Nzulezu - The Village on Stilts

It took me five years and trips to Ghana to get to the "village on stilts". Every year I was advised again that I should definitely take a look at this. Unfortunately, this village has always had a problem for me: if you are mainly in the corner around Accra, it is really not easy to reach and it has to be covered a very nice distance. That's why I was always waiting for a way to include a visit to another trip across the country. This opportunity finally presented itself in 2018, when we drove from Kumasi to Takoradi, where one is already roughly in the right area. Nevertheless, there are still a few kilometres to go from here and the destination is first of all the village of Beyin described above, because here the means of transport must be changed in order to finally reach Nzule, which is on, or rather on lake Amansuri, and cannot be reached by land. Forced to change to the boat and already we faced a difficult decision on our arrival: paddle yourself or fall back on the good old engine. After some back-and-forth and tough price negotiations, the decision was finally made on arm strength and as exciting as the rowing was, it proved unfavorable for the tightly timed schedule. Luckily, it turned out that after only a few minutes an oncoming motorboat was available and we could take the rest of the way more relaxed – and the route would not have been without it and still drags on quite a bit. In the first section it goes through the dense forest at the tributary until one comes to the open lake, where at some point the village slowly builds up on stilts in front of you.
Nzulezu is actually explained quite simply by the origin of the word – it means water surface in the language Nzema and points to the fusion of the village with the lake, whose "completed" form finally represents broken houses, half of which are in even sink into it. The original history of nzulezu's foundation does not seem to be entirely certain, but stories tell of people from remote areas settling here who have repeatedly suffered persecution and have been affected by the construction of their village on the Water protection promised. The idea does not seem entirely absurd, because the village still stands today as one of not many stilt villages worldwide, which is why an application for a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List is still underway.
Life in Nzulezu is, of course, a very special one in a certain way, and in its basic features it also follows rules of normal village life. Instead of roads and paths, everything leads over long walkways and diving for objects that have fallen through the gaps of the wood is a popular pastime for children. Today, however, there is also a church, electricity supply and also a school. Only the older children who receive a higher education always have to make their way to Beyin with their own boats.
After a tour of the village and the hard-negotiated possibility of flying a drone here, that path led us back. Luckily, however, again with motorized help.


Personally, the place Beyin was not a household name before I was here for the first time and the reason for this stay was not Beyin itself, but the fact that you can travel from here to the Stelzendorf Nzulezu, which is one of the great tourist attractions of Ghana . But beyin itself - or the adjacent coastal strip - should not be underestimated either. Wide palm-filled sandy beaches that simply invite undisturbed longer hikes on the Atlantic, without too much tourist access and compared to the beaches near the big cities even half-clean. There is a larger hotel complex here, but apart from a few fishermen and children of the village we have not met anyone on the beach. It is simply the perfect place for some relaxation and breathing. Just when we arrived here we had a long journey with strenuous bus tours behind us and the day started with a lot of rain, which hit the mood a bit. But to represent your legs on this beach at a glorious sunset that late afternoon was just the best thing that could happen at that moment.
Beyin is also home to one of the many forts that can be found on the coast of Ghana. The Fort Apollonia was built here in 1768, after the town had already been developed as a trading post by the Swedes. If you have already seen and visited some of the castles of Ghana, this one can not really impress here, even if the conservation status is very good. Instead of a visit, however, we were content with the outside view and enjoyed the more natural part of the beach before a long return trip to Accra.