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General Information
Region
History
Government
Etiquette
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Native Attire
A Kinship
WESTERN REGION


On the southwestern shores of Ghana, nestled between the Gulf of Guinea and the Ivory Coast (la Cote D' Ivoire), in the Western Region and its twin-city capital, Sekondi-Takoradi. The nucleus of this thriving metropolis is a modern harbour from which Ghana's principal exports of cocoa, coffee, bauxite, manganese and timber are shipped to world markets.

These same waters which enable the Region's prospering commercial trade today, once, centuries ago, received European ships which arrived to trade with coastal forts for gold and slaves.

This striking contract contrast between old and new - ancient and modern - creates the unique and interesting charm of the Western Region. It is reflected in a variety of unique attractions travellers may visit: grom gold mines to the single gauge railway to fragrant rubber plantations.

There are also beautiful beaches, historic forts, popular cultural events, a village on stilts and charmed crocodiles, which will keep adventure-loving travellers busy for quite some time.

If your travel plans include a visit to Cape Coast or Elmina in the Central Region, then you are only one hour's drive from Takoradi via an excellent highway.


TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

MAN-MADE

Mines
Since underground tours are limited to relatively small groups (8-10 people at a time) and special protective gear must be provided, advance reservations are necessary. Please contact the Ghana Tourist Board in Takoradi for assistance Tel: 233-031-2357.

Tarkwa Goldmines
The Tarkwa Goldmines, 92km northwest of Takoradi, were founded in the 1800s and are among the oldest goldmines in the country. Above ground, you can see the mills where the gold is extracted from the gold bearing rocks. Roaring machines grind the rocks into a sand-like substance. Then water and chemicals are added and the solution passes over a conveyor belt. The larger gold particles are removed, and the remaining solution is remixed with chemicals so that smaller gold particles can be extracted.

After you are fitted with protective gear, you will go underground in a small cage to one of the branch tunnels. There you will proceed either on foot or in small rail cars to see where the gold is dynamited from the walls of the mine.

After the tour, take a refreshing break at the Tarkwa Goldmines' Canteen. There are modest-room Guest House on site and rooms for rental.


Prestea Goldmines
40km further north of Tarkwa are the Prestea Mines. Unlike the Tarkwa Mines, Prestea has 2 unique departments you will enjoy seeing: the Assay Department where the gold is carefully evaluated for purity, and the Roaster Department where the gold is smelted in small furnaces and the molten liquid is poured into moulds to make gold bards.

If you are interested in recreation, the Prestea Goldmines have 2 lighted tennis courts and a challenging 18-hole golf course. A canteen, with a panoramic view of the area, serves good Continental and Ghanaian cuisine.


Nsuta Manganese Mines
20km southeast of Tarkwa, the Nsuta Manganese Mines are the third largest in the world. Here you can see open cast (rather than underground) mining methods in practice. Your tour will show the exposed mineral bearing rocks, which are dynamited and then transported to the crushing plant.

After the rock is reduced to smaller pieces it is washed and foreign particles are removed. The resulting manganese ore is then transported to the railway where it is shipped to Takoradi for export.

The Mines have a dormitory-type, modern Guest House, 2 swimming pools and a 12-hole golf course, all of which can be enjoyed in the cool mountain air at Nsuta.


NATURAL

BEACHES

Busua Pleasure Beach
25km off Takoradi-Tarkwa Road at the Agona Junction is Busua Pleasure Beach. The wide golden beach attracts travellers from all over the world and the gentle surf makes swimming safe, even for children.

Chalet-style accommodation is available. An outdoor restaurant and bar, serving drinks and light meals, continues to operate.

Why not combine a day at the beach with a quick visit to Fort Metal Cross in Dixcove; it is only 5km away.


Sports Club Beach - Sekondi-Takoradi
Just 2km from Takoradi town centre, behind the Atlantic Hotel, is a lovely stretch of palm-fringed beach. The beach also has a private club with an 18-hole golf course, a tennis court, a swimming pool and a club house with catering facilities.

Although the club's facilities are reserved for members, visitors may make reservations in advance by calling Tel: 233-031-2229 or contacting the Ghana Tourist Board.


Adjua Beach
Located about 10km off Takoradi-Tarkwa Road, Adjua Beach is set in a serene atmosphere, surrounded by lush forests. Beautiful Dadowa Lagoon is within sight, just 200 meters beyond the beach. There are also small summer huts where you can relax and enjoy a picnic lunch or snacks which can be purchased there.


Princesstown Beach
A 2km stretch of scenic coastline with coconut palms and virgin beaches lies 30km off the Takoradi-Elubo Highway. For a little adventure, take a short walk along the path which runs parallel to the beach. It leads to the Akatekyi Crocodile Pond. The Pond is open to visitors every day except Wednesday.


Miamia Beach
36km off Takoradi-Elubo Road is a secluded beach full of picturesque coves and rocky outcrops. There are 3 lovely, privately owned chalets (3 bed-rooms each) available if you would like to stay several nights in the area. The Ghana Tourist Board will be happy to assist your in making reservations. Tel: 233-031-2357.


FORTS AND HISTORIC SITES

Groot-Friedrichsburg or Fort Hollandia
Danish lodge in 1658, fort built in 1682. Fort built in 1683, abandoned in 1716 and shortly afterwards occupied by local chief, John Conny, in 1717, who remained in occupation until 1725 when it was captured by the Dutch and renamed Fort Hollandia. It remained in the possession of the Dutch until 1872 when it was ceded to Britain.


Fort St. Sebastian
Built as a Dutch lodge in 1526. Portuguese fort built in 1590. Abandoned in 1600. Restored and altered by the Dutch c.1638, enlarged in 1640-2. Attacked by the English under Captain Robert Holme. Temporally in English hands, in 1664-65. The Dutch struck back under De Ruyter, re-occupied it the same year and rebuilt it in 1666. Abandoned it before 1870. Ceded to Britain in 1872. Restored in 1954-57.


Fort San Antonio
Portuguese trading post, in 1502. Destroyed by the townspeople in 1514. Second fort built by the Portuguese on present site in 1515. Taken in 1642 by the Dutch who subsequently rebuilt the internal structure. Captured by the English in 1664. Recaptured by the Dutch in 1665. Ceded to Britain in 1872. Restored in 1951-56.


Fort Metal Cross
The fort on the bay (Dick's or Dickies Cove). Work commenced in 1683, but progress was impaired by continuous disputes between the English and the Brandenburgers. Building completed by the English, in 1691-97, possibly on the site of an earlier post. Besieged, in 1748-56 and abandoned, in 1826. Re-occupied in 1830. Transferred to the Dutch and renamed Metalen Kruis, in 1868. Ceded to Britain, in 1872. Restored in 1954-56.


Fort Appolonia
Dutch lodge in 1660. First English trading post in 1691. British fort built between 1750 and 1770. Abandoned in 1820, but re-occupied by Governor Maclean's expeditionary force in 1836 (to facilitate confrontation with King Kweku Ackah of Nzima, who was renowned for his stubborn opposition to increasing British intervention). Transferred to Dutch in 1868. Renamed Fort William III for King William III and occupied by the Dutch until 1872. Transferred to the English in 1872. Bombarded by the British in 1873. After the fort was abandoned it fell into ruins. Reconstructed between 1962 and 1968.


OTHER ATTRACTIONS

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's Mausoleum
83km west of Takoradi (4km from Esiama on Takoradi-Elubo Road) is the birth place of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana.

A garden and monument is located in the centre of the town and marks to site of Dr. Nkrumah's childhood home.


Village on Stilts
90km west of Takoradi, and 5km north of Beyin, is Nzulezo, which means "surface of water". This settlement is located on one side of Lake Tadane which is fed by two nearby rivers.

Inhabitants of the village are said to have migrated here from Walata, a city in the ancient Ghana Empire. According to legend their ancestors were guided to this particular spot by a snail.

Nearly everything in this village on stilts take place on or just above the water - cooking, schooling, recreation, etc. Whenever a new baby is born, it is baptized in the lake, which is believed to be a protection against drowning. To preset the ecology, the local people use traditional bamboo hooks instead of lead ones for fishing.

The best time to visit the settlement is during the rainy seasons (April to September). During the rest of the year, as the parts of the lake bed dry out, you will have to walk some distance before taking a canoe to the village. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes that you do not mind getting wet. Nzulezo welcomes visitors every day except Thursday, which is a sacred day. There is a fee for a canoe and oarsmen.


Akatekyi Crocodile Pond
30km west of Takoradi, at the Akatekyi Lagoon, you will find a pond where crocodiles are enticed from the water by the incantations of a fetish priest and the protests of a live fowl. You can observe this ritual every day except Wednesday (a sacred day).

Although there is no formal admission fee, you should bring a bottle of Schnapps for the libation ceremony and some cash (in cedis) for the cost of the fowl.


FESTIVALS

Kundum Festival
Kundum is celebrated from August to November by the Western Region's coastal tribes, the Ahantas and Nzemas. Beginning in August, the festival moves west from Takoradi to town after town at weekly intervals. Rituals include purification of the stools and prayers to the ancestors for a good harvest. Traditional drumming and dancing feature prominently.


TAKING A TRAIN
If you are interested in visiting Tarkwa, Dunkwa or Kumasi in a more exciting way, then take the train. A trip by train from Takoradi to Tarkwa takes 2 hours. Dunkwa takes 5 and Kumasi 8. The trains have both First Class and Second Class seating, a Bar Car and First Class and Second Class Sleeping Coaches. You may buy a ticket at the railway terminal which is located near the Harbour in Takoradi.


MARKETS AND MARKET DAYS

Market Circle
"Market Circle" is open every day and is well stocked with a variety of items: foodstuffs, utensils, cloth and household goods. Be prepared to use your bargaining power.


Sekondi Market
Every day is market day in Sekondi. You will find a wide range of items from foodstuffs to clothing.


Agona Market
25km north of Takoradi at Agona Junction, Agona's market days are Wednesday and Saturday. The market primarily sells foodstuffs and clothing. Bargaining ensures moderate prices.


Beposo Market
Market days are Tuesday and Friday.


Shopping Center
Near the Market Circle in Takoradi, prices are negotiable.


HANDICRAFTS

Trade Fair Handicraft Bureau
Located at the Harbour Round-About near Market Circle, the shop has a variety of handicrafts, most of which depict Ghanaian and African culture. There are also a section of raffia furniture, carved wood items and masks.


RELIGIOUS SITES

Egyam Grotto
Located in Egyam, 10km off Takoradi-Agona-Nkwanta Road. Reportedly the site was visited by angels, and their footprints still remain. A grotto marks this special spot.


Nawule Sanctuary
This Catholic Sanctuary located about 90km off Takoradi-Half Assini Road. It is also said to be the site to the apparition of the virgin Mary.


OTHER TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Tobacco Processing
This is one of the only regions in the country where you can see tobacco being processed into cigarettes, fragrant rubber trees being tapped for their latex, huge logs being milled into boards or raw cocoa beans being pulverized into powder.


Cocoa Processing
2 cocoa processing factories are located in Takoradi: Cocoa Processing Company, Takoradi, and the West African Mills, where you can see how raw cocoa beans are processed into powder and cocoa butter.


Wood Processing
There are a number of modern wood processing factories: John Bitar, Hardwood, WVLC and Primewood, where you can see the drying and milling processes.


Rubber Plantation
About 28km from Takoradi, Ghana Rubber Estates Limited manages a vast rubber plantation. This plantations supplies over 60% of the latex required locally for the production of tyres and plastics. You will see thousands of trees wearing small black cups to tap the sap, you may learn the tapping process and how latex becomes rubber.


Coconut Plantation
Coconut farming is major occupation among the Ahantas and the Nzemas in the Region. Their coconut palm groves stretch along the Takoradi-Elubo Highway and along the coast. You will discover how the local women process "copra", which is supplied to the Esiama Oil Mills for production of coconut oil.


Oil Palm Plantation
The vast over 1,000 sq km Benso Oil Palm Plantation processes the fruit of the oil palm into oil, right on the plantation premises. This oil is then sold to soap factories and local consumers.


Bonsa Tyre Factory
This is the only tyre factory in Ghana. Almost all of the raw materials required for the manufacture of inner tubes and tyres are produced at local rubber plantations.


Pioneer Tobacco Company
Pioneer is the largest cigarette factory in the country. They produce a variety of brands like "555", Embassy, Durbar, Sandowner, and Tusker from flue or dry-cured tobacco leaf which is cultivated locally.



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