The Western Region of Ghana hugs the Atlantic coast and borders the neighboring country of Cote D’lvoire. The fertile land is known for its cocoa and rubber plantations, and visitors will be drawn to its lush tropical jungles, pristine beaches and beautiful coastal castles and forts. Like other regions of Ghana, the Western region has its fair share of picturesque craft villages and lively cultural festivals.
With the highest rainfall of any region in Ghana, the Western Region boasts fertile soils and rolling green hills. In addition to cocoa and rubber, crops such as coconut, citrus, oil palm, teak, and coffee are grown. The region is also blessed with vast natural resources, making it the wealthiest region in Ghana. The town of Tarkwa is the center of a major mining area for gold and other minerals, and several of the mines welcome visitors with prior arrangement. Oil was discovered off-shore in 2007 and quickly became another major source of income in the area.
Some of Ghana’s most prominent rivers are in the region, including the Ankobra, the Bia, and the Pra in the east. The Tano River forms part the broder with Cote D’lvoire in the west. The Western Region is known for the villages that are built on stilts over the water, the most famous of which is Nzulezu in the centre of Lake Tadane.
The Western Region is the ancestral home of Akan people, who make up 97% of the region’s population, and they can be subdivided into the Nzema, Wassa, Aowin, Sefwi, and Ahanta branches
Forts built by the Portuguese, Dutch, British, and Germany for the trading of slaves date back to 1512.
Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of modern independent Ghana, was born in the village of Nkroful and taught school in the 1930’s.
Things to See
- Beaches – the Western Region is famous for some of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in Ghana. Busua Beach Resort is regarded as one of the most beautiful and safest beaches in Ghana, Busua was originally a small fishing village that has been transformed into a very nice beach resort. A short walk through the forest leads to the beach, and there’s a small island just off-shore just waiting to be explored. Other beaches strung along the coast include Sports Club Beach, Ajua Beach, Miamia Beach, Ankobra Beach, Paradise Beach, Alaska Beach, Coconut Grove Beach, and Princesstown Beach. Learn to surf at one of the local surfing schools.
- Akatekyi Crocodile Pond – watch a religious ceremony where a local fetish priest lures crocodiles from the water with a live fowl. The ritual is performed every day except Wednesday, which is a sacred day. Guests are encouraged to bring a bottle of Schnapps for the libation ceremony and a small amount of cash to help pay for the live fowl.
- Ankasa Nature Reserve – this protected are harbors an intact ancient rainforest that is considered to be the most biodiverse in Ghana. The forest contains an amazing 800 plant species, plus beautiful casacades and the famous “bamboo cathedral.” Animals that make their home in the reserve include Forest Elephant, Bongo, Leopard, and the Yellow-backed Duiker. Nine species are primates can be found, including the Western Chimpanzee, the Roloway Diana Monkey, Geoffroy’s Pied Colobus, and the White-naped Sooty Mangabey.
- Amansuri Conservation Area – this conservation area protects vital and undisturbed freshwater wetlands, swamps, and lagoons near the coast. The intact swamp forest is home to a wide variety of animals such as primates, crocodiles, marine turtles and birds.
- Bia National Park – this park is located in the northern part of the region along the watershed of the Bia River and encompasses both evergreen and semi-deciduous tropical forests. Bia is an International Biosphere Reserve Park that has been a protected area since 1935 and became a national park in 1974. The park features some of the tallest trees in West Africa, plus 62 species of mammals, including leopards, forest elephants, bongos, buffalo, and 10 species of primate. There’s also over 160 species of birds, and the park is the only known home of Agama sylvanus, a newly discovered species of lizard.
- The Castles of the Western Region – the Western Region contains a good number of historic castles dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Fort Metal Cross at Dixcove has been has been very well restored, with fresh whitewash and stonework. Fort William at Anomabo has also been restored and offers very good tours with knowledgeable guides. Fort Santo Antonio at Axim is one of the larger forts in Ghana and also offers guided tours. Other forts include Fort Batenstein at Butri, Gross Friedrichsburg at Princess Town, and Fort San Sebastian at Sekondi-Takoradi.
- The Village on Stilts of Nzulezu – this amazing village is located in the center of Lake Tadane. Visitors take a dugout canoe to tour the traditional village that happens to be built entirely on stilts. The inhabitants are believed to have migrated to the area from Walata, a city in the ancient Ghana Empire, and the legend is that they were guided to their new home by a snail. The village welcomes visitors everyday except Thursday, which is a sacred day. Be sure to where shoes that can get wet, as there is a walk through reeds to get to the canoes.
- Monkey Hill – this tropical forest within the twin cities of Sekondi-Takoradi is inhabited by three species of monkeys, including the threatened Olive Columbus species. The area has been turned into an eco-tourism zone and welcomes visitors.
- Kwame Nkrumah’s Grave – Nkroful was the hometown of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, first President of Ghana and a hero of Africa. His physical remains have actually been re-interred in Accra, but visitors can still pay a visit the original grave of the historic person.
- Sekondi Kundum – this festival is celebrated between July and August and is both a harvest festival and a time for remembering the dead and preparing and purifying for the new year. The festival is unique in that it moves from town to town over a period of weeks, and each town adds their own unique twists to the festivities.