Nzulezu: A town in the middle of nowhere

Ghana is a land of many strange and curious phenomena, from having human friendly crocodiles to canopy walkways that hang in the air.

This 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.

Nzulezu: PHOTO: Visit Ghana
Nzulezu: PHOTO: Visit Ghana

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 continuous 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 in Ghana and in most visited communities in Africa.

For the curious mind, Nzulezu is a town that must be visited at a point in this lifetime.



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Salt Mining in Daboya: A history forgotten but not lost

Daboya, located some 67 kilometres northwest of Tamale may not be a major household name in Ghana today, mostly due to the growth of commercial cities like Tamale and Wa in the northern part of Ghana. However over a century ago, Daboya was probably the most popular town in the Northern region famous for its mass production of salt and vibrant commercial activities.

Over a half of the salt consumption of Ghana in the 1700s and 1800s was supplied by Daboya as a majority of the women and men in the town were engaged in the salt mining business, making it one of the most active and commercially vibrant towns in Ghana.

Today, Daboya can no longer be regarded as the salt hub of Ghana. While salt is still mined and produced in the ancient town, it is in lesser quantity compared to centuries ago, and the salt production today is only meant for the local market and consumption.

The collapse of the Daboya salt market could be attributed to the desire for iodized and refined salt in the 21st century. The change in preference of Ghanaians resulted in the importation of granulated and refined salt from Europe, killing off the Daboya salt market which supplied unrefined salt in its natural state.

This, has however not stopped people from paying visits to the town to see the salt mining centres that once made Daboya a hugely successful commercial city in Ghana and West Africa.

The gradual decline of the salt business in Daboya gave way to another craft in the form of fabric weaving. Today, the town of Daboya is more famous for its hand woven traditional smocks than its production of salt. In fact, a majority of the fine hand woven smocks worn in the Northern region are produced in Daboya.

Daboya Weavers
Daboya Weavers

While the town is not the most visited in terms of tourism, Daboya has the potential to become a major tourism destination in Ghana considering its rich and storied history, coupled with historical sites such as salt mines and hand woven fabric centres. Daboya may be on the brink of being forgotten, but its rich history is not lost.

Salaga Slave Market: A historical market of iron and shackles

You probably have read a lot about the brutal 19th Century slave trade involving Africa, Europe and the Americas where Africans were taken from their homes and shipped to the Americas like Cargoes to work in plantations and manufacturing firms.

But even before this era, slave trade did exist in Africa in the 16th and 17th century, though under very humane conditions compared to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

One of the very few evidence of the existence of slave trade in Africa before the 19th century can be found in Salaga, specifically at a location now known as the Salaga Slave Market.

The Salaga slave market located in Salaga, the administrative capital of the Gonja East district in the Northern Region used to be an important West African city where traders from the northern part of Africa met with West African traders to trade in commodities such as cowries, beads, textiles, animal hide and gold.

However, in the later part of the 18th century, the nature of trade in Salaga changed to include the exchange of humans for commodities. People were sold to traders coming from the northern part of Africa in exchange for commodities like cowries, fine textile and leather.

The traders from the North who preferred to be paid with humans, mostly used them as house helps or assistants who would assist them in running their day to day trading activities, it was devoid of brutalities or violent as the sold slaves were generally treated well.

With the arrival of the Europeans in the eighteenth century and commencement of the dreaded Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Salaga slave market shifted its focus from trading with traders from the north to trading with Europeans who offered more for their slaves.

Today, the Salaga slave market is a pale shadow of itself, lacking in vibrant commercial activities and has been turned into motor park. Aside the Slave market, Salaga also boasts of other slave monuments including a famous slave cemetery and a slave warehouse. The slave warehouse was used to house and keep the slaves captive until they were transported to the coastal areas and sold off to the Europeans living on the coasts.

For any tourist wanting to learn more about slavery and how slave markets and centres looked like, Salaga, a town once famous for its trade in slaves and its vibrancy as a West African trading centre, is a must visit.

Dodi World: Luxurious cruise on Dodi Princess II, Music, Watersports, Kiddi Playground and unending list of fun activities

Dodi Princess Island, now Dodi World, 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 tourist destination has to offer.

Akesse Sanza on Dodi Princess II
Akesse Sanza on Dodi Princess II
Akesse Sanza on Dodi Princess II
Akesse Sanza on Dodi Princess II

Located in the Eastern region, the 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 II; a luxurious 150-passenger capacity cruise boat which carries tourists around the island amidst onboard entertainment, food, drinks and the “instagramable” views will not be missed by your cameras.

Dodi Princess II
Dodi Princess II
Residents commute on boat
Residents commute on boat
Free Wifi onboard Dodi Princess II
Free Wifi onboard Dodi Princess II

Dodi World provides an island adventure which includes a tour of game park and several beachfront activities. Boat riding and Jet Ski are just few of the several watersports tourists can enjoy.

At Dodi World, there is something for everyone, including children. The Kiddi Playground has been created on the island for kids to also have a good time partaking in safe sporting activities under the watchful eyes of tour guides who are well trained to keep your kids safe.

Kiddi Playground
Kiddi Playground
Unending list of Watersports at Dodi World
Unending list of Watersports at Dodi World
Dodi World
Dodi World

The island never runs out of music. After enjoying the live music onboard, you are met with two different sets of folk artistes on busking when you arrive on the island. They perform traditional folk musics and dances mainly from the Volta Regions.

Kwanpa Band, a VGMA award-winning band on Dodi Princess II
Kwanpa Band, a VGMA award-winning band on Dodi Princess II
Traditional musicians on busking
Traditional musicians on busking
Prepare to buy cheap fishes
Prepare to buy cheap fishes

Adansi Travels sends tourists on cruise experience to the Dodi island every Saturday. You can reach them on 0247067375. Mention JETSANZA for a discounted rate of GHS299 (adults) and GHS235 (children).

Inside Accra: The Lapaz Night Market

Make no mistake, this is not the Lapaz of Bolivia we are talking about here. The Lapaz being discussed here is a popular suburb in the Accra Metropolitan District in the Greater Accra region.

The suburb is one of the most popular and busiest commercial areas in Accra with business activities booming in the course of the day throughout the week.

There is nothing one may want to purchase that cannot be find at Lapaz, from secondhand clothing to shoes to cooking utensils and electronic gadgets. Just name it and you will have it as long as you got the purchasing power.

This is however not unique to only Lapaz as most areas in Accra are all quite busy and commercially vibrant during the day. What makes Lapaz stand out is its unique night market. Unlike most commercial areas in Accra where commercial activities come to a halt at the fall of the sun, Lapaz rather sees an increased in the volume of commercial activities during the night.

From 7pm going when the sun goes into hiding and the moon appears to watch over the earth, the streets of Lapaz begin to become crowded with sellers appearing from nowhere to display their products on the pedestrian pavement walkway.

The number of products and even number of sellers increase significantly compared to the number during the day. Number of shoppers also tends to increase greatly during the night market as most of them believe prices of goods are cheaper during that time.

Not just goods and products are on display at the night market, food also abound. Food vendors sell local dishes like fufu, banku, and even rice throughout the night to take care of those doing business at the time.

The items that enjoy the highest sales at the Lapaz night market are secondhand ladies’ shoes.

The Lapaz night market is one of its kind in Ghana and a must visit for anyone living in Accra, even if just for window shopping.

 

 

Monument Of Slavery: Nalerigu Defence Wall

The Nalerigu Defence Wall is one of the most famous monuments of slavery found in the Northern part of Ghana. Originally known as the Naa Jaringa Wall, the ancient wall is located in Nalerigu in the East Mamprusi District of the North East region.

The wall was built in the 16th century by the then ruler of the Mamprusi ethnic group, Naa Jaringa and surrounded the entire village of Nalerigu, protecting the people from the vicious slave traders from Burkina Faso and Mali.

According to historical evidence, the village of Nalerigu was situated in the middle of the slave trade route between Djenne in Mali and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. This resulted in some of Naa Jaringa’s subjects being captured and sold as slaves by traders crossing from the two areas. To put a stop to this and protect his people, Naa Jaringa put up the famous wall around the village to shield and protect his people from traders crossing from the two areas.

Oral folktale also has it that, Naa Jaringa was a very ambitious man who wanted to nip his name in the history of the Mamprusis and be remembered forever. He saw the construction of the wall as a monument that could keep his name in the history books of the people long after his demise.

Very little remains of the mud-built wall today, with erosion eating away almost the entire structure and leaving just a small portion standing. Irrespective of this, the Nalerigu Defense wall is a monumental structure in Ghana’s slave and colonial past and continues to receive patronage from tourists, especially those from the Americas and Europe who wish to see first-hand some of the ancient monuments of the slave trading business.

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Palaces in Ghana: Wa Naa’s Palace

The Wa Naa’s palace is one of the oldest traditional palaces in Ghana, built in the early 19th century to serve as the traditional resident of the king of the Wala people. The palace which is located in the heart of Wa, the regional capital of the Upper West region, was built in ancient Sudanese mud-brick architectural style, giving credence to historical accounts that suggest that the Wala people, who today dominate the Upper West region, originally migrated from the northern part of Africa, precisely Sudan.

Unlike most buildings, the walls of the palace have large visible y-shaped structures striking out of the walls. According to historical accounts of the Wala people, the nature of the walls was purposely to protect the people, especially the royal family from the incessant attacks of the slave traders.

More remarkably, the magnificent structure built with mud-brick, still stands tall and strong without showing any signs of collapsing and continues to serve as political, religious and traditional symbol for the Wala people.

The palace as was centuries ago, still serves as the royal home of the Wala paramount chief with royals from all the numerous clans that have once ruled the Wala chiefdom occupying the huge palace. More uniquely, the graves of former kings are found right in front of the palace.

In 2009, the World Monuments Fund recognized the Y-shaped palace as one of the finest and last remaining ancient architecturally wonderful buildings that need preservation. To this, the organisation partnered with the Ghana Museum and Monuments Board to device means of preserving the structure using traditional materials and processes in order not to destroy its ancient appearance. The project was successfully completed in 2012.

Today, the palace is one of the most visited tourism attractions in the northern part of Ghana, receiving a great number of tourists every year.

Top 10 Places To See When You Visit Accra, Ghana

On any trip to Ghana, especially for those who are first-timers and haven’t been here before, there are a lot of questions you would want answers to.  Things about the general country and things to do and see. The first thing that comes to mind is what is there to see? What places can we visit whilst we’re here? You don’t want to be that person who stands at the airport without so much as a clue of where you can go and what you can do.

Regardless of the reason why you’re visiting Ghana, one of the first things you should do is to plan to see some top attractions and places in Accra. Tourists usually want to explore the cities they are in, taking in the rich history and culture this captivating destination has to offer. Ghana offers great tourist spots that you should see when on a trip here.

Traveling to Ghana can be more simple and cheap if you have a perfect travel plan. If you are traveling to Ghana you a budget, then check the Ultimate Travel Guide to Ghana to save more money for your next trip.
Now let see some of the top places to see in Accra.

NB: We are not in normal times. It is best to know more about the destination you visiting before you can make any travel plan. Find out if it is safe to travel to Ghana

Places To See In Accra

1. Black Star Gate

For the sake of your social media feed, the Black Star Gate is the first place to see when you visit Ghana for the first time. It is the sign to show your followers you are in Ghana. I’m sure you have seen a picture of it somewhere on the internet.

As touristy as it is, no visit to Accra is complete without seeing the Black Star Gate. No matter what time you are here and how long you are spending here, you have to see the site and take pictures with it to show some friends and family.

You can ask the tour guide to take you to the top. Make sure you tip the guide. There are few free things to see and do around the gate in Accra.

2. James Town Lighthouse

You should definitely visit the James Town Lighthouse. James Town is the host street for Ghana’s biggest art festival, the Chalewate festival. I’m sure you are going to love the art street since it is the same street as the Lighthouse. You can’t get enough of this street art anywhere in Ghana.

Seeing the Lighthouse is one of the free things to do in Accra. If you are traveling on a budget it is best to see Ghana during August, so you can experience the art festival.

3. Artists Alliance Gallery

Art Alliance Gallery is a place of beauty and inspiration. It hosts thousands of visitors every year. It is one of the best places to see in Accra and feel the true African art.

It exhibits art by African artists in Ghana and by artists from around the world. The gallery also offers arts programs, including workshops for adults and youth. Exhibitions change regularly.
The space’s architecture reflects elements of Ghana’s traditional architecture and is a stunning example of modern Ghanaian architecture.

It is free to walk around the museum or be your own tour guide. If you wish someone to guide you, it is possible. And that is their special visit offer. Where a tour guide will show you around and you will have to pay. If you are lucky that day, the owner will show you around and tell you the history behind every art you see.

4. Legon Garden

Legon Gardens is a botanical garden located in Accra, Ghana, and is one of the country’s most visited attractions these days.

If you are looking to experience some adventure in the Capital, then Legon garden is the best place to visit in Accra.

Apart from giving you a taste of the planned city, the garden is also the home to various species of plants, birds, butterflies, and insects.

Apart from the Garden giving us pleasure, is also making its mark as one of the only botanical gardens in Accra. The garden attracts over 1 million visitors from all around the country.

5. Osu Castle

Osu castle is in the capital, Accra, and one of the most important heritage sites in the country, being the seat of colonial government administration, and the seat of the President of Ghana.

The castle has served important functions, a trading entrepôt during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the seat of colonial government administration; and was the office of the President of Ghana.

In recent times, the Osu castle is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Osu Castle is also known as Fort Christiansburg and it is located in Osu on the coast of the Atlantic Oceans, Gulf of Guinea. It is the first substantial fort built by Denmark-Norway in 1660.

The castle holds an important place in the history of Ghana and is the site of the oldest European settlement in modern-day Ghana.

6. Osu Oxford Street

Osu Oxford Street is arguably one of Accra’s busiest streets, and with the growing number of businesses along its stretch, it is only a matter of time before it becomes as famous as Oxford Street in London, UK.

Osu Oxford Street derives its name from the famous Oxford Street in London, UK, because of its busy nocturnal activities. It is one of the places in Accra tourists meet tourists and socialize. So if you are looking to meet other tourists here in Ghana, Oxford Street is the best place to visit.

7. Makola Market

There are a variety of products in the market, from fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, rice, beans, clothes, shoes, fabrics, paints, agricultural equipment, building materials, iron sheets, charcoal, detergents, soaps, stationery, imported and locally produced foodstuff and beverages.

Jewelry made from locally handcrafted beads can also be found for sale in the market. You should be very careful or you better go with a friend or someone familiar with the place.

8. Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum

The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum

The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum (also known as Ghana’s Mausoleum) is a mausoleum in Accra, Ghana, dedicated to the life of Kwame Nkrumah, the first emperor of Ghana.

The mausoleum is a cruciform structure, laid out in the exact shape of a crucifix cruciform, with a dome over the cruciform. It is named in honor of Kwame Nkrumah, who in the 19’s worked to transform Ghana into a modern, independent nation.

It is one of the must-see places in Ghana to learn more about our independent history.

9. W.E.B Du Bois Memorial Park

I haven’t visited the place, according to my research, it is worth visiting attraction in Accra. W.E.D Du Bois memorial park center is a memorial place, a research facility, and a tourist attraction in the Cantonment area in Accra.

The facility was named in dedication to W.E.D Du Bois, a Pan- Africanist who became a citizen of Ghana in the early 1960s. The facility was open to the public in 1985.

10. Labadi Beach

Beaches are the most visited places for every tourist. Most tourists love spending time are the beach and also socializing.

Labadi beach is the most famous beach is in Ghana and nothing can beat that. If you forget the stress and chaos of city life, Labadi Beach takes you back to a simpler time. Local and foreign tourists always enjoy the atmosphere at Labadi beach with great music, entertainment shows, and many other activities.

Tourist Sites in Ghana: Mole National Park

Located at Damongo, 146km south east of Tamale, in the Northern Region of Ghana, Mole National Park is a 12 hour journey by road from Accra.

One of the largest cities in the Savanna Region, Tamale has a couple of tourist attractions but the Mole National Park stands tall among the rest.

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.

Mole National Park
Mole National Park

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 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 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.

Animals such as lions and hyenas used to be found in the park, however these animals have gone distinct in the park over the last decade raising concerns about the survival of the forest in the coming years.

Being one of the last remaining wildlife forests in Ghana, the mole park attracts tourists from all walks of life, both from Ghana and outside, every year with an annual visitor population running into almost a million people. For animal lovers, the Mole National Park is a must visit tourism site to experience the beauty of nature.

The Chale Wote Arts Festival; Ghana’s Biggest Celebration of Street Art

Ghana is renowned all over the globe for being a country with rich culture and great festivals. Festivals such as the Homowo of the Gas and the Aboakyere of the Winnebas are among some of the most popular and famous festivals in the sub region and Africa as a whole.

For decades, dating back to the 60s, foreigners from all walks of life, mostly America and Europe, visit Ghana each year with the hope of witnessing some of these gracious and culturally rich festivals.

While these cultural festivals put Ghana on the map and were annual events Ghanaians looked up to, Ghana had no festival to celebrate arts. Artistic works such as painting, portraits, graffiti murals, hand crafted ornaments, street dance and music, local fashion were hardly celebrated until 2011 when the now famous Chale Wote Street Art Festival was launched.

Chale Wote. Image by Ghanafuo.com
Chale Wote. Image by Ghanafuo.com

The festival launched in 2011 is aimed at bringing all artists together, from painters to filmmakers and everyone involved in the production of an artistic piece.

The first edition which was hosted by Accra dot ALT and the French Embassy in Ghana took place on the streets of Jamestown, Accra, and saw thousands of artistic young Ghanaians patronize the event to see some of the finest paintings in their lives.

Since then, eight successful editions have taken place with patronage increasing every year as the festival gets bigger and bigger. For this reason, the festival has been extended to a week-long event as opposed to the two-day schedule it had initially began with.

Fighting the plastic waste monster at Chale Wote 2018 (Twitter/P_DallaStella)
Fighting the plastic waste monster at Chale Wote 2018 (Twitter/P_DallaStella)

For the younger generation, the Chale Wote festival provides an opportunity for them to express their artistic talents in the form of drawings, photography, dancing, music, fashion and so on. While the older generation have an opportunity to witness the beauty of arts like never before.

The 2019 edition of the festival is scheduled to take place between August 22 and August 29, under the theme Ghana Year of Return: The Chale Wote Art Festival.