I chatter, chatter as I flow to join the brimming river, For men may come and men may go But I go on forever“(Alfred Lord Tennyson)
Just like Tennyson, the above will be your song when you are brought face-to-face with Ghana´s most panoramic town, Akosombo, the abode of the country´s international river – River Volta, covering over 150,000 square smiles and the hugest man-made Lake in the world, whose surface area sprawls over 8,502 square kilometers.
Geographically, the town – which is inhabited by over 15,000 migrants from every nook and cranny across the globe – is located 100 kilometers north-east of the national capital, Accra. The Akosombo Township spreads through kaleidoscopic land forms, specifically, valleys and the Akwapim Togo ranges of hills. Whiles the Akwapim range stretches the south-eastern part of Ghana, the Togo range sweeps north-east into Benin. These ranges make the highest peak of the country and exactly where the Volta River lies; out of a narrow gorge in this River was constructed the H. E. P as well as the largest lake Volta for the purposes of generating Hydro-Electric Power (H. E. P) and other economic activities.
In fact, the Volta River which takes its source from six West African states has got two-thirds of its 150,000 square mile basin outside Ghana-thus in Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Togo, Dahomey, Cote D´ivoire and Mali. Interestingly, the over 61,000 square miles of this River which lies within the boundaries of Ghana is a force to reckon with, it combines with other rivers such as the White, Black and Red Voltas as well as the Oti to make a massive flow that raised the volume of Lake Volta apar with Lancashire and doubled its area by 1968 to the sizes of three international Lakes put together ( i.e. Kent, Surrey and Sussex)
Now, it should be mentioned here that, the Volta Lake – which covers over 120 million acre feet of water (out-matching Kariba, Bratsk and Aswan), was primarily created under the tutelage of Ghana´s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah soon after the Dam was commissioned in January 1966 to put the country on the right economic footing through H.E.P generation ,not only for Ghana but neighboring countries as well.
Legend has it that, by 1733, militant Akwamu migrants who had settled at the foot of the gorge formed by the Akwpim-Togo ranges (which of course provided a hide-out from enemies) called the area ” Nkonson nkonson bo” (i.e. A local Akan parlance) meaning “Chain of Rocks”. However, with the passage of time, the name got corrupted to “Akosombo”
Now for nearly two centuries, the Akwamus only enjoyed the security and peace of the gorge, cultivating the fertile land and harvesting the tilapia fish of the Volta River without knowing its treasures until the arrival of an Australian geologist, Sir Albert Kitson-the man who first discovered Bauxite in Ghana-predicted “Akosombo” as a future H.E.P site.
Some decades after Akosombo was duly planned and adorned with modern infrastructure by renowned Architectural and engineering firm, “Dioxide Associates (who had earlier on completed a master plan for Tema – Ghana´s modern Sea Port), it is evident that it has carved a niche for itself and highly positioned to lift the country´s tourism to an enviable pinnacle.
Suffice it to say without any embellishment that, Akosombo, is a destination of choice for many a visitor to Ghana. It´s on record that each year thousands of visitors from all walks of life take advantage of guided tours which are conducted throughout the week (under the management of the Volta River Authority-VRA) to have a firsthand view of the smashing international lake (the Volta Lake) – which is certainly a must observe scenery.
Also to grab your attention, is the 3 – Star Volta Hotel built in the early 15th Century. It has what it takes to provide top of the line accommodation and a superb conference facilities which allows visitors to have a stunning view of the Lake Volta as well as the Akosombo Dam.
Others love to just take a few days off their busy schedule to cool off in the mind-boggling ambience of natural beauty and panorama.
Other sceneries within the hood include; Aylos Bay, Adomi Hotel, Senchi Resort, Lakeside View, Afrikiko Hotel and Backyard Guest House.
It´s worth mentioning that, Very high profile people from the Queen of Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth II to Valentina Terresh Kova-the Soviet woman Astronaut as well as the first President of Egypt, Gamel Abdul Nasser and the immediate past UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan have visited the Volta Hotel and signed significant agreements including the “Akosombo Accord of 1995, which among others, sought to broker peace among warring faction in the Liberian Civil War. Believe you me, here in Ghana, very important functions including Seminars are held within the Hotel premises because of its superb ambience and state-of-the-art Conference facilities.
You should be informed that, the VRA operates a leisure boat, called MV Dodi Princess on Sundays and public holidays which allow Tourists to be taken on a four-hour cruise on the international Lake amidst a blast of live music to Dodi Island (which is one of the ever green islands in Africa).
That´s of course not the end of the fun yet, the Volta Hotel, again operates a night club called “Adowa” and other rollicking programmes such as “Happy Hour” where various types of music are played usually from Saturdays till the early hours of Sunday.
The stark truth is that, the Volta Hotel as well as the Akosombo Township has won several laurels in tourism instituted by the Ghana Tourist Board. On three consecutive times Akosombo has been declared the neatest in the Country, and this is why your eyes must see so your mouth can talk about the “chain of hills”- Akosombo.
Concerned about what to eat and drink? There´s every access to a variety of continental as well as local meals and drinks. The Volta Hotel provides excellent mix of French, Continental and Ghanaian local cuisines.
The Hotel´s terrace bar which overlooks the Dam and the Akosombo Dam gives a true release of a life time, whiles the romantic atmosphere of the Maritime club, perched at the edge of the Lake is a blast for lovers of outdoor freedom.
Hollywood café, Tiger Bay, Vat 69 and Moo Hills are some of the leading joints where local dishes are served.
Visitors need not worry about Post and Telecommunication Services, News or Journals as well as Banks or Forex Bureau which are duly accessible at Akosombo.
Locating Akosombo is a pleasure, because Buses are available from the major, Bus terminals in Accra and Tema. Visitors can also be easily shuttled from Koforidua the capital of the Eastern Region or Ho the capital of the Volta region on a bus services.
A number of Travel and Tours agencies in Accra equally operate group tours to Akosombo in the comfort of air-conditioned buses. Details of these services are available at the Ghana Tourist Board in Accra as well as numerous travelling agents in other regional capitals of the country.