Wli Waterfalls

Today. Was. Exhausting. We woke up at 4:45AM to get ready to leave for Wli Falls at 5:30AM. It is made up of an upper falls and lower falls and is the highest waterfall in Ghana and West Africa. To get to the lower falls, it’s a flat 40 minute walk through the forest. To get to the upper falls, it’s a 2-3 hour trek up and around a mountain. We planned to do the upper falls hike, so we wanted to get an early start.

Us in the tro tro on the way there. Amber and me in front, Nico and Alex (Gold) in the middle, and Jordan (Gold) and Emma (Gold) in the back

From our house, we had to take a tro tro to Hohoe (ho-hwey) for about 2.5 hours and then transfer there to a tro that would take us to Wli (vlee) for about another half hour. The rides were brutal. The roads as we got farther away from Frankadua got worse and worse, and the tro drivers were swerving all over the place, trying to avoid potholes. There were some areas where the paved road randomly turned to dirt road and then 1km later changed back to paved. Like what? I was planning to attempt to sleep, but we had 4 people on a bench seat meant for 3 the entire way there. Between that and the roads, it was hopeless, even for me.

We had to go north to get to the waterfalls. We started about 30 minutes north of Akosombo on the map.

The view walking towards the visitor center

We finally made it to Wli around 10AM. I ate a granola bar and was ready to get going, but some of the group wanted to eat. By the time we actually hit the trail, it was about 11AM. The first part of the hike was no big deal… just a relatively flat stroll through the forest. Then, our guide stopped, gave us all hiking sticks, and pointed up a hill that was probably a 60 degree incline. Oh.

The path before the crazy incline started

Getting into the hiking groove was rough, but once I got going, I felt pretty good. The first 45 minutes or so were really steep. There were parts where I put my hiking stick down and basically just rock climbed instead. It was tiring, but everything was going totally fine… until it started raining. When I say raining, I mean POURING. It went from zero to downpour in a matter of seconds. We could literally hear the rain coming through the forest towards us.

Me and Amber during a much needed break, pre-rain

We were probably ¾ of the way to the waterfall view when it started raining, and we decided to keep going. I took a minute to wrap my rain jacket around my backpack in a weak attempt to keep my stuff dry, and I gave my phone to Nico to put in his bag because he had an actual rain cover for it. My clothes were soaked through in a matter of minutes (and probably my backpack too). Eventually, we made it to the falls, took a minute or two to enjoy the view (as much as was possible in the ongoing downpour), and turned around to head back.

There’s only one way to describe the hike back… it was horrible. The trail was so steep and muddy, so what would have already been a slow hike got even slower. I just kept focusing on my next step and making sure that I had my walking stick and one foot firmly planted every time I moved the other foot. I only slipped once, and it wasn’t a big deal. I caught myself on the way down and was totally fine.

A sneak peak of the upper falls, before the downpour when I put my phone away

We had some real scares though with a few other people in the group. One of the guys from Gold slid probably 3 meters off the side of the trail and luckily only ended up with some muddy pants. Amber had an even more terrifying fall and was stopped by sheer luck (and a conveniently placed tree). She ended up with some bad scrapes and bruises, and we still had probably 2/3 of the hike back left. I don’t want to think about how terribly the hike could have ended, but thank goodness we were all mostly okay.

When we got back to the upper falls trailhead, we were all SOAKED. We went to check out the lower falls because it was only about a 5 minute walk on flat ground. After being there for a few minutes, I was ready to head out. I just wanted to be home and in dry clothes.

My neck pillow helmet… All it took was one solid head collision with the ceiling to make me not care about looking ridiculous

We trudged back to the parking lot, attempted to dry ourselves off (I luckily had a semi-dry towel and some semi-dry pants), and found a tro tro back to Hohoe. The ride home was miserable because it was super bumpy again, and we were all still damp. My feet were completely soaked, and about 5 minutes into the ride, I had to go to the bathroom because I drank so much water on the hike. So just imagine 3 hours of extreme discomfort, complete with a couple of head collisions with the roof of the tro.

I can barely move, my eyes are starting to close, and I can’t think straight anymore. That means it’s definitely time for bed… hopefully I won’t be immobile tomorrow!

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