Lake Volta: The Breathtaking site of the World’s Largest Man made reservoir

In 1961, Ghana’s first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah embarked on an ambitious project to construct the world’s 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 tourism attractions 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.

Adomi Bridge on River Volta
Adomi Bridge on River Volta

Lakes in Ghana

Ghana has many amazing water bodies ranging from seas to rivers that flow throughout the country but when it comes to lakes, the country can boast of very few, found in some parts of the country.

Ghana’s first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah resorted to the construction of Africa’s largest man-made lake when the country needed a huge lake that it could depend on for construction of power dams. Let take look at the few lakes we have in Ghana, including of course the famous Volta Lake.

Lake Bosomtwi

Lake Bosomtwi is located in the Ashanti region of Ghana, some 30km south-east of the regional capital Kumasi. The lake is surrounded by small scattered villages which have a combined population of about 65,000 people. In the Ashanti tradition, the Lake is regarded as sacred water, where departing souls make their last stop to bid farewell to the river god that protected them throughout their lives before making the journey to the ancestral lands. One controversial and popular tradition associated with Lake Bosomtwi is the use of wooden plank fish on the lake. Fishermen are only allowed to ride on the lake using wooden planks instead of boats. This according to the Traditions of the Ashantis is meant to show respect to the Asaase Ya, the river goddess and it is regarded as a taboo to fish on the lake using modern boast.

Weija Lake

The Weija lake is located in Weija, a suburb of Accra. The lake is the biggest in the Greater Accra region and plays an important role in the ecosystem and economy of the region with most farmers within the area depending on the lake to water their vegetables as the surrounding area is dominated by vegetable farms. However, in recent times, environmentalists and civil society groups have expressed fear over the survival of the lake in the long term citing the building of houses close to the lake and pollution of the lake as major threats that could deplete the lake in some years’ time.  The lake is also close to the Weija dam built on the Densu River to provide drinking water the residents of Accra.

Lake Volta

Lake Volta is an artificial lake that was constructed by the Kwame Nkrumah government between 1961 and 1965. The lake is the largest man-made lake in Africa and 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) Today the importance of Lake Volta ranges from tourism to ecosystem enhancement and power generation making it the single most important lake in Ghana.

Lake Tadane

Lake Tadane is found in the Western region, 90 kilometres West of Takoradi in the Jomoro District. The lake is famous for its hosting of the Nzulezu stilt village, a small community built directly on the lake with the support of stilt infrastructure which are firmly rooted in the lake. The people of Nzulezu also fish in the lake and depend on it for their daily livelihood.

Disaster Strikes on Lake Volta; Four Confirmed Dead

Four people reported to be members of the Assemblies of God Church have been confirmed dead after an accident on the Lake Volta.

According to reports, the victims were heading to New Akrade after a church programme in Senchi when the canoe in which they were traveling capsized, throwing them into the lake.  Six of the eleven people on board the canoe managed to be rescued while four of them perished.

The Eastern regional PRO of National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Selasie Desewu, who was at the scene of the accident revealed a search team has been put in place to look for the last remaining person who is yet to be accounted for.

Some locals gather near the area the disaster occurred.
Some locals gather near the area the disaster occurred.

He also revealed that the six survivors were rescued by fishermen in the area, who hurried to the scene of the accident when the canoe capsized.

Since the news hit the media, many commentators have started asking questions concerning the use of life jacket when traveling on the lake, with many asking whether life jackets are not made available to travelers on the lake or travelers simply refuse to wear them when given.