August 2019 will officially mark 400 years of the start of the Transatlantic slave trade, an act which crippled African nations and dispelled black people into the Caribbean, West Indies and America.
In commemoration of the event which has been described as humanities greatest injustice against black people, Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo has declared 2019 as the “Year of Return” for people of African descent in the Diaspora. The aim of this initiative is to bridge the relationship gap between Africans and their brothers and sisters living in the Diaspora as well as helping them retrace their roots.
One of the highlights of the “Year of Return” will be a boost in tourism as already heralded by a CNN 2019 Travel article which placed Ghana as number 4 on the top destinations to visit this year. As well as the 2019 edition of the Pan African Historical Theatre Festival (Panafest), which attracts throngs of Black people biennially.
Ghana is a beautiful nation and the country which is sometimes called the gateway to West Africa has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, green national parks, historic castles/forts, rocky mountains that need exploring. However, you’ll find them outside the country’s noisy and bustling capital, Accra.
Accra is a great developing city by all standards but if you want to experience and enjoy Ghana, here are ten of the best places to check out on your Ghanaian tour.
Cape Coast Castle
A designated world Heritage site by UNESCO, (the UnitedNations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Cape CoastCastle, located in Cape Coast, Ghana’s former capital, was built by Europeantraders in 1653 for commercial and housing purposes but was later used intransferring slaves from all over West Africa to Europe and the America’s. TheCastle after the end of slavery was handed to the colonial government who inturn handed to the government of Ghana under the care of the Ghana Museums andMonument Board. Cape Coast Castle is a stark remainder of the gruesome actscommitted by European powers and great way to learn about Black history
Kakum National Park
Considered as one of Ghana’s finest wildlife and rainforestreserve, the Kakum National Park lies on the coast of Ghana on the Twifo Prasoroad, a few kilometers from the Cape Coast town. According to conservationists,the park is home to several endangered animal species including the Dianamonkey, grey parrot, hornbills and butterflies. Its most popular attraction isthe Canopy walkway which is suspended at 30 meters above sea level and anadrenaline rush for all adventure junkies.
Located in theculturally rich Ashanti region of Ghana, Lake Bosomtwi is Ghana’s sole naturallake and believed to be in the region of an ancient impact crater about 10.5kilometers in diameter. The Asante tribe who inhabit the area close to LakeBosumtwi regard the lake as a sacred lake. Asante oral tradition states thatthe souls of the dead come to bid farewell to Asase Ya, a deity revered by thistribe. This explains why only woodenplanks are used in fishing in the lake. Over 70,000 people live in the30villages surrounding the lake and provides for a thrilling tourism adventureand interaction with local people
The Larabanga mosque was founded in 1421, by an Islamictrader who goes by the name of Ayuba. According to traditional folklore, Ayubahad a dream while staying near a “Mystic Stone” which directed him to build amosque. It’s Sudanese architectural style as well as it mud-plasterconstruction lends it a unique aesthetic and is also the oldest mosque in WestAfrica. However, due to poor restoration works it’s undergone in the past, themosque is currently listed as one of the 100 Most Endangered Sites. Otherinteresting artefacts in the mosque is an old Quran believed to be a gift fromheaven in 1650 to Imam Bramah. You can pick some handmade raffia bags, sheabutter and other beautiful crafts from local artisans who live in the Larabangavillage
The village of Nzulezu celebrates local architecture andGhanaian design as it sits on stills on Lake Tadane. The structures are made upof wood and raffia with a central walkway and houses located on either side.You can only get to Nzulezu via a canoe which will take about an hour or 5kmand will be welcomed by the head of the village. Nzulezu hangs 5ft above thelake level with a school and a church all located in the community. It was addedto the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative list on January 17, 2000 under thecultural section for its contribution to anthropology and being one of the fewremaining structures of this nation.
Paga Crocodile Pond
Another body of water considered as sacred is the Page Crocodilepond in Paga, Upper East Region Ghana. As the name implies, it is home toseveral species of West African crocodiles with some aging up to 90 years old.It is noted for the friendly and tame nature of the reptiles; tourists have therare opportunity of touching, sitting and taking photographs with the animalson land. The people of Paga believe thattheir souls reside in the crocodiles as such it is taboo to harm or killcrocodiles in Paga.
The Boti falls is some 17km North-east of the Easternregional capital, Koforidua. The twin waterfall which is also known as male andfemale by locals can be found at Boti in the Manya Krobo district. It is a popular site by revelers and touristalike who love to have a swim surrounded by thick mangrove forests. It’s also atop destination for music videos and movies, who knows you might me yourcelebrity crush out there. Another feature at the Boti Falls is the Umbrellarock located at the waterfall grounds, a natural rock formation which overlooksthe Eastern region valley. Shaped likean umbrella, the top rock is larger than the base, however, it is able to holdit firmly and safe for humans.
Originally, the site of a Sanitorium for governmentofficials of the Gold Coast, the Aburi Botanical garden was officially openedin March 1890 by the colonial government. The 64.8-hectare garden has played avital role in Ghana’s cocoa and rubber production. It’s also home to a numberof flora and various plants. The garden is a favorite among Ghanaians who loveto move away from the noise and pollution if the big cities whiles embracingnature.
Cape Three Points
Traveling to Ghana without visiting the Cape Three Point will be a travesty. Known as the” land nearest nowhere” by geographers and anthropologists, the Cape Three Points is a tiny peninsula located between the towns of Dixcove and Princess Town. It also marks the western end of the Gulf of Guinea (Check it out on your map). Aside the coconut tree and stunning view of the sea, its lighthouse is another reason worth exploring the area. Another original structure is currently in ruins and a much bigger and new which was constructed in 1921 still acts as aid to ships moving through that route
Adomi Bridge/Akosombo Dam
The Adomi Bridge spans the Volta River, south of theAkosombo Hydroelectric Dam. It was designed by British engineer, WilliamChristopher Brown in 1956 and completed in 1957. The Akosombo Dam provides majority of Ghana’selectrical power and its construction led to creation of Lake Volta, thelargest man-made lake after huge flooding during it’s construction.
Mole National Park
Up north, you’re sure to find the Mole National park whichis also Ghana’s largest wildlife Safari (Yes you don’t have to go to theSeregenti in East Africa to experience wildlife). Close to the Larabanagavillage, the park is home to two rivers; Lovi and Mole, over 93 mammals as wellas a large area of savanna grassland. It is home to rare flora speciesincluding Burkea Africana, Isoberlinia doka and Terminalia macroptera. The Zaina lodge is also located close to thepark offering you a 5-star hotel experience in the wild. You can always comeback from your Mole trip with a bottle of honey made from flowers in the parkby local people.
Other Notable places to visit are
Elmina Castle and other forts