Ghana is endowed with a wide range of natural, historical and cultural attractions, all of which provide the basis for conservation and preservation, allowing the country to promote a range of diverse tourism products.
Ghana has a unique cultural heritage, featuring a calendar of regular festivals, ancient traditions, artisans, excellent goldsmith, wonderful wood carvings and herbal medicine. The ecological systems and beautiful landscapes of Ghana feature botanical gardens, tropical rainforests, natural parks, inland lakes and rivers – a true wonder for any visitor.
Among the natural attractions of Ghana are its many pristine tropical beaches, located along the country’s 540 km of Atlantic coast. Ghana is able to cater for niche tourism, offering both beach and golf activities.
The coast of Ghana is dotted with historical monuments such as the forts and castles built during the 14th to 18th centuries by eight different European empires. Visitors can see the dungeons that were used to accommodate millions of Africans for the famous transatlantic slave trade. They are still standing today, preserved as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These heritage sites and monuments are key to Ghana’s special market tourism, attracting many students of history and culture as well as other visitors.
On top of an abundance of things to do and see, there is the warmth, friendliness and hospitality of the Ghanaian people, who will welcome you in their own unique way to the daily rhythm of their beloved country.
Easily accessible from all parts of the world, Ghana is undoubtedly a peaceful, politically stable and safe country for tourists.
Leading the way in ecotourism
Ghana is a nature lover’s delight. Its sunny equatorial climate and fertile soils sustain an enchanting selection of wildlife, ranging from elephants to monkeys and from marine turtles to crocodiles, as well as hundreds of colourful bird and butterfly species.
More than five per cent of the country’s surface area has been accorded official protection in sixteen (16) national parks of lower-profile conservation areas, of which the most popular tourist destinations are the vast Mole National Park in the northern savannah and the forested Kakum National Park near the coast.
In recent years Ghana has emerged as a pioneer in the field of community-based ecotourism, which aims to create a mutually beneficial three-way relationship between conservationists, tourists and local communities.
The Boabeng-Fiem Monkey Sanctuary, home to sacred troops of mona and black-and-white colobus monkeys, led the way in 1995 and remains the flagship for more than two dozen other community-based tourism projects across the country. These range from the award-winning Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary in the Upper West and Amansuri Wetland Sanctuary in the Western Region to cultural sites such as the Domana Rock Shrine, set in the forests near Kakum National Park, and the painted houses of pottery in Sirigu in the Upper East.
The Volta Region, the most topographically varied part of Ghana, also hosts the country’s largest concentration of community-based ecotourism sites and offers outdoor enthusiasts some superb opportunities for hiking, attractions include the sacred monkeys of Tafi Atome, the magnificent forests and waterfalls around Amedzofe, the country’s highest peak, Mount Afadjato, and the impressive forest-fringed Wli Falls, the tallest cascade in West Africa.
GHANA’S UNIQUE ATTRACTION
Ghana, lying in the tropics has several unique attractions that make it appealing to continental and international visitors. Some of these attractions include:
White sands coastline: Ghana has a coastline of 539 km of white, sandy beaches. The seas have long stretches without rocks making it ideal for surfing, swimming and other water sports.
In addition, the many rivers and lakes support water sports, with the estuary of the Volta River being a popular location for water sports in Ghana.
Castles and Forts: Ghana has thirty-three (33) forts and castles dotted along the coast with a few located inland. Of this number, twenty-one (21) have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. These castles and forts, mostly constructed between 1482 and 1786 were built and occupied at different times by trades from Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany and Britain. They served the gold trade of European chartered companies.
Latterly they played a significant part in the developing slave trade, and therefore in the history of the Americas, and, subsequently, in the 19th century, in the suppression of that trade.
In July 2009, the then US President, Barack Obama visited the Cape Coast Castle, a focal point of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Visits to the castles and forts remain an integral part of attractions in Ghana.
Eco-Tourism: Ghana can boast of several eco-tourism sites across the country with over 28 community based eco-tourism sites.
From the Buabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary through the Paga Crocodile Pond to the Wechiau Hippo sanctuary, there is always something for the traveller to do. Ghana has integrated the communities where these eco-tourism sites are located into the delivery of tourism service. The country sees this as part of sustainable tourism, which is the future of tourism.
Cultural Tourism: Ghana has over 70 major festivals celebrated at different times throughout the country. The rich culture of Ghana can be seen through the colourful display of culture, be it the Akwesidae of the Ashanti Kingdom, the Deer Hunt Festival of the Effutu people or the Bugum festival of the Moe-Dagomba people. Ghana’s festival calendar is all year round, attracting people from across the globe. In 1992, Ghana introduced the Pan-African Festival (PANAFEST) for people of African origin in the diaspora to connect with their roots, which they lost during the slave trade. The idea of this festival is to promote and enhance unity, Pan-Africanism, and the development of the continent of Africa. This festival takes place every two years.
Safari: Ghana boasts of wildlife safari in the National Parks. The Mole National Park which is the biggest national park is located in Northern Ghana and has a variety of wildlife.
Summer safaris are popular among tourists in Ghana.