The Atewa range forest reserve lies in Ghana’s Eastern region, near the town of Kibi in the Akyem Abuakwa district, and is likely one of the country’s most important and largest natural forest reserves, contributing significantly to the country’s environment.
The forest reserve stretches from Kibi to the south-western part of the Kwahu plateau, creating the south-western border of Ghana’s most famous river, the Volta.
The value of the forest to Ghana’s economic development, particularly for the people of the Eastern region, cannot be underestimated. The Ghana Water Company relies on the treatment of the Ayensu, Densu, and Birim rivers situated in the Atewa range to deliver water to residents of the region, hence the entire region is currently reliant on the Atewa range for water supply. These three rivers are also the region’s largest, flowing through the majority of the Eastern region for remote use by numerous settlements.
Of all the Ghanaian forest reserves, Atewa Range Forest is said to have the most trees, some of which are quite rare and essential in agricultural and scientific research.
The reserve has recently been in the headlines for a variety of controversial reasons, some of which have resulted in initiatives to rescue the forest, which is rapidly decreasing. The Ghana Forestry Commission is currently engaged in a struggle with illegal wood loggers who have shifted their focus to the reserve and are chopping down trees to sell on the market.
Another big issue that the reserve is dealing with is the issue of mining in the heart of the forest. Despite the fact that the Atewa forest is a protected area, illicit miners have infiltrated it, cutting down trees and clearing lush vegetation for gold mining, ruining the forest’s water bodies in the process.
Atewa is also known for having one of the world’s largest deposits of bauxite, but previous governments have taken significant steps to prevent the bauxite reserves from being mined since independence, until recently, when news broke of the current government’s intention to mine the bauxite as part of a financial agreement signed with the Chinese government in exchange for some infrastructural aid.
While the forest is designated as a protected area, it is available to tours, allowing citizens and tourists to visit the incredibly enormous forest and participate in tourist activities such as bird viewing and hiking.
History Of Atewa Range Forest Reserve
For its high species richness, high levels of endemism, and enormous hydrological value, the Atewa Range Forest Reserve in Ghana’s eastern area is internationally acknowledged as one of the most important ecosystems in West Africa. In 1926, the forest was designated as a National Forest Reserve, followed by designation as a Special Biological Protection Area in 1994, a Hill Sanctuary in 1995, and finally as one of Ghana’s 30 Globally Significant Biodiversity Areas (GSBAs) in 1999. It’s also a designated Important Bird Area.
Ghana Travel Restrictions
Ghana is open to most travelers again. I mean travelers from all over the world. However, you do need proof of your COVID-19 vaccination(s) or a negative test result before being allowed entry.
Many hotels, attractions, and private tours are open with new health & safety protocols in place, and you still have to follow certain guidelines. They are all good for our safety.
Read the ultimate travel guide to Ghana to help you plan your trip.