“The best comes from the west” is a phrase which is commonly used by the people of the Western Region of Ghana. The region which is situated in the south-western part of the country shares boundaries with three other regions namely: Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo and Central regions. It also shares a border with Ivory Coast. Here are ten of the many interesting things about the Western Region.
Government records indicate that the Western Region covers approximately 23,921 square kilometres, which is about 10 percent of Ghana’s total land area. If for some reason, God should send a mail to the President of Ghana demanding a tenth of Ghana’s land, the President could just present the Western Region and that would be just fine.
The Western Region is home to about 40 percent of Ghana’s forest reserves. Some of the popular forest reserves the region boasts of are, the Ankasa Forest; Bia Reserve; and the Cape Three Points National Park. It is no wonder then that the region records the highest rainfall in the country.
This is probably one of the least known yet interesting places in the region. Most residents of the region are not even aware of the existence of a crocodile pond in the region. The Akatekyi Crocodile pond is located 30km west of the regional capital, Takoradi. Tourists are welcome to the place every day of the week except Wednesdays which is considered a sacred day by the locals.
The Western Region is the only region in the country that can boast of a village on water. Nzulezu is a Nzema phrase which means “surface of water”. Yes! It is a village whose inhabitants live and do almost everything on water, including recreation, schooling and even cooking! It is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in the Western Region and every Ghanaian should have a trip to Nzulezu on his or her bucket list. With the exception of Thursday which is considered a sacred day, tourists are welcome every day of the week. However, for a more memorable experience, do well to visit during the rainy season (May to September).
Do you know that Cape Three Points located in the Western Region is the southernmost tip of Ghana? And that is not the only thing Cape Three Points is known for. It is also home to Ghana’s Jubilee oil field.
In his days as a tutor in Ghana, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was a resident of the Western Region’s capital Sekondi-Takoradi, where he met and married his late wife Sally who was born in Sekondi. He taught in the St. Mary’s Boys Senior High School, then a teacher training institution. The school’s library – the Robert Mugabe Library – was named in honour of him.
The Western Region also has the largest collection of forts built during the colonial period. Some of the forts still open to visitors are listed below;
Fort St. Antonio at Axim
Fort St. Apollonia at Beyin
Fort Cross at Dixcove
Fort Sebastian at Shama
Fort Dorothea at Akwida
Fort Groot Fredericksburg at Princess Town
Another beautiful feature of the Western Region worthy of note is the beautiful beach along the coastal line of the region. The region is host to some of the finest beach resorts in the country. The likes of Busua Beach Resort, Axim Beach Resort, Ankobra Beach Resort, Beyin Beach are among the finest locations to relax and enjoy nature.
The Takoradi Market is the commercial and economic hub of the Western Region. It is called the market circle because the stores of the market were built in the shape of a circle and it’s also a roundabout – arguably one of the largest in West Africa. If you happen to be in Takoradi, looking for something to buy and you don’t get it at the market circle, then it’s highly unlikely to get it anywhere else in the region.
In 2000, listeners of the BBC World Service voted Dr Kwame Nkrumah as Africa’s “Man of the Millenium”. Nkrumah hails from Nkroful in the Western Region. He was born in Nkroful and when he died, he was initially buried there until his remains were later moved to the mausoleum in Accra. Presently, there is also a mausoleum in Nkroful where tourists and Pan Africanists visit to learn more about this illustrious son of Africa.
Before the elections last year, the President made known to the people of Western Region his intentions of initiating the process towards a creation of a new region out of the Western Region. Earlier this year, the President announced the creation of a new ministry responsible for Regional Re-organisation and Development. With the creation of this new ministry, it is possible that the Western Region as we know it today may not exist in some a few years. A new region to be named Western-North is likely to be created out of the region. Until that happens, the people of Ghana’s “tithe region” will all continue to consider themselves as natives or residents of the Western Region.