The tree planting exercise in progress
The tree planting exercise in progress

The sacred forest of Ayimagonu - A legacy for future generations

The sacred forest of Ayimagonu in the Dorfor Traditional Area in the North Tongu District of the Volta Region has been intact and green since 1870.


In that revered forest that year, the people of Dorfor defeated the joint invading colonial army and volunteer mercenaries from Accra. That was after a departed ancestor of the area, Togbe Koklofu, appeared to the enemy troops in human form in the forest, prompting them to open fire until they ran out of ammunition.

He left them helpless as the Dorfor people returned fire and chased them away towards Akuse, a spokesman of the community, Torgbe Korku Mensah, said. “By the protection from the deity in the sacred forest, Dorfor is unbeatable,” he said.

Since then, the forest has been preserved as a holy ground where no one is allowed to enter except on special occasions when some elders enter the forest barefooted to offer prayers to the gods of the land.

They do so after abstaining from sex the day and night before the prayers in the forest. During the prayers, a pot in the forest is refilled with water. 

Bee guards

It is strictly forbidden to cut and collect wood from the sacred forest which is guarded by bees in massive hives and ready to chase away anyone who flouts the rules of the forest. It is also forbidden to go near the forest with perfume on one’s body as it provokes the bees from their hives.

A section of the sacred forest

A section of the sacred forest

Apart from protecting the sacred forest and its surroundings, the bees also keep watch over the community and mete out instant justice to anyone who conceives a criminal idea.

“In the absence of crime in our community, there is no police station, because any act of crime results in the death of the perpetrator at the hands of bees,” Togbe Korku Mensah said.

Food production

Ayimagonu, which has a population of about 2,000, is known for the bountiful production of food crops. There are farms close to the sacred forest, but it is forbidden to set fire on the farms, not even for cooking.

“The radiating heat from the fire will be an affront to the sacred forest,” Torgbe Mensah explained.  The farmlands around the forest were the venue for this year’s World Environment Day celebration in the Volta Region, on Wednesday, June 5.

With great zeal and enthusiasm, the people of the community and officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) planted 500 tree seedlings around the 154-year-old forest.

The species included Ofram, Odum, Mahogany and Teak.


The Deputy Regional Director of the EPA, Derrick Logo, said the motive was to create a formidable buffer for the forest. He commended the people of Ayimagonu for preserving the sacred forest over the decades and entreated the youth to follow the example of the elders by showing reverence for the environment at all times.

There are about 12 other sacred woods in Dorfor which are revered and protected from human encroachment. In fact, the green surroundings of Ayimagonu are captivating, likewise the friendly nature of the people.

The Regional Director of EPA, Hope-Smith Lomotey, described the environmentally friendly nature of the people of Ayimagonu as a noble cause with guaranteed inheritance for generations yet unborn.

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