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Tourism in Kwahu

Travellers to the charming, peaceful and welcoming country of Ghana, and even Ghanaians themselves, are only gradually becoming better informed about its less well-known tourist attractions.

 

Of course nobody should visit Ghana without seeing for themselves the string of ancient forts on the coast, where the walls and towers, the crashing waves and the deep dungeons bring the visitor face to face with the sobering history of the Slave Trade: the huge bustling markets in Accra and Kumasi are a kaleidoscope of everyday life, the dizzying rope walkway in Kakum National Park will test the bravest spirits, the Atlantic-facing beaches – wilder than their counterparts in The Gambia or the Caribbean – offer coconut–fringed peace and quiet (and lobsters fresh from the sea), and the distant game park at Mole will bring you face to face with an elephant or two: but for a real difference you should take the trip few people know about, up to the easily reachable, breezy, rocky and dramatic plateau of Kwahu.

Dominated by the great sacred rock Bruku which stands as its traditional guardian, the landscape contains green hills, plunging ravines, tumbling waterfalls, communities ranging from the barest collection of mud huts to noisy market towns, and of course the great expanse of the Volta Lake. This ambitious hydro-electric scheme, created in the 1960s soon after Ghana’s independence from Great Britain in 1957, combined the Volta and Afram rivers, and at the time was the biggest man-made lake in the world. Now it supports a substantial fishing industry in countless shore villages, and provides for the tourist an unforgettable opportunity to explore its photogenic delights in local brightly painted canoes.

            
 
Situated in Ghana’s rain forest belt, the cooler hills of Kwahu provide a home for a wonderful variety of birds and butterflies, and though you won’t see many wild animals you should be prepared to encounter antelope, mongooses, chameleons, armadillos, pythons, and (a favourite basis for a spicy stew) the elusive bush rat called grasscutter.


More singularly Kwahu is a stronghold of the Traditional Faith, which colours every aspect of community infrastructure and daily life. Ghana is remarkable in that its older belief systems survive peacefully alongside the newer arrivals Christianity and Islam, and in Kwahu you will see this very clearly. Public ceremonies are always attended by Muslims, Christians (of many sects), and Fetish Priests drumming and dancing in their ancient costumes.



Alongside these visible survivals of a timeless history, the people of Kwahu display a determination not to be left behind in the 21st Century, and their schools produce some of Ghana’s outstanding University students. Thanks to Friends of Tafo, Kwahu Tafo is able to boast that every one of its Primary, Junior and Senior Schools has its own computer lab, and students from Kwahu Tafo Senior High School are regularly selected for – and graduate with distinction from – courses at Ghana’s prestigious Ashesi University.

The Kwahu ‘mountains’ as they are somewhat ambitiously called, are situated approximately 150 km from Accra, branching off to the east of the Accra-Kumasi road at the junction town of Nkawkaw, where taxis are available to reach the hotels scattered around the towns and villages on top of the dramatic escarpment. The visitor to Kwahu, whether spending a weekend away from city heat or taking a longer exploratory trip, will not find the smartest lodges or the starriest of accommodation: such luxuries are yet to arrive. Nevertheless there are plenty of serviceable hotels from which to explore, such as Wags Hotel, Modak Royal Hotel, and Rojo Hotel, and up to date information about them and others can be found online.

In 2014 Friends of Tafo supported the Kwahu Tafo Progress Council in creating Kwahu Tourism Initiative (KTI), which immediately gained the support of Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism and Ghana Tourism Authority. KTI published "Your Essential Guide to Kwahu – Jewel of Ghana" and created the entertaining website www.wakeuptokwahu.com, which is well worth checking out, to glimpse this rare, inviting, and stimulating part of the country.

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Ghanaian proverbs
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