The Brong Ahafo region of Ghana is often thought to be one of the most beautiful areas of a beautiful country. With unspoiled natural beauty and welcoming small villages, visitors will find much to love in this often-overlooked region. Major natural attractions of Brong-Ahafo include the beautiful waterfalls of Kintampo, the Buabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Bui National Park, and Digya National Park. The town of Techiman is the legendary birthplace of the Akan people and is also home to the famous Catholic monastery of Tuobodom. Small village abound throughout the region selling hand-made pottery, cloth, and other goods.
With a long, steady rainy season, Brong Ahafo is also the great agricultural area of Ghana. Large cocoa plantations dot the land, but farmers also grow cashews, coffee, rubber, tobacco, maize, cassava, plantain, yam, rice and tomatoes.
The region is located just north of the Ashanti region and is bounded on the east by Lake Volta and on the the by the Black Volta River. Brong Ahafo is the second largest region of Ghana in terms of landmass.
Before the Ashanti Empire was conquered by the British in 1900, the Brong and Ahafo were recognized as two separate states within the powerful empire. Bono Manso was the capital of the Brong region, and it is believed that most Akans, including the Asante, can trace their origins to the city from the north. When the Asantes destroyed Bono Manso in 1723, the capital moved to Techiman and the Bono states fell under the rule of the Asante Empire.
The British administration in Ashanti brought some independence to the Brong and Ahafo states, but when the British restored the Ashanti Confederacy in 1935 their independence was once again threatened. In 1948, Nana Akumfi Ameyaw III led the secession of Bono from Asante, and, in 1958, Brong-Ahafo was created in 1958 from Bono state and named after the dominant and native inhabitants, Akans, Brong and Ahafo. Sunyani was made the capital of the new region
The predominant ethnic group is the Akan at 63%, followed by the Mole-Dagbon (15%) and the Grusi (4%). Within the Akan group, the Brong are the largest subgroup at 61.%., followed by the Asante (13.3%) and Ahafo (9.5%).
Things to See
- Kintampo Falls – these stunning falls are among the tallest in Ghana (70 meters total) and are just a short walk in the woods from close to the highway between Tamale and Kumasi. There are three stages to the falls that can be viewed, and the pool at the bottom is perfect for swimming. Guides are available, but not necessary.
- Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary – the sanctuary is situated between the two villages of Boabeng and Fiema and is considered to be Ghana’s most famous example of traditional African conservation. In all, the sanctuary is home to over 200 Geoffrey’s Pied Columbus and 500 Campbell’s Mona Monkeys. Monkeys and humans live together in the area, and visitors are led by tour guides and are able to observe the monkeys in both the lush forest and picturesque villages.
- Bui National Park – established in 1971 in the Black Volta River basin, this park is most notable for its hippopotamus population, but there are also a variety of antelopes, birds, and the endangered black and white colobus monkey. Not many people visit Bui because it is remote and facilities are poor, but that may change with the building of the Bui Dam.
- Digya National Park – established in 1900, Digya is the oldest protected area and the second largest national park and in Ghana. The park is home to the second largest elephant population in Ghana, over 200 species of birds, and six species of primates. At the part of the park that borders Lake Volta there are manatees and clawless otters.
- Lake Volta – the massive, man-made lake borders the eastern edge of Brong Ahafo. The port town of Yeji is a good place to access the lake and buy fish from local fishermen.
The Heritage of Brong Ahafo – the Hani archeological site near the town of Wenchi, inhabited by the Benghos about 1200 BC and is home to ancient caves where archaeologists have discovered terracotta figures, primitive rock inscriptions, and Stone Age tools such as hammers, cutting blades, and grinding stones. The Kwaku Fri shrine is nearby at Nwoase and is open to visitors on Wednesdays and Sundays.
- Ancient Amowi Caves – the legend is that the Bono people emerged from the ground at these underground caves near Fiema. Another legends states that the Bono people hid in the caves after a fierce battle with the Mossi people in the north.
- Traditional Cloth Making at Boama – the town of Nsuta near Techiman is a traditional cloth-making village where artisans produce Kyenkyen, a coarse jute-like cloth made from the bark of a tree by the same name. Visitors can watch the cloth-making process that dates back to ancient times.
- Yeji – this town on the shores of Lake Volta is an important market center for goods coming and going across the lake.
- Apoo – this festival is celebrated in Techiman and Wenchi in November and lasts one week. The purpose of the festival is for the purification of the people and it culminates on the sixth day with the Apoo procession, where insinuations are cast about the evil doings of some of the citizens.
- Fordjour (Yam Festival) – this yam harvest festival is celebrated in August and September in the Wenchi District.
- Sasabobirim Festival – this week-long festival is celebrated in November by the chiefs and people of Awuah Domase near Sunyani. The festival celebrates the memory of their brave chief who joined Yaa Ashatewaa to fight the Europeans in the early part of the 20th century.
- Kwafie Festival – this week-long festival is celebrated in November and December by the chiefs and people of Dormaa, Berekum and Nsoatre. The festival is for the purification of the people and culminates with a large bonfire in the courtyard of the chief. It is believed that the Dormaas brought fire to Ghana and the legend is symbolically represented in a bonfire.