The Upper West Region has a land area of 8,842 square kilometres (3%) of Ghana’s total. The Dagarba, Lobi, Sisala, Vagla and the Wala, all of who speak distinct languages, inhabit this region.
Total population of the region, which comprises five administrative districts – Jirapa-Lambusi, Lawra, Nadawoli, Sissala and Wa, – is 573,873. It is the gateway to Ghana from Burkina Faso, which is a traditional crossroads for the Trans-Saharan trade routes.
An exciting introduction to Ghana, much of the landscape is broad savannah grasslands, dotted with the strange-looking baobab trees, or striking Sahel terrain.
In the villages, with their distinctive round huts, communal activities go on as they have for generations.
The principal border posts from Burkina Faso are found at Hamale, Kapulima. Paga and Kulungugu.
The Upper West Region has a different feeling, as a more traditional region. The capital of the region is Wa which is also the seat of the Wa Naa, Paramount Chief of the Walas. The magnificent palace still stands as stately as it did when it was first built in the 19th century. The uniquely styled traditional village houses of round mud-walled structures connected by walls forming large compounds are well adapted to the demanding climate of this region.
Gbelle Game Reserve, located 17km south of Tumu, is an important sanctuary for endangered species of wildlife, as well as hippos, elephants and bucks. Birdwatchers consider this an important habitat for indigenous and migratory birds.
Although a great deal of development is taking place in these regions, access to outlying areas can be difficult at certain times of the year and during and after heavy rains.