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Tamale, Ghana, is one of the best places to visit in Africa, and it’s still relatively off the tourist trail. In recent years, Ghana has become a popular tourist destination thanks to its welcoming culture, good safety record, beaches, and fun festivals. For many, it’s the best country to visit in West Africa and a visit to Tamale will give you a great insight into northern Ghanaian culture. Here are nine reasons why you should visit Tamale, Ghana:
1. Intriguing Architecture
Tamale is home to an intriguing architectural blend of old and new, with modern high rises next to traditional slums. While there is an obvious wealth divide in the city, residents live relatively harmoniously amongst each other. Tamale has been voted the ‘cleanest city in Ghana’ for several years running, and it’s a great city to explore by foot.
2. Welcoming Locals
The people in Ghana are really warm and friendly, and those in Tamale are no exception! Locals will be curious to know more about foreigners and will bombard you with questions about your life. In Ghana, English is the country’s official language, so you can instantly get chatting with locals and learn all there is to know about the culture.
3. Great Food
Tamale is known as the most fertile place in Ghana — meaning you can find some of the best produce in the country. A few of the top things to try include locally grown yams, a non-alcoholic maize drink called toose, a large lunch dish called waakye, which is made from rice and beans, and the nation’s favorite dish, chinchinga, which is tasty kebab meat.
4. Explore Tamale’s Mosques
The population of Tamale is primarily Muslim and there are several ornate mosques throughout the city that are well worth a visit. The Central Mosque is the city’s most popular religious site and it features high minarets and a bright green dome. You can also travel to the nearby town of Larabanga to see the famous Larabanga Mosque, which is thought to be the oldest in Ghana. The Larabanga Mosque dates back to the 13th century and is believed to have been built by Moorish traders.
5. Buy Local Crafts
Tamale is packed with local craft stores and one of the best places to visit is the National Culture Center, where you can find handmade jewelry, souvenirs, crafts, instruments, and foods.
6. Visit a Local Market
Tamale’s Central Market is a bustling destination where locals buy fresh produce and household products. You can find a bit of everything in the market and it’s a great place to soak up the lively atmosphere.
7. Explore the Nearby Mole National Park
Mole National Park is a short drive from Tamale. It’s a protected area of Savanna and forest, and is home to elephants, leopards, buffalo, warthogs, antelope, and many other species of animals. The park offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and visitors can check out animal water holes and try to spot some of the area’s rarest animals, such as the elusive leopard. On-site, there’s a brilliant restaurant which serves up a variety of local dishes to try.
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8. Go Shopping
If you want to escape the scorching sun, head to one of the city’s enclosed malls, such as the Melcom Shopping Mall or the Forsmuel Shopping Centre, where you can buy anything you need and check out Ghanian fashion and design.
9. Explore Tamale by Bike
Tamale is a bicycle-friendly town, and best explored by two wheels. Hire a bike and explore some of its neighborhoods and architectural contrasts.
Find out more about why Ghana is being called the gem of West Africa.