I am just back to the USA after being one of the first visitors to Ghana since the pandemic swept the globe in March; and I was so happy to have found Jolinaiko to help coordinate my trip and plans. |
Agnes worked so hard to solidify our itinerary and was always responsive to my many emails and questions leading up to the trip. Since we were coming in December, my biggest concern was logistics over Covid and how we could travel safely without putting others or ourselves at risk. We had testing protocols confirmed in advance, among many other systems in place to ensure that our endeavors were safe.
Aside from that, the required planning for the trip could not have been easy for Agnes or the Jolinaiko team, but they did a great job ensuring we had our requests and needs met-as well as making sure the itinerary ran smoothly without any delays or 'hiccups.' Of course, it is Africa-so there are always unforeseen circumstances to expect unexpectedly (for example, one night in Tamale our accommodations lost power when we arrived after 12 hours of driving all day; we were tired and wanted to shower and charge our cameras and equipment but it was not possible...within minutes our driver Agoro found an air conditioned hotel in town just 15 minutes away and we were placed there immediately). The responsiveness and ability to navigate and be flexible with unforeseen problems is not to be taken for granted, and we appreciate that so much!
Also, the itinerary crafted was spectacular in variety and interests; we toured the slave castles on the coast, we spent a few nights at Mole National Park on safari with elephants, we toured villages of various communities and tribes in the north (Larabanga, Paga Lake with the sacred crocodiles, and the Teng-Zug village shrines). We also walked the canopies in Kukum National park and stopped at Meet-Me-There in Dzita to enjoy a relaxing few days at the beachside communities.
Our trip provided a terrific learning experience and photographic opportunities, and we packed in so much activity in such a short amount of time (less than two weeks). Remarkably, everything went smoothly and easily in light of the pandemic challenges-and it is proof that travel to West Africa during a pandemic can be done safely, responsibly, and without incident.
I am also happy that a portion of our trip's costs would go back into the communities we visited for initiatives such as potable water supply, sustainable farming practices, the support of local entrepreneurial women, and anti-litter campaigns (specifically in the town of Tagbo Falls, where you could literally see the difference and pride people took in their clean litter-free community). I am interested in traveling for personal enrichment, but increasingly it's become important to me that my funds are applied to help the communities we are visiting and spending time in. Jolinaiko is an organization that cares about these initiatives and I feel good that we were able to link up with them for this incredible and rewarding trip.
Once again, thank you to Agnes and Cindy for being so responsive, patient, and knowledgeable in executing our plans and answering our questions. I highly recommend talking to them about your tour of Ghana, you won't do better anywhere else!
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 20:47 hrs - Los Angeles, CA (USA)