Aburi: For those unfamiliar with Ghana, it means nothing. For those who know Ghana, it may ring a bell, but it’s often overlooked when considering a getaway from the capital city of Accra.
For many, Aburi is unexplored territory missed by locals and tourists alike. But those who know Aburi know that this small getaway nestled in the green, mountainous Eastern region of Ghana is the ideal location for a night or two of rest and repose in unspoiled nature.
On the drive there, the environment slowly shifts and transforms. High-density traffic jams in Accra, overtaken by a lush expanse of greenery that appears to stretch on, uninterrupted, forever. The sound of rumbling car engines fades, replaced by the music of chirping birds as city gives way to country.
The breathtaking Tree House Bed and Breakfast, managed by Yao and his wife, Adwoa, gives travelers the proper welcome to this Ghanaian getaway. The secluded mountain property consists of two structures: On arrival, the first to come into view is an exposed wooden frame building sitting on stilts, creating an open-air space where meals are served. The other is a structure concealed with a partition that houses the guest rooms. The master guest room, situated on the highest floor and complete with a balcony, appears to be intertwined with the surrounding trees. The only audible sound comes from the birds and the wind rustling the leaves.
About a ten-minute drive from the Tree House, in Aburi’s town center, there awaits the Woodcarvers Gallery. Home to the art of generations of woodcarvers hailing mostly from the Eastern region of Ghana, each and every piece has been carefully handcrafted—and each and every piece, beautiful in its own way, will likely tempt you to make a little extra room in your suitcase.
A stroll uphill through the town will reveal the many small, colorful buildings and distinct rock formations that are common in the region. Continue further, and the road leads right to the famous Aburi Botanical Gardens—a sweet spot for a light, quick picnic. When the lunchtime cravings hit, the Hillburi Lodge, home to sweeping views of the surrounding forest mountain greenery, provides hot and delicious local food. But for those seeking to cool down instead, a dip in the lodge’s pool is just as relaxing a way to spend an afternoon at the top of Aburi.
Wake up early and make your way to the balcony of the master guest suite. Here, you’re completely surrounded by trees, creating the illusion that you're living among them. The air is clean, the birds are chirping—it’s tranquility personified.
I make my way upstairs to the master guest suite and can’t help but notice the beautiful light cast on a painted stairwell just beneath the top floor, a preview of the breathtaking experience ahead.
The structure of the guest house is astounding. The property’s plethora of large plants means there is a constant shadow cast on the building, making it ideal for relaxation no matter the temperature.
My first view of the Tree House upon arrival—semi-hidden among the abundant greenery but already it looks promising.
The main Tree House property sits on stilts, meaning the ground floor is almost entirely exposed. The staircase leading up to the common area is completely open-air, leaving behind only the parts needed to maintain a sound structure.
Before meeting my hosts, Yao and Adwoa, I noticed the mask carved into the base of the stair railing—possibly an ode to this region, where woodcarving is a predominant art, or perhaps to Ghana in general, a country where masks play a role in the culture of many tribes.
When I arrive upstairs, it becomes clear why Yao and Adwoa gave up city life to be based here full-time. The common area is the ideal outdoor-indoor space: a living room protected from direct exposure to the elements, yet still completely immersed in nature.
A cushion in the household covered in African wax print, paying homage to the setting and the origins of its owners.
As I walk around, the diversity of the people and their love for this century-old garden becomes clear. There are young kids playing, middle-aged couples picnicking, and an older gentleman who seemed to be meditating.
Upon arrival at the Aburi Botanical Gardens, one of the maintenance crew marches amongst the green, old buildings.
The main township is abundant with bright colors.
In the few minutes I stand outside this building, I see young and old people come in and out and engage with one another. It seemed to be what we call a “family house” in Ghana, a home that usually houses more than several nuclear families at once.
Beautiful handmade decorative masks from Aburi’s Woodcarvers Gallery.
Woodcarving—a heavily male-dominated art in Ghana—is often passed down through generations. The woodcarvers welcomed me with open arms, sharing the details of the process and stories of how they got into the craft.
A woodcarver busily sanding one of his pieces.
The Hillburi Resort is another gem in the small township. From the pool area, there are amazing views of luscious greenery; look further, and you may even see the outskirts of Accra.
Hillburi’s relaxing pool area.
A wall built with rocks commonly found in the hills of the Eastern region of Ghana. Though the views here seem to steal the show, the pace of life is slow enough to notice the details.