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Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary
An NCRC & Partners Community Based Ecotourism Project

wechiau (©2003 NCRC Credit: Francis Provencal)

Watch for hippos in the second largest concentration of hippo wallows in the country! The Wechiau hippos are very important in Ghana, as hippos are locally endangered, and threatened by indiscriminate hunting and habitat destruction.

This protected sanctuary stretches 40km along the Black Volta River in the Upper West region to form a safe haven for hippos and a high diversity of birds and butterflies. Ghana’s only colonies of the gregarious Buffalo Weaver bird exist in the Wechiau area.

Activities

  • Take a river safari on the Volta and view wildlife; the best times to watch hippos, vervet monkeys, violet turacos, or malachite kingfishers are morning and evening.
  • Hike nature trails and see lizards, bats, hedgehogs, pythons, or chameleons.
  • Visit a Lobi compound and learn about fascinating traditional practices and ways of life, including distinct, world-famous architecture, marriage systems, and funeral rites.
  • Camp out and listen to the dawn chorus of birdsong, or see how many of the 200 woodland savannah, riverine forest, and shore bird species you can spot from the Hippo Hide Tree House.
  • Drink pito, the local beer, and listen to old stories with the headmen, or listen to xylophone music.

Facilities

  • Two locally styled Lodges with kitchens, pit toilets, and bucket baths are located in the center of Lobi communities.
  • Local groceries are available in the market, or you can bring your own. Fresh or smoked fish is sometimes available at the Lodges.
  • Stays in village homes and local meals can also be arranged.

Directions

  • You can charter a vehicle in Wa, the capital of the Upper West Region, if need be. From Wa (46km), take the road past the Uplands Hotel to the Vieri T-intersection and turn left. The next village is Wechiau, so look for the Welcome Office.
  • From Ga (23km), turn at the sanctuary signboard (left if heading north, right if heading south) and drive to the Wechiau Welcome Office.
  • From Wechiau you can rent bicycles, or overnight visitors can take the trotro to the sanctuary and go back by trotro the next day.