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Eastern Region: Cruise Along the East

The Eastern Region of Ghana is home to one of the friendliest and excessively polite people in the country. Split into unequal halves by the vast Volta Lake and one of its tributaries, the Afram River, the region conjures up lots of fantasy in the minds of many a Ghanaian: cute ladies, aka, Koforidua Flowers.

But the Eastern Region sandwiched between five of the remaining nine regions of the country, a feat comparable to only the Brong Ahafo region is more than just charming ladies.

Squeezed in the lower abdomen of the country, the region is a rich blend of dramatic landscape, historic relics and traditional cultures. Indeed, the ancient impressively blends with the 21st century in this region so close to but with such a striking contrast with Accra.

The huge Volta Lake dominates the Eastern region sandwiched between the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Central, Greater Accra and Volta regions.

Two of the monuments Ghana's first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah built on assumption of office after independence are here. These are the Akosombo Dam, the largest supplier of electricity to the country and the Senchi Bridge.

The Dam is built on a gorge created by the River Volta in the region at Akosombo town. The famous Senchi Bridge at Atimpoku links the rest of the country to the Volta Region in the middle.

The Akwapim Ridge, the Krobo Mountains, the Kwahu scarp, and the rolling hills overlook striking landscapes of gently flowing rivers and untouched forest and fauna.

The Eastern Region famous for its large areas of lush tropical forest, cascading falls and endangered birds and insects species is home to the biggest tree in the entire West African sub-region.

The region has more than its fair share of the unique history Ghana is international acclaimed for. Slave market, colourful festivals, waterfalls, research institutions, shrines and virgin forests.

If there is anything that has so revolutionalised the Ghanaian economy in the last two centuries, then it is cocoa. The first cocoa seed ever planted in the Gold Coast now Ghana was buried at Mampong in the Eastern region. The home of Tetteh Quarshie who brought the cocoa seed from Fernando Po remains an attraction to many visitors.

There are remarkable traces of the 17th and 18th century slave market at Abonse an important town crossroads on the Slave Route.

Eastern Region contains Ghana's only commercial diamonds mine at Akwatia. Despite loosing some brightness following the general economic mess, the diamond industry remains an important part of the region's economy.

The region, one of the smallest but heavily populated has four of the ten major traditional authorities and some of the glamorous festivals in the country. These are the New Juabenhene, Okyehehe, Okwapehene and the Akwamuhene.

Some of the festivals are Akantukese of the people of New Juaben, Odwira by the Akwapims and the Akyems.

Traditional and historic villages and towns are part of the richness of the region. Rituals surrounding the initiation of young girls into the adulthood called Dipo is an important part of the people in the region particularly the Krobos. Many have talked against the ritual during which the luscious flesh of young girls are exposed. Only a tiny piece of cloth and beads cover their womanhood.

Despite public outcry against the ritual Dipo continues to attract lots of people from all parts of the country and foreign tourists.

But any cruise to the region of many rivers, cascading falls, unspoiled forest and raw wealth cannot be complete without a visit to Aburi Gardens.

Open in 1890, Aburi Botanical Gardens is home to many endangered plant species in the world. It is an important research garden for many scientist and budding scientists. Its unique architectural design is breathtaking. You find something fresh and beautiful each time you set foot the well-manicured tropical gardens.