Wli (Agumatsa) FallsWritten by:Zoe on: June 25, 2013
Wli Falls (pronounced ‘vlee’) is about 20km north of the sleepy village of HoHoe in the Volta region (note: the ‘o’s are cut short so the sound is not like ‘that damn hoe’ – it’s more like a quick ‘Hoh’). Set in the stunning Agumatsa National Park, Wli is the highest waterfall in Ghana, fed by the waters of the Agumatsa River, it’s a big hit on the Volta tourist trail. Close by is Mount Afadjato, apparently 885 meters tall it is the highest mountain in Ghana. My relatives were expecting me to have climbed this mountain not Adulka when I returned from my Volta travels. They were somewhat disappointed.
From HoHoe you can very easily catch a tro-tro to the Falls and as you turn off the red dirt track into the visitor centre, a large hand-painted sign reads “The German Couple will greet you.”
Two minutes later in the Visitor centre the ‘German couple’ are decidedly darker, male and more singular than expected. A large black man with a stern look of efficiency and bureaucratic pride sits behind a wide desk.
Having already been to Tafi Atome Monkley Sanctuary that morning, sadly my companion, Katie Jackman and I didn’t have time to go to the second, more dramatic falls higher up the range – a steep, two hour trek – but apparently it IS worth it and only costs 30GHC to be guided up. We chose instead the cheaper (10GHC) more leisurely 40 minute amble through tropical forest, following the winding river streaming under nine bridges to the lower falls – quite spectacular in its own right.
En route our guide ‘Wise’ generously pointed out and explained all the vegetation, plants and trees (I kept bombarding him with questions). Within the tropical forest grows Paw Paw (Papaya), Cocoa, Coffee, Plantain, Bananas, Cassava, Kontomire leaves, Maize and plenty more besides. There are between 50-80 farms (Wise wasn’t so wise on this point and this was the narrowest bracket I could get him to land on) within the ????? nature reserve and
It’s almost redundant to say that it’s beautiful but it is. Just a rustle of breeze among palms and the tinkling stream are the soundtrack to your stroll until you get much closer to the falls itself. Then – you think you hear the squawk and cry of some tropical birds of paradise irritated by the heat “Oh, you have parrots here as well?” I ask Wise enthusiastically – he laughs “No, that is the bats.”
Suddenly I was looking over my shoulder and between trees for the eerie little creatures despite having passed a bat cave ten minutes previously without, well, batting an eyelid. I suddenly become too tall for this beautiful forest and assumed every time my unruly afro got tweaked by low hanging vines and branches that a bat was doing a recce for new nest. The noise became less attractive when it was bats and its ferocious escalation as we moved forward sounded like there were thousands of them. It turned out there were.
When you reach the lower falls the first thing that strikes you is the majestic gushing thunder of water ahead that is the lower falls. The second is the entire rock face adjacent on the left covered in hanging bats – literally thousands of them. They didn’t distract me for long though as the water beckoned and I was quick to strip down to my bikini (even though everyone else in there was fully dressed) and dip my overheated feet. The water was wonderfully warm so I went for a shallow swim as close as I could get to the vortex of water at the bottom of the big downpour. The spray alone was incredibly powerful and almost knocked me over from some distance. Satisfied I’d done enough to get a good picture I lumbered out of the pool through a crowd of very excited school children who all threw themselves at me – their new climbing frame – for a group photo – each in turn then wanting individual portraits with me. It was quite an extraordinary experience all around.
The walk back was also leisurely, Wise was distinctly not in a hurry, and the small number of local art producers who have huts there are selling some fine pieces so it was worth a look, a haggle and some banter. I walked away with a couple of good quality carvings – cheaper and better quality than I would have found or had seen to that point in Accra.
Definitely put this on your to-do list if you’re in the Volta.