Author: zaianaddmin

WH2 Kob 23.9.15
Feb26

Ghana isn’t the most common safari destination, but a new luxury safari lodge in the country might be an incentive to attract more travelers: Zaina Lodge opened recently in northern Ghana in Mole National Park, the country’s largest game reserve. The 25-room lodge is on a ridge overlooking the savanna and has a view of two watering holes rich with wildlife such as antelope, waterbuck, baboons and elephants. Local everything is an emphasis at the property — local grass, stone and teak are used for roofing, walls, paths and furnishings; over half of the staff are from the area; and local shea butter is used to make furniture polish, soaps and body lotions. Sustainability is also a priority; the lodge has LED lighting and a solar-powered water system. The rate is $350 per person, per night, all inclusive.

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Feb26

 

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You’ll have to forgive how late this post is, especially the staff and management of Zaina Lodge.

Not because I’ve been paid to say anything(trust me I wasn’t) but because after my experience there and warm reception I feel like I’ve done them a disservice by not shouting it on top of a roof earlier.

 

Truth is I did write a post, and when I accidentally deleted it I was so furious I kept staring at the blank page willing it all to magically reappear.If you follow my blog you will know that every piece I write is from an honest and authentic place. And when you spill all your emotions on a page it’s sometimes a little hard to rewrite everything.And so for weeks I’ve been waiting for the feelings to come back so I can say exactly how this surreal place made me feel.

First of all I have to be honest, getting me to go there was tough. I mean I had heard about the awful journey from Tamale to the Mole National Park and just how terrible the road was.

And as much as the thought frightened me, it was the unknown that scared me the most.

See I’m all for an adventure, I don’t mind a few bad turns on my road to paradise, it adds to the excitement actually. Hustling to get to a place and then finally getting there and it being absolutely worth it is very inviting.

But on several occasions, kind of like when you order food at a restaurant and the food looks nothing like the pictures advertised, a lot of Hotels, Resorts etc were exactly like that.

It didn’t help that the pictures on their website looks like something out of this world, and their Safari pictures looked liked something that had been picked of another website, probably one more authentic.

Hey don’t blame me for my thoughts, like I said I’ve had more than my fair share of disappointing resorts and I was a proud Skeptic.

But boy/ girl( just so we have some gender balance) was I wrong.

Ok so I was picked up from Tamale Airport, and as the driver lead us to the car I had psyched myself up for the type of car and long dusty road ahead.

The car, well the picture says it all, and the road left me thinking maybe we should give the government some credit.

The residents told me they road had never been done in the nearly 50 years (not so sure) the national park had existed.

I couldn’t believe it.

Because I couldn’t imagine how there couldn’t have been a road to one of Ghana’s popular tourist attractions.

My anxiety over the trip was slowly fading away and being replaced by admiration. Thanks to the smooth road I was able to take in the beauty of the North and just how much of it I wish I’d known about or seen earlier.

After nearly 2 hours, I began to get restless. “Are we almost there yet?” I continuously asked our driver , poor guy’s ears must have been irritated.

I was still a little anxious but from how good the trip was going so far I couldn’t wait to get to the lodge and see if it was everything it claimed to be.

And from the minute we drove to the entrance of Zaina Lodge as the staff and management waved and welcome me I knew this wasn’t going to be just another Lodge.

IMG_0280-514x343Some of the Staff and Management of Zaina Lodge

image-3-514x514My beautiful earthy room and magnificent view

From the beautiful architecture, which reflected on the culture of its town and people, to the earthy yet comfortable rooms and the breathtaking view ; Zaina Lodge had in that instance captured my heart.

The pictures online didn’t do the place justice , because the feeling I got as I sat on my balcony and watched the animals drinking from the pond right in front of me was something no amount of pictures could truly capture.

Food! Oh the food, I don’t even know where to begin with that. I can still almost taste the tomato soup I had on my first day(Still waiting on the recipe Chef). The BEST tomato soup I’d ever had.

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I can’t even talk about the desserts and how every minute it seemed the chef was on a mission to constantly impress me. At some point my mouth couldn’t keep up. I wanted it all and yet still wanted the savor the taste of each item they placed in front of me.

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Like OLIVER TWIST I want more! No I Needed more. How was I going to get back to my kenkey eating reality after this?

The SAFARI! If anyone had told me, “Lydia you’re going to get close enough to take a selfie with an elephant someday” I’d probably think they were on crack. But as it turned out , not only did I get my selfie( can’t post the picture because the look on my face though) I got to walk close enough to look them in the eye.

 

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“Are we really still in Ghana?” I kept asking myself from time to time. And how would anyone believe what I was experiencing?

From having breakfast in the middle of the park surrounded by animals, to going on a canoe safari and seeing birds I’d only ever seen on TV and books, and meeting a man who’d survived a lion attack and lived to tell it. I had experienced more in two days on this trip that I had in all my years of traveling. And that’s saying something because you all know my arse never sits in one place for too long.image-7-514x343Me and my Elephant family. 🙂

 

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As I waved the staff and management good bye, I was filled with pride, that this is in Ghana, my GHANA.

Zaina Lodge has set a standard that I don’t know if anyone else can duplicate and if they do, will need to be very hardworking to keep up.

I thought initially that I was special, well I am after all Lydia Forson right? So maybe they were being extra attentive and nice to me. I mean what manager had the time to talk at length with a guest, and how was the chef able to make specialized food for me each day? Even eggless pastries for my friend who didn’t eat eggs? How were there able to remember nearly everything about me and what I needed ?

Until I realized other guest were there and each felt and was treated good as I was.

If you want to disappear into a world of perfection and live like you’re walking on the moon for a while, this is for you.

Thanks Zaina Lodge for your warm reception and for pushing Ghana Tourism this far. I do hope this continues and hopefully you can maintain the high standard you’ve set.

And yes I’m most definitely coming back soon.

IMG_9948-514x343Peace.

 

 

Feb05

Yagazie Emezi at Zaina Lodge

(CNN) – According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, “great innovators and great companies see the space that others don’t.”

But we’d also add that innovators demonstrate an awe-inspiring level of perseverance and commitment to their ideas, overcoming many obstacles to bring us their new methods and products.

The annual gathering of the African Leadership Network is a great place to spot them. This year, in early November, 350 heads of business, social enterprises and entrepreneurs met in Marrakech under the theme “Exploring the Boundaries of Possibilities in Africa.”

Feb05

storyThe shower’s rush is vigorously, massaging my aching back from weeks of monotonous routine back in the city, with the heat from the splashing water giving me a soothing knead. I am most excited that in a few short hours, I have arrived in Zaina Lodge, the new high-end accommodation facility being put up here in the Mole National Park in Northern Region. I’ve already seen elephants splattering in the watering holes right below us about 500 meters away, and also the stunning beauty of the horizon, with the expanse of savannah greenery, which rolls out far into the distance and gives off a really beautiful backdrop! As I take this quick shower, just to freshen up, I think of the cold Club beer I just saw in the ice chest in my room.

I come to sit with Andy, the CEO of the lodge on my balcony gazing at the elephants as they play in the waters below, after my refreshing shower, to have a beer and lunch. Ema has just appeared with a large tray, on which is arranged some rather very delectable fare! I swallow immediately upon setting my eyes on what I can describe as a feast for the eyes, the nose and eventually when I taste them, for the tongue! This is incredible cooking, I am thinking, it is definitely gourmet, and as I listen to Andy describe how he believes they can sustain attracting guests, which includes always providing fantastic first class food, I understand why!

Read more at: modernghana.com

Feb05

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Accra, Aug. 24, GNA – Mrs Araba Aikins Dodoo, Sales and Marketing Manager, Zaina Lodge has noted that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation regional conference was an opportunity to acquire information to promote growth and development of the tourism industry.

Ecolodge Mole Operating Company Limited, operators of Zaina Lodge at the Mole National Park, participated in the conference, held in Accra last week, to meet players in the industry for possible partnership to enhance domestic tourism.

The conference on the theme: “Enhancing Brand Africa-Fostering Tourism Development,” was to explore how African destinations could successfully build a strong brand in an increasingly competitive marketplace and the constantly changing business environment.

It was also to create synergies among African countries towards greater cooperation in the promotion and positioning of a common African tourism brand.

Areas of discussion during the conference include positioning and branding, e-communications, media relations, crisis communications, public-private partnership and resources and capacity building.

The conference brought together a number of tourism Ministers to set a common action plan to advance African’s image and brand as a tourism destination.

Mrs Dodoo said that the company decided to participate because it was an ideal platform to interact with the business community and also check and evaluate competition in the tourism sector.

She said the company was also participating, because of the strong brand building and networking environment the conference offered.

“As a company we believe in conservation, involving the community, promoting the local culture and the provision of high end eco-tourism accommodation services,” she added.

“We seek to accomplish, this goal through the provision of high-end tourism and accommodation services in selected rural destinations throughout Ghana,” she said.

Mrs Dodoo commended the “Explore Ghana” project by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts’ to promote domestic tourism.

She said Zaina Lodge was changing the face of tourism in the country by offering a new chapter of hospitality, where they provide unique opportunity for tourists to encounter elephants and other big game on foot and up close. They offer two styles of safari; Driving and walking Safari.

The 25-room lodge is being constructed in two phases, 17 of the planned 25 luxury tent suites would open this year, along with a central dining facility, bar and a swimming pool.

Feb05

Screen-ShotWe recently spent a week in Ghana with some of the African continent’s most dynamic women creatives. You can check out what we were up to with Maame Adjei, Yagazie Emezi, Twiggy Moli, Sedi Ramone, and Velma Rossa on Instagram. 

Our mission in life was the Chale Wote Street Art Festival produced by Accra.dot.Alt but we needed to give these very special women a true “Tastemakers” travel experience. That meant digging into the crates so to speak and going beyond the typical Accra – Cape Coast – Kumasi triangle that every tour operator will try and sell you. These cities and their landmarks are amazing, but Ghana is a huge country with regional cuisine, languages, and style that deserve a bigger piece of the narrative.

We decided on Ghana’s unexplored Northern and Upper Eastern Regions and have a few tips for those of you looking to replicate what you see on the grams. Continue reading…

Feb05

Main lodge close up

Construction works on the Zaina Lodge at the Mole National Park in the West Gonja District of the Northern Region is 90 per cent complete.

The facility, to be opened in September, would help to attract tourists from the West African sub-region.

It offers a unique opportunity for tourists to encounter elephants and other big game on foot and up close.

The lodge offers two styles of Safari-driving and walking, and seeks to open a new chapter in the hospitality industry by promoting community and economic development and environmental conservation.

The 25-room lodge is being constructed in two phases, 17 of the planned 25 luxury tented suites would open this year, along with a central dining facility, bar and infinity swimming pool.

Mr Andrew Murphy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ecolodge Mole Operating Company Ghana Limited, operators of the Lodge told Ghana News Agency that the facility has provided job for more than 150 people in the community.

He said the suites were arranged to capture spectacular views over the woodland savannah of the park, the largest of Ghana’s seven national parks.

He said all the materials used in the construction process were locally sourced to depict the tradition and culture of the people to promote domestic tourism.

The CEO said Zaina lodge offers unparalleled service and luxury accommodation in an exclusive location in the Mole National Park and community wildlife destination.

“We will partner closely with the community and government to provide quality service to tourists who patronise the Mole Park,” he added.

He said sustainability is a key focus of Zaina Lodge and it seeks to continuously reduce the environmental impact of its operations, using monitoring and evaluation to create an ever more efficient company.

“Zaina Lodge primarily seeks to create a more sustainable operation through production of solar energy, waste management, local procurement strategies and having positive impact on wildlife populations in the park,” he added.

He said management would be installing all the kitchen and laundry equipment in a few weeks, and has started staff training.

Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts commended management of the facility for their hard work to improve on the tourist attraction sites in the area.

She expressed the hope that when the facility is opened to the public management would ensure quality service delivery to their numerous clientele.

Mrs Ofosu-Adjare is on a week familisation tour to tourist sites in the region to see at first hand the tourism situation in the Northern Region and how to harness those potentials for national development.