It had clearly been white-washed once, like all the castles on the coast, but the last application of paint must have been several years back and now it was grey and speckled.The fact that it was a former slaving castle, one of 14 in Ghana, should probably have made me feel morally queasy, particularly as a Brit. I was excited to be staying in a castle, where you had to draw water from a well in the courtyard, walk around with a battery-powered lantern for want of electricity.

The clay path under our feet wasn’t red as usual in Ghana but a sort of viscous black clay that felt sticky underfoot.

We came to the banks on a lagoon where some narrow pirogues were half drawn up the flat muddy bank. I waded in after it and tentatively lowered myself in the front of the boat.

Another child - children often seemed to run the country - guided me to the only accommodation in the village.

It was easy to find because in the dark night it was the brightest building - a little square castle on the sea front called Fort Apollonia.

The village was settled by a people that had fled to the coast from the distant inland of the Sahel hundreds of years ago, reasoning that although they were traditionally farmers, living on a lake would give them the security from the invasions that had blighted their lives in the north.

The village, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000, has become part of Ghana`s drive in promoting rural tourism - a way to spread the growing prosperity to all corners of the country.It rocked steeply to the side letting in a slop brown water, but Kwamin slipped on at the bow with hardly a sound and no splash.He picked up a long paddle that had lain near the canoe and started pushing us slowly out across the water.There was a small lake dotted with water lilies and surrounded by coconut palms and then we cut into a narrow channel through the jungle where thick foliage curled overhead and was reflected in the perfectly still water.When we came through the tunnel of trees, we were back out in the open, unprotected from the fierce morning sun.At one point we had to stop for petrol at a station with a hand-powered pump.