Tamale

Most travels north will take you through Tamale, where you will readily begin to sense the distinct cultural difference of Ghana's North. Tamale is the fastest growing community in Ghana yet it has the flavour of a small northern town with local houses integrated with modern buildings. It is the market centre for the Northern region as well as being the major transport route for goods from the coast to the north of Ghana and countries beyond – Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger etc. The University of Development Studies main Campus is in Tamale with other campuses in Wa and Navrongo.

Tamale is a mainly Muslim community with two large Mosques and many smaller community and household mosques. The call to prayer can be heard early morning and evening throughout the town.

Local buses are also available to all communities.

The Cultural Centre is located opposite the Police Park, behind Barclays Bank. There are 10-15 kiosks selling handicrafts from the north of Ghana including smocks, baskets, carvings, paintings, cloth, beads, necklaces and bracelets and all kinds of trinkets. Worth a visit. Dance and drumming lessons are also available on request from the cultural centre staff.

A young entrepreneur, Alhassan Walisu, gives tours within Tamale at Kalpohin to see shea butter extraction, cotton spinning, palm kernel oil extraction, local pottery making and soap making. Tours are ½ day long and local lunch is served. He can be reached at 024 382 2633.

Local weaving and indigo dyeing of the strip cloth for smocks can be seen in Daboya, a community about 1 ½ hours from Tamale across the White Volta. Take the Nyankpala Road to the river and board a local canoe to the community of Daboya. It houses about 300 weavers. You can see the process from beginning to end – spinning of the cotton thread, dying in deep pits using local indigo dyes and weaving of the strips of cloth. Guides are available and a small token should be give to the chief of the community when you meet him as well as a tip to the guide.

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