The Reverential Balm atop Mt. Gemi…by PaJohn Dadson
The Reverential Balm atop Mt. Gemi…by PaJohn Dadson
The climb up Mt Gemi in the Volta Region is almost a breeze. Pronounced “geh-mee”, this peak, about 770m above sea level, has a gradual gradient that makes climbing up, especially for active hikers, seem like a stroll. In all but 20 minutes, at a casual pace, you can reach its summit.
On my most recent trek up about a year ago, however, I was suffering from an enhanced flare up of osteoarthritis, causing stiffness in my legs and twice as many aches in my joints.
But, having promised throwing a BBQ cookout for a group of visitors I was leading, I just saw myself up there in my mind’s eye, and never entertained any of the doubts about reaching the top that visited me halfway through the climb. It didn’t augur well for my advance though, and while the aches made it excruciating, I was still rather thrilled to make steady progress, at my own pace.
Along its beaten trail, as if by design, rock boulders lodged in the earth provide resting seating for tired legs and I was glad for this.
We had arrived in the small town near the mountain called Amedzofe in the Volta Region and stayed overnight at a local hotel, so we could set off early in the morning before the sun came blazing.
Amedzofe is the highest human habitat in Ghana, set at some 2400ft above sea level, and from the balcony at the hotel, particularly at dusk, the sky formation of cloud and colour patterns is nothing short of amazeballs!
This wasn’t my first time going up Gemi, and I longed to get to the top to experience the breath-taking views of the surrounding lush valleys and mountains. On a clear day, you can even see the Volta Lake in the far distance.
There’s something celestial about being on the summit of any mountain, but on Gemi, it is pronounced. And with a 4-meter-tall metal cross, constructed by German missionaries in the 1930s set at its apex, it feels even more reverential.
My joy mounted with every step I made, except that, each time I looked up, it seemed the metal cross, attached to which are remnants of a communication antenna used by the Germans during World War II, moved further away. That was not a pleasant feeling for me at all.
I had already spent twice the regular time it took to make the distance and my legs were now about to give way. I know this because the young men I had met at the reception centre in town who came along to assist my team transport equipment, had been up and down at least twice already, giggling each time they passed me.
The closer I got to the top, the more it felt I would have to hike. I knew I would get up there, but after several minutes of what seemed like I was navigating in circles, I broke down.
Fortunately, I found one of the better shaped boulders on which I was able to sit and belted out a yell in pain, allowing my tears of frustration to flow down my face freely. To my utter surprise, not having counted on what I was used to doing now becoming such a chore, it felt so liberating. My airways opened up, and amid sniffles I was pulling in some rather very fresh mountain air, and I could feel my lungs expanding.
When I finally stepped on the crest of the mountain, the views around were even more stunning than I had remembered. The hills seem to come alive, and I could sense the aches ease out of my body. It was most balming.
Though it was my first time working with the set of guys I came along with, they had followed my description and instructions, and laid out the set up perfectly. The ice chest full of cold beers was the first item that welcomes you and was set right by the dining tables and chairs which were arranged under the tent canopy. The archery and other games were set beside the spread mats on which were strewn some cushions and pillows. With savoury smoke rising from the grill stand in position, Hope, the cook was already tending to the first set of Guinness and herbs marinaded chicken on the fire.
Ordinarily, the euphoria of being up there on Mt. Gemi fades after a few minutes, but, as it turned out, with this WangoWango Dine-in-the-Wild set up, we could engage. We were up there for nearly 5 hours hosting with fun games, and a luscious lunch of “garifotor” and a variety of mean smoky meats!
Originally known as Mount Gayito, visitors to the attraction preferred to refer to it by the initials of the German Evangelical Missions Institute (GEMI) inscribed on metal cross the missionaries built on the peak in 1939 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their arrival in the Amedzofe area. And it’s stayed.
Located north of Ho in the mountainous region of the Ho Municipal District, Amedzofe boasts of three other natural gifts besides Mount Gemi, including the magnificent Ote (otay) waterfalls, fabulously great weather and incredible striking landscape.
In the nearby woods, a nature trail leads into a tropical forest where a variety of ancient trees grow alongside cocoa, coffee, banana and plantain trees, with sightings of strikingly picturesque birds and butterflies. A canopy walkway running across the pool made by the Ote waterfalls gives a panoramic view of the site giving off a warm natural balm.
Visit Volta Region. Contact WangoWango – 0244697946 – for bespoke curated experiences.