Last week was indeed the craziest moment I have ever had, from the Famtrip to Tafi Afome monkey sanctuary to Akosombo, Ho in the Volta region of Ghana and finally to Accra the capital of Ghana for the 4th Accra Weizo event.
The journey actually started from Amuwo Odofin, Festac, at the ABC bus terminal in Lagos. We had a smooth journey not until we got to Iyana Iba where we experienced a slight traffic then we moved freely after to the Nigerian border leading to Seme. Seme border was a nightmare. Apart from the bad road, the rate at which the customs, immigration officers take bribes is simply unimaginable. Not to bother you with that, we proceeded after checking at the Seme border to the main Benin Republic highway, Port Norvo, Cotonou, Inla Condji, to Aflao was a good trip, the roads were just good.
A Lesson From Cotonou Bike Ride…
When we got to Port Norvo enroute Cotonou, I noticed the bike riders observed some decency in their speed limit, they also maintained their lanes with their helmet on. One astonishing thing I noticed was that almost 30 to 40 per cent of the bike riders were women.
It was as if the bike riders had a rule or policy that guides their speed limit. The bike rider’s speed limit was not limited to Cotonou axis but it went all through to the city of Accra. Finally we arrived at Ho the Volta region of Ghana and checked in to our hotel rooms. Later in the evening on Tuesday at Chances hotel, Ho, our tour guide Mr. Yao Dzide arrived with some cultural groups who came in to entertain us with some Ewes traditional songs and dances. On Wednesday we had a pre Accra Weizo Famtrip of the Volta region, Ghana.
The Volta Region, Ho
The story behind the Volta region, Ho in Ghana started with a few people who migrated from the other neighboring countries especially Togo where there are Ewe speaking people. Ghana has about 46 ethnic groups one of which is Ewe spoken by the Volta region. Meanwhile, the official spoken language of the Volta region is fondly called Ewegbe. Ho is the capital of the Volta region and most of the administrative facilities of the region are located in Ho and they are simply called the regional offices. However the tour guide told us that Ghana today runs what we call the decentralised system of governance and out of the 10 administrative regions, there are 275 districts with a representative in government.
Still on Wednesday we proceeded to Tafi Afome Monkey Sanctuary after we had experienced the hilly surroundings of Ho. We ascended and descended the hills until we finally arrived the host community of the monkeys. Tafi afome Monkey Sanctuary where we have monkeys living with the people in the community. The monkeys are said to be sacred and no one touches them. They live in harmony with the people in this community. This is a community base attraction and the community shares from the revenue from the conserved monkey sanctuary so they put in all their best to conserve all what they have.
The tour guide at the monkey sanctuary, Francis Acquaye explained the types of monkey found in their community. He said: “The monkeys we have here are special because they carry special features that make them different. They are myna monkeys. “When you check the tails you see that they have two dots, the two dots is what make them true myna monkeys and in the whole of West Africa you can only see it in three places Ghana and a village in Nigeria and another village in Cameroon. “In the ape family they are the most friendly to the extent that when you are feeding them, they can jump onto your arms, but there friendly nature is limited to you having food, so no food no friendship.” Our tour guide, Mr Yoa further explained that the Tafi Afome Monkey Sanctuary and Ghana generally is advancing it’s ecotourism and therefore parks and other conserved forest areas are becoming very significant.
Besides the monkey sanctuary and slave trade monuments, funerals tourism is also a trending attraction in Ghana as people begin to see funeral as a celebration not a wailing feast. Mr Yao also mentioned the national museum which houses a few relics and also a few cultural expositions of this area. Unfortunately we could not make it to the museum. Just around Ho again some of the very beautiful ecosystem is the Wuli Play WaterFalls which is so far the highest waterfalls in West Africa falling about 100 feet. There are two stages of this falls, the top fall which flows out of the rock and flows a little and then drop from that height, the vegetation around there is so inviting with the water falling from the top turning into a river.
The other places are Christian oriented, there we can see the 14 Stations of the Cross marked in stone or concrete. The 14 stations were elegantly built. Then we have the Virgin Mary, the biggest status and in recent time people have seen revelation there. From Tafi Afome monkey sanctuary we proceeded to the southeastern part of Ho, the Volta River Authority, Akosombo. This place came into existence several years ago when about 8,000 people were moved to another part of Ho for some reasons. Akosombo River then became a dam which is now use to generate power for its community. Akosombo Dam was constructed in 1961 for hydroelectric power generation.
It generates about 1020 megawatt of power coming up from the dam today it is one of the biggest hydro dam in the south region and the biggest man made dam in the world. From there we then went to the Royal Senchi Hotel for a luxury boat cruise on the Akosombo Volta River. We sure had a nice evening at the Royal Senchi Hotel before we retired for the day at the Afrikoko Hotel, Akosombo. Thursday was the main journey to the city of Accra where we finally lodged at the Accra City Hotel for the Accra Weizo event held on Friday and Saturday.
Accra Weizo The tourism event brings travel and tourism stakeholders together to discuss seamless travels in West Africa in other to grow ecotourism among West African countries. Organizer of the event, Mr Ikechi Uko, said the idea was to get people in travel business to work together. According to him, “you know West Africa is the largest part in Africa with about 380 to 400 million people with more than 30 Airports and we are the biggest travellers, yet we don’t have any strong airlines neither do we have inbound and travel within us but we supply hundreds of thousands of tourists to our sister in Dubai and South Africa.
“It is unfortunate that we don’t travel within our sub region and that is because we don’t know each other. That is what we want to do with Accra Weizo, to get people in the travel industry in West Africa to know each other.”
By HANNAH ONI