Location: Tongo Hills, Bolgatanga, Ghana
When I was over in Ghana, I was working and living in a small town called Bolgatanga (otherwise known as 'Bolga'). To one side in the distance straight down the main road, you could notice the silhouettes of huge hills. One Sunday, our little work family decided we were going to take a trip to see what was up there, and so we got our driver - a local who knows Bolga like the back of his hand, to take us. Tongo is a town situated on these hills, and the place is filled with rocks and caves to wander around, as well as being known for the Tengzug Shrine. The Tengzug Shrine is one of the most famous in the region, and is used for religious animal sacrifices. When you get to Tongo you'll be greeted by a tour guide who takes you not only around the town, but up to the shrine - although be warned if you want to go inside the shrine you must be topless (that includes the girls!).
A cave once used as a school to teach the local children in
Walking around the town is mesmerising especially as it's filled with stacks of huge rocks which you can climb up to check out the views. The land is really dry from the hot West African sun, and there's so much space that it kind of feels like you're discovering the face of another planet. Not only this, but often when you're walking around you can forget how high up you are, until you find yourself at the edge looking out at the view. It's basically a land in the clouds, but to the population that live here it's just their town and their everyday life, and it's a privilege that they are willing to share their world with visitors.
Pastor showing off his strength...
Pigs and chickens relaxing in the shade
The happiest pig you've ever seen!
The cutest baby goat! 😍
Benjamin inside one of the caves which was once inhabited by... hyenas! 😳
A sacred shine used for religious purposes
Kat in the doorway of a little house
Donkey skulls line the front of one of the houses
Standing on top of the roof of the Chief's palace. You must meet the chief and ask if it's okay - and you can never take a photo of him without his permission!
When you arrive at Tongo Hills, you don't just aimlessly walk around. First of all, you have to go and meet the chief and ask permission to be there. It's a sign of respect and acknowledgement that you are on their turf, and being allowed to visit Tongo was something I knew I was privileged to have. We were directed to a tour guide - a local who lives there and enjoys teaching visitors and tourists about the history of the place. He took us around the town, up into the caves and into Tenzug Shrine. Finally, we were taken back to see the chief who let us see where his wives and children live, and we were even allowed to wander around the homes and meet some of the people that live there. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen before and was a massive eye opener into how other cultures live.
Me enjoying the views - and the serious breeze in that 40 degree heat!
The boys hanging around 🐒
If you find yourself in Ghana or you're planning on heading out there soon, then a trip to Tongo Hills is well worth it if you happen to be in the Upper Eastern region. It's best to plan your route there - preferably by car as the heat is crazy in the north and you don't want to be hitchhiking in it, and make sure that when you get there you seek out the chief or the tour guide and let them know you are around. What fascinating places have you been to whilst abroad? Share your experiences below and don't forget to follow me to keep up with all of my adventures!
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