The eastern part of Ghana known as the Volta Region was part of Trans-Volta Togoland which was an integral part of the Republic of Togo. In the past, nearly half of the Volta Region, from the coast up to Kpeve area, were part and parcel of the then Gold Coast Colony under the British. Areas stretching from Kpeve up to Yendi in the Northern Region were under German, and hence part of the Trans-Volta Togoland. Even though the border often changed in the past, it was assumed that Kpeve was the border between the Gold Coast Colony to the South, and Trans-Volta Togoland to the north.
In 1956, after the defeat of the Germans in the Second World War, the German Colony was redesignated a Trust Colony under British and French rule. A plebiscite was held to determine which part of the Trust Colony should belong to the British and the French. A portion decided to join the Gold Coast while the other portion decided to remain under French rule and become part of Togoland. That portion which decided to join the Gold Coast (now Ghana) became part of the Volta Region of Ghana.
The main ethnic groups are Ewes occupying in the Southern section (low land areas), the Akans in the northern section and a number of Guan-speaking groups such as Likpe, Nyagbo, Tafi, Logba and Santrokofi. The Guans are supposed to be the original dwellers of the land while the Akans migrated from the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Western, Central and Eastern Regions. The Ewes migrated from Notsie in present-day Republic of Togo centuries ago. All these ethnic groups live within the Volta Region, demonstrating unity in diversity.
The main tourist attractions grouped into three main circuits are as follows:
The Keta District has
some of the most beautiful sandy beaches full of coconut trees in West Africa.
The beaches are relatively clean. The sea is rough and shallow up to about 1 to
2 nautical miles in some places. The best beaches can be found at:
- The Volta Estuary area from
Azizanu to Atiteti
- Woe-Cape St. Paul and adjoining
- Keta-Dzelukope at areas such as
- Anloga and Adjoining areas.
The Keta Lagoon is the
most important lagoon in the Keta District. It is the largest of its kind in
Ghana, measuring 40 by 8 kilometers.
There are a number of islands in the keta lagoon, for example, Seva and Dudu which have a lot of birds. There is a bird sanctuary on one of them called Xevikpodzi. Thousands of birds migrate to these islands during certain times of the year, hence the declaration of the coastal wetlands of Anlo-Keta as Ramsar sites.
Along the banks of the numerous creeks and the lagoons as well as the shores of the Volta Estuary are extensive growths of mangrove swamps mostly of the red and white varieties.
There is an 18th century fort, Fort Prinzenstein, built in 1784 by the Danes at Keta. This fort played a significant role in the slave trade involving Europeans in West Africa, the Caribbean and southern USA.
There are beautiful shallot farms at Anloga and its immediate environs. The farmers engage in intensive agricultural practices, using the same parcel of land all year round with locally made compost. Water used to irrigate the farm lands is got from shallow wells.
There is lighthouse at Woe not far from Keta which directs ships during the night. Its architecture is very unique. It is also believed that there is a huge underwater mountain off the coast of Woe, which necessitated the building of the lighthouse.
On the first Saturday of every November, a grand durbar of chiefs and people is held at Anloga, the traditional home of the Anlo-speaking Ewes. The durbar forms a significant part of the week-long Hogbetsotso festival which commemorates the migration of the present abode in Ghana. Two weeks after the Anlo celebrate their Hogbetsotso festival, the people of some traditional area celebrate their annual Keta-Sometutuza at Agbozume. In February, the people of the Agave traditional area celebrate their annual Dzawuwu festival at Dabala, their largest commercial centre. Avenorpedo is noted for a novel festival, Agbliza or cassava festival. The festival is celebrated in August at Avenorpedo. An essential aspect of the festival is the exhibition of the various cassava products such as agbelikaklo, yakeyake and cassava cake. It is believed the people have found over twenty uses for the cassava plant. The people of Dofor usually celebrate their annual Ayimagonu festival in November. Dofor Adidome is only a few kilometers east of Juapong. The people of Adidome also celebrate the Asafotufiam festival.
The production of various handicrafts is widespread, especially hand-woven baskets and mats. Drum-making is the pre-occupation of the Avenor-Ewes who form the major ethnic group in the district.
Agbozume, a town located a few kilometers to Denu on the Accra-Lome road is noted for the locally-woven kente cloth. There is therefore a very big market where kente is the main article of trade. Almost all the towns and villages surrounding Agbozume such as Sonume, Denu, Klikor and Anlo-Afiadenyigba (located in the nearby Keta District) weave and sell their brand of kente at the popular Agbozume market. There is a very important weaving school (set up by one Mr Bobo) where students are taught how to weave. It is near St. Paul’s Secondary School, Denu. Kente is woven at the village of Akyemfo, near Adidome and a few other places. The type of kente woven is called ‘’Ewe’’ Kente.
Avi-Fauna & Ostrich Farm
Along the numerous creeks that flow into the Volta River, can be found many water fowls, including pelicans commonly found near Agave-Apedome. Elsewhere, there are several birds ranging from weavers, francolins, egrets to kites, and several water fowls such as the heron, stock, gulls and terns. Near the village of Kpotame, not far from Sogakope, can be found one big ostrich farm with several ostriches. Tours are organized to the farm from Hotel Cisneros, Sogakope.
Xavi Bird Sanctuary
The village of Xavi, south of Akatsi has a community-Based Ecotourism Project centred around several birds that inhabit the area. There is also the Lotor River where tourists go on canoe tours.
There is a big rock carved like a stool, resting on a smaller one at a place called Kpoviadzi near Akatsi which is believed to have supernatural powers.
Drumming and Dancing
This is widespread throughout the Southern Volta Circuit. The popular troupes include Atimevu, Kinka and Agbedza.
Clay Deposits & Pottery
Vast deposits of high quality clay can be found at Dove, Kpoviadzi, Tove, Torgome and Volo. These deposits form the raw material used for pot-making.
At Juapong on the Accra-Ho road, can be found one of the biggest textile companies in Africa, the Juapong Textiles Limited. This company produces gray baft that feeds the Ghana Textiles Printing Company at Tema. The gray baft is used to produce the much fancied wax print known locally as ‘’Dumas’’ as well as Java prints.
The Central Volta circuit has several tourist attractions. These include the following:
Kalakpa Resource Reserve
This reserve is one of the two in the Volta Region. It encompasses both Adaklu and Abutia traditional areas. This reserve is very rich in avi-fauna, such as hornbills, starlings and such game birds as guinea fowls and francolins. The main animals include: kob (kobus kob), baboon (papio anubis), and green monkey (cercopithecus aethiops). To enable one see the kob, one has to go to a mountain in the reserve called Zitoe (Kob Mountain). Other animals found in the reserve include buffalo (syncerus cajifer), bushbuck (tragelaphus scriptus), bushpig (potamochoerus parcus), water kob (kobus defessa), maxwell’s duiker (cephalaphus maxwelli), pata monkey (erythrocebus patas), genet cat (genetta) and grasscutter (thryonomys swanderianus). Guided tours are yet to be developed. Those wishing to visit the reserve, however can do so with permission from the Wildlife Division.
The whole of the Agotime area which lies east of Ho, produces excellent quality kente cloths. The main kente weaving centres are Kpetope and Afegame. The natives who are of Ga-Adangbe origin claim that they introduced the art of kente weaving to the rest of Ghanaians. They claim that the Asantes captured some of their male weavers during one of the wars and forced them to teach them the art of kente weaving. Two types of kente are woven in these parts the more popular one, known as Asante kente and the more durable and more difficult to weave, often called ‘’Agbamevo’’ or ‘’Ewe kente’’. Kente weaving is so much part of the daily life that there is hardly a home without a loom.
The Ghana-Togo mountain range is the most dominant geographical feature in this district. This area has some of the highest mountains in Ghana, including the highest, mountain Afadjato (2,905 feet above sea level). This mountain can be reached either through Gbledi or Liati.
Quite a number of picturesque waterfalls can be found in this district. The most prominent ones are:
- Wli Waterfall at Wli. This waterfall is becoming very popular in the West African sub-region. It is perennial as water cascades throughout the year. It is located at the edge of the Agumatsa Wildlife Sanctuary, which has hundreds of fruit bats and a few monkeys and antelopes. The water falls from a height of about 1,600 feet. The sight is stupendous.
- Tagbo Waterfall near Liati Wote. This waterfall is incredibly beautiful. It flows from the Ghana-Togo mountain range. It is covered by green vegetation and has caves forming at the sides.
- Tsatsadu fall. This waterfall near Alavanyo is a pretty sight but its main shortcoming is that it is seasonal.
- Other waterfalls. There are seasonal waterfalls at Aflambo near Leklebi Agbesia, Likpe Todome and a few other places.
Amedzofe Ecotourism Project
There is a community based ecotourism site at Amedzofe up the Avatime Hills. It is centred around the unique cool climate, the beautiful scenery of rolling hills and villages and a captivating waterfall. Visitors could climb mountain Gemi and see as far as the eye could see. Amedzofe is reputed to be one of the highest habitable places in Ghana.
Monkey Sanctuary/Community Based Ecotourism Site
There is a monkey sanctuary at Tafi Atome, some 5km west of Logba Alakpeti on the Accra-Hohoe road. Here, the monkeys are considered sacred by the people. They are not harmed and are thus protected by the people. The monkeys may be seen in the early hours of the morning or during the latter part of the day. The monkeys are all of the Mona family, including the highly endangered True Mona Monkey. Tourists can stay in the village during the night and pay for services such as lodging, feeding and entertainment.
Limestone formations can be found at Logba Tota. One can see the main features normally associated with Karst topography, such as stalagmites and stalacites.
There is a legend that the people of Likpe Todome emerged from caves to settle at their present abode. There are about six caves on the Likpe mountains. Out of these, two appear to be dykes. There are some relics like broken pots, which were supposed to have been used by the ancestors.
Pottery is done in the districts. Ziga’s pottery factory at Koloenu is the largest. Basket weaving is also common, so also is sculpturing, especially at Hohoe.
Kpando district is noted for cottage industries such as drum manufacturing at the outskirts of Peki; At Vakpo and Have, the people produce excellent sculptures and other carvings.
Traditional dug-out canoes are built at Kwamikrom using local technology. Carving, basketry as well as kente weaving is done in some localities.
At Alavanyo can be found vast deposits of iron ore. Iron smithing is quite popular here. The people of Alavanyo, in particular, make very good guns such as revolvers. It is believed that they learnt the art of gun making from the German colonizers. Some of the guns come out like ordinary pens but are lethal.
Dr Noamesi’s Herbal Treatment Centre
At the outskirts of Hohoe just after crossing the Dayi river is Dr. Noamesi’s Herbal Centre. The centre has found cure for several ailments which orthodox medicine has no cure for; for example, baldness, impotence and infertility. It has also developed anti-snake serum, and a novel contraceptive which is used in family planning with remarkable success.
The Catholic Church has grottos in the districts.
At the village of Agbenohoe, one finds, perhaps, one of the biggest grottos in Africa. Some tourists go there on pilgrimage, especially during the Easter period. It is open to all visitors throughout the year.
There is another grotto under the control of Ghana Blue Urs, a religious body at Aziavi. It is a non-denominational grotto and is open to all visitors and pilgrims alike.
German Buildings at Kpando and Peki
There are two separate storey buildings once used as a hospital by the Germans at Kpando. Overlooking Kpando town is the old German Governor’s Residency, a massive stone building. An old German rest house can also be found at Peki. Just before the Second World War broke out, the Germans operating from Kpando, constructed a railway bridge across the Dayi river at Gbefi. But they abandoned at and fled. It is still in fairy good shape and vehicles plying the Kpando-Hohoe route use it.
Kpando Torkor Area
Kpando Torkor is a settlement on the banks of the Volta Lake near Kpando. It has a port for river launches and ferries. It provides a link between the numerous islets in the Volta Lake. It also serves as a gateway to the Afram Plains.
Music and Dance
Kpando is noted for Borborbor dance while Peki is famous for choral music.
Yam festivals are widespread in the Kpando and Hohoe districts. The ones in the Peki area are very popular. A new festival known as ‘’Gbidukor za’’ is celebrated yearly and alternatives between the northern Gbi-Ewes (Hohoe) and southern Gbi-Ewes (Pekis). For example, in 1999, the festival was held in Hohoe; in the year 2000, it was held at Peki.
The Grave of Dr Ephraim Amu
At Peki Avetile one can find the grave of Dr. Ephraim Amu, the celebrated Ghanaian musicologist who used authentic Ghanaian instruments for most of his musical works.
Dzemeni market along the banks of the Volta Lake is becoming one of the most important markets in the whole of southern Ghana. This unique market continues running for three consecutive days, namely Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tapa Abotoase and kwamikrom are noted fish markets. Various types of smoked and fresh fish from the Volta Lake are sent there for sale.
Between Jasikan and Bowiri on the mountain slopes can be found a number of wild animals. The list include buffalo, monkey and hyena. It is believed that there are lions. Birds are also found in large numbers on the banks of the Volta Lake.
There are several bird species in the Kadjebi District. These include weaver birds, egrets, and also parrots. Most of them can be seen in the rice fields.
Traditional Rice Farms
Several rice farms using traditional technology are found at the outskirts of almost all the settlements, especially at Asato near Kadjebi.
Northern Volta is made up of the Krachi and Nkwanta Districts.
There are about 40 islands/ islets on the Volta Lake, in the Kete-Krachi district (some are actually in the Brong Ahafo Region). Nkombi is one such island. Some are inhabited by people, others not.
The Volta Lake
A significant portion of the two districts is covered by the Volta Lake. The lake, which is very rich in fresh waterfish, offers opportunities for a variety of water sports with the most popular one being cruising, since Kete-Krachi is a port.
Old German Barracks
An old edifice built entirely of local metamorphic rock served as military barracks for the Germans. The building is still in good shape and about 95% of the original structure is still intact.
Works Of Alhaji Oumarou Titibrika
Alhaji Oumarou Titibrika was a Moslem scolar from Northern Nigeria who settled at Kete-Krachi in the 15th century. The Alhaji was said to have set up a Moslem university. He left behind a translation of the Holy Koran in Hausa, using Arabic characters. His other works include writings on bushfires and how to prevent them. The original copy of his Koran translation was once displaced at the Inter-Tourism Exhibition held in 1986 at La Trade Fair Centre, Accra.
Krachi-Dente shrine is very popular in West African traditional religion. The shrine was moved from its original abode to a new place. Many who are plagued with all sorts of diseases are said to find cure there.
THE OLD KETE-KRACHI SLAVE ROUTE
The old Kete-Krachi, now completely under water except for three buildings including the German barracks, used to be a very important nodal town as well as a slave port in the past. The main north-south slave caravan route passed through Kete-Krachi. Slaves en route southwards from Salaga, for example, were ‘’shipped’’ in boats to river ports like Akuse and Ada Foah in the south.
Shairi Unique Village
The village of Shairi, up the hills near the Ghana-Togo ranges (16km from Nkwanta), is unique by all standards. The climate there is invigorating. The area is always covered by a thick blanket of mist. When visibility is good, one can see the picturesque village perched up the hills. The main buildings are unique as they appear to be in ‘’terraces’’.
Kyabobo National Park
Every available evidence points to the fact that the Nkwanta district is very rich in game and wildlife. There are heads, skins and bones of animals that have been killed by hunters, especially at Kue. The heads include those of the buffalo, various types of monkeys, hyena, red-river hog and a variety of birds. Consequently a national park, Kyabobo National Park, has been created near Nkwanta. It is noteworthy to state that the Togolese have a national park at the other side of the Ghana-Togo ranges called Parc National de Fazao.
An Old German Building
There is evidence of a past German of presence in this building now being used as the residence of the District Co-ordinating Director (Administrating Officer).
The district is noted for bead-making, pottery as well as other handicrafts.
Mountain Dzebobo and other offer beautiful scenery. The area has a cool near-temperate climate. On top of this mountain which is the second highest in Ghana, one can have a panoramic view of the Volta Lake.
There are patches of virgin tropical rain forest. The local belief is that the forest has potent powers to make barren women fertile.
The main economic activities are:
In the south, some of the main crops grown are sugar cane and vegetables such as shallots, okro and tomatoes. Coconut is also cultivated along the coastline. In the central part of the Volta Region, all kinds of foodstuffs are cultivated. These are maize, cassava, yam, groundnut, beans and cocoyam. Others are oil palm, cocoa, coffee, sugar cane, rice and a wide range of fruits, namely, pears and pineapples. In the north, the main crops are yam, cassava, maize, millet, beans and groundnuts.
Along the coast, fishing is very popular. Main catches from the sea include sardines, anchovies, herrings, horse-mackerel and lobsters; while from the lagoon come tilapia, mudfish, crabs and shrimps. The Volta Lake that occupies the central and northern parts is very rich in a variety of fresh water fishes such as tilapia, clarias, mudfish and catfish.
Cattle, sheep and goats are reared all over the savannah areas running from the south to the north. This region has more cattle than most regions of Ghana. Poultry is kept in most rural areas.
This ranges from ῝tabletop shops῎ to hawking of several articles of trade. Almost every house has something to sell.
It is estimated that about 5% of all tourists visiting Ghana visit the Volta Region. The main areas visited are Wli, Tafi, Liati Wote, Adaklu Helekpe, Villa Cisneros at Sogakope, Kpetoe Kente Village and Dr Noamesi’s Herbal Treatment Centre in Hohoe.
It is important to state that several tourists use Aflao border as a transit point. A large proportion of the tourists visiting the Volta Region are mostly from Germany, Denmark, Holland, UK and USA. Most of them are of average age of twenty-four years. They are mostly adventurists. These young tourists prefer cheaper and smaller hotels and do not eat at local eateries or ‘’chop bars’’. They prefer to mingle with the local people and take some of the local gin, ‘’akpeteshie’’.
The general impression the tourists have about the region is that it is extremely beautiful, its people hospitable and warm.
The Volta Region is an area of scenic beauty, of highly diversified cultural heritage, fascinating landscape of rolling hills and valleys and, above all, the home of a highly ingenious, hardworking and warm people.
Location : The region is located in the eastern part of Ghana, sharing its eastern boundary with the Republic of Togo, western with the Volta River and Lake, the Southern border is the Atlantic Ocean, while the north shares boundary with the Northern Region. It stretches from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in the south up to the southern fringes of the arid north. It has three marked climatic and vegetation zones:
Mangroove swamps and adjoining arid coastal plains
The open, moist semi-deciduous forest zone, and, the northern Savannah
This zone is characterized by dense mangrove swamps at the estuarine area of the Volta River and the banks of the Angaw, Avu and part of Keta Lagoons. The main species are the white and red mangroves. The coastal plains are marked by low savannah grassland which dries up completely during the drying seasons. Mango and coconut palm trees are planted in several areas. The area has two rainfall maximal:
The main rainy seasons, occurring between May and August, and the minor season between September and October.
Between the rainy seasons is a prolonged dry season, culminating in the dry harmattan between November and February.
Daily temperatures are very high, averaging some 26°C. Humidity is high, averaging 60%.
This zone, occupying the central portion of the region, is made mostly of isolated forests and shrub-land. The main trees include the silk cotton tree, teak, obeche and wawa. Wild mangoes, oil palm and date palm grow in several areas. Most trees shed their leaves during the dry season.
The area also experiences the same rainfall pattern as the southern zone. The marked difference, however, is the intensity of the rains in the forest zone. Temperatures are a few degrees lower than the south, especially in the hilly areas. Once again the humidity is slightly lower.
This zone consists of mostly expansive savannah grassland, dominated in parts by tall elephant grass. There are a number of wild trees such as acacia, baobab, neem and cola the area has one rainfall regime from May to August/September. The temperatures are slightly higher than in the south. Humidity is, however, slightly lower.