Ghana is one of the most spectacular tourism attractions in Africa. The country has so many tourism destinations that keep wowing tourists from around the world.
With its awe-inspiring mountains, epic road trips, enormous national parks, monuments, beautiful waterfalls, sceneries and night life, Ghana, indeed, stands tall in world tourism.
Today, NEWS-ONE is continuing with its focus on the concept of community tourism in Ghana to expose tourists to more Ghanaian communities that are themselves attractions.
Specific attention will be placed on Nzulezu stilts village for visitors to experience the village.
This is part of an initiative by the office of the Ministry of Tourism Arts & Culture to guide tourists to the best destinations in Ghana.
Nzulezu is spectacular scenery of stilt propped water settlement built on Lake Tadane in the Western Region.
It stands out as a magnificent interplay between man and his environment and, indeed, the biggest attraction in West Africa.
It is located 90 kilometres west of Takoradi in the Jomoro District of the Western Region of Ghana. Nzulezu is an Nzema word which refers to ‘village on water’.
Nzulezu is one of the Amasuri Wetlands, a ramsar site and the largest inland swamp forest in Ghana. The wetland is a habitat for a variety of animals like monkeys, crocodiles, marine turtles and fishes.
Oral history has it that the village was constructed some 500 years ago by migrants from Walata, a city in pre-historic Ghana Empire which was the earliest of the western Sudanese states.
It is believed that the early settlers or the ancestors were led there by a snail. The snail is, therefore, a totem and revered by the people of Nzulezu. The only other people in the West African sub-region who live on a stilt village are the Ganvie people of the republic of Benin.
The Nzulezu stilt village has a population of over 600 people.
The main occupations there are farming, fishing and the brewing of local gin called ‘Akpeteshi’ in Ghana. The village is ruled by the chief and elders who set out rules and regulations to guide behaviours in the village.
The chief presides over criminal offences and other unruly behaviours in the community. However, criminal act crimes are referred to the formal courts system for adjudication. The tribes at Nzulezu are very conservative and allegedly do not accept inter-marriages with other tribes.
Since the year 2000, the commencements of tourism activities in the Amanzuri Wetland, a number of infrastructural developments have been carried out, which though have been designed for tourism growth, have turned out to be public goods.
These include the construction of 1.4 kilometres of a two-kilometre canal from Beyin to Nzulezu, a paved landing bay of granite stones, grassed banks and a 140-metre wooden walkway from the main road to the landing bay.
In addition, these facilities facilitate school attendance and transport of goods from and to the market. The reconstruction of the 312-metre main walkway in the stilt village using durable timber, including Borassus palm and Kussia and the creation of nature trails in the wetland are other developmental efforts undertaken.
The serene ambiance of the surrounding landscape, coupled with the general activities of life on stilts, points to a dynamic relationship between man and nature. Traditional village life is adapted to the unique environmental conditions, and all activities such as the pounding of ‘fufu’ (a traditional meal), schooling, worship, baptisms and burials are carried out on the lake.
It is said that the lake averts possible disasters such as fire outbreaks.
The people of Nzulezu still adhere to traditional norms and taboos. For instance, Thursday is a sacred day on the lake, and on this day, the villagers do not engage in any strenuous activity.
Visitors need a boat to visit the village. Villagers also go about their daily activities with boat. A boat is a luxury for them and almost every house in the village owe a boat just like a car. They have a school, a church, a bar, hotels and restaurants in the village and it is an interesting place to be. Every child in the village knows how to swim and swimming is one of their exciting fun games.
Make it a point to visit Nzulezu to experience the place.