If you are visiting my lovely country Ghana, you are definitely going to want to visit the Eastern Region of my country Ghana. You’ll find that it is full of very polite and friendly people. Since I have been there with my colleagues I will tell you about it
It’s about 45mins to 1hr drive from Accra. There are so many automobile forms of transport depending on your budget. You can always get these cars or buses at all the major lorry stations throughout Accra and the other regions. Just ask anybody on the street and you are good to go.
HISTORY OF EASTERN REGION
The Eastern Region of Ghana is a rich blend of dramatic landscapes, historic relics and traditional cultures. The ancient blends with the 20th century in this region so close to but such a contrast with Accra. The region is dominated by Lake Volta, one of the world’s largest man-made lakes, and the Akosombo Dam, source of much of Ghana’s hydroelectric power. Both are worth a visit. A favourite excursion is the weekend trip to Dodi Islands. Striking landscapes are overlooked by the Krobo Mountains and the Akwapim Ridge, and the countryside is great walking country.
The Eastern Region is famous for its large areas of lush tropical forest, and cascading waterfalls. Fishermen will enjoy great sport fishing for tilapia in Lake Volta. The Eastern Region contains Ghana’s only commercial diamond mine at Akwatia, while the birthplace of our great cocoa industry can be found at Mampong-Akwapim. For those with a particular interest, the Cocoa Research Institute at New Tafo, with its arboreta, welcomes visitors. The regional capital is Koforidua, a pleasant traditional town with agreeable hotels and a busy market. Traditional and historic villages and towns are part of the richness of the Eastern Region of Ghana.
Visitors should take the opportunity of visiting the original Presbyterian school buildings in Akropong, and the house of Tetteh Quarshie in Mampong. Both these towns have many interesting historic buildings and districts. Many visitor’s introductions to the Eastern region is the botanical gardens at Aburi, which were opened in 1890, and have always been a favorite excursion from Accra. Also worth a visit is the forest of Atewa-Atwirebu, hundreds of birds and butterflies.
The capital town of the eastern Region is Koforidua about 85km scarp from Accra.
ETHNIC GROUPS & LANGUAGE
The Eastern Region consists of the Akwapim, Akyem, Kwahu, Krobo and Guans and each ethnic group has its own distinct, language festival practices.
Temperatures in the Region vary from 240c to about 280c with average rainfall between 1750mm in the low lying areas to about 1750mm per annum in the highland area of the Kwahu scarp.
NATURAL TOURISM RESERVES
Aburi Botanical Gardens
These centuries – old botanical gardens, about one hour’s drive from Accra offer a rich collection of tropical flora, which attracts scores of birds and butterflies. The tranquil paths are a popular excursion for our city dwellers. The Gardens were originally created in 1890 as an agricultural research station and a habitat for plants from around the world. Over the years the Botanical Gardens have collected together a variety of tropical flora which attracts scores of birds and butterflies. Situated in the town of Aburi, which is well-known for its healthy climate, the Gardens also have pleasant indoor-outdoor restaurants and facilities for staying overnight.
The Bunso Arboretum Forest Reserve
The Bunso Arboretum is a protected forest reserve, spanning 16.5 hectares. Half of this area is semi-deciduous forest while the other half is made up of indigenous trees, along with fruits, nuts and timber tree species which have been introduced to Ghana by the Plant Genetic Resources Centre of Bunso.
The Arboretum is home to over 110 species of birds, some of which are very rare. The protected Arboretum offers them a peaceful place to call home.
The herb garden which is located in the Arboretum contains 100 different species of herbs with a wide range of uses, from food to medicinal to aromatic.
Visitors can stroll through the many kilometers of nature trails in the arboretum. Guests can identify the local trees and plants along the way and learn about all the local uses for diverse tree and plant life in the arboretum. Trees and plants play a very big role in life in Ghana, both for food and medicinal purposes. Come see all the arboretum has to offer and learn why it is so important to conserve this precious resource
The Bunso Arboretum Butterfly Sanctuary
The Bunso Arboretum has a butterfly sanctuary within the 16.5 hectares. Visitors will see many different kinds of butterflies flying around the arboretum. Come and see if you can identify all of them!
Esen-epam forest reserve
The reserve is near the town of Asantemanso has the largest tree in West Africa, reported to be 107 metres high.
Kogyae Strict Nature Reserve
The Kogyae Strict Nature Reserve lies in the Ashanti Region of Ghana which falls in the forest zone. It boarders two traditional areas of the Region, the Kumawu and Kwamang traditional areas. The area stretches along the Afram Plains of Ghana, a wide expanse of flat arable land. The geographical location of the area places it in the transitional zone, separating the southern forest from the northern savanna regions.
The Kogyae Strict Nature Reserve is a natural preservation area set up to protect the ecology, check the downward drift of the savanna grassland and to promote scientific research, particularly on how nature revitalizes itself after major disasters. Historically, the area constitutes the site where the two traditional areas, Kumawu and Kwamang, by treaty joined forces to fight invading enemies in one of their last victorious tribal wars.
The area therefore is held as a sacred place for both traditional areas and each lays claim to it. Economically, the area is very fertile and constitutes a break on the northern savanna. Besides, being part of the Afram Plains, it constitutes a major bread basket of the country, and forms a gate way to the larger plains.
The Big Tree
The “Big Tree”, which is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the country, is located in one of the district’s nine forest reserves, called the Esen Epan Forest Reserve, about 22 kilometres from Akim Oda on the Oda – Agona Swedru trunk road. The tree, believed to be the biggest in West Africa, is 12 metres in circumference and 66.5 metres tall.
One of the largest man-made lakes in the world, the lake and the Akosombo dam are two of Ghana’s great achievements. The lake offers opportunities for cruising, especially to the Dodi islands.
The Tsenku Waterfall
The Tsenku Waterfall sits at the northern corner of the Dodowa Forest, taking its source from Obosmase (Akwapim ranges). This beautiful waterfall drops from a height of over 250 feet, running on stratified rocks into a pan of cool, clean and clear pool with thousands of tilapia. The Tsenku stream is joined by two other streams “Sanyade” and Popotsi” before meandering into the sea.
Spectacular, but seasonal, waterfalls in the forest reserve at huhunya. In the immediate vicinity are cascades, at their best in June to August.
The Waterfalls of Begoro
A series of falls and cascades surrounded by attractive woodlands and forest. Just the place for a picnic.
Klovo Sikplemi Festival
Celebrated in Somanya during the period of November and its significance is paying of homage to ancestral home on the Krobo Mountains.
Communal labour, pilgrimage to the Krobo Mountains, Durbar. It origin refers to the eviction of the Krobos from the Krobo mountains in 1892 by the then British colonial government.
The event is marked every year with an expedition to the top of the mountain to pay homage to their ancestral home.
The Krobo, made up of Yilo Krobo and Manya Krobo, form one large ethnic group among the Dangme people. The Yilo Krobos stay at Somanya and its suburbs and the Manya Krobo reside around Odumase..
This is the annual traditional harvest and thanksgiving festival of the Krobo people. The people of Manya and Yilo Krobo celebrate it in March-April.
Begoro Odwlra Festival (Ahwie Festival)
It is an occasion for dedicated worship of great titular gods and goddesses of the nation, the period for the cleansing of filth and purification of sacred stools, which are the symbol of togetherness of the people and also, the time to manifest allegiance to hallowed stool occupants. The ceremony marks the peak of a general sense of unity for strength, hard work for prosperity and above all, loyalty and service to the state.
Bobum or Dipo Festival
Dipo is celebrated in April by the people of Manya and Yilo Krobo in the towns of Krobo Odumase and Somanya, about 80 kilometers north of Accra. The mode of celebration is that adolescent girls are adorned in beautiful beads and half-clothed. The festival initiates such girls into womanhood
Celebrated in Aburi, Akropong-Akwapim,Larteh, Amanorkrom, and Ahwerase in the period of September/October. It significance if the annual thanksgiving to God for his merciful care and protection; customary purification of the land and people by the chiefs and priests for the spiritual and social renewal to face the trials and triumphs of another year; Reaffirmation of loyalties within the traditional administrative set-up and patching up of misunderstandings among families; mourning of those who passed away in the year and feeding with the brave ancestors of Akwapem who are deemed to be present on such occasions; Promotion and presentation of cultural values.
The festival is mainly the dramatization of Akwapem sacred traditions, myths and olden day legends, handed down by the ancestors of the “Oman”. It involves the re-staging of some of the antiquated historical episodes like traditional military tactics. Other activities include path clearing to Amamprobi for ‘Safe’ travel home; lifting of forty days ban on noise making, state mourning for departed souls and feeding the ancestors at Nsorem. There is also a splendid cultural parade of chiefs and a Grand Durbar. A great deal of emphasis is laid on music, dancing and feasting.
The Akuapem Odwira festival was instituted by the 19th Omanhene of Akropong, Nana Addo Dankwa 1(1811-1835) and first celebrated in October 1826. This followed the capture of the artefacts (pertaining to the celebration of Odwira) by Akwapem forces from the hitherto invincible Ashanti army during the historic battle of Katamansu near Dodowa in 1826.
Celebrated in Akyem (Abuakwa Traditional area).
The festival is celebrated twice a year. These are known as OhumKan and OhumKyire and celebrated in June/July and September/ October respectively. Marking the anniversary of the Akyem Nation: worshipping of the ancestral stools and the spirits of those who formerly occupied them.
The celebration is also to mark the first harvest (yam) of the year and to ask for blessings for the coming year. The duration of the festival is 2 days (Tuesday – Wednesday). Two weeks before the festival, a ban in placed on drumming, dancing and noise making. Monday preceding the Tuesday, home the first harvest f the year and to have plenty of food in the house for the duration of the celebrations
The Chiefs and people of New Juaben Traditional Area celebrate this festival in the first week of November each year. It is a period of the consecration of black stools, invocation of the blessing of ancestral spirits and show of appreciation to the gods for their guidance. A colorful durbar of chiefs is marked to climax the celebrations
HISTORICAL TOURIST ATTRACTION
Akonedi Shrine, Larteh
On the Akwapim ridge the fetish shrine is an important place of traditional healing and religious ceremonies.
Slave Market of Abonse
Traces of the 17th and 18th-century slave market can still be seen in a town that was an important crossroads on the slave route.
Okomfo Anokye’s Shrine
60km from Koforidua, this important shrine is dedicated to the legendary priest credited with the founding of the Nsuate Empire
Tetteh Quarshie’s Cocoa Farm
The first cocoa farm established in the country from seed first brought from Fernando Po Island. From this small beginning grew our major cocoa industry.