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The Tongo Hills and Tengzug Shrines

wechiau hippos (©2003 NCRC Credit:Francis Provencal)

An NCRC & Partners Community Based Ecotourism Project

This unique, beautiful, culturally rich landscape is a proposed UNESCO World Heritage site. The Hills, with their wondrous rock formations, caves, and natural rock shelters, are the sacred cultural centre of the Talensis. Numerous sacred shrines, including the paramount, ba’ar Tonna’ab ya’ nee, nestle in the cliffs above the village of Tengzug.

For centuries the many agriculturists in the Tongo Hills were preyed on by slave raiders from conquest states both north and south, and many ended up as Akan forest Kingdom slaves. More slave raiders, supplying new slave owners, returned in the 1880s–90s.

The Tongo Hills have been widely known as a site of sacred power since the late 1800s. The ancestor shrine, Tonna’ab, was also a refuge and potent symbol for those who resisted “pacification” – the Hills were among the last areas in Ghana to submit to British rule. In 1911, and again in 1915, the British evicted the Talensis to end that resistance, and all access to sacred sites was banned. However by the 1920s it was clear that the great ancestor shrine Tonna’ab could not be destroyed. The vibrant Talensi communities of the Tongo Hills show the same tenacity today.

Activities

  • Hike into the hills to visit the many shrines, visited by seekers from all over the world. Learn the history of shrines, including the sacred “ba’ar Tonna’ab ya’ nee” shrine, also called Nana Tongo by the Ashantis.
  • Explore the dramatic granite rock formations and natural caves, and immerse yourself in the area’s outstanding beauty. See the rock shelter that was Tengzug’s first school, and the caves which were hiding places and meeting grounds during times of war.
  • Tour the village and experience community life first-hand. Walk through the maze-like passages of the chief’s house and interact with traditional leaders, tour a model Talensi home, and take pictures of the panoramic views from the traditional flat-mud roofs that are part of the unique architecture of the area.
  • Enjoy the friendly, welcoming people, and the region’s colourful and vibrant festivals. The Boar’ daam, in October, is a harvest festival centered on the ancestor shrines. Golob, at the end of the dry season, is focused on the great earth shrine, N]on.

Facilities

  • Upon request, local meals can be arranged. Soft drinks and beer are also available.
  • Accommodation in the Tengzug area: Visitors may stay in the homes of selected community members. The more adventurous may sleep on a traditional mud roof under the stars. Camping is permitted, and basic rooms are available at the Tongo Community Center in Tongo.
  • Accommodation in Bolga: Tienyine Hotel, Sinat-Minat Lodge, Sand Gardens Hotel, Black Star Hotel, Sacred Heart Social Centre, Hotel St. Joseph, Catering Rest House

Directions

  • Public Transport: Negotiate with a taxi driver in Bolga to take you to Tengzug. Or, join a Tongo Market car at the main lorry park in Bolgatanga (behind SSB Bank). Tengzug is a 4 km hike into the hills from the Tongo Market (the last stop).
  • Private Transport from Bolga: Drive 5 km south of Bolga on the Bolga-Tamale road to Winkogo, where you will see a signboard. Turn left at Winkogo, and follow the signs for another 12 km to the visitor center in Tengzug.
  • Private Transport from Tamale: Travelling north on the Bolga-Tamale road, drive 8 km past the Bolga Customs Barrier to Winkogo, where you will see a large signboard. Turn right at Winkogo, and follow the signs for another 12 km to the visitor center in Tengzug.
Other Places of Interest Nearby

Paga, Red Volta, Sirigu, Bongo, Wechiau

For More Info Contact

Tengzug Ecotourism Committee P.O. Box 645 Bolgatanga Upper East region, Ghana Ghana Tourist Board P.O. Box 305 Bolgatanga Tel: 233-72-23416 Fax: 233-72-23578 Email: [email protected] Ghana Tourism Board Head Office Tel: 233-21-2221543 Email: [email protected]