Benedictine Monastery

Some two hours north of Kpalime, at the summit of the mountain chain that provides the border between Ghana and Togo to the east, sits a stunning example of the many Benedictine Monasteries that can be found in remote locations throughout Africa and other parts of the world.  The route underscores the remoteness of the location.  After following a reasonably good two lane highway for an hour we turned west to follow a not-so-good two lane paved highway that climbed 300 metres in a half kilometre, offering wonderful views to the east en route.  We then followed along the top of the range for an hour or so, ultimately arriving at the monastery.   The monastery, like the convent down the road, is situated on a tract of lank large enough to serve as the primary food source for the monks that are resident there.  To supplement their income the residents produce a range of products for market, including coffee and a line of jams, a selection of these were the first items we purchased on the trip, and the first contents in our rooftop waterproof (good thing too) storage container.

At the entrance there is a lovely grove of trees where visitors can camp with access to a shower and toilet, and we arrived mid-afternoon to set up.  We were only there for one night, althouugh our departure on the second day was delayed by a combination of wanting to spend time at the beautiful cathedral and by the very wet weather, we did not want to close up the tent wet and the rain did not stop until nearly noon.

The Monastery was constructed of beautiful hardwoods

The high point of our visit was most certainly attending the service in the morning, which featured singing by the 25 monks, accompanied by traditional string and percussion instruments.  Indeed the entire service was sung, there were no spoken words at all.  It was beautiful.

Our night and morning at the Monastery featured more rain than any other 12 hour period during our whole trip