Salaga Slave Market: A historical market of iron and shackles

You probably have read a lot about the brutal 19th Century slave trade involving Africa, Europe and the Americas where Africans were taken from their homes and shipped to the Americas like Cargoes to work in plantations and manufacturing firms.

But even before this era, slave trade did exist in Africa in the 16th and 17th century, though under very humane conditions compared to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

One of the very few evidence of the existence of slave trade in Africa before the 19th century can be found in Salaga, specifically at a location now known as the Salaga Slave Market.

The Salaga slave market located in Salaga, the administrative capital of the Gonja East district in the Northern Region used to be an important West African city where traders from the northern part of Africa met with West African traders to trade in commodities such as cowries, beads, textiles, animal hide and gold.

However, in the later part of the 18th century, the nature of trade in Salaga changed to include the exchange of humans for commodities. People were sold to traders coming from the northern part of Africa in exchange for commodities like cowries, fine textile and leather.

The traders from the North who preferred to be paid with humans, mostly used them as house helps or assistants who would assist them in running their day to day trading activities, it was devoid of brutalities or violent as the sold slaves were generally treated well.

With the arrival of the Europeans in the eighteenth century and commencement of the dreaded Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Salaga slave market shifted its focus from trading with traders from the north to trading with Europeans who offered more for their slaves.

Today, the Salaga slave market is a pale shadow of itself, lacking in vibrant commercial activities and has been turned into motor park. Aside the Slave market, Salaga also boasts of other slave monuments including a famous slave cemetery and a slave warehouse. The slave warehouse was used to house and keep the slaves captive until they were transported to the coastal areas and sold off to the Europeans living on the coasts.

For any tourist wanting to learn more about slavery and how slave markets and centres looked like, Salaga, a town once famous for its trade in slaves and its vibrancy as a West African trading centre, is a must visit.

Salt Mining in Daboya: A history forgotten but not lost

Daboya, located some 67 kilometres northwest of Tamale may not be a major household name in Ghana today, mostly due to the growth of commercial cities like Tamale and Wa in the northern part of Ghana. However over a century ago, Daboya was probably the most popular town in the Northern region famous for its mass production of salt and vibrant commercial activities.

Over a half of the salt consumption of Ghana in the 1700s and 1800s was supplied by Daboya as a majority of the women and men in the town were engaged in the salt mining business, making it one of the most active and commercially vibrant towns in Ghana.

Today, Daboya can no longer be regarded as the salt hub of Ghana. While salt is still mined and produced in the ancient town, it is in lesser quantity compared to centuries ago, and the salt production today is only meant for the local market and consumption.

The collapse of the Daboya salt market could be attributed to the desire for iodized and refined salt in the 21st century. The change in preference of Ghanaians resulted in the importation of granulated and refined salt from Europe, killing off the Daboya salt market which supplied unrefined salt in its natural state.

This, has however not stopped people from paying visits to the town to see the salt mining centres that once made Daboya a hugely successful commercial city in Ghana and West Africa.

The gradual decline of the salt business in Daboya gave way to another craft in the form of fabric weaving. Today, the town of Daboya is more famous for its hand woven traditional smocks than its production of salt. In fact, a majority of the fine hand woven smocks worn in the Northern region are produced in Daboya.

Daboya Weavers

While the town is not the most visited in terms of tourism, Daboya has the potential to become a major tourism destination in Ghana considering its rich and storied history, coupled with historical sites such as salt mines and hand woven fabric centres. Daboya may be on the brink of being forgotten, but its rich history is not lost.

Nzulezu: A town in the middle of nowhere

Ghana is a land of many strange and curious phenomena, from having human friendly crocodiles to canopy walkways that hang in the air.

This small town falls within this bracket of strange yet wonderful apparitions. Located some 90 kilometres west of Takoradi, Nzulezu is a strange town that cannot be called an Island; neither can it be referred to as a community on land.

The problem with attaching a specific descriptive term to Nzulezu comes about as a result of the nature of the town. Nzulezu is found right on a water body, the Lake Tadane, rather than on land. While Nzulezu is not the first town to be built on a lake, it is among the prestigious few in the world and attracts thousands of tourists every year.

In the year 2000, it was nominated as a UNESCO Heritage Site and has grown over the decades in terms of popularity and becoming a major tourism destination in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

Nzulezu: PHOTO: Visit Ghana

Houses on the Lake are constructed with wooden materials and stilt supported structures that easily integrate with the water to help the wooden houses stand firm.

It remains a mystery as to why the people of Nzulezu chose to leave land and settle on the lake, however history shows that the town has been in existence for over hundred years and still continuous to flourish and attract curious tourists from all walks of life.

With a small population of just six hundred people, Nzulezu remains one of the most famous towns in Ghana and in most visited communities in Africa.

For the curious mind, Nzulezu is a town that must be visited at a point in this lifetime.

Ghanaian Foods In Focus: Tuo Zaafi (Recipe Included)


Ghana is a land of diversity, filled with different people of different ethnicity, who all have their unique languages, clothing and even foods they eat.

In the last couple of decades, cultures have diversified in Ghana, exchanges between ethnic groups have taken place. For instance people of Southern Ghana, mostly the Akans, Gas and Ewes all now wear the Batakari clothing, a dress which is regarded as the traditional costume of people in the northern part of Ghana.

This culture exchange and diversification did not only happen in the area of clothing but also the foods we eat as a people. Today it is common to go into a Ga community and see households pounding fufu (a local dish of the Asantes and Akyems) to be eaten as their supper.

Another such food which has moved from being an ethnic based food to a national delicacy is the ever tasty Tuo Zaafi, popularly known as TZ in the southern part of Ghana. Tuo Zaafi, a relatively unknown northern delicacy has over the last decade grown in popularity in the Southern part of Ghana to become a national delicacy enjoyed by people in every part of Ghana.

The food which originated from the northern part of Ghana is traditionally prepared with millet dough with the final product looking very white. While the northern part of Ghana still stick to using millet dough to prepare the dish, the people in the southern part of Ghana have made some slight changes to the traditional way of preparing it, by adding maize and cassava though.

Tuo Zaafi is eaten with a special green vegetable stew or soup mainly containing the popular green bitter leaves as its core ingredient known as “Ayoyo”. Notwithstanding, Tuo Zaafi can equally be eaten with Okra soup and this is especially common in the South where consumers prefer the Okra soup over the green leaves soup.

Tuo Zaafi is now common in most chop bars in cities like Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. If you are yet to taste this God-sent food, the next time you visit any ‘Chop Bar’ be sure to order for some and have a taste of the food stolen from the North and gifted to the entire nation. Ask your guide for popular Tuo Zaafi joints in town.

The attached Tuo Zaafi recipe is from Modern Ghana.

 

 

Palaces in Ghana: Wa Naa’s Palace

The Wa Naa’s palace is one of the oldest traditional palaces in Ghana, built in the early 19th century to serve as the traditional resident of the king of the Wala people. The palace which is located in the heart of Wa, the regional capital of the Upper West region, was built in ancient Sudanese mud-brick architectural style, giving credence to historical accounts that suggest that the Wala people, who today dominate the Upper West region, originally migrated from the northern part of Africa, precisely Sudan.

Unlike most buildings, the walls of the palace have large visible y-shaped structures striking out of the walls. According to historical accounts of the Wala people, the nature of the walls was purposely to protect the people, especially the royal family from the incessant attacks of the slave traders.

More remarkably, the magnificent structure built with mud-brick, still stands tall and strong without showing any signs of collapsing and continues to serve as political, religious and traditional symbol for the Wala people.

The palace as was centuries ago, still serves as the royal home of the Wala paramount chief with royals from all the numerous clans that have once ruled the Wala chiefdom occupying the huge palace. More uniquely, the graves of former kings are found right in front of the palace.

In 2009, the World Monuments Fund recognized the Y-shaped palace as one of the finest and last remaining ancient architecturally wonderful buildings that need preservation. To this, the organisation partnered with the Ghana Museum and Monuments Board to device means of preserving the structure using traditional materials and processes in order not to destroy its ancient appearance. The project was successfully completed in 2012.

Today, the palace is one of the most visited tourism attractions in the northern part of Ghana, receiving a great number of tourists every year.

Monument Of Slavery: Nalerigu Defence Wall

The Nalerigu Defence Wall is one of the most famous monuments of slavery found in the Northern part of Ghana. Originally known as the Naa Jaringa Wall, the ancient wall is located in Nalerigu in the East Mamprusi District of the North East region.

The wall was built in the 16th century by the then ruler of the Mamprusi ethnic group, Naa Jaringa and surrounded the entire village of Nalerigu, protecting the people from the vicious slave traders from Burkina Faso and Mali.

According to historical evidence, the village of Nalerigu was situated in the middle of the slave trade route between Djenne in Mali and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. This resulted in some of Naa Jaringa’s subjects being captured and sold as slaves by traders crossing from the two areas. To put a stop to this and protect his people, Naa Jaringa put up the famous wall around the village to shield and protect his people from traders crossing from the two areas.

Oral folktale also has it that, Naa Jaringa was a very ambitious man who wanted to nip his name in the history of the Mamprusis and be remembered forever. He saw the construction of the wall as a monument that could keep his name in the history books of the people long after his demise.

Very little remains of the mud-built wall today, with erosion eating away almost the entire structure and leaving just a small portion standing. Irrespective of this, the Nalerigu Defense wall is a monumental structure in Ghana’s slave and colonial past and continues to receive patronage from tourists, especially those from the Americas and Europe who wish to see first-hand some of the ancient monuments of the slave trading business.

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Inside Accra: The Lapaz Night Market

Make no mistake, this is not the Lapaz of Bolivia we are talking about here. The Lapaz being discussed here is a popular suburb in the Accra Metropolitan District in the Greater Accra region.

The suburb is one of the most popular and busiest commercial areas in Accra with business activities booming in the course of the day throughout the week.

There is nothing one may want to purchase that cannot be find at Lapaz, from secondhand clothing to shoes to cooking utensils and electronic gadgets. Just name it and you will have it as long as you got the purchasing power.

This is however not unique to only Lapaz as most areas in Accra are all quite busy and commercially vibrant during the day. What makes Lapaz stand out is its unique night market. Unlike most commercial areas in Accra where commercial activities come to a halt at the fall of the sun, Lapaz rather sees an increased in the volume of commercial activities during the night.

From 7pm going when the sun goes into hiding and the moon appears to watch over the earth, the streets of Lapaz begin to become crowded with sellers appearing from nowhere to display their products on the pedestrian pavement walkway.

The number of products and even number of sellers increase significantly compared to the number during the day. Number of shoppers also tends to increase greatly during the night market as most of them believe prices of goods are cheaper during that time.

Not just goods and products are on display at the night market, food also abound. Food vendors sell local dishes like fufu, banku, and even rice throughout the night to take care of those doing business at the time.

The items that enjoy the highest sales at the Lapaz night market are secondhand ladies’ shoes.

The Lapaz night market is one of its kind in Ghana and a must visit for anyone living in Accra, even if just for window shopping.

 

 

Poovar Island: Where Lake, River And Sea Meet

Poovar is a tourist town in the Southern tip of India. Poovar means River and Flower. The town is strategically situated that it has Lake, River and the Sea all meeting at one place. Its natural environment makes it a tourist spot.

The floating cottages like that of Ghana’s Nzulezu or Thailand’s Koh Panyi, the blue skies, sandy beach, an estuary, a stretch of coconut trees, are just some of the few reasons why one shouldn’t miss a trip to the Poovar Island once in India.

While on a boat ride on the lake, tourists enjoy birds watching, rest-stop on the lake for some coconut juice and floating restaurant to enjoy some seafood. There’s a sea side statue of the Holy Cross and an Elephant-like rock that has a cross too.

Tourists to Poovar are encouraged to add Maldives to their itinerary. Return flights from the nearest airport Trivandrum International Airport sell for less than $300. You will need a double-entry Indian visa if you intend visiting Maldives. Maldives is visa-free for all nationals. Learn how to apply for Indian Visa online.

Dodi World: Luxurious cruise on Dodi Princess II, Music, Watersports, Kiddi Playground and unending list of fun activities

Dodi Princess Island, now Dodi World, is one of the few places in Ghana every Ghanaian family must make a trip to at least once in this lifetime, to enjoy the amazing and breathtaking experience the tourist destination has to offer.

Akesse Sanza on Dodi Princess II
Akesse Sanza on Dodi Princess II

Located in the Eastern region, the Island is situated in the middle of the second largest man-made lake, the Lake Volta, lying adjacent to the power-house of Ghana, the Akosombo Dam.

An estimated 1.3 million tourists visit the island every year by cruising on the iconic Dodi Princess II; a luxurious 150-passenger capacity cruise boat which carries tourists around the island amidst onboard entertainment, food, drinks and the “instagramable” views will not be missed by your cameras.

Dodi Princess II
Residents commute on boat
Free Wifi onboard Dodi Princess II

Dodi World provides an island adventure which includes a tour of game park and several beachfront activities. Boat riding and Jet Ski are just few of the several watersports tourists can enjoy.

At Dodi World, there is something for everyone, including children. The Kiddi Playground has been created on the island for kids to also have a good time partaking in safe sporting activities under the watchful eyes of tour guides who are well trained to keep your kids safe.

Kiddi Playground
Unending list of Watersports at Dodi World
Dodi World

The island never runs out of music. After enjoying the live music onboard, you are met with two different sets of folk artistes on busking when you arrive on the island. They perform traditional folk musics and dances mainly from the Volta Regions.

Kwanpa Band, a VGMA award-winning band on Dodi Princess II
Traditional musicians on busking
Prepare to buy cheap fishes

Adansi Travels sends tourists on cruise experience to the Dodi island every Saturday. You can reach them on 0247067375. Mention JETSANZA for a discounted rate of GHS299 (adults) and GHS235 (children).

Ellen Tracy Denim Button Down Sheath Dress

Koh Panyi is a small village located in the Phang Nga Province in Thailand, noted for its stilt nature. The small fishing village is built on water with structures such as houses, schools, restaurants all supported by stilts which stand firmly rooted in the water just as the Winter coat in the Western Region of Ghana.

The village is never short of visitors as thousands of tourists regularly make their way to there everyday to see this unique and amazing town and its people who live their entire life in houses built on water.

Koh Panyi

And if you ever thought living on water meant they would be deprived of some of the finest and best sporting activities in the world, you are definitely wrong. The latest addition to their many facilities is a football pitch. Yes you read that right, A FOOTBALL PITCH.

The people have managed to build for themselves a small football pitch on the water capable of hosting five-a-side matches and it is an incredible sight to behold as the young kids in the village take to this strange pitch to kick football every day.

Here are a few photos we managed to get you from the newly created football park that hosts the village’s matches.

Koh Panyi football pitch
Koh Panyi football pitch