Top Tourist Sites To Visit In Ghana
When it comes to tourism in West Africa, it is safe to say Ghana is a giant and one of the preferred destinations by tourists and travellers, especially those coming from Europe, the Americans and the Caribbeans. This is largely due to the amazing peace and calmness and absence of political tension the country enjoys; something most of the West African countries are missing.
Every year the revenue the country generates from tourism increases thanks to the increasing number of people visiting the various tourist sites in the country. For both foreigners and Ghanaians alike, finding the top tourists sites to visit is no easy task as there so many of them online. In this piece, Jetsanza.com brings to you the top tourist sites in Ghana to help you make the best decision with regards to where to visit.
Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and National Park
The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and National Park was built on the old polo ground and dedicated to the first president of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in 1992 under the presidency of Flt. Leut. Jerry John Rawlings. The aim of the mausoleum is to preserve the legacy and historical artefacts of the man who won independence for Ghana and regarded by many as the founder of the nation. The Mausoleum is located directly opposite the old Parliament House of Ghana, which now serves as the office of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). With a total land surface of 5.3 acres, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum is the largest Historical Museum in Ghana. Just in front of the Mausoleum is the Huge statue of Kwame Nkrumah, which can be seen from afar. While only the statue of Kwame Nkrumah can be seen from afar, the interior of the mausoleum has several sections including the graveside and tomb of the late president as well as museum that contains all his memoirs, from signed documents to photographs he took with some of the world’s most powerful and celebrated men of the 20th Century. Some of the famous photographs found in the museum include Dr. Nkrumah’s pictures with Queen Elizabeth of England, Pope Pius XII, Fidel Castro, President Nasser of Egypt and John F. Kennedy of U.S.A.
Cape Coast Castle
Another site recommended for tourists is the infamous Cape Coast castle located in the central region of Ghana, precisely Cape Coast, the regional capital. Perhaps the most renowned castle in West Africa, the Cape Coast castle was built by the Portuguese traders in 1555 after arriving on the coast of Ghana with the motive to trade with the local people. The castle served as a trading post for a number of decades and passed through many hands including the Swedes until the British took total control over it and converted it into a slave castle where they kept captured slaves for onward shipping to the Americas and Europe. Today, millions of people from all over the world visit the castle to learn about the infamous trans-Atlantic slave trade. A tour of tourist sites in Ghana would be incomplete without a visit to the Cape Coast Castle.
Another tourist site recommended for tourists is the Elmina Castle in the Central region, situated just about 15 km from the Cape Coast castle. The castle was first built in 1482 by the Portuguese traders who intended to use it as a commercial trading post. However as trading activities moved from commodities such as gold to human slave trafficking, the castle was converted into a slave trading post to keep captured slaves captive. The castle was later taken over by the Dutch who later relinquished it to the British. The British in turn handed the castle over to the government of Ghana in 1957 after the country had gained independence the same year. Since then the castle has become an important tourist attraction site in Ghana, with thousands of people, made up of both Ghanaians and foreigners visiting the site every year.
Kakum National Park
The Kakum National Park is a national favourite and arguably one of the most popular sites in Ghana in terms of tourism. In fact, I consider it as a must-visit site for anyone looking to tour the country and visit the best places Ghana has to offer. The site is located in the Central region, about 35 km from the cape coast, the regional capital. The park is well known throughout West Africa for its canopy walkway which hangs loosely in the air and some hundred feet from ground level, making it a scary and frightening experience yet a memorable one that lives long in the memory and gets you wishing to go back for more. Aside from its thrilling canopy walk, the park is also a popular picnic ground where families, friends and colleagues go to have a small get-together and fun.
Mole National Park
With the largest wildlife refuge, Mole National Park has been an attractive site for many in the country due to its unique species. The current location of the Mole National Park was initially occupied by inhabitants of the Northern Region however they were relocated to pave way for the area to be used as a reserve. The famous animals that can be found at the Mole National Park are the African bush elephants and antelopes. A study conducted on the Park indicates over 800 elephants can be found at the Mole National Park. In terms of tree species Burkea Africana, Isoberlinia Doka, and Terminalia Macroptera are some of the species found in the forest. While elephants and antelopes dominate the wildlife in the forest, animals such as buffalos, antelopes and hippos can also be found in the forest even though very small in terms of population.
Monkeys have also made the Park their place of abode with the Olive baboons, black-and-white colobus monkeys, the green vervet, and patas monkeys all residing at the park.
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.
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.
Ghana is a land of many strange and curious phenomena, from having human-friendly crocodiles to canopy walkways that hang in the air. The small town falls within this bracket of strange yet wonderful apparitions. Located some 90 kilometres west of Takoradi, Nzulezu is a strange town that cannot be called an Island; neither can it be referred to as a community on land. The problem with attaching a specific descriptive term to Nzulezu comes about as a result of the nature of the town. Nzulezu is found right on a water body, the Lake Tadane rather than on land. While Nzulezu is not the first town to be built on a lake, it is among the prestigious few in the world and attracts thousands of tourists every year.
In the year 2000, it was nominated as a UNESCO Heritage Site and has grown over the decades in terms of popularity and becoming a major tourism destination in Ghana and Africa as a whole. Houses on the Lake are constructed with wooden materials and stilt supported structures that easily integrate with the water to help the wooden houses stand firm. It remains a mystery as to why the people of Nzulezu chose to leave land and settle on the lake, however, history shows that the town has been in existence for over hundred years and still continues to flourish and attract curious tourists from all walks of life. With a small population of just six hundred people, Nzulezu remains one of the most famous towns and sites in Ghana and in most visited community in Africa.