Meet Me There Eco Lodge, Dzita, Ghana
02 March, 2017
This article appears in SUITCASE Volume 18: The Rhythm Issue
Just off a red-dirt road between the rural fishing villages of Dzita and Dzita-Abledomi, an idyllic eco-retreat sits on the edge of a still saltwater lagoon. Life here centres around a vibrant beach bar, complete with a jetty that juts out into the lagoon. Straw parasols shade wooden armchairs from the sun, while bright African prints and local artwork bring the place to life.
The lodge was the brainchild of a man called Dougal Croudace, who came to Ghana from the UK during his gap year and never looked back. Go ahead and roll your eyes, but this not-for-profit lodge has put down solid roots in the community. Your stay directly supports a NGO called Dream Big Ghana, which provides sanitation and healthcare facilities in the surrounding village.
Eco Lodge, Dzita, Ghana
Who you'll find
Backpackers, volunteers and adventurous expats. Friends of friends of friends.
The lodge has a selection of dormitories and standard rooms, but with the chief suites priced at just over £20 a night, why not "splash out"? The thatched-roof bungalows sit on the edge of the lagoon and are decked out with bold, black-and-red patterns. While the word "eco" is often a euphemism for basic accommodation, here real attention to detail has been paid to the mosquito nets, compost toilets and outdoor showers.
Food and drink
While travellers rejoice at chef Rita's delicious traditional offerings - think hearty chicken and groundnut soup served with kenkey (a sour dumpling made from corn, which you're meant to dip into sauces with your hands) - expats breathe a sigh of relief at the sight of a menu that also offers pizza, Thai green curry and delicious salads. A man called Papa staffs the bar, and makes refreshing cucumber cocktails.
What do in the area
Meet Me There is right in the middle of two rural communities, and the idea is to get out as much you can - that might mean watching local fishermen pull in their nets, taking a trip to a lively market or even attending a funeral. (In Ghana, funerals are larger-than-life celebrations.) For an unforgettable day out, join a local guide called Bright for a boat trip along the Ada coast and estuary, where the sea merges with the River Volta. You'll stop at remote villages on the way, where women scale freshly caught fish and men tend to the intricately carved wooden boats. Hung with multi-coloured hammocks and with dancehall music blaring, Maranatha Beach Camp is a good option for a lunch of red-red stew.
Things to know
Meet Me There only accepts cash, and there are no ATMS near the lodge, so withdraw money well in advance. Note that the dormitories and standard rooms are roadside, which means cars, chickens and chatter galore.
How to get there
For the equivalent of around £5, buy a tro-tro (minibus) ticket from Accra to Keta. Start your adventure into the heart of rural Ghana, flying down open roads with a highlife music soundtrack. Try to bag a window seat for some ventilation - there's no air-con, and passengers carry everything from sweet-smelling coconut to pungent dried fish. Journeys are either uneventful and straightforward or laced with unexpected pit-stops, route changes and even the odd disagreement. The tro-tro driver will drop you at a taxi rank at Keta so you can catch a ten-minute cab to Meet Me There. Rooms from £15