Traditional Homes at Bolgatanga

Travel to Bolgatanga – Craft Centre of Northern Ghana

Bolgatanga, also known as Bolga, is the capital of both the Bolgatanga Municipal District and the Upper East Region, with a population of about 50,000. Bolga is the major town between Tamale, 161 km (about 100 miles) to the south, and the border to the north with Burkina Faso.

Historically Bolgatanga was situated at the southern terminus of the ancient Trans-Saharan trade route. When early Europeans arrived in Bolga, the villagers welcomed them warmly. They greeted the Europeans with the words “Ya Farafara”, words of lament in the native tongue.

These Europeans, who could not understand nor speak Gurene decided to name the people of the region by the word “Frafra”. Thus the people of Bolga became known as the Frafra people.

Today, Bolga is known as the craft centre of northern Ghana, with a large central market. Apart from items found elsewhere in Ghana, the so-called “Bolga hats” are made and sold there. Bolgatanga and its surrounding villages also comprise the largest producers of leather works and straw baskets in the country.

The artists sell their works at the Bolgatanga Market, which is open every third day. There is also a museum in the town which houses objects of historical importance of the region.

One of the most distinctive features in the region are the traditional villages that dot the landscape. These villages generally feature round thatched roof huts, painted with decorative designs in striking colours. A beautiful example of traditional paintings is found in the village of Sumbrungu, 8 kilometres from Bolgatanga en route to Paga.

Visit the nearby Tongo Hills, Tengzug shrine and Paga crocodile ponds.

  • See handicrafts for sale at the colourful Bolgatanga market.
  • See traditional villages featuring round thatched roof huts, painted with decorative designs in striking colours.
  • Get as close as you dare to big crocs at the Paga crocodile ponds.


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