VISITING FORT BATENSTEIN, BUTRE, GHANA

Posted on May 16, 2013

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Fort Batenstein
Philip Briggs, author of The Bradt Guide to Ghana, maintains an update site posting travelers’ candid comments on their experiences here in Ghana. It’s a great source of current information for people coming to Ghana or here already. I would hope that all employees at the Ghana Ministry of Tourism and the Ghana Tourist Authority subscribe to the site to give them heads-up on what tourists experience, the good, the bad, and, yes, the ugly….

Recently, I saw a review of tourists’ visit to Fort Batenstein, Butre. It disturbed me, so I decided to send it to the Ghana Tourism Authority…here is the correspondence:

1. chris scott wrote:

“Hi Kojo,

One of the latest reviews in Briggs’ Bradt Update to Ghana.

Work for your regional manager and staff in Takoradi.

Cheers,

Chris”

2. Here is the reply from my contact at the Ghana Tourism Authority:

Hello, sorry for the delay but have forwarded it to directorate for action to be taken quickly on it…cheers and Thanks for prompting us.

Now for the specifics: Watch this youtube before reading the Bradt Update review…..

Now for the review:

Batenstein Fort
Quite a negative experience for us visiting batenstein fort in Butre. We have been coming and going to butre a couple of times because we came back for hideout lodge when first staying there, having a good experience and coming back to it after green turtle lodge and we saw when we arrived and left from the trotro spot, a small simple wooden shed, which read “tourist office”. Now before we went to batenstein we saw this office at least four times, none of the times it being occupied.

We went to search for the path up the hill to the fort and from the bridge to hideout we took a right (afterwards we saw we should have taken a left). We walked through forest on a little footpath, came across a watering hole and some people who would only show us the way “for something” so we just said hi and moved along. Finally we found what we thought was the path and through a very interesting climb we reached the fort. We enjoyed some nice views and we saw from there a path had been made that went directly into the village. So when we were done seeing the fort we went back down along the path. When we came back down into the village however we were in for a rude surprise.

A man came up to us saying we were to pay for visiting the fort and that we had to follow him to the tourist office (which was until then unoccupied on all occasions). We were asked to pay 10 cedi for seeing it even though it is nowhere even hinted at, a fee has to be paid when visiting the fort (not in the village itself, not on your way to the fort, not at the fort itself, no sign whatsoever). The tourist office, was suddenly occupied by 3 other men and a book was given to us for registration purposes (interesting detail, the oldest registration was only just after the italians renovated the fort and built a path to it in 2010). We put down our details and in the column for amount paid we put 10 cedis and gave him the money. We then asked for a receipt to know the money would go to the village, to a guide (we did not have) and keeping up the fort but he gave us some bogus excuse not to give the receipt. Disillusioned we went back to hideout afterwards and were very disappointed this had happened. So please, if you are going to visit the fort, be warned you will have to pay for it, and it would be best you go to the tourist office first so you can at least get a guide with you (although I must say it seemed to me the money we paid would not be going to the village, or the guide, or the fort, but the man would just take it himself. He even said when he met us going down from the fort he “wouldn’t be here if people would not have to pay”.)

So if you got this far and you’ve been to Butre-Fort Batenstein, let us know if there has been an improvement.

Again, the point of this post is to encourage the Ghana Tourism Authority Head Office and the 10 Regional Offices to keep accessing THE BRADT GUIDE TO GHANA UPDATE so that interventions can be made, be they at attractions such as the example above, or at restaurants and hotels.

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