Ghana 2008

Ghana, country of the black stars

West Africa is famous for a mixture of cultures. The countries has a lot to offer. I was in Ghana for 8 weeks and traveled around the country for some weeks.

At a busstation in Accra I met a Dutch woman who was the owner of Jolinaiko Eco Tours. Travelled with her through the country. Walking an elephant safari in Mole National Park, relaxing in Liate Woti, watching hippos in Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary and walking the Canopy walk. Furthermore I visited slavery forts in Elmina and Senya Beraku.

The most beautiful part of my time in Ghana was the Dipo Ceremony. Inspired by the book African Ceremonies by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher I decided to visit the Dipo ceremony in Ghana.

The Dipo ceremony is held by the Krobo tribe in the southern part of the country. For centuries girls undergo Dipo to transform the girls into woman. It took me months to find out when and where it was held. I contacted embassies, ministeries of tourism and tourist information centers everywhere in Ghana but nobody could help me. I called restaurants and hotels in the Krobo area, but they could only tell me that it should happen in April. Finally I got a phone call by a Krobo woman who told me that I had to go to Somanya the next day. So I was driving through sprawling Somanya, wondering where I had to go. When I entered the hotel I heard some singing and dancing and asked the receptionist what it was. She told me that it’s Dipo and invited me to go over there.

The woman of the house told me to enter the ceremonial house. Almost 15 girls were in the courtyard and I was the only man. I was treated as a vip and they wanted me to stay the whole weekend. The girls did some ritual bathing, practiced the typical Dipo dance (walk very slowly forward with your toes) and got some prayers. On sunday was the climax of the ceremony. The girls got dressed, a lot of beads around their waist, a white headscarf, a leaf in their mouth and then they walked in a procession to the sacred stone Tekpete. After a short ceremony at the stone the girls ran back to the ceremonial house at the back of a relative. The headscarf was removed and the girls got shaved and the girls got blessed. The ceremony ended when the girls got another hat and were dancing the Dipo dance.

Next morning I left Somanya, after a heavy farewell. The people were very friendly and didn’t want me to go back home…

The magazine Ontdek Afrika published my story about the ceremony. If you want to read this story you can download this pdf and translate the text.

Dipo

Pictures of the ceremony:

Ervaar Ghana

The first Dutch travelguide about Ghana. “Ervaar Ghana” is a travel- and cultureguide; more than 100 practical tips, 39 fair destinations and glossary in 4 different African languages.

  • Historical forts
  • Cocoa in the rainforest
  • Life as a Ghanaian on the savannah
  • English with a laugh
  • Relax on a palm beach
  • Alone on an elephant safari
  • No well trodden paths

There are 50 pictures from me in the travelguide. For more information visit the website of the tourist office of Ghana:

Ervaar Ghana

map Ghana

Itinerary

Day Destination Transport
01 Liati Woti 4×4
02 Liati Woti
03 Kyabobo National Park 4×4
04 Kyabobo National Park
05 Tamale 4×4
06 Mole National Park 4×4
07 Mole National Park
08 Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary 4×4
09 Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary
10 Baobeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary 4×4
11 Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary 4×4
12 Lake Bosumtwe 4×4
13 Ko-Sa 4×4
14 Tema 4×4
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