Also see regional tourism: Ghana Tourism | The Upper West Region | The Central Region | The Eastern Region | The Western Region | The Upper East Region | The Northern Region | The Volta Region | Photos of Ghana

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

TRAVEL INFORMATION
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

By Ferry

You can also reach Tamale by using the weekly Ferry service from Akosombo to Yeji on the Volta Lake.

By Air

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...

Larabanga Mosque

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 Defence Wall
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.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS

Handicrafts

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.

Gambaga Scarp

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.

Tamale

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.

Salaga

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.

Daboya

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

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

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.


Witches Homes/Camps
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.

Babatu's Grave

This Grave is that of Babatu, the infamous slave raider who was killed during one of forays and buried near his house in Yendi.

FESTIVALS

Jintigi Fire Festival

It is celebrated by the chiefs and people of Gonjaland in April every year.


Damba Festival

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-

 

 

 

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