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The Upper West Region has a land area of 8,842 square kilometers (3%) of Ghana’s total. The Dagarba, Lobi, Sisala, Vagla and the Wala, all of who speak distinct languages, inhabit this region. Total population of the region, which comprises five administrative districts – Jirapa-Lambusi, Lawra, Nadawoli, Sissala and Wa, – is 573,873. It is the gateway to Ghana from Burkina Faso, which is a traditional crossroads for the Trans-Saharan trade routes. An exciting introduction to Ghana, much of the landscape is broad savannah grasslands, dotted with the strange-looking baobab trees, or striking Sahel terrain. In the villages, with their distinctive round huts, communal activities go on as they have for generations.
The principal border posts from Burkina Faso are found at Hamale, Kapulima. Paga and Kulungugu.
The Upper West Region has a different feeling, as a more traditional region. The capital of the region is Wa which is also the seat of the Wa Naa, Paramount Chief of the Walas. The magnificent palace still stands as stately as it did when it was first built in the 19th century. The uniquely styled traditional village houses of round mud-walled structures connected by walls forming large compounds are well adapted to the demanding climate of this region.
Gbelle Game Reserve, located 17km south of Tumu, is an important sanctuary for endangered species of wildlife, as well as hippos, elephants and bucks. Birdwatchers consider this an important habitat for indigenous and migratory birds.
Although a great deal of development is taking place in these regions, access to outlying areas can be difficult at certain times of the year and during and after heavy rains.
Gbelle Game Reserve
17km south of Tumu, the reserve (565km²) is a sanctuary for indigenous wildlife, particularly its large herds of roan antelope, and is part of Ghana’s Conservation Programme.
Wa Naa’s Palace
The 19th century palace with its distinctive architecture is the official residence of the Wa Naa, traditional chief of the Walas. In front of the palace are graves of previous Wa Naas.
Gbollu Defence Wall
Gbollu, 70km north of Wa, was part of the slave route. In the 1`9th century Gbollu Koro Liman built the wall as part of its defence against the slavers
George Ferguson’s Tomb
George Ekem Fergusion was a Ghanaian colonial agent who was instrumental in convincing local chiefs to sign treaties of friendship with the British. He was later (1897) killed by slave raiders, but his tomb preserved in Wa
This festival is celebrated in March by the Talensis of Tong-Zug just before the planting of grain. During the three-day festival, sacrifices are offered to the gods for plentiful rain and good harvest. There are no durbars except the performing of a series of rituals climaxed by public dancing amidst music and general merry-making.
It is held at Paga, Chiana, Kayoro in the Page/Chiana and Kayoro Traditional Areas between November and February. It is a thanksgiving offering for good harvest. During the festival, the people display stalks of their first harvest of millet as a sign of sacrifice, and thankfulness to the gods.
It is celebrated by the Kusasis in the Bawku Traditional Area in November and December every year. its significance is to give thanks to the gods for good harvest. There are hosts of sacrifices followed by merry-making to climax it.
Kusasis are a tribe in the north eastern and the south eastern part of Ghana and Burkina Fasso (Boulgou Province), respectively in West Africa. In Burkina Fasso, the neighboring language to the west is Nankani, a related dialect to Frafra and to the north and east, the Bissa. Kusasis in Ghana are north of the Gambaga scarp. To the west are the Talensi, Frafra and Nabdem; to the south are the Mamprusis and east are the Bimoba and Moba. Kusasis occupy about 700 and 3,300 square km in Burkina Fasso and Ghana, respectively. They occupy two administrative districts in Ghana known as Bawku East and Bawku West Districts in the Upper East Region. About 75% of Kusasis live in Ghana and the language spoken by Kusasis is known as Kusaal. Kusasis speak two dialects depending on geographic location. Kusaal’s western dialect is known as Tuan and the eastern dialect is called Agol. The language is closely related to Dagbani and Mampruli, Frafra and Moore. In Ghana, Zebilla is the administrative town for the Bawku West and Bawku is the administrative town for Bawku East District. Bawku West include towns like Tilli, Binaba, Kusanaba, Zongbeyire, Sapeliga and Kobori and was recently carved from Bawku East District in 1988. Towns in Bawku East include Bazua, Binduri, Pusiga and Garu.
This is the annual festival of the people of Sandema in the Builsa. It is held in December. It is celebrated through the display of war dance by various communities. There is also a durber of the chiefs and people to climax it.
Adaakoya is celebrated at Bolgatanga and Zuarungu by the Gurunsis. It is held between January and February every year. The festival serves to give thanks to the gods for good harvest. The mode of celebration is through various sacrifices followed by drumming and dancing. The climax is a durbar of the chiefs and people.
This is the festival of the people of Zaare who are predominatly blacksmiths. The Festival symbolizes the “”Kuure”” which is the Gurune word for hoe. The hoe is their main tool for farming and for that matter, livelihood.
It is usually held in January/February every year. It is Characterised by various sacrifices and later followed by drumming and dancing.
Also, the People of Tindongsobligo near Bolgatanga on Wednesday celebrated their annual “”Yagle-Kuure”” festival with a call on the people of the area to desist from indiscriminate bush burning especially in sacred grove and shrine areas. The Yagle-Kuure Festival is organised annually by the people of Tindongsobligo as a family ritual for thanksgiving to God and their ancestors for blessing them with abundant food and also for protecting them throughout the year.
As a thankgiving offering, the Tengana Festival is held at balungu, Winkongo and Pwalugu, all in the Tongo Traditional Area. It is one of the festivals for the Telensis. It is climaxed by traditional music and dancing amidst genral merry-making.
The Damba festival is celebrated by the Mamprusis. The main venue of the celebration is Bawku and its environs. It is held between the months of July and August. Originally linked with Islam to mark the birth of Mohammed, the festival has gradually taken on a traditional rather than Islamic tone. The 2-day festival is full of pageantry and showmanship and is celebrated in the towns of Dagbon, Gonjaland, Mamprusiland and Nanumbaland.
Boaram is the festival for the Talensis in the Bongo Tradition Area who reside at Bongo. It is held between october and November every year.
Its significance is to give thanks to the gods for a good season. It is characterised by the lots of sacrifice to the gods.
Gbelle Game Reserve
The Reserve is located about 17km south of Tumu. It is a sanctuary for many endangered species of wildlife like hippos, and water bucks, elephants and birds of spectacular plumage. The Reserve’s specialized activities are devoted primarily to conservation and reproduction in an effort to protect and increase the animal population. There is seasonal migration and visits of elephants and other species from Mole.
Wechiau Hippopotamus Sanctuary
The Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary, a community protected area is located at the extreme north-western corner of the Upper West Region of Ghana. it consists of a 40-kilometres stretch down the length of the Black Volta River which forms the region’s western boundary with Burkina Faso. It is home to hippos, bats, chameleons, hedgehogs and many different types of lizards and snakes. The sanctuary is an excellent place to see birds with over 200 species identified and new sights seen regularly.
The sanctuary contains much more than just hippos. We are an excellent spot for bird watching, including woodland savannah, riverine and forest shore bird species.
Trek through the many hiking trails, searching for monitor lizards, bats, hedgehogs, pythons, and even chameleons.
Two local styled tourist lodges are at the heart of the Lobi communities and offer many opportunities to meet local people. This relatively undisturbed Lobi area has distinct architectural designs, interesting marriage systems and funeral rites.
Spend the night in our Hippo Hide Tree House and experience one of the best dawn choruses (bird song) in all of Africa.
Drink some Pito, the local beer, with the headmen and hear stories of days pas or listen to the xylophone music.
Take a river safari on the Black Volta with a chance to see the hippopotamus, Violet Turacoes, Malachite Kingfishers and Vervet monkeys.
Enjoy a cultural tour, where you will visit a Lobi compound and learn about traditional practices and ways of life.
To get most out of your visit and experience all that the sanctuary has to offer, we recommend that your plans involve spending the night at one of our lodges. Morning and Evening River Cruises tend to give the best view of the hippos, birds and other wildlife. Afternoon can be spent trekking the trails, visiting local homes, and even relaxing in our Hippo Hide. It is high in the trees and an excellent spot for bird watching.
Come, see and experience the wealth of wonders and activities we have to offer. The best time to see hippos is in the dry seasons, usually November through June. June through August is a good time to see birds in all their colourful breeding plumage.
Getting to Wechiau is only the beginning of your adventure! Your first stop is Our Welcome Office, where you will find a local guide who will assist you with all your needs as well as provide information about our history, local culture and native plant and wildlife.
The Bat Sanctuary (Sombo), Sacred Royal Python Sanctuary (Jafiiri)
These are successful traditional wildlife reserves. Other interesting attraction in the region are the smoothly polished mushroom-shaped rock formation leaning on their sides (Wuling), The Gothic stone cathedral built in 1936 at Nandom and the Ghanaian xylophone.
Source: Touring Ghana
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