Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The Lake Bosomtwe is Ghana’s only natural inland lake and one of the few in Africa.
The Abono Declaration of 1999 identified the Lake Bosomtwe as an eco-tourism zone, but plans to develop the basin have not been carried through successfully.
Today, the Lake Bosomtwe, situated within an ancient meteorite impact crater, is affectionately acclaimed the ‘Sea of Ashanti’, increasingly attracting foreign and domestic tourists.
Located about 30km south-east of Kumasi, the area has become a major recreational destination for holiday-makers in the Ashanti region and other parts of the country.
It indeed feels good and pleasant to be at the banks of the lake, especially on a warm afternoon – to enjoy the soothing breeze, the whistles of the birds and the greenly scenery that abound around the calm water; where man and nature come under an atmospheric harmony.
Travelling from the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, to the lakeside itself is fun – the exciting scenes of rural living, the beacon to taste palm wine en route to the lake town of Abono and the politeness of the youth of the area to educate you about the history behind the Lake Bosomtwe; which is more of a mystery of a hunter and a missing antelope.
Recreational activities for holidaymakers and visitors to the lakeside include swimming, Lake Cruise, musical jamboree and most recently horse cum canoe ride, which is a private-sector initiative.
The Green Ranch at the lake side offers an adventurous experience for both adults and children to enjoy the sport of horse riding, which is very uncommon for Ghanaians.
Established barely a month ago, the Eco-Friendly Equestrian Leisure Centre is attracting groups and individuals seeking the sports and entertainment of horse-trekking.
Elodie Antwi, known in the local community as Abena Ponko (horse) is in-charge of the ranch. She says patrons are offered the service of riding along the banks of the lake as wells exploring the length and breadth of the water in a canoe.
A number of hotels and resorts have also sprung up, offering diverse services to patrons.
The Republic Day Lake Festival has also been instituted by the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB), in collaboration with the Bosomtwe District Assembly and the Multimedia Group, to boost the tourism and socio-economic potentials of the area.
The 2011 maiden edition of the festival attracted thousands of residents in the Ashanti region and beyond to join in the fun of the party at the lakeside. Top highlife artistes, Kofi B, KK Fosu and Kofi Nti thrilled holidaymakers with their exciting live band performances.
However, the potentials of the lakeside remain untapped because of under-developed facilities to promote eco-tourism around the inland lake.
In a bid to develop facilities in the area, the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council is collaborating with the Tourist Board to commission a socio-economic survey as a step to develop a land-use plan for the enclave.
According to the Regional Manager of GTB, Ekow Sampson the project is aimed at attracting investors to improve the livelihood of local communities.
“We are also thinking of structural plan that will involve the areas around and I’m sure that in the next two to three years investors that will be coming in will be ready to say let me put this thing here or there”, he said.
The Bosomtwe District Assembly has identified developments in road and housing infrastructure as critical factors in the drive to maximize the full economic and tourism potentials of the Lake Bosomtwe.
The assembly is scouting investors to create a water park for water sporting activities, as well as cycling and hiking routes to provide adventure and recreation for visitors.
The district is also hoping to take advantage of the forest cover and slopes around the lake to create a park with hanging bridges, similar to the Kakum National Park.
District Coordinating Director, Felicia Dapaah believes communities along and around the lake would benefit from such investments when housing and road infrastructure are enhanced.
“Even though we have quite a number of hotels doted around the area, because our district is very close to Kumasi, we believe that if we have a housing policy – a very good housing programme, it will also boost tourism in the area. We are thinking about one bedroom, two bedroom apartments, where people coming to Kumasi or the lakeside will spend a day or two with their family members.
“Then we are also thinking about our roads; if you look at communities along the lake, as we speak now there is no linkage to the various communities and if we have a cycling route along the lake that links the various communities, that could also be an exciting adventure for people”, Mrs. Dapaah said.
If the partner groups should succeed in the investment drive to develop the Lake Bosomtwe, the image of the Ashanti region would be enhanced as a leading cultural and tourism destination in Ghana.
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