Must-see tourist sites in the Eastern Region of Ghana
The Eastern region of Ghana is noted for many famous things but the least of them is tourism, with regions such as the Central, Northern and Greater Accra possessing far more famous and important tourist sites. Nonetheless, the region still has some amazing sites which are worth visiting and rank among the very best sites in the country. After intensive research, Jetsanza.com has come up with the best tourist sites in the Eastern region worth visiting in this lifetime.
Bunso Canopy Walk
Bunso is a small but rapidly developing town in the East Akim District of the Eastern region. The town is about thirty minutes’ drive from the regional capital, Koforidua, and lies some few kilometres off the Accra-Kumasi highway. Bunso is most famous for its afforestation and agriculture research programmes. The Cocoa Research Institute, responsible for conducting research on cocoa seedlings and how to enhance cocoa production is situated in the town.
More famously, the ever-popular Bunso Botanical garden is also found in the town as the name suggests. However over half a decade ago, a new tourist attraction was added to the town in the form of a canopy walkway which is found in the Bunso Botanical garden known locally as Bunso Arboretum. The canopy walkway upon its completion in 2014, became just the second of its kind in Ghana after the Kakuum Canopy Walk in the central region. The Bunso Walkway was built by local engineers who spent over a year on the project. It is approximately 40 high from the ground and 280 metres long, with five bridges and stopping point, making it extremely exhilarating and breathtaking.
Aside from the canopy walk at the garden, the forest is also home to over a hundred species of birds, most of whom can be seen perching on the tall trees while on the canopy walkway. The garden is also one of the few forest reserves in Ghana that can truly boast of huge number of timber trees, with the garden having about 600 trees, all of which are of varied species. Since the introduction of the canopy walk in 2014, the Bunso botanical garden has seen an astronomical increase in the number of visits it receives and is gradually becoming one of the most visited tourist sites in Ghana. The canopy walk construction was an initiative of the Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute if the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm
The name Tetteh Quashie is well documented and embedded in the history of Ghana, with even the most information starved Ghanaian having some level of knowledge with regards to who he was and what he did for Ghana. As the first man to bring cocoa seedlings to Ghana from Fendando Po, off the coast of Equatorial Guinea in 1879 and introduce the country to what has today become our biggest export and source of revenue, Tetteh Quarshie is celebrated as a hero in Ghana and fittingly so. While he may have passed on so many decades ago, his legacy still lives on today in so many forms, chiefly being the establishment of the Tetteh Quarshie hospital in his hometown, Mampong, in the Eastern region.
However, his greatest legacy lies in the very craft he was involved in; farming. The cocoa farm on which he farmed and grew cocoa for years still exist in the Mampong area with the land still being used to grow cocoa as a way of preserving the memory of the great farmer. Surprisingly and to the shock of many visitors, three original trees planted by Tetteh Quarshie himself remain on the huge cocoa plantation, along with new cocoa trees planted by the current caretakers and farmers. The farm is under the care of the Mampong palace, with a specially appointed caretaker at the palace who must be consulted by tourists who intend to take a tour of the farm. The caretaker at the palace charges a small fee which is used to maintain the farm and then hands over the tourists to tour guides at the plantation. While not many people know of the existence of the plantation, it continues to receive a good number of tourists annually even though the number is relatively low compared to other major historical tourist destinations in Ghana.
The Umbrella Rock
Umbrella Rock is one of the main tourist attractions in the Eastern Region. The mysterious rock is located precisely in the Yilo Krobo District, close to the Koforidua Township. The rock is found at the same location as the Boti Falls, hence tourists who visit Boti Falls usually take advantage to get closer to the rock and experience the mysteries of nature.
What makes the rock so famous?
The Umbrella Rock isn’t like the normal rocks we see every day on the mountains and in valleys. The shape of the rock is a thing of beauty, with one large surface rock sitting comfortably on a very thin and small rock, forming an umbrella-like shape. About fifteen to twenty people can comfortably take shelter under the mysterious rock and will be protected from rainfall or sunshine. Presumed to be centuries old, the Umbrella Rock continues to amaze tourists who find it mindboggling to understand how a very large surface rock in the shape of an umbrella could sit on a tiny small rock for ages, without falling or, or the smaller rock wearing off to give way for a fall. According to Natives of Yilo Krobo, the rock was discovered by a hunter who had gone hunting in the bus so many decades ago. The Hunter later returned to the town to take his people to the strange-looking mountain. And since then, the Umbrella Rock has become a major tourism destination in the Eastern Region.
Aburi Botanical Garden
The Aburi Botanical garden which occupies an area of 64.8 hectares was first opened in March 1890 was founded Governor William Brandford-Grifith and one John Farrel, a Sierra Leonean Medical doctor. In the 1900s the garden played a very important role in the production of Cocoa as the garden specialized in the growing of cocoa seedlings and also served as a centre where research on Cocoa took seedlings took place. Over the last hundred years, the garden has undergone changes and modulation to become one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Eastern Region. The Garden which boasts of several plant and tree species such as the Kigelia and spine palm receives a lot of visitors during festive periods such as picnics, while a lot of videos in the arts and entertainment industries are shot there due to the beauty and natural scenery of the garden. So if you are in the Eastern region and looking for a tourism site to begin your travel adventure, then the best place to start this journey is the Aburi Botanical Garden located in Aburi on the Akuapem Ridge. For lovers of trees and natural sceneries, Aburi Garden provides the best experience to have a closer look and feel of such an environment.
In 1961 Ghana’s first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah embarked on an ambitious project to construct the world’ largest water reservoir. At the time, the project was deemed overly ambitious and near-impossible by many who thought Nkrumah was going beyond the limit in terms of what the country can achieve or do. However, by 1965, Dr. Nkrumah against all odds had completed the grandest artificial lake in living memory. This grand achievement did not come without sacrifices. About 78,000 people had to be relocated from their place of abode as land covering over 3000 square miles were flooded as part of the project. The lake’s northern-most point can be found close to the town of Yapei and its southern point at Akosombo Dam, which is also responsible for the generation of electrical power for the country. (Over the course of the years, other notable dams such as Bui Dam have produced electricity for the country).
The Lake even though was primarily created to serve as a source of power generation, has grown over the decades to become one of the finest tourist sites in Ghana, attracting thousands of visitors from both Ghana and outside every year. At the centre of the tourism is Dodi Island, a small Island town created as a result of the lake construction. The Island lies some five kilometres off the shore of the Lake Volta. Tourists usually cruise to the small isolated town which has a population of 600 people (2012). The River Volta, an outflow of the Volta Lake also serves as another important tourism centre through the Adomi Bridge which is constructed over the river to connect Eastern Region to the Volta Region at Kpong.
Dodi Princess Island
Dodi Princess Island is one of the few places in Ghana every Ghanaian family must make a trip to at least once in this lifetime, to enjoy the amazing and breathtaking experience the Dodi Princess World has to offer. Located in the Eastern region, Dodi Island is situated in the middle of the second-largest man-made lake, the Lake Volta, lying adjacent to the power-house of Ghana, the Akosombo Dam. An estimated 1.3 million tourists visit the island every year by cruising on the iconic Dodi Princess; a luxurious 172-passenger capacity cruise boat which carries tourists and families to the Island on a daily basis.
The Boti Falls is one of the few waterfalls nature blessed the region with. This amazing handiwork of nature is located in the Manya Krobo district of the region in the small town of Boti from which it derives its name. Geographically, it is situated 17km north east of the regional capital, Koforiudua and is usually frequented between the months of June and August when the waterfall is at its fullest flow due to the high amount of rainfall.
Since the documentation of Ghana history began, Larteh has been regarded as the traditional judgement ground of Ghana where people who feel aggrieved or cheated visit to consult the Akonedi in a bid to seek for justice. The presence of this deity has single-handedly made Larteh a famous and well-known town, feared by many for the alleged mysterious power of its deity. Tourists adventurous enough make the sacred journey to Larteh, located in the Akuapem North District of the Eastern region of Ghana just to catch a glimpse of this feared shrine and what makes it so revered by all and sundry. For the curious minds and dare devils who like to challenge their fears or satisfy their curiosity, a trip to the old shrine could be the ultimate test of one’s bravery and satisfaction of curiousness.