The Upper West Region is one of Ghana’s smallest regions, with a population of 600,000 and only 3% of the country’s total land area, but it contains some of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, ranging from slave trade sites and wildlife areas to captivating architecture.
The major trans-Sahara trade routes converged in this region, and the influence of Islam was visible in the towns. Wa, the regional capital, is densely packed with mosques, including the ancient Sudanese mosques of Nakore and Dondoli.
The remnants of the Slave Defence Wall in Gwollu, 70 kilometres north of Wa, tell an intriguing story. Gwollu Koro Limann built the wall, one of many relics of the 300-year-long slave trade, to protect local people from slave traders.
The Slave Sanctuaries
Another feature of the Upper West Region is ancient caves. Slave raiders sought refuge in the caves of Bulenga, Dahili, and Sankana. You can find actual slave camps in Pizaga and Dolbizon, as well as a slave market in Kassana. The area is an exceptional display of wildlife and nature. The Wechiau Hippopotamus Sanctuary is a one-of-a-kind community-based project and a haven for hippos, reptiles, and birds.
The reserve, which is in the northwest portion of the Upper West Region, protected A 40 km section of the Black Volta River. One of Ghana’s two remaining hippopotamus populations calls the river home, and it has been a resounding success in offering tourists an uncommon and uncommon eco-travel experience. Visitors can spend the night in the Hippo Hide Tree House, southwest of Wa, and take in one of Africa’s finest dawn choruses.
The Local Festivals
Tourists have access to the local culture. The Upper West Region celebrates festivals in the same way as the rest of Ghana. On these joyous occasions, locals and their leaders dress in vibrant smocks and hold durbars during the festivities.
The Paragbiele Festival, held by the Tumu people from the last week of January to the first day of February, is the most significant. Besides music and dance, there is a display of agricultural goods as a manner of giving thanks to God and the ancestors for their guidance throughout the farming season.
The Zumbenti, Kakube, and Kobine are more festivals.
The Wala people celebrate the Dumba festival to bring in the New Year. There is a rite to determine whether the chief can still rule and is physically fit. The chief is required to jump over a tied cow, letting no part of his body or attire touch it during the competition. If the chief fails, it is a terrible omen that he is feeble and ought to be removed from power.
Both at the festivals and in regular situations, local crafts get prominently shown. Weaving and smock design, together with ceramics, blacksmithing, and carving, are among the many arts practised in the Upper West Region. The xylophone and other musical instruments are also available for viewing by guests.
The Regional Architectural Exhibition
Similar to the Upper East, the area has its distinctive style and architecture. The key distinction is that the rooms in this area are rectangular, whereas those in the Upper East are typically spherical. The typical village dwellings, which are primarily made of mud, are well suited to the harsh environment.
Flying from Accra to Tamale and continuing by road using a state-run bus are the best ways to get to the Upper West Region.
The Wildlife Reserve
The Gbele Game Reserve is a bird sanctuary for endangered wildlife in Ghana and is situated 17 kilometres south of Tumu.
The greatest herds of roan antelope in the nation live in the reserve, along with buffalo, hippo, elephant, buck, and hippo.
This habitat is significant to both native and migratory species, according to birdwatchers.
Tourist Attraction Sites
- Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary
- Gbele Game Reserve
- Wa Naa’s Palace