Having been in Ghana for about six months on my own, I was excited to learn that my 17 year old daughter was coming for a ten day visit, giving me a chance to see something other than downtown Accra while sharing some quality father/daughter time together. But where to go?
Nearly everyone said take a few days and go to Cape Coast to enjoy the clean beaches. Targeting a four day/three night trip, and after collecting recommendations from experienced expats and Ghanaians alike, I focused on three choices: Brenu Beach, Coconut Grove and KO-SA. I narrowed it down to Brenu Beach and was glad we chose it, as I had a chance to visit the two alternatives during the trip. Coconut Grove was lovely and well manicured, with a pool (and a golf course) but it is much larger, with 70+ rooms, losing some of the intimacy I was seeking (17 rooms at Brenu Beach with 20+ staff); and the beach was just as the reviews indicated -- not optimal for swimming; but with younger children or if golf is the thing you are looking for, this one makes sense; and of course, the lunch I enjoyed there was worth the trip. KO-SA, a lovely but long walk up the beach (west) from Brenu Beach past colorful fishing villages and a tiny town with a church, also looked attractive. But as the reviews stated, the KO-SA beach was quite rocky and the sand was coarser and rough on the feet. Finally, in terms of value for money, Brenu Beach provided two rooms for the price of one at Coconut Grove, giving my teenager her privacy; KO-SA was much cheaper than the other two but for me, it almost seemed too inexpensive.
Brenu Beach was just the perfect combination of Ghanaian hospitality and German orderliness which has been ingrained over the twenty+ years they have owned and operated Brenu Beach in the operation by its two owners, Agnes and Peter, respectively; husband and wife. As we arrived we were greeted by staff who whisked our luggage up to our cottage (we took two adjacent but not connecting rooms in the same housing unit; rooms 8 and 9). The bar staff was always thre to please, with a fresh squeezed juice from the kitchen or a local beer served at a table or brought down to you on the beach. We also enjoyed the fresh coconuts from one of the local boys who passed by on the beach with their bag of coconuts (and very large machete) after a long day of collecting.
The guest rooms sit up on the top of a knoll. Looking toward the ocean one sees a gently sloping (goat-trimmed) lawn, a bordering row of palm trees and, finally, a perfect, wide strip of clean (but not manicured) ocean beach with a very swimmable ocean (medium sized waves, at least duirng our stay).
All of the other reviews describe Brenu Beach quite accurately. One can dine in one of the smaller personal dining areas, each of which is surrounded by a low, white-painted cement circular wall, or at a larger/longer table under one of the two outdoor thatched dining huts. Breakfast is the same meal for all (and included in the room rate), although I am sure one could special order if needed.
We found that ordering dinner in the afternoon resulted in exactly on time dining at night. The dinner menu is quite simple but we didn’t tire of having the lobster – either the deep fried lobster tail starter or the grilled lobsters for the main course. The fresh fish was also wonderfully cooked. We found the juices, mixed drinks and wine to be quite reasonably priced and the selection sufficient. Service was always very quick and attentive. It is possible that after a week of dining here the menu might start to feel a bit limiting.
From Brenu Beach we were able to “visit” in the morning and “beach” in the afternoon. It is easy to get to the two local castles – Cape Coast and Elmina – as well as to the rain forest with its canopy walk (didn’t see any animals but enjoyed the vertigo). And, though not highlighted in many guide books, the Monkey Forest Resort was an entertaining side trip for the “kid” in all of us. It also served as yet another perfect example of a charming couple (in this case Dutch), who have dedicated their lives to building something for others to enjoy while on holiday. At the end of the tour we were invited to have a beer, rest and watch the monkeys – although one got the eerie feeling that it was actually the monkeys watching us.
So what’s wrong at Brenu Beach? Really not much. My room’s A/C didn’t work very well on my second night so I told management the next morning -- by that evening (despite it being a Saturday) it was fixed (try that in America). The electricity went off but within 15 minutes the generator was running and everything was back to normal (bring a flashlight just in case). The rooms are comfortable and functional, with white tile floors throughout, white walls and colorful draperies; they are functional, not lavish. If you are a klutz (as I was), don’t try the hammocks that are tied high off the ground, otherwise you will find your ego (and potentially other parts) bruised. The shower is a handheld “gizmo” so if you want a rain shower it’s not here. Walking all along the beach you will inevitably see the impact of man, with some washed up debris; but unfortunately I have seen the same thing (or worse) on the beaches in Italy, France and the US. Lastly, some might complain that the plastic chairs and variable height/type of the dining tables are all in need of replacement. But one could also say that this is just another part of the “charm” of Brenu Beach which, after a few days stay, one will find to be just another endearing trait which will draw you back to this lovely location and well run, intimate lodge. Personally, I can't wait until the next time I have occasion to visit.
- Also Known As:
- Brenu Beach Hotel Cape Coast
- Brenu Beach Lodge Ghana/Cape Coast