Aburi and the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm

Aburi - The Botanical Garden

The tranquil Aburi is located just a few kilometres north of Accra in the Akwapim Mountains. The special location in the coastal mountain region led the British to set up an experimental farm here in 1891, with the aim of testing various plants for their ability to grow in the region. The main experiments were aimed at cocoa, rubber and kola plants. Various fruit trees and cotton were also tested. Already in 1900 350 different plant species were cultivated here.
Today, the grounds of the Botanical Garden cover 64.8 hectares and is a really attractive recreation area for those who need some distance from the big city due to its proximity to Accra. In addition to the tranquillity and beautiful nature that can be found up here, a visit to Aburis can actually also serve the climatic recreation. The weather up here can actually be very different from that in the coastal city. When I first visited the botanical garden in 2014, everything here was shrouded in light fog and at dusk it even became comparatively cool, a condition I had not known before in southern Ghana. But the fog perfectly matched the ambience of the garden and the humidity let the green shine.
A small highlight of Aburi is a tree rib standing centrally on a meadow, which has been transformed into a wooden sculpture. Images of humans, animals or, for example, the Adinkra sign, which is so popular in Ghana, have been incorporated into the entire trunk. Despite its special design, a tree is expected in a botanical garden. The second tourist highlight is rather less expected. In the middle of the green stands a discarded helicopter. It seems almost as if it is simply parked and forgotten, but fits quite nicely into the landscape. I have heard different variations on the exact history of this helicopter. Pretty sure, however, it was a gift from the British, in the person of Queen Elizabeth II, to the Ghanaian state in the 1960s. The specimen, which can be seen today in Aburi, was then the first helicopter ever used in Ghana. Today it serves for visitors to the Botanical Garden not only as a photo motif but also as a gymnastics and climbing place.

Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm

Anyone who travels to Ghana will hardly miss the name Tetteh Quarshie. For example, a very important transport hub in Accra is named after him, and the name appears on numerous road signs for this reason alone. This may seem amazing at first glance, since the man was "only" a farmer. But anyone who deals with Ghanaian history will quickly understand The importance of Quarshie to the country. For it was he who brought the cocoa plant to the region by smuggling seeds from the then Spanish-controlled island of Bioko and growing it for the first time on the African mainland in what is now Ghana. The beginning of a great success story, because for a long time cocoa as an export commodity was responsible for an important part of Ghana's foreign exchange production and played an enormous economic role, especially at the time of the newly gained independence.
Quarshie grew the first cocoa plants around 1876 on a farm near the village of Mampong, which still exists today and on which even the original trees planted at that time can be seen. After the successful cultivation experiment, the farmer is said to have moved through the country and gave away seeds to poor farmers so that they could create a good source of income. So it is no wonder that Tetteh Quarshie has become a kind of folk hero. For a glimpse into the history of the country, a visit to his farm is definitely worth it today, especially since it can be perfectly connected with the nearby botanical garden of Aburi.