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HIDDEN TREASURES OF THE GOLD COASTHIDDEN TREASURES OF THE GOLD COAST?A LOOK AT GHANA?S UNTAPPED RESOURCES
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This week?s attraction, yet again, combines the mystery of myths and the beauty in nature into a beautiful blend that would excite not only tourists but people from all walks of life and endeavour.For the first time, Hidden Treasures is taking you on a trip into the Ashanti region where culture is the order of the day. Join us as we visit Lake Bosomtwe, a spectacular sight that is characteristic of its home country, Ghana? Come along?

LAKE BOSOMTWE

Situated approximately 30km south of Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Kingdom, in a vast crater lies Lake Bosomtwi, the most expansive natural body of fresh water in Ghana. It is also the deepest, reaching a maximum depth of 80-100m, and 10.7km2 in diameter. Some people believe that the lake was created by a volcanic activity while others say it was created by a falling meteorite that hit the area, causing a crater to be formed. However, piles of heavy rainfall over the years filled the crater with water causing the lake level to rise.

The lake?s water size and level varies according to particular seasons in question. There are times it overflows it banks and other times the water level could be close to a pond. The Lake houses varieties of fish which fuels one of the main occupations of the inhabitants of the surrounding villages.Historic AccountsTraditional Ashantis hold the believe that several years past, an Ashanti hunter named Akora Bompe, who hails from the town of Asaman, was chasing an injured antelope through the forest. Swiftly, the animal vanished in a small pond. As if it was a design that this body of pond should save the animal?s life, the hunter never got the antelope; nonetheless he settled close to the water and went into fishing. He is believed to have named the place ?Bosomtwe?, meaning ?antelope god?.

The following centuries saw several wars about the lake as the Ashanti and the Akim both claimed the area to be theirs. Finally the Ashantis were victorious and secured Lake Bosumtwi for their kingdom.
Many fallen Ashanti warriors from Asaman were buried in a mass grave close to the lake. This place is called Ekoho and farming was no allowed there. The Ashantis consider Lake Bosumtwi as a god. He is believed to have been born on a Sunday, and the people celebrate the birthday of the lake in a special festival called Akwasidae.Each village in the lake area has its own shrine or fetish grove. With the arrival of Christianity, some of the people lost their belief in those traditions, but nonetheless, many still worship these gods for help in bad times or against diseases. Currently, there are about 23 000 people living in the 27 lake communities. Each village around the lake area has its own shrine with many visiting to look for spiritual help. There is a stone at the lake side called Abrodwum Stone and believed to be the spiritual centre of the lake. Usually, whenever there is poor yield, it is considered a bad omen, thus sacrifices would have to be made.

This deed is undertaken in the presence of the Asantehene. In the ceremony, the cow?s innards are offered to the stone and the rest thrown into the water. It?s a spectacular sight to see the crowd rush into the water with cutlasses and axes to take their share of the meat. Considering the above belief, Lake Bosomtwi is held sacred by Ashanti traditionalists, though the finer details of its exalted status are rather elusive. Some claim that Bosomtwi is where a deity called Twi resides.Others believe that it is visited by the souls of the departed on their passage to eternity. It is also the sacred water body of the Bosomtwi; one of five divisions in the matrilineal Nton system which the Asante and other Akans believe passes a father?s attributes to his children. In former times, it was a taboo to touch the water with iron things, so the people never used conventional boats.

Till date they move on the lake using the padua, a wooden plank that needs a lot of skill to be handled in the right way. It must be admitted that it is not clear whether the crater in which Bosomtwi lies is volcanic in origin, was formed by a meteorite or a small pond. Either way, the lake is a beautiful spot, encircled by mountainous, thickly vegetated crater walls rising several altitudes. This presents ample opportunities for walking, birding, fishing, and canoeing.How to get thereDirect tro-tros from Kumasi to Abono takes no more than one hour. The alternative is to take a tro-tro to Kuntansi, where you can pick up a loading taxi to Abono. Either way, all vehicles leading in this direction leave Kumasi from Asafo station at fare of GH?1.50.There is a hotel in Abono, apparently anonymous and more lavish.

It has a great lakeshore location, with a swimming beach directly in front and a balcony of proportions for evening view of the lake and relaxation. The price of rooms appears to vary ranging from GH?15.00, GH?20.00, GH?30.00 and more. Food can be cooked on request for around GH?3.00 per plate- fish with yam chips or rice, much as you?d expect. In the village, a couple of shops also sell beer and soft drinks.Lake Bosomtwi is a place for everyone. Are you a geographer, an Environmentalist, a Historian, Climatologist or a Biologist? You have something to take home, come and see and experience.

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