It was an adventurous and courageous day to Shai Hills. I really enjoyed the experience of walking, site seeing and even the hike and climbing through Sayu Cave and reaching the top of Mogo Hill overlooking nature.
A group from UK where celebrating their friend Ben’s birthday in Ghana and visiting Shai Hills was one of the items on the itinerary which we put together.
Before approaching the entrance to Shai Hill Resource Centre, near Doryumu Junction we came across some baboons chillin on the roadside.
Shai Hills Resource Reserve is located in Doryumu in the Shai Osudoku District, of Greater Accra. In 1962 the area was declared Forest Reserve consisting of a total area of 47 square kilometres and in 1973 expanded to 51 square kilometres. It was made a Game Production Reserve in 1971. The highest peak rising to 290m, surrounded by savannah-covered plains.(map) The reserve, managed by the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana (a government entity), is now home to pitch-camping and glamping sites.
The Hills. Sayu Cave, Adwuku Cave, Manyayo Hill, and Hieweyu Hill are base to several stone quarries, mixed coastal savanna, dry forest, fauna, open and wooded grassland. Wildlife to include guinea fowls, antelopes, baboons and francolins, green monkeys, antelopes, mammals, reptiles, bats in caves and over 172 bird species. Zebras and ostriches are kept in an on-site farm
History. The indigenous inhabitants of the land were the Dangme-Shai people (Krobo) who settled between AD 1000 to 1892. There are several documentation suggesting why the British colonials forcibly expelled them – because of ritual murders, not paying gov taxes, ethnic wars, invading or trapping people. During the hike and from climbing the rocks you come across relics, artifacts and markings of domestic activities of the Shai and Krobo settlements. They were skilled in hunting for wildlife, pottery and bead making. The cave was a hiding place and natural defence against enemies.
Dipo. Historical stories are told about how young women camped on the hills whilst performing puberty rite rituals known as Dipo. The Dipo fertility festival is still performed between March and May in Krobo land and part of the rites are performed at the hill.
We were led by guides on an expedition to Mogo Hill and Sayo Cave.
We took a short ride through the park, then hiked through a rough rocky path towards Mogo Hill. Climbed up and over many rocks and used ropes to climb the steep rocks. During the hike saw areas where grinding (preparation of food) and the puberty rites took place. There is also rock formation with gaps that were believed to be sleeping and hiding spaces. At the top, the views are breath taking and fantastic overlooking the reserve and Accra. Well worth the climb.
We took another ride through the park, then hiked via a rough path which led to entrance to Sayo Cave the ancestral home of Kordiabe. We then climbed up over large rocks, a ladder and then ropes, which took about 30mins. It was a bit difficult as awkward rock formation. But I took my time, listened to guides, directions of where to put feet and guests lending hand to assist though the cave. The cave is dark and damp with a section used as a palace and where the chief sat and slept. Combating the hill and caves was a great achievement and smiles all round.
Museum of Natural and Cultural Heritage. The museum has on display the skins and skulls of Africa Rock Pythons, Bush Buck, Dwarf Crocodiles, antelope, baboons, hippopotami, leopards, elephant’s thighbone, jawbone, huff, and skull. Preserved tortoises, hedgehogs, ostrich eggs, bush cats, grass cutters, reptiles, and arthropods. A collection of pots and earthenware products retrieved from the reserve and the hills as evidence of human life.
Even if you are not a fit person and do not wish to hike, then you can enjoy the ride through the reserve hoping to spot some wildlife. Within the reservoir is an eco-bar, sitting area and opportunity to have a python put around your neck. Shai Hills is only a few hours drive from Accra and the entrance fee was 20 cedis, but you pay extra for additional hours.
Definitely a tourism attraction worth visiting when you travel to Ghana to see amazing landscape and natural habitat.
Bless Sister E