Buoyem Sacred Grove and Bat Cave

Buoyem is a small village nestled in a beautiful canyon enclosed by sandstone hills, forests and caves. Locals are especially warm and inviting to visitors. The 350 hectare Mprisi Sacred Grove is a dry semi-deciduous forest with plenty of different trees, shrubs, climbers, herbaceous plants and associated animals.

The Buoyem Grove is particularly famous for the cave where 20,000 Rosetta Fruit Bats roost. These are the only known cave dwelling fruit bats. Harming the bats is a taboo for the local community. The caves are also chambers of natural wonders, including the hidden source of an underground stream and a set of deep earthly windows.

There are four tours at Buoyem. Guides suggest guests wear light-weight long pants and long sleeves if possible, as the tours pass through some “bushy” areas. Closed-toed, rubber-soled shoes are best as feet may get a little wet. Tourists should bring water.

1.) The Bat Tour – 3 to 4 hours total

On this tour, bat enthusiasts or students can observe the bats, and study their behavior and environment for an hour or two. After a 45-minute car ride to the Mpirisi forest, the group hikes for 30 minutes to two observation areas at the largest bat cave. A traditionalist will pour libation, as the Mpirisi forest is a sacred place to the people of Buoyem.

2.) The Forest and Cave Exploration Tour – 4 hours

After a 45-minute car trip to the Mpirisi Forest, the tour begins in a cave containing the hidden source of an underground stream. From here, a hike to the second cave through the forest and crossing two streams allows visitors to learn about indigenous plant and animal species. The next cave contains many different sizes and species of bats. Three windows from the cave to the rocky surface above, permit light in, which allows visitors to glimpse the bats as they move about. The tour then proceeds through a stretch of forest and rock formations to the main cave, with a chance to hike and climb a bit.

At the main bat cave a libation is poured, and tourists can ask questions about the ceremony or the culture. The group may then explore and observe the largest colony of fruit bats from two observation points before returning to Buoyem.

3.) The Hiking Expedition – 5 hours total

Starting from Buoyem, this route ascends the canyon side for a breath-taking view. Then there is a 75-minute hike through countryside, farming villages, and forested areas to the main bat cave. Here, a libation is poured and tourists may explore. The tour moves on through a stretch of forests, streams, and caves to explore the second bat cave, then embarks a long gradual descent back into Buoyem through rich countryside and small villages.

4.) Other Attractions in the Community

A holiday in Buoyem includes plenty of things to do and observe, or a relaxing retreat. There are trails, waterfalls, and scenic places. In the town visitors may observe preparation of local foods, a market with fresh farm goods, worship of traditional gods, or schooling.

Buoyem has clean, comfortable tourists’ accommodation with two guest rooms, a lounge, electricity, a private latrine, and bath. Water is delivered daily by bucket. The community is happy to attend to visitors’ needs. For those with their own transport, Buoyem is also not far from Techiman’s hotel accommodation.

Buoyem is a unique community, and tour guides endeavoured to develop interesting, exciting tours. Please communicate your needs and expectations to the guides, so they can help you enjoy your visit. Feel free to ask questions about anything, but always respect the culture and the community while learning and sharing.

Well water and minerals are always available, however, as there is no restaurant or chop bar in Buoyem, visitor’s meals are made by a talented local woman. Local foods and facilities are available if you prefer to cook for yourself.

Buoyem is somewhat difficult to reach but getting there can be fun. The options are:

By car from Tamale: Travel on the main southern road to Techiman. Once in Techiman, turn right at the first roundabout (look for the Shell station). After going about one mile toward Wenchi, make a right turn at a T -junction with a signboard for the Catholic Grotto. Travel for two miles to a town called Mesidan (bear right at the Y-junction). From Mesidan, travel for three more miles before reaching Buoyem. The road is in very bad condition.

By car from Kumasi: Travel to Techiman on the Kumasi-Techiman road leaving from Suame. In Techiman, continue straight past the Sunyani round-about. At the Wenchi round-about, bear to the left to the Techiman-Wenchi road. After about one mile turn right at the Catholic Grotto sign. Two miles later you’ll reach Mesidan (bear right at the Y-junction), and three miles after Mesidan, you reach Buoyem.

Public transport from Tamale or Kumasi: Take a car to Techiman station. Travel to Techiman. Drop at Excellence Photos – the last stop from Kumasi. Charter a waiting taxi to Buoyem.

The Scenic Route: The best option for fit budget tourists! Travel to Techiman by public transport. Get down at Tamale station (from Tamale) or walk about a half-mile to Tamale station from Excellence Photos (from Kumasi). From Tamale station, take a taxi to Tuobodom and drop at the Presbyterian Junior Secondary School. A path at the far end of the school park has a small sign for Buoyem. The trail curves to the right, then to the left around the school. You will see another sign for Buoyem. Stay on the main path away from the school for 4 kilometers straight. You will see one more sign for Buoyem as the beautiful descent into the town begins. It is safe, but travel in a pair or a group.