UPPER EAST REGION
The Upper East Region, located in the savanna grassland of Ghana,
is rich in indigenous architecture and natural attractions.
With its capital as Bolgatanga (shortened to Bolga sometimes),
the Upper East Region occupies the extreme north east portion
of Ghana. This region is very dry. Upper East is noted for its
cattle and cereals like millet, sorghum and rice. The area is
also noted for its handicrafts and locally brewed beer known
as Pito. In terms of tourism, the Upper East does not have major
landmarks that make waves in tourism. However, its people have
much to offer in tourism. The main attractions include the following:
NATURAL TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Bolga is the meeting point of the ancient trans-Saharan trade
routes from Mali, which passed through Burkina Faso down to
Tamale and southern Ghana. A second route, from northern Nigeria
through Bawku, converges at Bolga and then joins the main route
from the south.
Dawadawa (spice used in preparing soup) and handwoven cotton
fabrics were exchanged for kola and salt from the south. Today,
Bolga is famous for its handicraft industries, which include
leather goods, local northern attire, straw-baskets, hats, fans
and metal jewellery.
Just 10km from Bolga is Tongo; a town built on granite rocks
which rise dramatically from the terrain. These ancient rocks
have interesting geometric shapes and are naturally perched
precariously on top of one another. During the cold, dry "Harmattan",
which blows across the Sahara from November to March, the persistent
wind forces its way through the rocks, producing an eerie whistling
Paga Crocodile Pond
Paga is located at the northeast border between Ghana and Burkina
Faso. The Paga Crocodile Pond is the sacred sanctuary for crocodiles,
which are said to be the totems of the Kasena people who reside
in Paga and surrounding villages.
At the Crocodile Pond, these reptiles can be enticed out of
the water by the whistling of the caretaker and the brandishing
of a chicken which the crocodile will snatch with its long snout.
If you are fearless enough, you can hold the beast's tail and
pose for pictures. There is a small charge for the chicken and
a token fee to the caretaker.
Legend has it that Naa Gbewaa, the founder of the Mole-Dagbon
tribes, finally settled at Pusiga in the Upper East Region in
the 13th century. His descendants continue to worship at the
shrine. (The Mole-Dagbon tribal area extends from northern Ghana
into Burkina Faso).
In August, 1962 Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana,
visited Kulugungu, a village in the Bawku district of the Upper
East Region. In his honour, a reception was held near a local
school, but the event was marred by a bomb blast which killed
a young child and injured many others, including the President.
A memorial has been built on the sport where this event occurred.
This festival is celebrated in March by the Talensis of Tong-Zug
just before the planting of grain. During the three-day festival,
sacrifices are offered to the gods for plentiful rain and good
The annual Fiok Festival is celebrated by the Builsas of Sandema
in December. This is a war festival which re-enacts the ancient
heroic exploits of the Builsas. Amid drumming and dancing, the
gods are invoked for protection and for a bountiful harvest.