Ghana vacations, eco lodge with village tour

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Ghana vacations, eco lodge with village tour

Environment

- We are trying to protect the local remaining wildlife. We have implemented turtle patrols on the beaches for the last 3 years, and pay to release captured turtles. We also protect any other captured wild animals we find and either protect the animals permanently or re-release them into the wild.
- We inform our guests as to our wildlife efforts and encourage them to participate in and support our projects.
- In our second phase of building we are incorporating compost toilets. We will move to solar and wind generated electricity when we can afford the capital investment.
- All the accommodation is built out of mud blocks bought from local families. They are cooled by the sea breeze and fans rather than air conditioning.
- Our gardens are organic and we encourage a wide range of wildlife (as our most effective method of insect control).
- We compost all organic matter from the kitchens and from the gardens.
- We recycle all glass and plastic bottles.

Community

Dream Big Ghana is our sister NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) that works in our local community.
The four core programmes of Dream Big Ghana are sanitation, education, youth sports development and community health. All four areas promote sustainable development. We provide practical support and promote a number of volunteering opportunities which enables us to make a real difference in the local community.
We have been working mainly in the Dzita and Agbledomi villages for the past three years and have forged the trusting relationships necessary for community development projects to flourish. We work closely with local chiefs and community leaders, as well as representatives from local government and other organisations, and with their support have put in place a number of practical projects that are beginning to have a very real impact on the lives of the villagers concerned.
Our NGO is successful because we are careful about how we go about identifying community needs, and then working hard to ensure that our relatively scarce resources are put to good use. With all our programmes, a primary concern is to make sure that they are sustainable, as we know that without this there is little point of Dream Big Ghana working in these communities at all.

Sanitation Programme

The purpose of this programme is to construct eco compost toiletsfor theDzita and Agbledomi village communities. The toilets are built using simple, cheap technologies that can be maintained by the villagers. In addition to improving poor levels of health in the villages concerned, the introduction and use of eco sanitation compost toilets generates a high quality fertilizer that has the potential to enhance crop yields.

Dream Big Ghana has prioritised this programmearea because the villagers have access to very few toilets. As a result, most people are forced to openly use the beach or the bush - which is not a pleasant experience, especially for women and young girls.

To date, we have built 25 separate toilet blocks, incorporating hand-washing facilities, each of which benefits around 20 villagers. The blocks are made up of two chambers, one which is in use and the other lying fallow, producing enough compost to cover 0.75 acres of farm land every 8 months or so.

Education Programme

Dream Big Ghana believes in changing lives through education and learning. Accordingly, we promote and support a number of activities and initiatives – from primary to senior school level and beyond – aimed at helping children and young people in our community to develop the skills, knowledge and values that will improve the quality of their lives.

For the past three years we have been supplying our local schools with volunteer classroom assistants. The volunteers act as an extra pair of hands, assisting trained teachers with the delivery of English, Maths, Science and ICT lessons.

Our goal for the coming year is to raise sufficient funds to build a Community Learning Centre as a contribution to the economic, social and cultural life of our local community. In addition tosupporting the development of literacy and ICT skills among young people and adults, the Learning Centre willact as a central hub for activities and initiatives considered important to the community – including vocational skills training for income generation, HIV/AIDS awareness, music classes and other cultural activities.

The proposed Centre will contain a community information library, an ICT lab, an art workshop and a café where local villagers, volunteers and visiting tourists can meet. As well as acting as a hub for education and training the Centre will also provide a number of employment opportunities for local villagers.

Reviews of Ghana vacations, eco lodge with village tour

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 18 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I really really had a very great time at the lodge. The place itself is just paradise and I find it very difficult to say what I liked best about it! But as I am asked to name the most memorable part of my vacation, I would say that the Volta river tour in a small wooden boat and watching a local shaman event were the highlights of my stay.


2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


As Dougal and his team are great hosts, you really do not need to worry about too many things. They even offer a free ride from Accra (a hired taxi, safe driving) to Dzita and also back to central Accra or even directly to the airport.
In your nicely cool room you will find a comfortable bed with a mosquito net, a lamp, some sockets, a fan, some storage for your belongings, a big towel, and some liquid soap. As Dzita is pretty small and has no cash machine, it might be a good idea to bring some cash and enough credit for your mobile phone. Except for that you only need some repellent, sunscreen, a torch (ideally a headlamp) and all your personal travel gear.


3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, totally! It is a place for locals AND tourists. In the common area you can mingle with locals (only the area with the dorms etc. is accessible for residents only) and you can ask them directly how they feel about tourism in their area. :-)
Another guest and I also helped building a compost toilet in the village, we had a chance to talk to some fishermen, and we even helped them pulling in their nets.
It is simply wonderful that as a lodger you are not just a regular tourist but part of the whole community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I loved it! I really loved it! It was my first time on the African continent (I had travelled to developing countries in Asia and South America before though)and I will definitely come back! I have already told my family and friends about it and we are thinking about going there together next year.
I am so glad that I had found out about this place through this website. Love it!

Reviewed on 14 Jan 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Meeting the people in Dzita village and going to the Shamanic ceremony at Mami Rasta's on a Friday.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take plenty of insect repellent.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes all three very much so.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


The best vacation I've ever been on! Great for solo travelers. I was looked after the whole way from the airport to Dzita and back again. Having my own private guide was brilliant and all the activities were amazing. I experienced the real Ghana. And Hugh was an impeccable host.

Reviewed on 22 Nov 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Every part of this wonderful vacation was memorable! Add to that plenty of opportunities for excitement, as well as relaxation and it was an ideal trip.
Most memorable moments for me were those I spent in the company of Raf, my guide for the week and a genuine Shaman. If you book this vacation my advice is to spend as much time as you can with this lovely, gentle-mannered and extremely knowledgeable man. Activities we took part in together were as varied as trips to the flamboyant, colourful local markets, visiting a slave fort, (an unsettling but necessary visit to gain a valuable reality check about this area's history) to being a guest at a local resident's funeral! Fear not! Funerals in Ghana are very different to in England. Not an item of black clothing in sight; rather a sea of bright colours with everyone dancing, singing and celebrating their loved one's life! Following a funeral procession for a lady whose coffin was shaped as a bright pink house, whilst people played trombones and two little girls held hands with me throughout, is definitely an amazing memory that will stay will me forever.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Enjoy each and every moment of this African paradise would be my top tip. Throw yourself whole heartedly into everything that is offered to you. If you are expecting a 5 star hotel where you are detached from the local community, wanting to sip cocktails by the pool, then this is definitely not the vacation for you, (but if that was the case I doubt you would be using a great site like Responsible Travel anyway.)
You feel immersed in all aspects of the Community from the minute you get there. Everything possible was dine to tailor your trip to your exact requirements and all excursions are included. If you are asked to drink a shot of 50% percent proof spirits at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon with the locals then go for it. Likewise visit the staff's families if you get the chance and experience the thrill of seeing a Shamanic ceremony in full flow on a Friday afternoon, whilst people at home in the U.K. are sitting in rush hour traffic or on the tube! It is a crazily brilliant culture shock!
One last tip - apply for your visa early - the phone calls to the Ghana High Commission to enquire about my passport and visa's whereabouts drained me of the will to live and left my nerves shattered, as I only got them back very near to my travel date.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely!

I think Hugh is a truly inspiring individual who puts the needs of the local people, the environment and conservation at the forefront of everything he does. He employs local people for all of the Lodge's staffing needs, he has been massively involved in setting up literally life-saving compost toilets in the villages and he offers a sanctuary for unwanted or at risk wildlife.
He also throws a great party on a Saturday night and is a top host!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


One of, if not the best vacation that I have ever had.
The setting is stunning, the people are beautiful and so genuinely welcoming and I came away with a changed perspective of what is important in life. Yes the poverty that you will witness can be extreme, but in Raf, my guide's words he said "We do not have much, but what we have makes us very happy!"

I came away from this vacation "very happy!"

Reviewed on 09 Jan 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I believe that being in Africa brought out the best of me, and definitely taught me humility and what it means "being the different one". The hospitality of people, in spite of their limited resources, the mentality of sharing, the smiles, the friendly attitude, I enjoyed all of this thoroughly. I don't think I would have been able to have such an interaction and learn so much from the local people had it not been for the operator and the way it is structured.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


An exceptional place - clean, functional, safe, and very pretty, and the location is breathtaking - the staff is very caring and helpful, the chef's food delicious, and most of all I want to say that Kerry does an outstanding job as a manager. I found that all activities were very interesting, and the opportunity to be such a part of the local community was unique. Also, I should mention that while I love people and I thoroughly enjoyed all the activities, I am also someone who likes to hide away with a book from time to time, and there are certainly plenty of places to do that!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The local community was an integral part of life, and definitely has a great benefit from the operations. The structure is completely environmentally friendly, but more than that, the people there actively engage in activities that protect and preserve the environment (protection of turtles, cleaning the local beaches, etc.).

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I have lived in many countries and traveled in many more, but this trip to Ghana
has been one of the (if not THE) best experience in my life, and a huge reason
has been because of the operator.

Reviewed on 04 Dec 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The village tours and opportunity to meet and learn about local people and customs. The friendliness and welcoming nature to visitors was a highlight. Also the canoe trip on the mangrove swamps.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be open-minded and willing to try new things. Be prepared for a very different way of life. Also you can take it at your own pace, so bring plenty of reading material if that's your thing.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - the foundation through Hugh, Tigo etc is doing a lot of good work in the community and providing employment. Locals are able to benefits from visitors and revenue they bring.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Overall excellent. Wonderful hospitality and although I was there at a quiet time, there was plenty to do and experience. On a constructive note, whilst I understand Hugh's vision for the monkey and other captive animals helping educate locals on protecting wildlife, I'd urge prioritising the completion of their new housing area, as current housing does create a negative impression to western sensibilities.

Reviewed on 09 Jan 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


There were so many memorable aspects to the vacation it is difficult to pick one! We enjoyed the relaxed pace and the fact that the operator was so well integrated into the village that we could meet with and interact with locals easily and learn and see so many new and different things.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring a camera and don't run by strict time keeping - and try our some of the excursions on offer. Don't expect "traditional" luxury - the rooms are nice and spacious - but cold water only - (which is not a problem as the weather is hot and therefore the cold water is welcomed!) The luxury is being right on the beach, hearing the ocean, having friendly staff to work with and changing pace and learning about new things - if one wishes!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Definitely feel that the vacation benefitted locals as money was spent buying local products and/or services and items were brought to the local school; usually people staying can help out in a voluntary project - but there was not much going on during the vacation time between Christmas and New Year to do any volunteerism - it was interesting to hear about the projects - including compost toilets. Low impact as minimal energy used in terms of only a fan and no AC in rooms, no hot water to heat - eco bulbs used in most places, laundry dried in the sun, energy from generator.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was a superb experience.

Reviewed on 05 Jan 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The amazing amount of culture I was able to see during my short 1 week stay. The staff at the lodge took us to many markets, boat trips, village walks etc. Also the miles of endless pristine beach in front of the lodge. Oh, and seeing the leather back turtle lay eggs! ...and the drumming lessons.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


The weather is hot day and night, and you will probably want to swim in the Lagoon and Beach often - Pack accordingly.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. Definately. The Lodge is working hard to teach better environmental practices to the community and has no doubt saved many of the leather back turtles with their beach patrol program. The lodge uses local staff, markets, and trades people within the community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very Good. Everything was as promised, pickup/return to airport, tours, great food, and helpful staff,well managed lodge - reasonable price. Highly recommend.

Reviewed on 31 Jul 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


It's hard to name just one thing, because I don't think I'll ever forget the memories! I got such a warm welcome on arrival to the lodge from all the staff, children and animals. We went to many places of local interest including the markets, the villages, school sports day, the slave fort, a weaving shop where we saw people using the traditional looms, the arts and craft market in Accra, a river trip on a long boat with a drumming troupe, a local funeral (a lot more fun than it sounds!) and to people's homes.

No way could I have seen all that on my own and it was such a privilege to see so much of the local community, even though there is no way you can really blend in if you don't look Ghanaian, because wherever you go people will be pointing and waving at you and shouting 'welcome!' I was traveling alone and I didn't feel lonely because the staff and other guests were very friendly, so I was never on my own. I would recommend it for families, people traveling alone, or people traveling in groups. They are very accommodating and can cater to different needs including dietary requirements.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for things to be different from back home, including the sense of time: when you are told something will happen today, it could mean tomorrow!

If you are a woman bring longer skirts and loose shorts to wear when not at the lodge, because it's considered rude to show above your knees. And every visitor should bring lots of mosquito repellent, sunscreen, and a torch. If you are able to bring any donations to the local school such as reading books, pens, etc, they will be very happy, as the resources are very basic.

If you volunteer in the local school as a teacher every weekday you can receive the vacation half price by contacting the tour operator, who wants to support volunteering projects in the local area. That's what I did (I am a teacher back home too), and I still had plenty of time to participate in all the trips and time to relax. The students are very hardworking and friendly and they want to help the teachers. I stayed for almost 3 weeks but would have liked to stay for longer. As a volunteer it would be hard to stay for less than 2 weeks as there wouldn't be time to get much done. The students loved having someone different as a teacher and the staff worked hard to make me feel welcome.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


All of the food they serve at the lodge is bought at the local markets and the lodge also supports local projects such as sea turtle rescue and sponsorship so that children can attend secondary school. There is very little waste/rubbish. All of the staff at the lodge are Ghanaians and whenever we visited anywhere, local people assisted us as tour guides.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


The lodge is so relaxing that you don't notice the time passing and it goes so fast! It's a great chance to get really involved with the local community and laid-back way of life. I've been home over a week now but the relaxed feeling hasn't worn off!

Reviewed on 19 Jun 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


My husband and I have travelled quite extensively in Africa and enjoyed the opportunity to visit an area unexposed to tourists. We particularly liked visiting the local markets and not being hassled to buy things. Also we were lucky enough to visit at the time of the Deba or homecoming (Easter Saturday). There was some wonderful dancing and drumming at the festival in the local village. A final memory will be swimming in the lagoon by moonlight.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Check out the side-effects of the different malaria tablets. Luckily the lodge is right on the coast, with an almost permanent in-shore wind, which keeps the mosquitoes at bay.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes: the lodge works with the local villages and schools.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We had a wonderful and memorable week. Our two daughters, aged 14 and 10, had a good introduction to sub-Saharan Africa and, I am sure, gained a better understanding of life in Ghana than they would have done if we had stayed in a Western hotel. The vacation was good value for money. There was something to do every day, if we wanted to, but also time to relax. The food was good, the staff were all extremely friendly and welcoming, the accomodation was basic but clean and comfortable. I would definitely recommend this vacation to others.

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