A new waterfall called the ‘Kumawu Bomfobiri Waterfalls’ has been inaugurated by the chiefs and people of Sekyere Kumawu in the Kumawu District of Ashanti Region.
The waterfall, located in the Bomfobiri Forest Reserve, is the first to be inaugurated out of three waterfalls in the district with the remaining two yet to be developed for public use.
Discovered in 1972, the waterfall used to be under the care of the Wild Life Division of the Forestry Commission but it is now being managed by the district Assembly,the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and other stakeholders.
The Kumawu waterfall has its source of water from the Bomfo and the Onwam rivers, both of which run through the Bomfobiri Forest Reserve, occupying an area of more than 53 kilometres square (5300 hectares).
The other two, the ‘Wala waterfalls’ also located in the Bomfobiri Forest reserve, is not yet developed due to the presence of wild crocodiles in it, thus making it unadvisable to expose it to the general public, while the third, called the ‘Bodomase waterfalls’ is also yet to be developed as a tourists site.
The newly inaugurated waterfall is about 20 minutes drive from Kumawu, the capital of the Sekyere Kumawu District, while Temante, the nearest community to the waterfalls is about 10 minutes drive away.
Driving from Kumawu to the waterfalls, a unique feature is the availability of two different vegetation types; rainforest and savanna grassland, making it interesting to watch the landscape interspersed with different types of rocks, which makes the landscape an interesting scene.
The forest reserve currently contains various types of animals, with the different vegetation types serving as a habitat for the animals.
The inaugurated waterfalls is about 50 meters high, with four steep steps before reaching the ground.
The pool of water at the base of the waterfall is about 30 meters square, which can accommodate about 60 revelers at a time.
Apart from the opportunity to visit the waterfalls, visitors to the tourist facility at Kumawu would have the opportunity to watch various animals in the forest reserve.
Notable among the animals in the forest are buffaloes, crocodiles, red river hogs, baboons and duikers, which can all be seen with the guidance of forest guides.
Before tourists begin their sight seeing, they are greeted by sweet bees, (some harmless flies) which hover around you throughout the visit in the forest.
Other attractions that make the site unique is the presence of about 141 species of birds, most of which are seen during the visit to the sanctuary.
There are three roads that lead to the waterfalls from Kumawu. The first is a first class tared road from the Kumawu through the Temante township to the entrance of the gate of the waterfall.
The second road begins from the main entrance of the waterfall after one had branched off the main tarred road onto a newly created untarred road which is about 500 meters to the car park inside the forest.
At the car park, which is about 60 metres square, the third route begins on foot a narrow walking path for a maximum of 18 minutes before reaching the waterfall.
While walking through the forest, tourists have the opportunity of seeing different types of vegetation and different types of rocks.
Unlike other tourist attractions which might not need strict security measures before a visit, the ‘Kumawu Bomfobiri Waterfalls’ is different due to the fact that it is located in a forest reserve, which is under strict guidance of the Wild Life Division of the Forestry Commission.
This makes the place a guided facility by armed forest guards every minute to prevent poachers from hunting the animals, as well as protecting people from being attacked by the animals in the reserve.
To ensure the control of people to and fro, the forestry commission has set up two camps for its guides in the reserve.
The first camp serves as the residential facility for the forest guards and also as the entrance to the Wala waterfalls which is filled with crocodiles and not developed yet for tourists.
The second camp serves as the entrance to the newly inaugurated waterfall, with a gate to control the influx of people.
On special occasions, police personnel are called to support the local forest guards due to the large number of patrons which makes it very difficult for the local forest guards to manage.
The inauguration of the new ‘Kumawu Bomfobiri Waterfalls’ was the surest way of reducing pressure on Lake Bosomtwe which happens to be the major tourist attraction in the Ashanti Region.
Aside from the reduction of pressure on Lake Bosomtwe, it would also give revelers the opportunity to have fun and have a good dose of exercise since they would have to walk through the forest amidst the climbing of rocks before and after visiting the new waterfalls.
A tour of the site of the water falls showed that it needed a lot more facilities to accommodate the tourists, particularly during public holidays.
Currently, facilities at the site are basic with only one small changing room made of bamboo which is woefully inadequate for the hundreds of tourists visiting the site.
There is also only one summer hat strategically located opposite the waterfall and that gives a vivid viewing of the fall which is inadequate with many people visiting at a time.
Most people visiting have to endure much sunshine or seek shelter under various trees in the area.
The Sekyere Kumawu District has only seven local hotels (unrated) located at Besoro, Woraso, Bodomase, Oyoko and three in the Kumawu township.
One of the facilities is located on the way to the waterfalls, which is about 15 minutes’ drive from the waterfall.
To ascertain the benefits and challenges the new waterfalls stand to bring to the people of the area, the Daily Graphic recently visited some opinion leaders to seek their views.
The Assembly Member for the Nkwanta-Temante electoral area, the nearest community to the waterfall, Mr Oscar Ofori, the Unit Committee Chairman, Mr Oteng Brenya and Madam Happy Oteng Brenyah¸ a community health nurse, had these to say: “The facility stand the chance of opening the place up since it would lead to many people visiting the place and this would lead to brisk business booming.”
“Our foodstuff would be patronised by the visitors to the area, which is predominately a farming community.”
They all mentioned the lack of toilet facilities in the area, which could be major setback to the effective operations of the tourist sites.
They, therefore, called on the district assembly to construct toilet facilities in the Temante community as well as the enclave to enhance sanitation in the area.
The General Manager of the Bomfobiri Water Sanctuary, Prince Annan Agyei, speaking during the inauguration was upbeat about the unique location of the waterfall made it the first port of call by holiday makers from the country and beyond.
The Ashanti Regional Director, GTA, Mr Peter T. Acheampong, lauded the Kumawu District Assembly, the traditional council for its role towards the opening of the tourist site to the general public.
He pledged the authority’s readiness to support them in all form of support towards the effective and proper development and operations of the site to the benefit of the assembly, as well as the nation and the tourism public.