THE NORTHERN REGION
Tamale, the capital, is the country's fourth largest city and the obvious
gateway to the northern region. The region if bounded on the north by the
Upper East and Upper West regions, on the west by Cote DTvoire and on the
east by Togo. The regions on the south are the Brong Ahafo and Volta regions.
The main ethnic groups are Dagomba, Nanumba, Mamprusi, Gonja and Komkombas.
Other groups include Chekosis, Bimobas and Vaglas. It is the nerve centre
of all commercial activities in the whole of the Northern Sector of Ghana.
Tamale is an incredible juxta-position of the ancient and modern. The traditional
architecture of round huts with conical thatched roofs are sights to see.
It is also the t home of Ghana's first University of Development Studies.
The main dishes of the Northern Region include "TZ or "Tuo Zaafi" rice balls or "Omo Tuo" with groundnut or green leaves soups, beans or cowpea with sheanut oil and pepper called "Tubaani" "Koko" or millet/corn porridge eaten with "Koose" fried bean balls. Beverages include "Pito", a locally brewed beer from millet, "Zom koom", or toasted millet flour in water and "fula" mashed in water, milk, ginger and sugar
How to get there By Road
There are several STC and private buses that connect Tamale to Accra and Kumasi on a daily basis except Sundays either through the Techiman and Kintampo route or the road connecting Kumasi to Wa via Wenchi and Bole
You can also reach Tamale by using the weekly Ferry service from Akosombo
to Yeji on the Volta Lake.
You can catch a daily flight either with Antrak air or City link
CULTURAL & HISTORICAL HERITAGE
Slave Route of Northern Ghana
The Northern Region was a major arena of slave raiders and a key supply source for slaves who were sent to markets and sold to local merchants from the South. They were subsequently marched on the coast and resold to European traders for export...
It is the oldest and the largest Sudanic-Style mosque in the country, dating
as far back as the 13th Century. In the building is a Koran, which is as old
as the mosque itself. It is believed to have been first built by Moorish Traders
and is one of the holiest sites in Ghana. The village is nice but finding
somewhere to eat can be difficult.
Larabanga Mystery Stone
Legend has it that this stone on the outskirts of Larabanga always returns
to its original resting place when moved. Due to this legend the main road
that runs through this area had to be diverted around the stone. Nalerigu
Located 120km from Bolga. the remnants of this ancient wall in the Gambaga scarps is said to have been built in the 16th century to protect inhabitants.
WILDLIFE AND NATURE RESERVES
The Mole National Park
This National Park offers a great Safari-like experience and is one of the
biggest elephant sanctuaries in Africa. The largest of Ghana's National Parks
and situated in the heart of the Guinea savannah woodland ecosystem, it is
home to 93 mammalian species. 33 reptile's nine amphibians and an estimated
300 species of birds. One hundred seventy kilometers west of Tamale in the
West Gonja District, is the Mole National Park. The scenic ride to Mole, though
rough, is ideal for adventurous visitor. Game protection and viewing roads
have been developed within the park. Tourist facilities exist. You can get
to this park from Tamale by catching a bus at 2.30 pm; make sure you buy your
own food and drinks for the journey. The 4-hour journey to the park from Tamale
is not very good as the roads are not exactly perfect but it is also an exciting
trip to make. This is the best equipped of the country's park reservations.
Nice hotel with swimming pool in the middle of the reserve. There is a basic
33-bed, no frills hotel facility, which overlooks an elephant bath, offers
overnight accommodation and restaurant facilities. Additionally, composite
facilities are available for visitors. A landing strip for small aircraft
provides the option of air access to Mole.
Bui National Park
In the Soufh-Western corner of the region, the park is noted for its hippopotamus population. It has a savannah and riverine landscape that encompasses a portion of the Black Volta River. Part of this park extends into the Brong Ahafo Region. Not very accessible and has no receptive facilities.
Traditional textile in the North is the Fugu. The main centers for its production
are Yendi, Gushiegu and Tamale. In Doboya the only economic activity is the
Fugu. A visit there would include a boat ride, fishing, and the chance to
see salt mining a bird sanctuary and a stopover at Jaagbo shrine. Jakarayili
and Kikuo in Tamale are villages where giant pots are made. The Lobi's in
Bole District produce exotic water pots and baskets. Leather is produced in
a traditional tannery in Zongoni Tamale for all kinds of leather were by craftsmen
around the town.
You can make a stop-over at Gambaga and have the opportunity to visit the Gambaga Kings Palace and the home of the Witches, where you can interact with them. After which you can proceed to Nakpanduri to have a look at the Scarp and there you can experience nature
The Kraal Buildings
Only a few kilometers north or east of Tamale, visitors will discover the first northern-style kraals set amidst their surrounding millet fields. These traditional habitations are totally different from those of southern Ghana.
The Central market in Tamale sells everything from groceries to motorbikes.
Visitors will find this colourful market full of hustle and bustle. Tamale
is largely Islamic so you'll find grand mosques and very interesting traditional
rustic mosques in which the faithful gather to pray five times each day. A
visit to the leather tanners will provide a look at the traditional process
of tanning, which produces the beautiful leather products including bags,
purses, necklaces and boots. The National Cultural Center, a small zoo, and
a botanical garden herbarium are some of the other sites to lookout for.
One hundred and twenty kilometers to the southwest of Tamale is Salaga,
the capital of the Gonja East District which used to be the biggest slave-trading
center in Northern Ghana.
The original slave market was moved south from Salaga to a settlement called Kafaba. Unfortunately, much of Kafaba is now under the Volta Lake. The present road from Tamale to Salaga is rough terrain. Salaga has a pond called "Wonkan bawa" (a Huasa word meaning "the bathing place of slave") and a young Baobab tree in what used to be the Slave Market. This existing Baobab is a replacement for an original tree to which slaves were chained and displayed as wares for sale. Merchants from farther north and the forest regions of the south would come and barter salt, cola nuts, cowries, gold, and Europeans drinks for slaves. This historical market presently doubles as a public transportation terminal.
Salaga was an international trade centre and had seven other markets. Wells, which served as water supply sources for the township, and the large migrant trader population and relics such as slave chains can also be found in Salaga. Slave dormitories and other transit housing have been demolished and replaced with new residential dwellings. The chains and other related artefacts are in private possession of some residents and there are few sites of the slave market available to visitors.
Northwest of Tamale are the salt mines of Daboya. Salt was an important
and major item of exchange and used in the barter for slave. Salt mining still
goes on today, but more than salt, the town is noted for its hand woven and
unique textiles, which sell in the market of the Northern Region. The White
Volta also runs nearby and offers potential for boating, canoeing and fishing.
Yendi is the seat of the "Yaa Naa's", King of the Dagbon State
and is 98km southeast of Tamale and connected by ^n excellent paved road.
Slave relics such as chains and Babatu's armour are held in private possessions.
Until the First World War, Yendi and other parts of the Northern region were
part of Trans Volta Togoland and German colony.
The cemetery, which includes the grave of German soldiers who fell in the war of resistance of the Dagomba against German colonization, can also be found in Yendi.
Yipkabongo is north of Tamale in the Builsa traditional area, with access via Waiewale, the District capital for West Mamprusi, Yikpabongo and three other towns, Tantala, Yeziesi and Kubore are noted for terracotta's. The area is a rich archaeological site.
These witches' settlements are located at Ngani in the Yendi district, Gambaga in the east Mamprusi district, and Kukuo in the Bimbilla district and Kpatinga in the Fushegu district. These places are sanctuaries for people mostly women accused of witchcraft in their communities; they are kept here until witchcraft is exorcised. Other sites include the turtle pond at Sambu in the Yendi district and the crocodile pond at Tale 20 kilometers west of Tamale.
This Grave is that of Babatu, the infamous slave raider who was killed during
one of forays and buried near his house in Yendi.
Jintigi Fire Festival
It is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Gonjaland in April every year.
It is celebrated under the lunar calendar by the people of Dagbon, Mamprugu, Gonja. Mamprugui, Nanumba. The significance of the festival is to commemorate the birthday of the Holy Prophet of Islam. The activities include prayers and fasting and procession of people on horseback, amidst drumming and dancing.
Bugum Chugu (Fire) Festival
The Bugum Chugu is celebrated throughout the Northern Region by the Dagombas. the Nanumbas and the Mamprusis. It is held under the lunar calendar. The main activity is the procession of celebrants with torches at night amidst music and dancing. The significance of Bugum is to commemorate the search for the lost son of an ancient king.
Kpini Chugu (Guinea Fowl Festival)
The Kpini Chugu is observed in the Dagbon, Mamprugu and Nanung Traditional
Areas as a minor festival. These areas are made up of Dagombas, Mamprusis,
Nanumbas, Kokombas and Basaris. There is no general celebration. It is observed
as a harvest offering to the gods.
Gobandawu (Yam) Festival
Gobandawu marks the beginning of the new harvest season by the traditional areas in the Northern Regions. The main activity is the sacrificial offering of yams and guinea fowl to in-laws. The significance of this festival is to give thanks to the gods for a good harvest
For More Information Contact;
The Ghana Tourist Board Northern Region, Tamale
Regional Admin Office.
P.O. Box 1053, Tamale " Tel: [233-