Ghana @ 50


 

Come join us as we celebrate in 2007 Ghana’s Golden Jubilee Celebration; marking 50 years of Ghana’s independence. This celebration takes place during the first week in March. The main highlights of the tour include the Independence Day Parade held at the Black Star Square, with live music entertainment by the Ghanaian military band; there will also be a visit to Ghana’s renowned Slave Castles, Kakum National Park and a visit to the Ashanti Kingdom.

 

The modern day Republic of Ghana was named after the ancient empire of the 4 th Century AD in what is now Southeastern Mauritania and Southwestern Mali . The ancestors of the inhabitants of the present country are thought to have migrated and settled on the Southern coastal areas after the fall of the empire in the 12 th Century AD.

The Republic of Ghana was formerly called the Gold Coast due to its abundant endowment in Gold. Ghana lies north of the equator between latitude 4º45'N and 11º11'N longitude 30 W and 0º 30'E. It covers an area of 239,460 sq. km (92,000 sq. miles) with a distance from North to South stretching 672km (420 miles) and East to West along its coast line measuring 560 km (348 miles). Ghana is bordered by Cote d'Ivoire on the west.

Burkina Faso to the North and Togo to the East. One can see Benin and Nigeria further east. On the South stretches the coastline along the Gulf of Guinea ( Atlantic Ocean ).

 

The population of Ghana is about 18.9 million. Ghana is divided into 10 regions, namely Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western, Northern, Central, Eastern, Brong Ahafo, Volta , Upper East and Upper West.

are about 60 different ethnic languages. However, English is the official language with Twi, Fanti, Ga, Ewe, Hausa, Dagoba and Nzema widely spoken.

Ghana 's currency is the cedi (¢) which is made up of 100 pesewas. The cedi denomination comes of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000 notes and 50, 100, 200, and 500 in coins.

 

The electricity in Ghana is a 200/240 volts. Electric outlet accepts either 2 or 3 prolonged plugs or convectors. Water is safe from the tap. Bottled mineral water is also available for purchase.

As the climate is warm and tropical throughout the year, light and washable cotton or casual wear is recommended.

Major airlines that fly into Ghana are KLM, Kenya Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa, Alitalia, South African Airways, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airways, Emirates Airlines, North American Airlines etc.


FESTIVALS IN GHANA


There are over two hundred festivals, which is celebrated each year in Ghana . Among them are Adae and Akwasiddae, Dzwuwu, Apoo, Ngmayem, Dipo, Aboakyir/Antelope, Kundum, Fetu Afahye, Kobine, Odwira, and Sasabobrim and many others.

However, one of the most interesting festivals is AKWASIDAE FESTIVAL of the Ashantis . The Akwasidae festival is celebrated every 42 days in Ghana .

 

The Ashantis believe in the dead. Each time that a king dies, his stool ("chair") is sent to a special place where it is kept. It is the duty of the Asantehene , the Ashanti King to purify at every 42 days the stools of the dead kings. The festival starts on Friday and it is called Adaefofie. It continues on Saturday and this is called Memeneda Dapaa. Both Friday and Saturday celebrations are performed behind close doors and the public cannot participate.

However, on Sunday, the king sits in state at a big durbar where the public is invited and anyone can shake hands for the first time with the king of Ashanti . All the chiefs and traditional people of Ashanti come to the durbar to pay homage to the king. This Sunday gathering is called the AKWASIDAE FESTIVAL.

Arrangements can be made such that visitors can join Country Travel and Tours at one of these festivals.

We welcome you to join us on an experience of a lifetime in West Africa with its ancient civilizations, culture, traditions and festivals. Visit Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cote D'ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, The Gambia for Nature, Study, Historical, Culture, Sea, Sun Relaxation and Fun tours with Country Travel and Tours.

In a dynamic industry as the travel and tourism, it is of paramount importance for the application of professionalism and dynamism in the conduct of business.

Having been in the travel and tours business as a guide, escort, coordinator and manager for over a decade, the operators, design and structure tours to suit individual and group interests and requirements.

Experience gained over the years with people of various background has also contributed immensely in considering the individual or groups' custom, culture, history and interest in the final itinerary of the tour.

 

In Ghana , an English-speaking West African country, the Elmina and Cape Coast Slave Dungeons built by the Portuguese in 1482 and the British in 1665 respectively are very important historical fortifications.

The Elmina Dungeon has an interesting historical background and a lot of features. Built under the Command of Don Diego d'Azambuja, the explorer, the Dungeon is the first and biggest European building you can find in tropical West Africa . The Dutch made several unsuccessful attempts to capture but finally succeeded in capturing it in 1637. They sold it to the British in 1872 and left the country.

Significant locations within and around the Dungeon include a compass designed at the forecourt, another is a drawbridge to prevent any invader, a slave auction hall and a secret ladder leading to a trap door in the Governor's Residence ( where female slaves who the Governor shows interest passes through to the Governor's bedroom for the Governor to advance his libidinal interests). The Dutch and the Portuguese chapels are some of the interesting places to visit.

The Cape Coast Dungeon equally has many places of importance. The Palaver and Mac Lean's Hall (where the famous bond of 1844 was signed between Governor Commander Hill and some Fante chiefs which paved the way for the establishment of a British colony in the Gold Coast(Ghana) in 1874. The Daziel Tower, a clock installed by the British in 1861,the Slave Dungeons, the English church now used as the children's library are some of the interesting features.

 

Both Dungeons have some Forts which protect them against pirates or interlopers. The Elmina Dungeon has Fort St. Jago whiles Forts Williams and Victoria protect Cape Coast Castle .

Some common objects in the two Dungeons are underground cisterns for storage of water, cannons and cannon balls used in defending the fortifications. Other items comprise some burnt bricks, stones, tiles and some wood used to construct these edifices.

So unique are these two Dungeons in their architectural, historical and cultural linkages with the people of Ghana that UNESCO has included them in the list of World Heritage Monuments(1979)

 

Kumasi, the second largest city after Accra, the seat of the Ashanti King, Asantehene, the overlord of the Ashanti Kingdom is a must be place for visitors in Ghana.

Since the creation of the Kingdom in the late 17 th century, the Kingdom continues to grow stronger and powerful even in the face of the modern day system of government. The Ashantis are one of the few tribes in the country who have protected and upheld their customs, tradition and beliefs intact, resisting all forms of influence.

Ashanti , the home of the Golden Stool resisted colonization and Western influence for a very long time and mostly resulted in fierce confrontation between the Ashantis and the occupying forces (Europeans).The Ashanti Kingdom finally fell into the hands of the British in 1874 after a long fought battle and the sophisticated artillery advantage of the latter. The kingdom subsequently became part of the Gold Coast ( Ghana ).

 

Among the numerous places of interest is the Manhyia Palace Museum . The museum has a collection of paintings, wooden and brass sculptures of past and present Ashanti Kings and Queens, regal stools, swords, knives, jewelry, exquisite kente cloth, furniture, gifts from heads of state and other international personalities.

The Prempeh 11 Jubilee Museum which is housed in the Cultural Centre also holds a vast collection of Asante artifacts kept in palaces and shrines. Of special interest is the “fake” Golden Stool. After persistent intimidation, harassment and wars to secure the golden stool from the Ashantis, the Ashantis had to design a brass mould of the golden stool and smear it with gold to appease the British since they cannot give out the original Golden Stool which is the embodiment, soul and unity of the Ashanti people and therefore giving it out would mean the disintegration of the Ashanti state. But after the British had taken it to their home country and melted it, all the gold came out leaving the brass mould. This infuriated the British and precipitated the Yaa Asantewa war (1900).

Ghana 's unique blend of tradition and modernity, history and culture, natural splendour and sheer human warmth makes the country the latest revelation on the global tourism map…there's something for everyone.

The Republic of Benin, former Dahomey a well known trading post of the slave coast, a constituted French colony on June 22 nd 1894 and referred to as “Africa's Latin Quarters” in colonial days is known for its very rich history.

Benin , well known for its large and strong voodoo following, attracts adherents from various parts of the world particularly African communities in the Carribeans and Americas .

As a matter of fact, 20% of the nationals share the imported or assimilated Christian denominations namely: Catholicism, Protestantism and other Sects. Over 80% of the population still practice the traditional religions commonly called animism. The animism being practiced throughout the country rests on a polytheistic conception of the universe: God the “creator” is inside everything and everywhere. The whole concept composed of diverse divinities is called voodoo of which Benin is the cradle.

The voodoo is a set of divinities worshipped in most of the Adja Tado and Yoruba regions.

Thus are worshipped:

  • HEVIOSSO or SHANGO (Thunder worship/Lightning worship)
  • SAKPATA or SAKPANNA (small pox worship)
  • Varied DAN (happiness granting divinities)
  • GOU or OGUN (iron worship/blacksmith's god)

Neither Christianity nor Islam have prevented the worship of voodoo from getting rooted and developed in Cuba , Brazil and West Indies especially. In Benin , with the phenomenon of syncretism, Catholics, Protestants and Moslems take cheerfully part in the voodoo festivities.

Such festivities are in every region opportunities for great and fairy events, spectacular periodical shows of songs and dances which, in terms of beauty, charm, are unrivalled in the sub-region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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