An NCRC & Partners Community Based Ecotourism Project
Widnaba is a fascinating Kusaasi cultural site that also offers the Red Volta River Valley’s many natural rewards.
The story of the Widnaba people began long ago on Kusanga land in Burkina Faso. When the Chief landlord died, the very numerous Kusanga clan overburdened the land. His surviving three sons and daughter decided to search for new lands with the eldest son’s horse. The youngest brother remained at Zooga, where good harvests and delivery of two baby horses were signs of good luck. The eldest brother settled at the next land, where even better harvests, and the delivery of three young horses were exceptional signs of good luck. He named the land Widnaba, or Horse Chief. The other two siblings eventually founded Tilli and Kusanaba.
The Kusaasis are called “the people of the earth”, as they believe the chief god, Winam, created all animals, plants, and people from the earth, and continues to dwell with his creations in the atmosphere. Spirits of the deceased can commune with the chief spirit while remaining close to their surviving families. Ancestral spirits play an active role in Kusaasi traditions, beliefs, and families.
A modest entrance fee frees you to spend as much time in the village as you wish. Picture taking is encouraged.
- Guided hikes in the scenic hills north of Widnaba and Zebilla allow fantastic views far into Burkina Faso. Visit the enchanted spring, and see musical rocks.
- A guided tour of the relics of the slave trade includes visits to a hollowed baobab tree where slaves were held captive, shrines where sacrifices were made to end slavery, and the “safety tree” where people would hide and let the tindana (land priest) keep watch against slave traders.
- A bush hike to the riverbed could yield a rare glimpse of a small migrating population of African Savanna elephants, many species of wild birds including Kingfishers, Rollers, or Bee-Eaters (ask for a bird checklist), or other exciting discoveries.
- Adventurous nighttime wildlife spotting with special lanterns can be arranged with a guide.
- Tour the village & learn about the Kusaasi way of life. Visit the chief’s palace, or tour the local market. Eat local food, try the local brew, and listen to stories of the Kusaasi forefathers, or listen and dance to local musicians.
- Lucky visitors can witness a traditional 11-day Kusaasi funeral, very important events and celebrations of life, held January to April. The family first smashes numerous clay pots to free the earth-bound spirit. At the deceased’s home, survivors build a clay totem pillar as a memorial marker, altar, and home to the spirit that symbolizes the body’s return to the earth.
- Browse the wide selection of pottery, baskets, and crafts made by Widnaba community members.
- Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, and take an early morning bicycle ride, star-gaze at night, or just enjoy the beautiful scenery and friendly people of Widnaba.
- Sleep in a traditional Kusaasi hut, at the Widnaba Visitor’s Centre. Facilities are basic (bucket baths and no electricity).
- Camping is also permitted.
- Upon request, local meals can be arranged in Widnaba. Local brew (called pito) and filtered water are also available.
- Tilli & Zebilla: Tilli has basic street food & drinks, while Zebilla offers several drinking bars & restaurant service at Friend’s Garden and The Bawku West District Assembly Canteen.
- Accommodation in Bolga:
Comme Ci Comme Ca Hotel (072-22355),
Sanat-Minat Lodge (072-23510/11),
Sand Gardens Hotel (072-23464),
Black Star Hotel (072-23650),
Catholic Social Centre (072-23216),
Hotel St. Joseph (072-23214),
Catering Rest House (072-22399),
- Accommodation in Zebilla:
Friends Garden Hotel,
MoFA Guest House
- Public Transport
The best direct way to Widnaba is to hire a Taxi from Bolgatanga. Tell the driver to get to turn left at Tilli off the Bolgatanga-Bawku road.
Or, join any Bawku or Zebilla lorry from Bolgatanga, and get down in Tilli. Rent a bicycle in Tilli and ride 14 km to Widnaba as you take in the countryside.
- Private Transport from Bawku
Drive 36 km west of Bawku on the Bolgatanga-Bawku road to Tilli Junction. Turn right at Tilli Junction, and drive another 14 kilometers to the visitor center in Widnaba.
- Private Transport from Bolga
Drive 35 km east of Bolga on the Bolgatanga-Bawku road to Tilli Junction. Turn left at Tilli Junction, and drive another 14 kilometers to the visitor center in Widnaba.
Nearby Places of Interest:
Upper East: Paga Crocodile Ponds and Slave Camp; Sirigu Traditional Pottery, Art & Architecture; Tongo Hills and Tengzug Shrines; Bongo Rocks; Bolgatanga Market
Upper West: Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary, Wa Naa’s Palace, Gwollu Defence Wall
For More Information:
Ghana Tourist Board at Bolga
P.O. Box 305 Bolgatanga
Phone: 233-72-23416 E-mail:[email protected]