The first place I stayed during my two week backpacking trip around Ghana was a place called Natural Bamboo Village in Cape Coast, a town on the South Coast, a few (well, several) hours West of Accra.
This accommodation didn’t appear on Booking.com or any of the usual places, but I found the owner’s phone number on a random article on page 10 of a ‘Cape Coast backpacking’ search, or something like that, on Google. I sent the owner, Kobi, a message on Whatsapp and booked it through there. (If you would like to do the same, his number is +233 24 818 9630).
All I knew about it was that the owner is vegan and cooks vegan food, the entire place is made from bamboo and it’s near Cape Coast Castle, right on the beach. Oh and the total cost for one bed was 20cedi (£3.20). What more could you want?
I made my way there from Accra on a trotro (shared minibus) and the fare was 24cedis from Kaneshie Station. It took about 4 hours. I texted Kobi when we were nearly at Cape Coast and he came to meet us (I was with a friend I knew who was also travelling around Ghana at that time). Kobi, a smiley rasta man, appeared in bare feet and bright tie-dye clothes (again… what more could you want?) and we hopped in a taxi with him which took a few minutes. If you’re making your own way there and can’t get hold of him, head to Cape Coast Castle, go down onto the beach and it’s basically the first thing you’ll see to the right of the castle (if you’re looking towards the sea).
From the road, we were led down some stairs onto the beach, and this was the view we were greeted with:
I mean, the running theme here is… what more could you want? Haha. The little area fenced off by netting is basically a napping zone. People pay 20 pesewas (32p in English money) to go in there and nap on the benches. It’s actually very popular with the locals, contrary to what this photo shows.
Just a few metres to the right of where this picture finishes is Natural Bamboo Village. The name ‘Village’ is quite misleading, because it’s literally one bamboo house built by Kobi and his friends. Hopefully one day he can turn it into a whole village!
I’d seen pictures of course, but it was LITERALLY the coolest house I had ever seen in my entire life, and I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to be staying there. I honestly could not stop smiling. I mean LOOK AT THIS! Really… what more could you want?
This is definitely #HouseGoals.
Anyway, after we calmed down a bit and started getting used to these ridiculously cool surroundings, Kobi showed us to our room (we had chosen to share a double room which actually costs the same per person as a dorm bed). It was right at the front of the house and the window was just a square hole in the wall with a mosquito net covering it, so the sound of the waves was really loud in there (in a good way) and it seemed like it was only a few metres from the sea (it was actually only about 20 metres from the sea anyway…)
Most of the room was taken up by the bed, and there was one power outlet (English style one) and a chair. It was at this point that I found out the answer to “what more could you want?”…
So… the bed frame was made of bamboo (no problem…), but the ‘mattress’ was literally a woven straw mat!!! Top marks for using natural resources, but I just want to warn you that you may not get the best sleep ever at Kobi’s place! It was rock hard to sleep on, and the straw was a bit scratchy too. I’ve slept in some interesting places in my life but it was definitely the least comfortable. However, this didn’t ruin the experience at all and I would stay there again in a heartbeat. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves and the sea breeze coming in through the window can’t really be beaten.
The bathroom situation is also quite ‘rustic’… Basically the toilet and shower are next to each other, separated by a bamboo wall (aka a wall with gaps in), and they also have little gaps in the doors, but who doesn’t like a bit of breeze when they’re in the bathroom? Haha.
Anyway, the toilet looks like a normal toilet, but it’s actually a compost one, meaning you do everything as usual except you don’t flush it, and it’s on top of a big hole with special composting stuff in it. It was perfectly fine in my opinion. I mean it didn’t smell fresh as a daisy, but I’ve experienced a lot worse in my life, and at least the seat was normal/comfortable.
The shower was basically a floor with a drain. There’s a big blue barrel of water outside the toilet and shower, so when you want to shower, you fill up a bucket using the big barrel, and then take it into the shower room and wash with it. Once you get used to bucket showers, they’re absolutely fine. They aren’t the easiest for washing long hair, but still fine.
One of my favourite things about Bamboo Village was the seating area in front of the house, looking directly onto the beach, and in the shade of some palm trees:
Those chairs are really comfy and they’re at exactly the right angle for you to lie back and relax but still be able to see everyone etc. Pair that with some reggae music that Kobi is always playing, the sound of the waves, views of the beach, breeze and Kobi’s vegan food, and you will find yourself asking again, “what more could you want?!”.
So onto the food… Kobi tends to cook one thing per day and then you can have it whenever you want, but it’s best to just let him know in the morning if you plan on buying lunch/dinner from him that day. He charges 10 cedis (£1.60) for a big portion, and he keeps a tab in his brain so you just pay for everything at the end of your stay.
Everything he cooks is vegan and extremely tasty, and it tends to be typical Ghanaian food with a bit of a vegan twist, such as this jollof rice with mushrooms:
Kobi can also make various drinks, and we had his coconut cocktail (basically coconut water and rum) which I think was 6 cedis. Normally I don’t exactly go travelling and drink cocktails every night, because it doesn’t fit in with the budget traveller life, so I felt like I was living the high life with this!
I stayed at Kobi’s place for 3 nights but I would happily have stayed longer. I will blog separately about the things I did in the area, but some of the main things you can do nearby are: Cape Coast Castle visit, Elmina Castle visit, Kakum National Park canopy walk, weekend beach parties, and wandering around Cape Coast trying street food.
Kobi is a great host and a generally great human being. He’s lovely to chat to, gives good advice for the local area, and his smile will brighten up your day (although your day will probably already be very bright if you’re staying at Bamboo Village!). I seriously count myself very lucky to have stayed there, and I hope some of you will be able to experience it too.