The Ghana Files: Nzulezu Stilt Village

In a far corner of the Western Region, there is a village that hovers over a lake. This village has existed for hundreds of years, its inhabitants settling there after fleeing persecution in Mali. The village is like any other in Ghana with a primary school, several stalls selling goods, a guest house and even a few bars. What makes this village different is that it is built on stilts over the water!

Inhabitants of Nzulezu travel by canoe to the nearest village to stock up on supplies and goods. While the stilt village has it’s own primary school, students who attend middle and high school must travel every day by boat to get to school! It is expected that each child in the village will be given his or her own canoe, which the family can either build or purchase.

To get to the village, we traveled about an hour by canoe down a narrow canal. This canal then gave way to a river that took us through lush and beautiful forests. Eventually, we emerged from the forest out onto a vast lake. That is where we saw the stilt village, off in the distance.

Our tour was brief, as the village is quite small. Notably, the children were not having classes when we arrived. They told us that their teacher was traveling that day, to gather supplies.

After our tour, we stopped for lunch at a surprising little place. In what feels like the middle of nowhere, we found this classy little restaurant called Cafe Puerto. It is run by a Spanish man who came as a tourist some years ago, loved it and stayed. He even built a stilt house on the lake across from the village! This restaurant was very unique! The entire place was hand-built out of wood, you are on an outdoor patio surrounded by palm trees. The decor was stylish and beautiful, the staff was attentive and courteous. Oh, and the sangria was delicious! This place is a real hidden gem.

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