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Strangely-named Wa is the capital of Ghana’s remote upper-western region. If most of the northern Ghana feels little known to tourists, the upper-west corner will seem totally unchartered. For many of course, this is its main attraction. As is the even kookier named, Palace of the Wa-Na – a whitewashed fortress-like building consisting of what looks like a wall of giant anthills. It was home to the region’s rulers until 1998 and five of them are buried on the grounds just outside. Just behind there is a pair of unused, but very interesting, Sudanese-style mud and stick mosques. More examples of these can be found in the villages near Wa, and once you start viewing these ancient, alien-looking structures they become strangely addictive. One of the best examples is to be found in the village of Nakori. Dating from the 15th century, it is similar in appearance to the Larabanga’s mosque yet taller and more svelte. Nakori can be easily walked from Wa, making it a good day excursion.Read more
West of Wa, near the border with Burkina Faso, the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary occupies a 40km savannah-rich stretch along the Black Volta River. It provides an opportunity to see some 50 hippopotami in their natural habitat – viewed from a canoe in the middle of the river. You’ll need to be there in dry season for the best chances and if very lucky you’ll also spot the odd antelope, hedgehog or chameleon. The village of Wechiau is an interesting place, not only for its Sudanese style mosque but the fact that it was the one of the first eco-tourist ventures in the country, with a percentage of every GCD spent here by a traveller going back into the community.