#YearOfReturn: Beautiful and Historic places you can visit in the Upper West Region

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is a major landmark marketing campaign targeting the African – American and Diaspora Market to mark 400 years of the first enslaved African arriving in Jamestown Virginia.

Now that it’s been approximated, 28 days to round up the year, 2019. As most events and activities will be based in Accra, the capital of Ghana which we have taken time to suggest a few affordable best events in December you can attend and not regret. (Concerts: Affordable best events in Ghana from November till December you can attend and not regret)

Here is a list of adventurous places in the Upper West Region that can give you an experience of a lifetime this December and some good reasons to visit there. [contentad widget=”604777″]

Gwollu Anti-Slave Defence Wall

In a small community near the Ghana-Burkina Faso border stands one of the only two remaining slave defense walls in Ghana. This historical monument in the Ghana’s town of Gwollu is a reminder of the dark history and dangers of the slave trade in the remote northern “hinterlands.” You need to visit Gwollu’s Slave Defense Wall to learn and know more about the wall.

Year of Return, Upper West Region, Africa
The remnants of a mud wall built in the 19th century around the village of Gwollu. It was built to defend the community from the incessant attacks of slave raiders seeking to kidnap young men and women to sell in to slavery in the south of Ghana.

Gbelle Game Reserve

Gbele in the Upper West region is the wildlife protected area of Ghana closest to Burkina Faso on a trans-boundary migratory route for elephants and other mammals to and from the Naziga Game Ranch. Gbele is 565 square kilometres and lies partly in the areas of Wa (regional capital), Nadolwli and Tumu and is 61km from Tumu and 89km from Wa. The vegetation of Gbele Resource Reserve is open savannah woodland and is mainly associated with roan antelope, hartebeest, bushbuck, waterbuck, savannah duikers and warthogs. Gbele is also home to baboon, patas, green monkey and more.

Main tourist activities are game viewing, bird watching and nature walk/hiking. Other interesting features include rock outcrops. While out of the park one may visit the fishing activities at Naziga Game Ranch in Burkina Faso (80km). Interesting communities near Gbele that you must visit include Gwollu, where there is a slave defence wall, the tomb of the Late President Hilla Limann, the Gwollu palace and libido-restoration clinic. There is also a traditional bone-setting clinic at Gwollu. You may also visit the slave market and museum.

Gbele has a tented camp for its visitors.

Year of Return, Upper West Region, Africa

Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary

Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary is a very elegant community-developed tourist attraction. The Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary was created by locals in 1999 to preserve the wildlife in Wechiau especially the hippopotamus which were otherwise going extinct. Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary can be found in in the Wechiau in the Upper West Region-Ghana, close to the border.

The sanctuary at Wechiau spans a 40 kilometres stretch. It accommodates other wildlife animals such as snakes, lizards bats, scorpions, hedgehogs and birds as well as various plant species. The Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary is best visited during the dry season especially between November and February. At that time, the hippos are easily visible.

Points of interest, places to be and interesting things to do a Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary include:

  • Seeing the hippos
  • Birdwatching
  • Taking a guided tour of the wildlife
  • Spend a night at the Hippo Tree House
  • Take a boat ride on the Black Volta
Year of Return, Upper West Region, Africa


In the centre of the Gwollu community is the Crocodile Pond inhabited by several crocodiles which are revered as the totems of some of the clans in the community. These have become a major tourist attraction in the community where the totemic relationships between the people and the crocodiles are interpreted to visitors, largely nature-lovers, school groups and back-packer tourists of the expatriate community.


The Palace of the Tumu Kuoro or the Paramount Chief of the Sissaala Traditional Area stands out as a masterpiece of traditional architecture. Together with the annual Paragbielle Festival, the colourful durbar of chiefs and cultural performances, it has the potential to attract tourists to this town. This is further enhanced by its strategic location at the cross-roads of major transboundary highways originating from neighbouring Burkina Faso and the intercity highway from Bolga to Wa.

Furthermore, the Royal Family, known as Kanton, has a unique history. Some communities in the Diaspora have traced their ancestral roots to the Kanton Royal Family in Tumu. There is a mini museum displaying the past warriors and some of the relatives in the Diaspora. This includes their leadership role in fighting battles during the infamous slave trade. The palace unique cultural performances (Bayiila and Tampani) are well developed and marketed. The palace hosts the very well-known Parrigbielle Festivel every year in the month of March. This festival attracts visitors from abroad and within the countries.

Year of Return, Upper West Region, Africa


Remnants of the ruined Kassana Slave Market

Within the Sisaala East District, the Kassana Slave Market, associated archaeological sites and the Museum are the current major historic tourist attractions. See Plate 20 below. Visitors to this site have the opportunity to tour the ruins of the slave market with the necessary guidance and interpretation. This will enable them appreciate the historical heritage related to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. It has the potential to attract the African – Americans from the Diaspora who want to trace their roots. Student groups, historians, archaeologists, social anthropologists and other researchers have visited this site.

Year of Return, Upper West Region, Africa
Year of Return, Upper West Region, Africa


The Lilixie Slave Escape Cave was used by the ancestors of the area to hide and escape from the marauding slave raiders. It could take in about 1000 people. It represents a site of historic importance as far as the infamous slave trade is concerned. Visitors enroute to the Gwollu Slave Defense Wall and Late President Liman‟s Tomb could stop over for a guided tour and interpretation of the Cave and other historical remnants. The site has the potential to attract about 2,000 visitors in transit annually.

This is an underground cave with capacity for more than thousand people. Used to serve as an escape den from slave raiders.

Year of Return, Upper West Region, Africa


A stream nearby the Nyimatie community and a rock with the engraved figure prints of an ancient warrior are preserved here. People go to seek spiritual assistance to accomplish their desires


In front of the Chief Palace is a Baobab Tree, reputed to be the largest tree in the Upper West Region. It is about 23m to go round it. It has been preserved by the people to show how big the tree could grow.


Located within the Gwollu town is a renowned traditional bone-setting facility known as the Titobala Traditional Bone-setting Centre. It is recognized by the Ministry of Health for its treatment of fractured bones and has a typical mystical origin of tourist interest.


This foot prints is said to be that of a great hunter who once upon a time walked on the rock.


These two communities have totemic relations with crocodiles and hence see crocodiles as revered and sacred animals that should not be killed but rather protected as a death of a single crocodile signifies the death of a human being. Against this backdrop, the wet valleys have being breeding grounds for crocodiles and thus see in groups when on a visit.


Here people suffering from stroke are treated with herbs especially those with mild stroke are easily healed completely.



Tumu is the capital of the Sissaala East Municipal, a major marketing centre(Tumu Market) and transit point for national and non-national expatriate business travellers and those from neighbouring Burkina Faso and other West African countries.

 Home stay

The joy and adventure of experiencing the typical African family lifestyle in the homestays (surrounding communities) with rich hospitality attitude such as Bandei,Dolibizon, etc


A visitor stands the chance of enjoying thought provoking story telling from the few living great story tellers in the Sissala Communities both in Sissala East Municipal and Sissala West District


It is an outdoor activity involving overnight stays away from home in a shelter, such as a tent. The area has Very beautiful and adventurous landscapes to keep one from bustling and hustling of human activities but rather brings you closer of nature and let you appreciate God’s doing.

Nature trails and Sport Hunting


One can also tour and have first-hand information on the following:

Pottery at Dangi community

Art and craft (drum making and drumming, xylophone making)  at Kandia, Bandei, Nabulo etc


Baobab fruit, Ebony fruit, Shea Fruit, yellow berry, black berry, dawadawa fruit, tamarind fruit etc


Parrigbielle festival

Gandawii Nabahilima Festival

Buwala Keliwie Festival and many more


There are however, modest accommodation facilities in Gwollu(Tangia Guest House) and in Tumu: Sildep Guset House, Dubie Hill Top Hotel, Saliti Guest House, Nimon Lodge, Assembly Guest House and a first class hotel called Getway Hotel.

There also are many eateries, Pubs and places to hang out in town.

There is of very enlightened and well- taught tour guards in Town; who are always willing to give you a good treat.

Credit goes to the following persons for helping me with information:

1) Resource Conservation Initiative Ecotourism Team 2016 led by Rev.David Guba Kpelle

2) Mr. Nana Owusu Ansah and Mr. Polycap (Park Manager and his Deputy-Gbelle Resource Reserve)




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