Tag: Ghana Tourism


Touring Ghana – Part 7…

Eastern Region

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With dramatic landscapes and historic relics, home to the Akosombo Dam, Volta Lake and beautiful Koforidua flowers (women) and the birthplace of the Ghanaian cocoa industry, the eastern region certainly lives up to its reputation as having Africa’s most friendliest people

Getting there

The eastern region is easily accessible if you’re travelling from Accra or Kumasi as the capital Koforidua is served by very good roads from these places. The bus journey from Accra is between 45mins to an hour.

Where to stay

Known for its calming and cool temperatures, the eastern region has many great hotels and guesthouses to make your stay a truly relaxing one. These include Beige Village Golf Resort and Spa (New Abirem), the Hillburi (Aburi), Bedtime Hotel (Koforidua), Akosombo Continental Hotel (Akosombo), Capital View Hotel (Koforidua) and Maasankofah Hotel (Aburi).

Things to do

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The idyllic atmosphere in this part of Ghana makes the eastern region the perfect venue for a relaxing getaway. With its striking landscapes and large areas of lush tropical forests, the region is home to some of Ghana’s best nature reserves.

Start off by heading off to the Aburi Botanical Gardens (opened in 1890) to discover its rich collection of tropical flora which attracts scores of birds and butterflies. Next, go to the Atewa-Atwirebu Butterfly Sanctuary near Kibi, home to one of the largest butterflies in the world, the ‘Papillio Antimachus’. Other wildlife and nature reserves also worth visiting are the Bonsu Arboretum Forest Reserve, Kogyae Strict Nature Reserve and the Bonsu Arboretum Butterfly Sanctuary.

Make sure to also visit the largest tree in all of West Africa, which can be found at the Esen-epam Forest Reserve. Another forest worth visiting is the Dodowa Forest, where one can find the Great Baobab Tree (Adansonia Digitata). The tree displays ‘bumps’ and ‘wounds’ caused by bullets made of beads, beans, salt, black potions and talismans fired by the Shai warriors to declare the Kantamanso War in 1826.

If you’ve had enough of wildlife parks and nature reserves, drink in the spectacular sight of the regions numerous waterfalls. Boti Waterfalls is a seasonal waterfall best viewed in June to August, whilst the Tsenku Waterfall is there all year round, dropping from a height of 250ft. Also worth a visit is the Begoro Waterfalls, made up of many small falls and cascades – makes a perfect location for a picnic.

For a spot of adventure, head on to the Lake Volta, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. One can also find the Akosombo Dam there. If it’s a cruise you want to go on, or partake in some water sports or do a spot of fishing, then the Lake Volta won’t disappoint. The lake also has many fascinating islands such as Dodi Islands – try and explore there if you can.

Discover a little history of the region by visiting the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm, the first cocoa farm established in Ghana (Quarshie brought cocoa seeds from Fernando Po Island), where one can still see original cocoa trees planted in 1879. Also worth visiting is the Slave Market of Abonse, where one can see traces of the 17th and 18th century slave market that serves as an important cross roads in the Slave Route. Not to be missed is the Okomfo Anokye Shrine at Awukugua-Akwapim (his birthplace). There you’ll find scattered throughout the towns on the Akwapim Ridge remnants of the legendary priest, such as his hand and footprints permanently etched in solid stone and where he carved out the first ‘oware’ board in stone.

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Other places of interest in the region are the Kwahu Scarp, known for its breathtaking and picturesque villages and home to the Kwahu people, the Krobo Mountains (first home of the Krobo people. One can find relics and building ruins of their first settlement), the beads market in Koforidua, the Umbrella Rock and Ghana’s only commercial diamond mine at Akwatia.

The eastern regions hold 4 of the 10 major festivals that are celebrated in Ghana. These include the Paragliding festival which attracts people from all over Ghana and overseas, the Odwira festival celebrated by the people of Akwapim in September/October and the Dipo festival celebrated by the people of Krobo Odumase and Somanya. Depending on what time of the year you go, you’ll be sure to find festivities taking place.

Now you can’t leave the eastern region without trying some of their tasty food. The diverse tribes that are found in the region are reflected in their cuisine – so anything from fufu to omotuo (riceballs) with light or peanut soup, ampesi or banku and okro stew can be found there.

Yaa Nyarko (@yaayaa_89)   

Touring Ghana -Part 6

Brong Ahafo Region

Known as the breadbasket of Ghana, the Brong Ahafo region is home to several cocoa plantations and forest reserves, cascading waterfalls, mysterious caves and local festivals. With an idyllic landscape and atmosphere, the region is perfect for a relaxing break or retreat.

Getting there

The capital region Sunyani is 1.5 hours away from Kumasi and when driving from Accra it’s about 7 hours. Sunyani also has an airport so for those of you wishing to fly, there are domestic flights from Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi that will take you straight there.

Where to stay

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The Brong Ahafo region has several hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs, so whatever your budget, there’s something for you. Choices available include Hotel Sanba in Hwidiem, Yakam Hotel & Restaurant and Falls Executive Guest Lodge in Kintanmpo, Deri Yire Hotel, Encom Hotel and Premier Palace Hotel in Techiman and Eusbett Hotel in Sunyani.

Things to do

A region that is becoming increasingly known for its natural beauty, a defining feature in the region not to miss is its waterfalls. Kintampo Waterfalls is a truly spectacular sight to behold – the water cascades 70 metres down the beautiful falls to continue its journey towards the Black Volta. Another is Fuller Falls – its scenic beauty makes it an ideal place to catch some alone time or for quiet meditation. Make sure to also visit the River Tano Pool, home to sacred that are protected by the local community.

For nature lovers, head to the wildlife reserves in the region, including the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, home to over 200 Geoffrey’s Pied Columbus and 500 Campbell’s Mona monkeys. These monkeys are regarded as sacred by locals and it’s a crime to harm them. The sanctuary is also home to a variety of butterflies, birds and 90 species of trees. Bui National Park is also worth a visit – it inhabits hippos and roan and hartebeest antelopes.  imagesW36EB9GS

The Brong Ahafo region is also culturally and historically rich – immerse yourself in local history by visiting the Hani archaelogical site near Wenchi, which was inhabited by the Benghos about 1200BC. There, one can see the ancient caves as well as Stone Age tools such as hammers, cutting blades and grindstones. Also visit the Pinihini Amowi Caves – local legend has it that the Bono people came out from there after a fierce battle with the Mossi people in the North. Finally witness some traditional healing by visiting the Kwaku Fri shrine in Nwase, where a traditional priest performs cures for sicknesses, divinations and pours libation.

Another thing distinctive to the Brong Ahafo region is their unique handicrafts such as kente weaving, adinkra stamping, pottery and wood carvings. Visit the village of Nsuta, where the ancient craft of making tree bark cloth called ‘kyekyen’ is still practised.

Finally enjoy some local festivities that are held all year round most notably the Apoo festival held in November and celebrated in Techiman and Wenchi. Another is the Kwafie festival held between November and December and celebrated by the people of Berekum, Dormaa Ahenkro and Nsoatre, and the Sasabobirim and Fordjour (Yam) festivals. Highlights of these festivals include durbar of chiefs and dancing and drumming. The best thing about these festivals is that everyone is welcomed to take part!

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But before you say goodbye to the Brong Ahafo region and its people, make sure you’ve tucked into some of their wonderful dishes such as fufu and kontomire soup and plantain and cocoyam ampesi.

Yaa Nyarko (YaaYaa_89)

Touring Ghana – Part 3

Central Region

Land of the fante people, home to some of Ghana’s best preserved castles and world heritage sites, beautiful beaches and exciting festivals, the central region is known as the heartbeat of Ghana’s tourism, and a visit to this part of Ghana is a must for anyone with a passion for history and culture.

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Getting there

Getting to the central region is fairly easy if you’re travelling from Accra or Kumasi. STC buses to the region’s capital Cape Coast leaves twice a day from Accra, and from Kumasi there’s a daily bus to Cape Coast as well. Best way to get around when in the region is trotro (local buses) or taxi.

Where to stay

Being a coastal region, the central region has many fantastic beach resorts one can stay at affordable prices. These include the Brenu Beach Lodge, Oasis Beach Resort, Biriwa Beach Hotel, Kokodo Guest House, Baobab Guest House, Nokaans Hotel, Hans Cottage Botel and Pedu Guest House to name a few. For a taste of mouthwatering dishes (and continental food) these are the restaurants to head to: Castle Restaurant, Kokodo Restaurant, Coast to Coast, Hayford Lounge and Bar and Baobab House, all located in Cape Coast.

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Things to do

The central region was the former government centre of Gold Coast and Cape Coast the seat of British colonial administration thus the region is very much steeped in history. The coastline of the region is dotted with forts and castles, most notably Cape Coast Castle, Elmina Castle, and Fort St Jago, which have been identified as World Heritage sites. For a small fee visit these places to discover the slave trade history of the region.

Not to be missed is the Donkor Nsuo (The Slave River) at Assin Manso, a place where slaves bathed in the river before they were taken to nearby Cape Coast and Elmina to be shipped off overseas.

Get stuck into the local culture by visiting the traditional fishing and crafts villages located in Winneba (famous for its fishing fleets, masquerade festivals and beautiful ceramics), Kromanste & Abandze (famous jazz player Louis Armstrong traced his ancestry here) and Gomma-Otsew-Jukwa (known for its fine pottery).

For beach lovers and those who want to get your surf on head to Brenu Beach, Breni Akyim, Gomoa Fetteh, Elmina and Winneba beaches, all dotted with palm trees, white sands and friendly locals.

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To observe nature at its best, head to Kakum National Park, where one can find diverse species of mammals, plants and insects. Activities offered at the park include walking tours, guided hiking, bird watching and the canopy walk for the brave and fearless (if you’re scared of heights this is NOT for you!)

Depending on what time you visit the region you can take part of the local festivals that happen all year round. These include the Fetu Afahye festival celebrated by the people of Cape Coast. Witness purification rites, procession of chiefs, drumming and dancing and firing of musketry. Another festival to look out for is the Akwambo festival celebrated by the people of Agona in the region.

Finally make sure you try some of the local dishes when touring the region. Dishes unique to this part of Ghana is fante kenkey, fufu and palmnut soup and eto (mashed yam or plantain eaten with peanuts and eggs)

So if you do decide to visit the central region, what I’ve touched on above are just a few of the things you can do in this part of Ghana. Happy touring!

 Yaa Nyarko (@yaayaa_89)

Touring Ghana- Part 2 ….

Upper East Region

Bolgatanga or colloquially known as Bolga is the capital of the Upper East region, which can be found in the extreme north-eastern corner of Ghana. Though one of the poorest regions in Ghana, Bolga boasts a rich culture and vibrant tourist attractions that makes a trip up there well worth it

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Getting there

The best way to get to Bolgatanga is by bus or plane depending on your budget. As you can imagine the bus trip is a long one – from Accra to Bolga it takes about 15 hours! You can go by air; however Bolga doesn’t have an airport so you will have to catch a one hour flight from Accra to Tamale, then a 3 hour bus journey to Bolga.

Where to stay

If you have relatives or family in the region then it makes sense to stay with them. If not, Bolga offers some nice hotels and guest houses at very decent prices. These include Samata Guest House, Sand Gardens Hotel, Mama’s House, Ex-Tee Crystal Hotel and Comme Ci Comme Ca.

Things to do

There’s plenty to do in Bolga. Known as the crafts centre of northern Ghana, make sure you visit Bolgatanga Market. As a border point between Ghana and Burkina Faso, the market buys and sells many items from people of all walks of life. One can find beautiful woven baskets, clothes, hats, handmade jewellery and leather goods, all at very affordable prices.

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Now if you’re the adventurous type then make sure you head to the Paga Sacred Crocodile Ponds, where the “friendliest” crocodiles in Ghana roam about. These crocodiles are termed as ‘friendly’ because they act like pets, allowing people to touch their tails, rub their backs and even sit on them!

Add a little mystery to your trip by heading to the town of Tongo, where one can find the Tongo Whistling Rocks. These rocks make for a dramatic scene as they jut from the landscape and makes strange whistling noises when the harmattan winds blow from the Sahara desert.

Tap into your spiritual side by heading to one of the most sacred places in the region, the Naa Gbewaa Shrine. Founder of the Dagomba tribe, legend has it that Naa Gbewaa was a god who never died but simply vanished during battle. The shrine which is thought to have been built in the 13th century is sacred ground to the people.

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Immerse yourself in local history by visiting Pikworo (Rock of Fear) Slave Camp in Paga. Built in the 16th century, the camp still has remnants of the past, including mass grave markers, punishment sites and “bowls” carved into the rocks, out of which the slaves were made to eat from. Another site worth visiting is the Nalerigu Defence Wall built in the 16th century by  Naa Dzaringa (named after the African viper) to protect the village against slave traders. The structure is said to have been built with milk and honey, of which some parts still stands today. Also equaly interesting to visit is the Kulungugu Bomb Site, where in 1962 an assasination attempt was made on the life of Ghana’s first president Dr Kwame Nkrumah. A memorial stands on the site.

Enjoy local art by visiting beautiful Sirigu Murals done by the women of Sirigu village intent on keeping traditional art alive. They also make baskets, pottery and other crafts adorned with exquisite patterns. Also delightful are the traditional decorated houses that have made Sirigu famous.

Another local community worth visiting is Widenaba (In the Red Volta Valley) who have a rich cultural history that began in Burkina Faso. Take a hike in the hillsides to be rewarded with breathtaking views reaching as far as Burkina Faso, and make sure you catch a glimpse of the African Savannah Elephant that roam the area.

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Finally your visit to this part of Ghana will not be complete without witnessing the numerous festivals that reflect the distinct cultural identity of the people in the region. Some of the festivals include the Adaakoya Festival, Gologo Festival, Eiok Festival and Boaram Festival and include drumming and dancing, singing, sacrificial offerings, re-enactment of past battles and durbar of chiefs. And like the Upper West region, food in this part of Ghana include tuo zaafi (TZ), riceballs and peanut soup, rice, beans and cowpeas or ‘tubaani’ and kooko(porridge) with koose.

Yaa Nyarko (@yaayaa_89)