wonder what the Ghana tourism board is really doing and whether they know that by failing to ensure easy access to and from their tourist sites, they are losing quite a lot of money.

I was shown all the trees in the sanctuary. Disappointingly however, the butterflies, my main reason for visiting the sanctuary,were no where in sight! The few butterflies I saw were those I had seen during my interminable walk down to the sanctuary from the road. My walk down was really not lonely, I've always enjoyed taking walks so long as it is not under a scotching sun and there is no danger of anything suddenly leaping at me from anywhere.

Trees at the Bobiri Forest and Butterfly sanctuary






I get to the sanctuary and I'm told it is not the butterfly season and I might not see many. Well, at the sanctuary itself, I saw none! I was shown some trees which did not really interest me though some of them have some interesting stories surrounding them like the last tree ( a liana actually)I was shown, I forget its name now but my guide told me that anyone who cuts the tree knowing its story that it should not be cut would die. The tree is said to be medicinal and primarily to cure madness. It is said that the medicinal part of the tree is the bark which before it is cut, the person cutting the tree must pour some libations on it in form of egg and some other thing I don't remember now.

My guide further told me they don't work on Fridays particularly Fridays which fall on the 40th day (every 40 days which is a Friday). He says on this fortieth days, they hear drumming and singing which they believe come from this liana.

The Liana with the interesting story




I was quite fortunate on my way back because just as I was about to leave, a couple also on vacation from the Netherlands were also about to leave the sanctuary and fortunately, they had their own transport. And so I was saved not only the long walk back to the road from the sanctuary, I in fact followed them all the way to Kumasi.

After leaving the Bobiri Forest, I made my way to the Manhyia (pronounced Man-shia) Palace Museum where I, along with a group of tourists from Norway(and their Ghanaian host, a medical doctor who did the translation for the Norwegians), were taken round and shown historic relics. An interesting story told was about some chairs which were supposedly gender-specific. It was said the chairs for men could only be sat on by men and any woman who sat on it would immediately become barren while any man who sat on the chair for women would become impotent.

Sign in front of the Manhyia Palace Museum

The Manhyia Palace Museum in Kumasi


Yours truly at the Manhyia Palace Museum


My next stop after the Palace Museum was to the Kumasi Zoo. Before going there, I had been warned by Randy that there are too many animals to see and so I go there with no illusions whatever. I did see some lions but not too many other animals that would raise my hair or some such thing like that.

Lions at the Kumasi Zoo






From the Zoo, I go next door to the Cultural Centre where I visit yet another museum, this time, the Prempeh II Museum. I heard quite a lot of the story I'd just heard at the Manhyia Palace Museum but saw a few things I didn't see at the Palace Museum but of course the Palace museum is a much bigger museum. The two museum told the story of the Asanti Kingdom and how Kente was made the national cloth of Ghana and of course, the different designs and improvement made on the kente cloth over the years.

Statues at the Cultural centre


Entrance to the Cultural Centre


The Statue of the Prempreh II in front of the museum



By the time I leave the cultural centre, it was already getting dark and I didn't get back to my lodge until a bit late because it took quite a while for a bus going to Edwinase where my lodge is located to get to the park. Eventually, I arrive, all tired but fulfilled!