The Mole National Park, in Damango, West Gonja District, is a 4840 square kilometre reserve for animals such as elephants, buffaloes, wild pigs, antelopes, apes, birds and about 400 other species. The park has a motel with a restaurant, a bar and a swimming pool. This park, which is serviced by Forest Rangers, can best be visited with maximum satisfaction in the dry season.
Tamale, Daboya, Sabari, Nasia, Mole, Bui, among others, have exotic birds suitable for bird watching for pleasure. The savannah vegetation has a scenic beauty of its own, interspersed with rare species of flora and fauna. Baobab trees and ant-hills are part and parcel of this savannah natural vegetation of the region. Other aspects of the savannah scenery and views are the Nakpanduri and other hilly areas of the northern parts of the region, particularly the Gambaga Escarpment.
Shrines And Groves
There are sacred groves that are traditional nature reserves created around shrines. Notable among them are the Jaagbo and Malshegu Sacred Graves. The Jaagbo Shrine, situated at 30 kilometres from Tamale, consists of about 25 acres of conserved and preserved vegetation of medicinal herbs and near extinct and mysterious plants around the Jaagbo fetish. Among the vegetation of the grove is the “mystery tree” with marks of the hooves of a horse. The Malshegu Sacred Grove is at Katalga, about 12 kilometres from Tamale.
Architecture, Archaeology And Culture
The region is well known for its peculiar architecture of round huts with conical thatched roofs, which provide a particular scenic view. Among the relics of the past, which throw considerable light on the history of the people of the region, are the archaeological sites at Yikpa Bonso, in the West Mamprusi District, with relics of the Komas dating back to the nineteenth century (19th C). Other relics of interest in the region are at Jentilkpe and Kpaesemkpe.
Ancient mosques are a particular aspect of the relic legacy of the region which under pin the long history of Islam in the region. The Larabaga Mosque, which is of Sundanese architectural origin, dates back to the 13thC but the Bole Mosque, also of a similar Sudanese architectural origin, was built later.
While the Banda Nkwahta and Malew Mosques were built in the 18thC, imitating older mosque designs, the Zayaa mosque in Wulugu, is not only of the 20thC but is peculiar in that it is an uncommon storeyed traditional design of historical and military interest.
The remains of an ancient defence wall are in Nalerigu, in the East Mamprusi District. What is interesting about this defence wall, which dates back to the 15thC, is not only that it was built by a powerful Mamprusi Chief but equally important, is that the wall was built with mortar of mud blood and honey.
While Mosque relics under-pin the in prints left behind by Islam, graves are reminiscent of battles fought year in the region. There is a mass grave of fallen Dagomba warriors at the battle ground at Adibo, near Yendi, where the Dagombas fought the Germans. The grave of Naa Attabian, a great Mamprusi King, is at Nalerigu, in the East Mamprusi District, while that of Ndewura Jakpa, the greatest King of the Gonjas, is in Buipe, in the West Gong a District.
The graves of massacred Gonjas, have now become shrines at Jentilkipe, where the Gonjas battled with Samore and his army of slave raiders. Evidence of the region being both an important source and route of slaves, abound in the region. Just as the castles are vivid reminders of the departure of the slaves for their unknown destinations in the Diaspora, Yendi is the real archive of important relics of the slave trade, as manifested in the grave of Babato and the relics of his army.
Salaga, where the wells that provided water for bathing slaves for sale, still stand together with the residences of slave merchants, is a vivid reminder of this barbaric trade in human beings.
The mythical stone, which compelled the construction of a road to be diverted because it could not be removed, is still at Larabanga while a mystery tree with the mark of horse hooves turned up and down is in the Jaagbo grove, near Tawak. Another mystery tree is in the Regional Hospital ground in Tamale.
The most important traditional festival in the region is the Damba, a relic of Islam, which has lost its religious origin of the celebration of the birthday of Prophet Mohammed. The Damba celebration is also a mix of music, dance, excitement, horsemanship and regal pageantry, at the climax of Naa Damba. The region is the home of the Fugu textile, the centres of production being Tamale, Gushiegu and Yendi.