Over the past decades, the boundaries of tourism in Ghana have grown to include festivals, cultural and ecological attractions. But the benefits of this development have not been extensively explored.
These include attracting tourists who in turn make contributions to the development of the community and stimulating the diffusion and commemoration of local culture as well as custom and ceremonies. Ghana has numerous tourism resources across its 16 administrative regions which attracts both domestic and international tourists but the tourism resources within the Kwahu region particularly stands out due to its preserved nature.
The area which is set amidst mountains resembles the Italian region overlooking Lago di Gardo in Lombardy or the surroundings of Interlaken in Switzerland with winding roads uphill towards Beatenberg. An aerial view of portions of the Allegheny Plateau in the United States provides another good description of the Kwahu area.
Characterized with pleasant weather conditions all year round, Kwahu remains ideal for ecotourism and cultural activities in Ghana. Most of the tourism resources in Kwahu are well conserved and naturally undisturbed. Over the years, Kwahu has consciously promoted its cultural resources to the international market through the celebration of Easter and paragliding activities and remain one of the regions in Ghana which upholds royalty, heritage, and cultural norms.
The influx of tourists to the area has shaped the hospitality sector as many lodges, motels and state of the art hotels can be found within the enclave. In November 2019, Kwahu Republic a community-based tourism promotion organization formed tourism societies in some senior high schools by way of exposing students to the various tourism resources in Kwahu and empower such students to become tourism ambassadors for the area which will go long way to instill pride and cultural values in the youth.
This article briefly explores, the varied tourist attraction sites in Kwahu.
Nkofieho Caves of Life/Mystical Cave (warriors cave)
The Mystical Cave also known as Nkofieho Cave of Life is believed to be one of the oldest caves in Ghana, it’s an absolutely breath- taking tourist site. The site is located close to the Padlock Rock in Kwahu Twenedurase in the Kwahu South District. The Nkofieho Cave is an ecotourism site and is about 5.11 hectors in size. It has different tree species and rock formations. The cave served as a hideout for ancient warriors. There is total darkness inside the cave and upon entry, it is believed that any wish one makes inside of the cave comes to pass.
The Cave receives tourists daily and are assisted by a tour guide to explore it. The guide is responsible for tourist’s safety. One distinctive feature of this cave that no visitor misses its weather which can be likened to a well-functioning refrigerator.
Bruku or Brukutentenku is an important tourist attraction in Kwahu. Located at Kwahu -Tafo in the Kwahu East District, Bruku as it is popularly called is best viewed from the Adawso stretch. The “god” bruku is the sacred guard watching over the entire Kwahu enclave. Magnificent as it is, it was once believed to be higher and visible by sailors on the ocean 150 km away.
Myth has it that a peasant farmer was eating some water yam nearby and an ant stole crumbs and carried it up to the mountain, unfortunately the ancient “god” Bruku was allergic to water-yam and as a result Bruku’s top fell off, leaving it as a stunning landmark, nonetheless. The towering great rock is sacred and can only be visited with permission, one runs the risk of offending local sensitivity if visited without permission (or, worse still, climbing the rock itself without permission).
Once on top of the Bruku Rock, every part of Kwahu can be viewed.
River Afram is a special river in Kwahu that serves as the connecting gateway between Kwahu and the Afram Plains. The Afram river was a small river that became a vast stream of river after the construction of the Akosombo dam.
The Afram river connects to the volta lake and remains relatively flooded through the year hence the popular saying by the locals which says “Asuo Afram oyire opebrem”.
The beauty of the river is superb especially during the raining season. The communities along the riverbanks engage in fishing activities all year round and are mostly seen on canoes during visit times. The Volta River Authority operates pantoon services on the Afram River which aids transportation (both human and vehicular) to the Afram Plains area.
Intermittently, special competitions are organized on the river which attracts people from near and far to the Afram area and the fisherfolks use canoes to exhibit their skills and talents on the river.
The Kwahu Aduamaoh Fort
Aduamoah township in the Kwahu East District is well known for the production of tiger nuts in Ghana. It also houses the oldest palace (fort) in Kwahu which is over 300 years old. The palace is the seat of the Kwahu Benkumhene which literally means the chief of the left wing of the Kwahu Traditional set up.
(Towns that form the left division are Aduamoa, Nkwatia, Mpraeso, Tafo, Oworobong, Kotoso and Mankrong) When you visit the palace, there isn’t much to see from the outside, this sharply contrasts with the inner courtyards (Four traditional sitting chambers) which follow each other in curious forrmation.
There are facilities such as palace prison/cell rooms, traditional sitting chamber, chief bedroom, sacred room, artifacts room, palanquins that are as old as the palace among others. Important festivals/occasions are frequently held at the Palace most especially “Akwasidae”.
Butuase waterfall is a 60 ft. cascade on the outskirts of Kwahu Tafo in the Kwahu East District. During the rainy season, it tumbles down into a series of splashing pools.
Local folks love to play or relax on a quiet afternoon or loudly celebrate a national holiday with great music and picnics within the conference of the waterfall. The stream flows down uniquely in a natural cavern. There is a beautiful flow of the waterfall that also forms another small stream through the roots of giant trees at the site.
During events, many who have gathered for entertainment get to enjoy a wash-down from the heavy down pour. The natural scenery at this tour site is magnificent and very ideal for family vacation.
The Kwahu Odweanoma Paragliding
Some years ago, the Ghana Tourism Authority and some paragliders from USA discovered that the steep mountain that rises above Nkawkaw named Odweanoma Mountain in Kwahu has potential for paragliding activities.
Thus, the activity was started there, currently the paragliding event is held annually on the mountain to coincide with the easter celebrations in the Kwahu area.
The buzz and excitement that it generates continues to increase and has become a tourism hotspot attracting large groups of tourists, both local and international. The event is the first of its kind within the West African sub-region.
Oworobong is a small town after Ankoma township also in the Kwahu east District and houses the Oworobong waterfall.
The waterfall is a wonderful two-level cascade, misty in full flow and half hidden below tangled and bird-filled trees. A journey to the Oworobong waterfall will take you through farmlands and villages under high rock hills and would make you experience the rural side of Kwahu.
The beautiful falls is best enjoyed during the rainy period. The base pool is enjoyed by swimmers. This particular attraction is enjoyed mostly by nature lovers.
“Bosompra Recreational Facility’
Located at Kwahu Abetifi, Bosompra Cave, is a well-developed landscaped garden overlooking the serene forest at Abetifi. It offers recreational and leisure activities for family, students, corporates as well as lovers. The beautiful center has rest benches, restaurants, sculpture center, caves and a park garden for all sought of activities. The serene atmosphere is engulfed with mountains and good vegetation and very ideal for conferences, retreats, seminars and picnics.
Bukuwura is the home of the Oku waterfall in Kwahu. The town is after Kwahu Tafo where the Buatuase waterfall is located.
Bukuwura’s pride is a big wall of rock which produces a good source of drinking water for the people. Myth has it that, the water from the rock never ceases and people from near and far come there for water in times when all community taps are closed.
The rock also produces a cheerful waterfall which is a delight to watch. Closer to the waterfall area is a natural stone chair that is said to belong to a dwarfish creature who wanders around under a huge umbrella and has not yet been seen.
Echo Ravine/Padlock Rock
In the forest near Twenedurase just after Obo is a natural wall of rock which responds to your voice with a marvelous echo. You can actually stand on a ledge and call out your name and will never forget the sound of that call coming back at you. Inside the forest is a formation in the cliff which the locals call Padlock Rock.
Myth has it that no one has yet unlocked the lock. You should see this for yourself.
Airjays (877 steps, walkway, zip line/Canopy)
The Airjays Walkway and Zipline is a 15km path of more than 877 wooden steep stairs ascending to the apex of the Obo Mountain at a dizzying height of about 2,500ft above sea level.
It also features the first-ever commercialized 200m Zipline up the slope and a unique 75m canopy walkway on the mountain. It is one of the main attractions for tourists who visit Obo in the Kwahu South District. The site is spectacular, breathtaking and can get one consumed for a whole day. Do walk into Airjays anytime you are in Kwahu and get an experience of a lifetime. The side canopy walkway will cause the “BP” in you to certainly rise through its sloping changes .
The role of tourism club in schools over the years is increasingly shaping ideas of people and changing local economies. Domestic tourism has a larger percentage of the industry within the traveling market. Ghana is developing it’s natural and man-made resources in order to create wealth from tourism whilst opening communities to the international market. There is hardly any community, clan, or ethnic group which lacks an occasion to celebrate annually.
Kwahu in particular has taken advantage of the events, cultural market and has consciously developed its “Easter festival” to attract the local market, consequently boosting tourism in the area. Aside cultural events, the area is blessed with nature’s finest resources including mountains, waterfalls, rock formations, rivers, caves among others which makes the region ideal for ecotourism development.
It is against this background that Kwahu Republic Limited (a community-based tourism promotion organization) together with the Ghana Education Service launched and formed tourism societies in nine senior high schools within the Kwahu East District as part of efforts to boost and promote domestic tourism in the area.
Most students travel across various regions in Ghana to access education in Kwahu so the tourism clubs established
Expose students to the various tourism resources within the Kwahu enclave
Develop in students a sense of pride in cultural traditions and local norms l Instill in students a sense of belonging within the region which will lead to a conscious effort towards tourism conservation.
Enlighten students’ understanding of the various districts and tourist activities and will help develop students as tourism ambassadors for the area.
Some of the club’s activities/events in the various senior high schools includes but not limited to the following;
Meet the Guest Lecture Series l Mentors hip/Coaching Seminars
Inter Group Project Discussions
Domestic Tourism Activities l Junior Camp Conferences
Inter School Tourism Quiz Shows
Kwahu Township Cultural Walking Tours
Tourism Career clinics and
“Under the Rock Experience” (Outdoor activity) These activities are spread across the school semester year specially for both first and second semesters. Partnership arrangements are currently ongoing to establish relationships with organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Ghana Monuments and Museums Board, Kingdom Bookshops, and the Ghana Think Organization for the benefits of club members.
It is envisaged that by the end of the students’ three year stay in school, the club’s activities would have shaped their understanding of the tourism industry in Ghana generally and inspire these youngsters to consider careers in the industry. The aspiration is to establish many more of these clubs in the various senior high schools within the country particularly for every district in order to make it a nationally acclaimed tourism advocacy group in the near future that is focused on tourism conservation.
The Writer: Frank Danchie, is the Membership Director of the Kwahu Professionals Network and a native of Kwahu Aduamoa and Twenedurase.
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