Ghana has some of the best tourist centers on the continent and every single year, thousands of international tourists arrive in the country to share in its pleasures. In 2019, which was declared The Year of Return, the Ministry of Tourism recorded a total of about 1.13 million international visits. Due to COVID-induced restrictions, the estimated upward surge in tourist visits succeeding The Year of Return did not happen. Our research of most visited places in 2021 is mostly based on data from organized group tours and other informal avenues. From our compilation, here are ten of the most visited tourist attractions in Ghana.
1. The Kakum National Park
Kakum National Park, located in the coastal environs of the Central Region of Ghana, covers an area of 375 square kilometers. Although it was established as a reserve in 1931, it was only in 1992 that it was designated as a national park following an initial assessment of avifauna. Tropical woods cover the entire area. The park’s peculiarity stems from the fact that it was founded at the initiative of the local people rather than by the State Department of Wildlife, which is in charge of wildlife preservation in Ghana. It is one of only three spots in Africa with a 350-meter-long canopy walkway that connects seven tree tops and allows access to the jungle.
2. Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park
The memorial park is located in the capital city of Ghana, Accra. It includes a mausoleum and a museum built for and named after Ghana’s “founding father,” late President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park is located on The High Street in Accra’s major commercial district (now Atta Mills High-street).
3. Cape Coast Castle
The Cape Coast castle is one of around forty “slave castles” or massive commercial forts established by European traders in West Africa’s Gold Coast (now Ghana). It began as a Portuguese “feitoria,” or trading center in 1555, and was named Cabo Corso. It was historically a center for timber and gold trading but later, it was utilized in the trans-Atlantic slave trade to transport slaves before loading them onto ships and selling them in the Americas, particularly the Caribbean.
4. Elmina Castle
This was the first commercial post on the Gulf of Guinea and the oldest European structure south of the Sahara. The castle was founded as a trading post and later became one of the most important sites on the path of the Atlantic slave trade. After a failed attempt to seize the fort from the Portuguese in 1596, the Dutch took over the entire Portuguese Gold Coast in 1642. The Dutch Gold Coast, including the fort, was also taken over by the British in 1872.
5. Aburi Botanical Gardens
This is one of Ghana’s most remarkable tourist attractions. It was built by the British colonial government based on the design of the Royal Botanical Garden in the UK to serve as a sanatorium for government officials. With a land area of 64 hectares and an elevation of up to 460 meters above sea level, it overlooks the Accra coastal plain. Since its opening in March 1890, the garden has been a source of scientific research, spiritual experience, and leisure.
6. Kintampo Waterfalls
Kintampo waterfalls, formerly known as Sanders Falls, is one of Ghana’s highest waterfalls, located in Bono East. It is situated on the Pumpum River, a tributary of the Black Volta, approximately 4 kilometers north of Kintampo Municipality on the Kumasi–Tamale route. The waterfall is formed by three primary drops, the longest of which is 25 meters in height.
7. Mole National Park
Mole is Ghana’s first, largest and most prestigious protected area. The Park is managed mainly for its outstanding natural, physical, historical and cultural relevance. It covers an area of 4,577 km square of fairly undisturbed Guinea savannah in the northern part of Ghana. Mole is rich in biodiversity and home to some 742 vascular plant species and over 90 mammal species.
8. Manhyia Palace Museum.
The Manhyia Palace Museum is a historical museum housed within the Manhyia Palace in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The Museum, which was founded in 1925 as a private residence for Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh I (who was returning from nearly three decades in exile), now provides a good insight into Ashanti culture and Ghana’s cultural past prior to British colonization.
9. Lake Bosomtwe
Lake Bosomtwe is one of the world’s six meteoritic lakes. The site’s southernmost half overlaps the northern section of the Bosomtwe Range Forest Reserve, resulting in a mix of forest, wetland, and mountain ecosystems. The biosphere reserve is home to 35 tree species, some of which are exploited for timber. The site also has a diverse wildlife population and a human population of about 50,000 people whose primary economic activities include farming, fishing, and tourism.
10. Larabanga Mosque
The Larabanga Mosque is a Sudanese-style mosque located in the Ghanaian hamlet of Larabanga. It is the country’s oldest mosque and one of the oldest in West Africa, and has been dubbed the “Mecca of West Africa.” Since its foundation in 1421, it has been restored multiple times. The World Monuments Fund has made significant contributions to its rehabilitation.
If you’re planning a vacation for new year celebrations or summer vacation, these wonderful places are highly recommended.
CAUTION: Ghana is strictly enforcing COVID protocols at its international airport. Make sure to get vaccinated before you visit the country.
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