It is obvious that tourism all over the world is one of the greatest sources of revenue for any developed or developing country. Aside generating money, it also helps to project such historical and amazing tourist centres to the outside world. Talk about the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya, the Idanre Hills in Osun and famous Olumo Rock in Abeokuta, these are places that give each country their unique features, while the land of the Black Stars is no exception at all.
However in the land of Black Stars, Ghana, there are some tourist centres you just have to visit, because, aside from the pleasure and fun part of it, you just might be taking a bold step in overcoming some of your greatest obstacles or phobia.
Encomium Weekly presents to you most visited tourist centres in Ghana.
KAKUM NATIONAL PARK AND WALKWAY
If you love nature but have phobia for heights, then you might find this Canopy Walkway a little scary, fun and exciting at the same time .Located in the central region of Ghana, precisely 20 kilometres from Cape Coast, the park is covered with tropical rain forest 320m long that is, 1,150 feet and connects seven tree tops which provides access to the forest.
The Kakum Park provides the avenue for wildlife viewing, habitation for animals like elephants, buffaloes, civet, leopards, antelopes, North African crested porcupines, dwarf crocodiles and much more. Built by two Canadian engineers from Vancouver, the Canopy Walkway is made with long hanging bridges at the forest canopy level to enable easy accessibility by visitors into the forest, which gives it a unique feature and one of its kind in the African continent. It received the global tourism for tomorrow award in 1998, for its unique tourist attraction. The walkway passes over seven bridges in a total of about 330m and affords tourist the chance to view animals and birds from a vantage point which is inaccessible to people because it is elevated 40m above the forest floor on a 350m long wooden walkway. Speaking from personal experience, believe me, when I say that a trip on the Kakum Canopy Walkway will enable you conquer some certain fear, most especially if you have phobia for heights, a trial will definitely convince you. Also available at the park is a restaurant, picnic and camping areas and a wildlife educational centre. The park has not recorded any death since its inception in 1992. It was initially established for timber extraction but was later opened for tourism with the help of USAID for the sustainability of forestry and wildlife.
PAGA CROCODILE POND
This sacred crocodile sanctuary is located in the North eastern border of Ghana. If you are planning to visit Ghana soon, then the Paga Crocodile Pond which co-exists with humans are a must see because in the Paga area, crocodiles are so friendly, to the extent that it’s an offence to kill, harm or show any sign of disrespect to this wild creatures, which are believed to be dangerous to humans under normal circumstances.
Though, it remains an unsolved mystery to visitors and tourists over the years, to see children sitting at the back of a crocodile or playing with its till without getting hurt. This is after a fowl had been sacrificed, leaving many to baffle at the friendly relationship that truly exists between the people and crocodiles of Paga.
MOLE NATIONAL PARK
A trip to Mole Park will give you the opportunity to see wild life like elephants, buffalos, antelopes, hyenas and even leopards. Mole National Park is one of the biggest wildlife parks in north western Ghana.
The best time to visit Mole Park is during the dry season, because the animals come around the water sources to refresh. Tours can be done either through a walking safari or with a traditional game drive accompanied by an armed guard, which I think is necessary if you ask me. Definitely, you don’t want to end up in the lion’s den.
KWAME NKRUMAH MEMORIAL PARK
The Kwame Nkrumah Park is one the tourist centres you can’t afford to miss while on a trip to Ghana. The memorial park serves as the resting place of the first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, an activist who stood and campaigned for the liberation of not only Ghanaians but the entire African continent at large from colonial rule.
His remains were buried under a catafalque raised in the centre of the park, which depicts Ghana’s culture and history, used to portray Dr. Nkrumah’s vision in promoting Africans. The park also houses the personal effects and publications of Ghana’s first president and pictures with powerful and famous dignitaries from around the world. You definitely will enjoy your trip to this beautiful and educative memorial park which tells the life and times of one of most influential Africans who believed in togetherness but was cut short from achieving this purpose.
ABURI BOTANICAL GARDENS
For those that love quiet and serene environment to think, meditate or reminisce on either the past or the future, the Aburi Botanical Gardens might be the perfect place for you, either on a personal trip or group visit. You can’t but appreciate the wonders of nature once you step into this garden.
Believed to be one of the most peaceful and fascinating places in Ghana, the garden is located in the cold mountains North of Accra, and it is indeed cold with beautiful palm lined lanes and a variety of both traditional and medicinal plants, includeing a silk cotton tree which is the sole survivor of the original forest that once covered the Aburi Hills, and one of the largest trees in West Africa, growing to 48m or more with a girth up to 5.7m above the projecting support built around the wall.
The gardens cover an area of 64.8 hectares that is 160 acres, with only 3 acres for a formal garden while the remaining acres was for the botanical reserve. But like the saying goes, seeing is believing, a trip to this beautiful garden will help you to appreciate nature and also remind you that once in a while you need a break away from and hustling and bustling of everyday activity and just relax in such a serene environment and plan how to move forward.
KUMASI: ASHANTI KINGDOM
In Ghana, the Ashantis from Kumasi are known to be skilled people who love to design their fabrics with their hands without the help of any machine. They are also known for their beautiful traditional cloth. KENTE which is loved all over the world. Not forgetting that when it comes to getting the best jewelry like gold trinkets, beads and traditional accessories they are also not left out. Popularly referred to as Ashanti man their population is Ghana’s second largest with over 1.5 million and still counting. You can also get to visit and shop at the famous and ever bustling Kejetia Market for some of the best and original Kente materials, beads, gold and many more. However, a trip down the palace of one of the most powerful and respected monarchs in Africa, might provide you the golden opportunity to have a glimpse of the king of one of the Ashanti kingdoms, Asantehene, Otumfo Osei Tutu 11, who makes an appearance to greet the people every 42 days as part of his official duty as their king. The famous football team, Ashanti Kototo is one of the good things that could come out of this great kingdom.
CAPE COAST AND ELMINA CASTLES
These two historic edifices which were built originally in Cape Coast for the purpose of trading like timber and gold, eventually turned into a hell hole for Africans due to slavery. The castles served as dungeons during the Atlantic slave trade for the captives from both Ghana and neighbouring countries before they pass through the door of no return and are shipped to European countries. A visit to these castles will expose you to the torment and torture Africans went through in the hands of their slave masters as some of the objects used during that period have been preserved to serve as evidence of activities during slave trade. At the Elmina Castle, a trip to the condemned slave cell where rebellious and strong male slaves were kept to tame them, will leave you speechless. On arrival, you are warned not to attempt going into this particular cell if you are claustrophobic, because of the effect it might have on you. I say so because I am talking from experience.
No wonder the US President, Barrack Obama, during an official visit to Ghana, after a tour at the Cape Coast Castle said, “We toured Cape Coast Castle, a place for centuries where men, women and children of this nation and surrounding areas were sold into slavery. I’ll never forget the image of two young daughters, the descendants of Africans and African Americans walking through those doors of no return, but then walking back through those doors of return. It was a remarkable reminder that while the future is unknowable, the winds always blow in the direction of human progress.”
However, there are lots to see, learn, discover and unravel about all that happened during the Atlantic slave trade if you get the chance to tour these castles, trust me you won’t want the tour to come to an end.
Just as the name depicts, the National Museum is one of the tourist centres in Ghana where you see lots of cultural art works, Ghanaian traditions, music instruments and lots more. There are three main galleries that deal mainly in the history of Ghana and exhibits sculptures and paintings of pioneering and contemporary artists which portrays their sacred traditional artifacts like the Asante ancestral stool which they believe is the container of the souls of the chiefs that sat on them, traditional attires, how they are worn and so much more. Also available at the museum is a gift shop where you can get lots of Ghanaian souvenirs, a library, a conservative laboratory, a sculpture garden and an educational hall for conferences and official activities.