A tourist climbing the rock
A tourist climbing the rock

From Bono East Region: Tanoboase Sacred Grove - A beautiful gift from nature

The Tanoboase Sacred Grove, a striking sandstone rock formation at Tanoboase, a farming community in the Techiman North District in the Bono East Region, is a beautiful gift from nature, worth visiting. 

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Aside from its beautiful looks, which attract tourists including foreigners, especially during holidays, the sacred grove is also used for religious activities, mostly by Christians due to its quietude.

The natural gift from God has several compartments, such as a main entrance, durbar ground, hideout, royal palace, watchtower, tortoise rocks and stairs, among others. Located inside a dense forest and close to the Tano River, the area has different species of trees and animals as well as fishes, particularly catfish in the Tano River.    

Cultural heritage

There is also a shrine at the grove, serving as part of the country's vast material cultural heritage, because it is believed to be the cradle and the traditional home of the Bono people.

History has it that when the Bonos emerged from the Amoowi hole, a tunnel at Pinihini in the Nkoranza North District, some of them settled in the Tanoboase area. During the era, when there were no structures to house the settlers, they decided to seek refuge under the rocks, while preparing their permanent abode at the area to settle.  

In the 2000s, the site was one of the famous tourist destinations in the erstwhile Brong Ahafo Region. The Tanoboase Sacred Grove and Shrine were highly patronised, competing with the Kintampo Waterfalls in terms of patronage.

However, during the past 10 years, patronage has declined drastically, because authorities could not develop the site to attract and sustain the interest of tourists.

Development

The Managing Director of the Sacred Grove, Oheneba Osei Manu, told the Daily Graphic that the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) was constructing two receptive facilities, which were about 90 per cent complete.

The rocky nature of the area

The rocky nature of the area

He said patronage kept reducing due to the lack of publicity about the place. Oheneba Manu therefore appealed to the GTA and other investors to speed up and assist in the redevelopment and advertisement of the site, since it was a place of public interest.

He said foreign tourists were charged between GH¢40 and GH¢50 per person, while Ghanaian tourists paid between GH¢3 and GH¢10 per head.

History

Narrating the history behind the grove, Oheneba Manu said an old woman identified as Aberewafua, with her two brothers and three children as well as some few people, discovered it during their search for refuge, after they emerged from the Amoowi hole.

He said during the period, hunting was the main occupation for the people, explaining that one day a mysterious thing happened to Aberewafua who had gone to the Tano River to fish.

Oheneba Manu said in the process of fishing, she got blind and could only see when she touched the fish. He said Aberewafua managed to hold on to the fish to enable her to see her way back to the grove, where she narrated her ordeal.

Oheneba Manu explained that since then, the Tano River and the shrine have used Aberewafua’s experience to communicate with the people, especially the river's taboos.
He said the shrine has also used her to perform several spiritual sacrifices.

Relocation

Oheneba Manu explained that Takyi, one of the sons of Aberewafua, left Tanoboase to settle at Techiman, Tuobodom and other places. He elucidated further that the present day Techiman, the Bono East Regional capital, got its name from Takyi, the first man to settle in the area.

"Techiman, which was supposed to be Takyiman has been twisted to Techiman," he said, explaining that the Tano River followed him to areas he settled. Oheneba Manu said it was because of this that the Tano River was found across the country because the river followed to settle with him.

MoU

When contacted, the Bono East Regional Director of the GTA, Joseph Appiagyei, told the Daily Graphic that the authority and the community had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to add value to the site in order to attract more visitors.

He said the MoU spelt out the role of each party to help redevelop the sacred grove to enhance the site, adding that it was an important site which needed to be protected for the future generation.

He said when the entire project was completed, GTA would change the management system to halt revenue leakages and poor management to the benefit of the government and the community.

"As I speak, we have not been able to put in place those proper management systems, because we are redeveloping the site," he said. Mr Appiagyei said work on the receptive projects would soon be completed and expressed concern about lack of electricity connection in the area, which he said was likely to delay the project.

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He said the GTA had planned to expand other facilities such as the car park, summer huts and lovers’ benches to increase sitting spaces.

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