WELCOME TO LIATI WOTE
Home of Afadjato & Tagbo Falls
- Historical background of the people of Liati Wote
Away from the bustle and hassle of urban life nestled under the foot of Afadjato, the highest mountain in Ghana, is found the beautiful touristic village of Liati Wote. It is located in the Afadzato South District in the Volta Region of Ghana. It is about 18km South-east of Hohoe the nearest commercial town. Until the creation of the Afadzato South District in 2012, Liati Wote has been part of the Hohoe District. The citizens of Liati Wote fondly refer to their village as “The White City” because of the white sand all over the village; but this was before the red laterite was spread over a long stretch in the construction of a feeder road to link with the other villages. And this was before the people were forced to start keeping green grasses to protect their houses from being destroyed due to the excessive erosion caused by rain over the years.
- Attractions and Activities Liati Wote
By the generous gift of nature Liati Wote remains the home of Afadjato and the beautiful, exotic and perennial Tagbo Falls – proud owners of two wonderful tourist attractions. Wote by its strategic location offers her visitors a double satisfaction if only they are willing to avail themselves of the challenge to conquer Afadjato and to relax at the exotic Tagbo Falls. Simply Wote is the place to be if you want to immerse yourself in the wonder of nature.
Afadjato the highest mountain peak in Ghana stands at approximately 885 metres (2905 feet) above sea level. Mount Afadjato on a clear day offers views of the neighbouring villages, the Tagbo Waterfall, the Volta Lake and a panoramic view of a section of the mountain range that forms the boundary between Ghana and Togo. The climb up Afadjato is through a cool and shady tropical forest at the base and a thick savanna land towards the apex of the mountain. This offers the Afadjato climber an experience of the two different types vegetation.
The Tagbo Falls is perennial and cascades down from the mountains that are part of the Atakora–Togo Ranges also known as the Akwapim-Togo Ranges.
With over 300 species of butterflies, Liati Wote’s forest is home to one of the largest butterflies count in Ghana. The Tagbo Waterfalls is an easy hike through coffee and cocoa fields and untouched forest. There are plenty of opportunities for exploring and observing the plant life and butterflies. The waterfall itself is private and flows from an almost circular cliff formation with lush vegetation climbing the sides.
How it all started
On July 8th 1961, Wote received her first tourists when some officers and men of the Ghana Military Academy and the Field Squadron came to the village with the purpose of climbing Afadjato. This group cut the first trail to the top of the mountain and this explains the somewhat steep nature of the trail up Afadjato. This group was followed by the Ghana naval crew on a ship called the Afadjato Queen in 1967. The erected a cross on top of Afadjato and decorated it with their crest. However, Wote still remained a virgin destination that needs to be developed to exploit its full potentials in order to become a preferred destination in Ghana. One question needs answering however. What kind of development does Wote need? In effect, what kind of tourism product do we want to offer the world? What do we want to be known for? What is Wote’s identity that prescribes its image both at home and abroad?
- The beginning of modern ecotourism
The people of Liati Wote, led by the chief Togbe Kodadza V, started the community ecotourism project with the support of the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) by early 1980. The Liati Wote Afadjato-Tagbo Ecotourism Project is directed by a constitution promulgated in 2011. The Project is run by a Board in charge of policy direction, and a Management & Staff unit responsible for the day to day activities.
The development of ecotourism in Wote as it is today began with the arrival of Kofi Acheampong and his wife Susanne Steimann Acheampong in 1989. It was a Sunday in March and I was in the village for the weekend. Standing at where the Afadjato and Tagbo Falls signage is erected, I saw a car parked by the side of the road just after the village square. The occupants looked stranded so I went over to them to offer assistance. It was then that I realized they were tourists and could not speak Ewe, the local language. Until this time, there have not been much of tourist arrivals and so the locals were not eager to approach them.
Kofi and Susanne are a Ghanaian-German couple who run a cultural and tour group called Kalifi House, later changed to Kasapa Centre, in Teshie. Apparently, they were going to the Wli waterfalls but lost their way and came to Wote but did not realize that they were lost. They came with five German tourists and other Ghanaian staff. As our practice was in those days, I took them to beg permission from my uncle Amos Agbezuhlor since there was no tourist office when they told me that they wanted to visit the waterfall. It was not until on our way back from the falls that they realized they were rather at the Tagbo Falls.
However, the enchantment, beauty and serenity of Wote made them decide to adopt Wote as their Tourist Village in the `Volta Region.
THE TOURIST VILLAGE &KASAPA
The Kasapa Centre kept their promise and paid a second visit to Wote from January 5th to 8th, 1990. This time, they came with fourteen Germans.
Apparently, before this visit, they had sent me a letter to inform me of their itinerary but I could not receive it before their arrival. Those were the days of snail-mails and telephone was very rare in the rural area. They put up at the Matvin Hostel and Pacific Hotel at Hohoe and traced me to my village but once again lost their way and could not find me. After several futile attempt roaming the area to locate me, they made a last attempt at Fodome Ahor about nine kilometres away from a man who was also waiting for a vehicle to go to Gbledi. As fate will have it, this man is the present Odikro of Gbledi and my junior at the Dambai Training College. He eventually brought them to Wote where they met my late Uncle Nestor Gavi. My younger brother Delase Gavi was dispatched the following day to fetch me at my station in Nkonya Bumbulla where I was teaching.
- THE CHALLENGES
The worse challenge is the bad road network from Golokwati and Hohoe that makes movement of tourists cumbersome if not embarrassing to host who is constantly reminded of the bad roads.
Educating and encouraging people to grow more ornamental plants would not be a novel program. Most of us can remember how we used to go to Da Beritakorfe for flowers to plant in our homes. The biggest challenge concerns how to protect the plants from being destroyed by domesticated animals especially goats and sheep. Over the years, it has been the practice of people keeping these animals to leave them unfettered. Leaving animals to roam about whiles thinking of building a “garden of peace” is tantamount to planning to fail. Enlisting community buy-in is one sure way of keeping animals in their pens.
It is dangerous to think of a beautiful and peaceful environment as the only means to developing ecotourism and attracting tourists. Any tourist destination can copy what we do with the environment. This is why the attitude and behaviour of the people is paramount. Our values must be revitalised, articulated, taught, modelled and lived by adults to be emulated by the younger generation. This is the only thing that truly and permanently differentiates us from our neighbours and competitors.
- OUR PARTNERS
As the tourism programme took shape, it became necessary to have expert advice and external imput to be able to meet the needs of tourists. Consequently, through the instrumentality of Nelson Agbesi and the NCRC, the American Peace Corp sent us a Peace Corp volunteer adviser in the person of Michelle Beasely in 1997. She worked for two years. During her stay, she did extensive research on butterflies which established that the catchment area is home to over three hundred species. Michellle was replaced by Leslie Marbury from 1999 to 2001. Leslie was followed by Jess Fordyce from 2001 to 2004. When Jess left, there was a long haul before Katie Caldwell came in 2010.
- Impact of ecotourism development on Liati Wote
In the bid to promote tourism, the people of the Liati Traditional area instituted the Afadjato-Tagbo festival and have been celebrating it since 1992.
- The future of ecotourism and the way forward
As a tourist destination, Wote sits on a gold mine. Ecotourism is a whole industry that offers unlimited source of investment and employment. Competing for the attraction of tourists and stakeholders in the tourism industry, Wote can only achieve its aims by differentiating itself from the other tourist destinations as a place of peace. Learning from the example of tourist destinations, Wote need to take a critical look at enhancing her image to give meaning to any developmental strategy it might adopt.
According to the International Ecotourism Society, ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”
Ecotourism is the latest thing in vacations. What is ecotourism? “The idea is to show the world we have something very special around us,” Steers says. “You don’t have to destroy something to make money. You can make money because of what is there.”
The Coalition sees a way to protect these rare habitats by sharing them with visitors. It’s a way to protect the environment while providing humans with a way to make a living.