The overcast sky of yesterday decided to empty itself early morning, today, and the potholes in the streets have filled with water, leaving large, unpredictably deep puddles. The lesser streets, unsurfaced, are muddy, miserable. We find a ‘boulangerie’ with croissants and pain au chocolat, for a special treat breakfast, and afterwards we reunite with the rest of the group, again, who left early from Grand Popo.
Only to stop ten minutes later, having reached the border. The agglomeration of Lomé is really split into a Togo part and a Ghana part, here called Aflao. We fill in the necessary (sic) forms again, we are being fingerprinted and photographed on the Ghanian side, and after the usual further delays, lots of local people jumping the queue, for instance, we drive into Ghana.
It is immediately obvious that we are in a more prosperous country. The houses along the road are better, there are fewer mud huts in the villages, more stone and cement. And the ubiquitous tin roofs, of course, sign of development. But we also see bigger houses, multi-story, from an obviously successful business person. Gated and fenced, affluence needs to be protected. But fences are also common around smaller houses, and grills in front of windows and doors protect the shops, those that are not in roadside containers that can be locked at night. Security is clearly an issue. Oh, and affluence also promotes consumption, which translates in an increasing amount of rubbish in the streets, in lagoons, everywhere.
The countryside is flat and green, from the occasional palm trees and lots of shrubs; there is seemingly a lot of uncultivated land around. Altogether not very attractive, although the villages we pass provide some distraction. We get stopped by police, including Kalashnikov-wielding officers, quite a few times, too, but they are not unfriendly, and cause no problem.
At some stage we cross the Volta river, but even this is unremarkable, perhaps also because the weather remains grey.
And then we reach Accra. If we had thought that Lomé was buzzing with activity, we need to think again. Coming from the south we drive through endless industrial build-up, factories, a refinery, a busy harbour, trucks driving on and off. It is dark already, and we haven’t seen so much light in a while. Accra glows in the distance. Closer to the city centre are the high apartment buildings, the modern-architecture offices, the five-star hotels. We have arrived in a real city!