Volta Region

Volta Region

The Volta Region is located on the eastern edge of Ghana and borders the neighboring Republic of Togo. It’s a long and narrow region that stretches from the beaches and coastal plains of the Atlantic Ocean on the southern end all the way up to the arid Northern Region. The massive Lake Volta forms much of its western border. The capital city is Ho, which is also the region’s largest city.

Stone chairs in the mountainous region near the city of Ho.
Stone chairs in the mountainous region near the city of Ho.

As a result of its unique geography, the Volta Region is a land of stunning beauty and a diverse mix of tropical micro-climates. Beaches and mangrove swamps dominate the coastal area. The central area features scenic Lake Volta and lush deciduous rain forests with waterfalls and caves. Farther north the land turns to open, arid savanna grasslands. The Volta Region contains both Ghana’s highest point, Mt. Afadjato at 885 metres/2095 feet, and the Keta basin, which is the lowest point in Ghana.

The History

In historical terms, the Volta Region identifies more with the neighboring Republic of Togo than with the rest of Ghana.

The largest ethnic group of the Volta Region are the Ewe people, who comprise 92% of the population. The Ga-Dangme comprise 4% of the population. The northern area is home to a few other ethnic groups, including the Gurma, the Mole, the Dagomba, the Grusi, and the Bissa.

The first European explorers arrived in the area in the 1800’s. The coastal area was first colonized by the Danes, who later ceded control to the British, who administered it as part of the Gold Coast part of Ghana. The Germans took control of the central part of the Volta Region, and, in 1884, they formed the German protectorate of Togoland, which included the nation of Togo and most of what is now the Volta Region of Ghana. During World War I, British and French forces took control Togoland from the Germans and placed it under military rule. In 1916, Togoland was divided between the British and French, and in 1922 the two countries officially formed British Togoland, which was eventually incorporated into the country of Ghana, and French Togoland, which is now the Republic of Togo.

Things to See

Mona Monkey
Mona Monkey at the Tafi-Alome Monkey Sanctuary

Beaches

The beaches of the Volta estuary and the Keta District are among the most beautiful in Ghana, with clean sandy reaches and overhanging coconut trees. Swimming is popular in some areas, but the sea can be rough along the Atlantic coast. Watersports and deep sea fishing for tuna, tarpon, and barracuda are popular.

Natural Attractions

The central area of the Volta Region is full of beautiful preserves, parks, estuaries, and sanctuaries.

Wli Waterfall
Wli Waterfall
  • Wli Waterfalls: located in the Agumatsa Wildlife Sanctuary, the Wli Waterfalls are believed to be the highest in Ghana. There are actually two falls that fall 1,600 feet, and there is a plunge pool at the bottom where people can swim. Indigenous animals that can be found in the area include fruit bats, monkeys, and antelopes, plus about 200 species of birds and 400 butterfly species.
  • Amedzofe – this historic village is located in the highlands of the Akwapim-Togo range and is Ghana’s highest settlement at 750 metres altitude. The natural beauty of the region is evident on the scenic drive to the village, with verdant valleys, waterfalls, steep canyons and cliffs all around. The village itself is enveloped in a cool climate near the summit of Mount Gemi. After exploring the village, guests can take the 30 minute hike to the summit, which features a large iron cross and spectacular views of the surrounding region. There is also another 45 minute hike that leads to beautiful Amedzofe Falls.
  • The Tafi-Alome Monkey Sanctuary: The Mona monkeys that live in this forest were once considered to be sacred. Visitors to the sanctuary will get to see hundreds of monkeys, and they will be given a tour of the forest and supplied with bananas for feeding the monkeys.
  • Tagbo Falls: this waterfall is located in a rain forest near Mt. Afadjato and is one of the most beautiful in Ghana. The falls are reached by hiking about 45 minutes through lush forest and cocoa trees.
  • Kalakpa Resource Reserve: this reserve was created in 1975 to preserve the valuable and uncommon dry forest and short grassland savanna. The area is located just a few miles south of Ho and is home to borassus palm and baobab trees, plus buffalo, bushbuck, duikers, wild cats, green monkeys, kob antelope, and numerous species of birds.
  • Kyabobo National Park: located in the foothills of Mt. Djebobo and along the border with Togo, this wildlife reserve boasts lions, elephants, leopards, antelopes, bushbuck, duikers, and monkeys. The park also boasts at least 500 species of butterflies and 235 species of birds.
  • Volta River Estuary: this estuary encompasses the area where the Volta River flows into the Gulf of Guinea before entering the Atlantic Ocean. The islands in the delta, the mangrove swamps, and the coconut palm fringed beaches are home to sea birds, crocodiles, and turtles. The beaches are wonderful, and water sports include sailing, canoeing, fishing, water skiing, wake boarding and jet skiing.
  • Keta Lagoon Complex Ramser Site: this lagoon is the largest in Ghana, and it’s islands and brackish waters are home to thousands of migratory birds, making it a bird-watchers paradise.

Other Attractions:

Kente weaving
Kente weaving
  • Hohoe: this town is an important centre for herbal medicine, which holds traditional significance for Ghana and is of growing importance or the rest of the world.
  • Kente Weaving: this vibrant traditional form of weaving is native to the Akan ethnic group of South Ghana and can be found in the rural town of Agotime-Kpetoe. The vibrantly-colored cloth is made using interwoven cloth strips of silk and cotton fabric.
  • Grottos and Caves: the Volta Region is known for its grottos and caves that are carved into the limestone hills. Notable sites include the Ancestral Caves of Likpe, the Grottos of Kpando, and the Caves of Nyagbo and Lagba.
  • Prinzenstein: this coastal fort was built by the Danes and used for the slave trade. Except for a small fort in Benin, it is the only ancient European built fort of its kind east of the Volta River.

Festivals

As with the other regions of Ghana, the Volta Region has its fair share of festivals.

  • Hogbetsotso: this festival takes place on the first Saturday of November at Anloga, the traditional home of the Anlo-speaking Ewes. It commemorates the exodus of the Anlo-Ewes from the tyranny of a wicked chief in northern Togo to their current home in Ghana. The festival includes drumming, dancing, colorful regalia, and general merry-making.
  • Keta-Sometutuza: this festival takes place two weeks after the Hogbetsotso festival and is celebrated by the Somme-Ewes in the town of Agbozume. This colorful and popular festival culminates in a durbar of chiefs and subjects and is full of pomp and pageantry. adorned in various types of Kente cloth.
  • Agbeliza: Avenorpeme and Akatsi hold the celebration of the cassava. The festival is celebrated in August and features various cassava products such as “agbelikaklo”, “yakayake”, “cassava cake”, etc.
  • Agbamevoza (Kente Festival) of the Agotime People: The chiefs and people of Agotime traditional area celebrate their annual celebration of Kente weaving in August every year. The Agotime people claim they introduced the art of Kente weaving to Ghana, and the colorful festival includes a Kente-weaving competition and the crowning of a Miss “Agbamevor.”
  • Dzawuwu Festival Of Agave-Ewes: held every February, this thanksgiving festival is given by the chiefs and people of the Agave traditional area. The festival offers thanks to the gods, celebrates the bravery of past Agave warriors, pays tribute to the departed, and culminates in a durbar of chiefs. There is lots of drumming and dancing.
Featured photo by Erik Kristensen via Wikimedia Commons, Stone Chairs photo by Chad Skeers via CC-BY-2.0, Mona Monkey photo by Mike Norton via CC-BY-2.0, Wli Waterfall photo by Stig Nygaard via CC-BY-2.0, Kente Weaving photo by Shawn Zamechek via CC-BY-2.0.

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