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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

Aburi

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)