Adventurous Journey from Germany to Ghana: The Story of Touring Couple Rahn and Hoppe
A truck of almost 50 years old, known in local parlance as ‘Wato nkyene’, has been driven from Germany in Central Europe through the West African coast to Ghana.
The antiquated automobile, a Mercedes Benz LA 911 model, was driven by German tourists, Thomas Rahn, accompanied by his partner, Sabine Hoppe, through 11 countries and arrived in the country last month.
Mr Rahn, 42, who was only eight years old when the vehicle was manufactured, started the trip in September last year, accompanied by his lover , Hoppe, 43.
According to them, they drove through the borders of Austria, Italy, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, before entering the country from Cote d’Ivoire through its border with Ghana at Sampa in the Bono Region.
They are seeking pleasure, sight-seeing, discoveries, adventures, learning about the environment, meeting new people and whatever nature has to offer them in West Africa.
Since arriving in the country, the couple has been visiting some of the country’s tourist centres and historical monuments in the Ashanti, Greater Accra and Eastern regions and are currently in the Volta Region.
Most exciting country
Interacting with The Mirror at the Aburi Botanical Gardens in the Akuapem South municipality on June 30, 2023, Mr Rahn described Ghana as the most exciting country they had visited so far since leaving Germany in September last year.
“We are on a trip to countries across Africa; we have driven from Germany down the west coast since September 2022 with this motorhome.
“Ghana brings us to the 12th country that we have visited since leaving Germany . We have now stayed in the country for four weeks and we like it a lot,” he said.
He added that the main mission in Ghana was to visit all the interesting places .
On the visit to Aburi, Mr Rahn noted that it was recommended by some travellers who had visited the Aburi Botanical Gardens.
He said the visit offered a special opportunity to spend time in the gardens, given the cold weather and the royal palm trees beautifully lined up along the access road .
“This visit also offers a good opportunity to take some time to move around and discover the small details happening in the gardens, including the plants and insects,” Mr Rahn explained.
“After spending two days in Aburi Gardens, we are continuing the journey to the Volta Region,” he said.
Means of transportation
The couple’s means of transportation, the Mercedes Benz LA 911, is a legendary recreational vehicle that offers families an opportunity to travel around the world. It is widely known and used in Germany, its home country.
The LA 911, which was manufactured in 1977, is specially designed with many of the comforts of a home, including kitchen, bed, storage, bathroom facility, and a driving cab at the front for the driver’s and passenger’s seat.
Mr Rahn said it was sometimes painful driving that long distance as it took a lot of energy, but the determination was to learn more about West Africa.
“We already know everything about Europe. And so, the inspiration was to know and learn more about all the countries in Western Africa, the environment, meet new people, and understand their lifestyle,” he said.
Mr Rahn and Ms Hoppe said there were no challenges or hurdles crossing the borders in West Africa because the vehicle had a special travel documentation to be able to go through the countries visited already and the ones yet to be visited.
At the border, the documents are only inspected, stamped, and insurance acquired, making it easy to cross.
With regard to Visitors International Stay Admission (VISA), he said, they secured them for the next country from the current country they found themselves in.
For instance, Ghana’s VISA was secured from the Embassy in Abidjan, La Côte d’Ivoire.
Ms Hoppe, who also joined the interview with The Mirror team, was excited about the reception in Ghana.
She said the country’s pace of development and the hospitable nature of its people were extremely fascinating.
“When we entered the country we went to Kumasi in the Ashanti Region nearly four weeks ago and the plan was to spend just two or three days and exit. However, we ended up staying for 10 days in Kumasi alone and another 10 days in the Central Region, Accra and now Aburi.
“This is because there were too many things to see and discover from the forts to the castles,” she said.
For her, food was never a problem as the idea was to mingle with the people, learn and understand by eating the local dishes at the roadside.
Ms Hoppe explained that they either went to the market to purchase the items or ingredients, prepared the meals themselves in the vehicle or stopped by the roadside to eat fufu, kenkey or any other local dish of the country they found themselves.
“So far, we have met only one Ghanaian since we arrived who had said fufu was not a favourite dish,” Ms Hoppe said, bursting into laughter.
Ms Hoppe and Mr Rahn are world travellers who share details of their adventure through pictures in the Explorer Magazine and through photo lectures in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.