The Upper West Region has a land area of 8,842 square kilometres (3%) of Ghana’s total. The Dagarba, Lobi, Sisala, Vagla and the Wala, all of who speak distinct languages, inhabit this region. Total population of the region, which comprises five administrative districts – Jirapa-Lambusi, Lawra, Nadawoli, Sissala and Wa, – is 573,873. It is the gateway to Ghana from Burkina Faso, which is a traditional crossroads for the Trans-Saharan trade routes. An exciting introduction to Ghana, much of the landscape is broad savannah grasslands, dotted with the strange-looking baobab trees, or striking Sahel terrain. In the villages, with their distinctive round huts, communal activities go on as they have for generations.

The principal border posts from Burkina Faso are found at Hamale, Kapulima. Paga and Kulungugu.

The Upper West Region has a different feeling, as a more traditional region. The capital of the region is Wa which is also the seat of the Wa Naa, Paramount Chief of the Walas. The magnificent palace still stands as stately as it did when it was first built in the 19th century. The uniquely styled traditional village houses of round mud-walled structures connected by walls forming large compounds are well adapted to the demanding climate of this region.

Gbelle Game Reserve, located 17km south of Tumu, is an important sanctuary for endangered species of wildlife, as well as hippos, elephants and bucks. Birdwatchers consider this an important habitat for indigenous and migratory birds.

Although a great deal of development is taking place in these regions, access to outlying areas can be difficult at certain times of the year and during and after heavy rains.

Historic Sites

Gwollu Slave-Trader Defence Wall

This ancient wall served to help defend 19th century villagers from raiding slave-traders.

Places of Interest

Wa Naa’s Palace

The 19th century palace with its distinctive architecture is the official residence of the Wa Naa, traditional chief of the Walas.


19km from Wa is Sankana. This village is surrounded by scenic rock formations covering a four sq.km area. Under this rock formation is a network of caves, which served as bunkers…


This is a historical village associated with the slave trade. A tree mysteriously imprinted with a human foot and wall with human fingerprints are said to date back to the period of slave trade.


Wa is the regional capital and the gateway to the Upper West Region from the south. It has a number of attractions including the Wa Na’s (King’s) Palace. It is said to be more than 500 years old. Constructed of traditional swish materials,…


This is a border crossing to Burkina Faso and a gateway into and out of the Upper West Region. As you travel and take a tour of the Slave Route in the Upper West Region, you will no doubt come…


The rural populations around Lawra live in settlements which consist of compounds made primarily of mud and thatch. Lawra is the district capital with approximately 10,000 people.

Festivals and Events

Paragbiele Festival

This festival is celebrated in the last week of January – 1st of February by the Tumu’s.

Willa Festival

Celebrated in 27st April, at Takpo,…

Zumbenti Festival

Thanksgiving to ancestral gods, cleansing of the land of evil spirits and….

Kobina Festival

This festival is a post-harvest event to acknowldge the spiritual guidance of the traditional…

Kakube Festival

This festival is celebrated to thank family gods and ask them to bless the soil,…

Wildlife and Nature Reserves

Gbelle Game Reserve

17km south of Tumu, the reserve (565km2) is a sanctuary for indigenous wildlife, particularly its large herds of Roan Antelope, and is part of Ghana’s conservation programme.

Wechiau Hippopotamus Sanctuary

The Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary, a community protected area is located at the extreme north-western corner of the Upper West Region of Ghana. it consists of a 40-kilometres stretch down the length of the Black Volta River which forms the region’s western

The Bat Sanctuary (Sombo), Sacred Royal Python Sanctuary (Jafiiri)

These are successful traditional wildlife reserves. Other interesting attraction in the region are the smoothly polished mushroom-shaped rock formation leaning.

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