Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah,...
The Western Region of Ghana us an integrated complex of beautiful safe beaches and African touch beach resorts. It has the largest collection of European trading forts (later used in the slave trade); the highest tropical jungles; numerous mines, picturesque villages and friendly people; and old architectural styles and vivacious festivals.
The region’s water villages on stilts are amazing to experience. A visitor can charter a local canoe out to the village and actually stay over night in a guest house on the water.
The region is located in the south-western part of Ghana and shares boundaries with the Central, Ashanti, and Brong-Ahafo regions. To the West it shares a border with the republic of Cote D’Ivoire. The region has 192 Km of tropical beaches on the Atlantic Ocean and a tropical climate characterized by moderate temperatures all year round.
The native people of the Western Region are mostly Akans, speaking various dialects including: Ahanta, Nzema, Sefwi, Wassa, Brosa, and Pepesa. Pricipal religions are Christianity, African Aminism, and Islam.
Pricipal economic activities include agriculture (cash crops and food crops), fishing (commercial and subsistence), and mining and manufacturing. The main exportable produce are cocoa, timber, copra, coffee, rubber/latex, gold, manganese, and bauxite.
The Castles of the Western Region
The Western Region is another region with a rich heritage demonstrated by the number of castles still open to visitors. The best examples in the region are:
The Village on Stilt of Nzulezu
An amazing village where life goes on in the centre of lake Tadane, just 90km west of Takoradi. The houses are built on stilts, and traditional village life adapts to the watery conditions. The excursion from Beyin involves a walk through the reeds at the lake’s edge, and a trip in a dugout canoe to the village. The village welcomes visitors everyday except Thursday, which is a sacred day.
Akatekyi Crocodile Pond
30km west of Takoradi, the local fetish priest entices the crocodiles from the water with a live chicken. Bring a bottle of schnapps for the libation. Visitors are welcome everyday except Wednesday, a sacred day.
The Beaches of the Western Region
Western region is famous for some of the best beaches in Ghana. Some of the most popular beaches are:
Dr. Nkrumah’s Grave
The original grave of Dr. Nkrumah, first President of Ghana and now buried in the mausoleum in Accra, can be found at Nkroful, 83km west of Takoradi.
The Mines of Ghana
The western region has several mines that may be visited, by prior arrangement. The main sites are:
Oral tradition states that a hunter from Aboade saw dwarfs dancing to the rhythm of strange music while on a hunting expedition. The hunter watched these strange creatures perform their strange dance for one month and later brought the dance home. Another legend also says that there existed in the village of Aboade a palm tree, which is associated with the origin of the Kundum Festival. The fruits of this tree used to ripen once in a year, and with time, this period became a symbolic calendar in the lives of the people. The ripening of the palm fruit became the signal for the festival to begin.
The Nzemas later adopted Kundum. It is therefore not only the Ahantas who celebrate Kundum, but also the Nzemas. The Sekondi people also adopted Kundum when they settled at Sekondi. Although there are similarities in the way Kundum is celebrated among these people, there are some unique features in the way it is celebrated in every district. Through these festivals, the people remember their ancestors and ask for their help and protection. The festivals are also used to purify the whole state.
The Sekondi Kundum Festival may be regarded as a harvest festival, as well as a period for remembering the dead, cleansing the community and setting new goals for the coming year.
It is interesting to note how foreign contact and modern economic development have reshaped the manner of celebrating the festival as the years go by. When the paramount chief sits in state to receive homage from his subjects, development projects are planned and means for raising funds are considered.
The unique feature about this festival is that it moves from town to town. If you miss it this week, you get another opportunity to see it at another place.
Akatekyi crocodile pond
30km west of Takoradi, at the Akatekyi Lagoon, you will find a pond where crocodiles are enticed from the water by the incantations of a fetish priest and the protests of a live fowl. You can observe this ritual every day except Wednesday (a sacred day).
Although there is no formal admission fee, you should bring a bottle of Schnapps for the libation ceremony and some cash (in cedis) for the cost of the fowl.
Ankasa Conservation Area
Ankasa Conservation Area is twin Wildlife Protected Area comprising Nini-Suhien National Park and the Ankasa Resource Reserve. It is about 500km2 situated in the Western Region of Ghana. Ankasa is the only area in the Wet Evergreen Forest Zoo. The Southwestern corner of the reserve is about 5 kilometres from the border town of Elubo. Takoradi is about 120 kilometres east.
Being the area with the highest rainfall in Ghana, Ankasa is the richest forest in terms of botanical diversity in the Country. Its natural resources are enough to announce its presence on the world tourism map as haven and Ghana’s tourism address therefore, there is no wonder that Ankasa remains as one of the natural treasures of the nation.
Its attractions include:
Being the area with the highest in Ghana, Ankasa is the richest forest in terms of botanical diversity in the Country. About three hundred (300) plant species have been recorded in a single hectare. Notable among the plant is: Makore, Dahoma and Khaya. Ankasa is home to many well know plants including: Marantas, Glory bower, Bloody Lilly. There are also spectacular ferns and orchards.
Charismatic and tourist-pulling animals such as the bongo and forest elephant as well as ten (10) primate species including the endangered Diana monkey and west African Chimpanzee abound in Ankasa. Bird fauna is also rich – at least 263 bird species have been recorded so far.
The Water Fall
The Ankasa rainforest serves as shed for many steams and rivers. Three of them from which the forest derives its name are the Ankasa, Nini and Suhien. The fascinating characteristics of these rivers are the rapids found on them. The breezes along the rivers and rattling noise of the rapids are a delight to tourists. The potential canoeing is been explored.
The Bamboo Cathedral
The spectacular Bamboo Cathedral is located at Nkwanta about 8km from the Ankasa gate of the Park. Though not a church building and has no human Bishop, a priest nor a creed, the site showcases nature’s perfect architectural design. The giant and suppliant bamboos bow and criss-cross at their apex as if in a handshake to form a dome. The bamboos plants forming a canopy give the semblance of a cathedral over which the breeze presides a perfect habitation for relaxation.
There are tourist camps here for those wishing to stay for a few nights in the park. The camping facilities are made mainly with local building materials are located at the Ankasa Gate, Elubo Gate and Nkwanta. These have floor space for sleeping; one can use hammocks. There are toilet and bath places as well as running water. Each facility also has fireplace and kitchen. A staff is close by the fruits abound around the area.
Access at all times from Accra through Takoradi on the Elubo – Cote d’ Ivoire highway by a 365km first class international road. From La Cote D’ Ivoire the part can be reached through Osei Kojokrom and Dadieso.
The Amansuri Conservation Area
The Conservation is a project been undertaken by the Amansuri Conservation & Integrated Development Project with the aim of managing the pristine Amansuri wetland and its fresh water lagoon. The wetland has the stand of intact swamp forest in Ghana and home to varieties of animals like monkeys, crocodiles, marine turtles and birds. It has been selected as one of the Important Bird Areas in Ghana based on Birdlife International criteria.
The project is located within the Western Nzema Traditional Area in the Jomoro District, one of the 11 districts in the Western Region. The area is about 360km west of Accra, the nation’s capital.
Bia National Park
Bia National Park is bordered to the south with a 563 square kilometer Resource Reserve and is an International Biosphere Reserve Park. The reserves are situated in the transition between the moist evergreen and semi-deciduous tropical forest and cover much of the drainage for the Bia river. Bia became a protected area in 1935 and an official national park in 1974. Some of the tallest trees left in West Africa are found in this park. There are 62 species of mammals known to exist in the park including 10 primate species (three species of colobus, the Diana monkey and the chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, among others), leopard, buffalo, the forest elephant, Loxodanta cyclotis, and the bongo, Tragelaphus euryceros. Over 160 species of birds including hawks, eagles, bulbuls, flycathers, the black-collared lovebird and the threatened white-breasted guinea fowl live in this habitat. The park is the only known home of Agama sylvanus, a newly discovered species of lizard.
Source: Touring Ghana
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