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For the visitor, Kumasi is perhaps more appealing for what it represents than what it actually is. In terms of size it plays second fiddle to Accra, but in terms of sheer intensity it wins hands down. Arriving, as you probably will, at the city’s bus/tro-tro station and the noise, sweat, dust and tangible adrenaline may tempt to get straight onboard again. Don’t. For you are in the capital of the Asante region – the noble and powerful kingdom that, legend had it was formed when a group of local tribes united around a heaven-sent golden stool in the 17th century.
At first glance, Kumasi will seem like one giant marketplace. You are not wrong. The 12-hectare Kejetia Market dominates the centre of the city - reportedly the largest in West Africa with some 10,000 traders. It’s an enthralling, bustling maze that is pretty much impossible to navigate. The best rule of thumb is to don’t try, but rather let yourself get lost in the sea of trade bead and traditional cloth vendors, shaman selling all manner of malady-healing potions, scrawny live chickens in minute cages and wandering saleswomen, miraculously carrying heavy-laden trays of sachets of purewater, spicy hard boiled eggs, and other tasty treats on their heads. When you have had enough, there is always a local who will lead you out for a couple of GCD.Read more
Kumasi makes a good base to explore other destinations in the lush Asante Region, which is comparison to its capital are a haven of tranquillity. Situated some 30kms south of Kumasi, Lake Bosumtwi is the largest fresh water body in Ghana, encircled by raggedy mountains and a few pleasant hotels. Owabi Wildlife Sanctuary is a haven for butterfly and birdlife, whilst the nearby village of Bonwire has a thriving kente weaving industry.