Saturday 13 August 2011

Fortress in the Cliff!

After an hour or so of chatting with the chief's son (who would also serve as our tour guide along with five of his buddies!), we headed off in search of a fortress in the cliff!

Chief's compound. Not pictured: his four wives!

According to
Lonely Planet, the "castle in the cliff" is a mini-fortress built into the side of Mt. Semoo. During the 19th century, the Chokossi Empire established an empire over Northern Togo. However, the Moba people resented this and built the cliffside fortress to hide themselves and their possessions from soldiers and tax collectors. Just like the IRS!

After prepping water for the 3-hour hike, Lindsey and I for some odd reason ended up leading the group through the swamp-like farms! After realizing we had no clue where the trail was, the chief's son brought us to Mt. Semoo where we hiked straight up at about a seventy-degree angle (how do we always end up
on these tough hikes?!).

As the top plateaued out, we came across...a door?
The door opened to steel ladder, but as the door was locked (pointlessly locked I may add), we walked around the door to access the ladder from the adjacent rocks.

After that rocky, steep hike, I was happy to see a steel ladder!

We were soon walking in the fortress that laid in the side of the cliff! The chief's son told us that in times of war, women and children could hide in the fortress. Much cooler inside the mountain, we darted in and out of the small caves while bats flew around us. Even remnants of baskets that were hundreds of years old could be found.

Mini-fortress of Mt. Semoo, Gaoundoga, Togo

Climbing in and out of the caves of the mini-fortress!

That night we said goodbye to the little village of Gaoundoga and headed off to the city of Kara, a transit point to southern Togo. Though we could have splurged 20.000CFA (~$40US) for the Hotel Kara (tennis courts and swimming pool!), we decided to stay in the hostel of La Lumiere for 3.500CFA each (~$7US) just down the street. Ahh, the Peace Corps budget! Luckily a great dinner of pizza, fruit, salad, and pasta was had at Le Chateau!

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