Tagbo Falls – “Provision of the gods!”

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2002

I hope the word “gods” in my title did not scare you! Well, it is not unusual to have some mythical tales surrounding discovered waterbodies, caves, mountains and sacred sites in Ghana. The only difficulty is you might be given different accounts of such tales as they were said to have happened long ago and the oral narrations might slight vary or widely differ. The origin of Tagbo falls is one of such.

The tagbo journey begins here
The tagbo journey begins here

Located in the same vicinity as Afadjato in Liati-Wote of the Volta Region of Ghana, the height of the falls is estimated to be about 150 feet. Of about 45 minutes’ walk from the town to the falls, Tagbo is sited deep into the forest area of Afadjato. The source of the falls is said to be from neighboring Togo. Indeed it is so close to Togo such that my network provider switched me to roaming when I got to the site of the falls.

The about 45 minutes’ walk to Tagbo falls is never boring as there are various sites to behold for the lovers of nature or ecotourists. The journey starts with a sign post pointing in the direction of the falls. You would slowly take a walk through the cocoa farm lining the path to the falls.

cocoa farms along the route
cocoa farms along the route

The muffling sound created by your footsteps on the fallen leaves make a common rhythm in your ears and is accentuated with the chirpings of the birds. A common phenomena as one moves along is the crossing of small cool running streams and a Kaleidoscope of colourful butterflies (or is it “beautiflies”?) gliding gracefully in their natural habitat. The resounding flow of the streams will certainly give you the refreshing feeling of being under the falls of a river.

Just before you get to the main falls, you can take a rest at a small cave about some few metres away from the fall. Tales have it that it was this very cave that the hunter who first discovered Tagbo falls took shelter in, where he later heard the resounding falls of Tagbo and decided to investigate it out of curiosity. He was said to be on a hunting expedition from a village called Kuma. Well, so i also decided to take a cool rest in the cave before moving on to the falls.

The Cave
The Cave

One is welcomed with a cool breeze from the falls as he approaches it. The sight is certainly beautiful to behold! At the base of the fall are smoothly washed pebbles that one can play with or collect a few for use or just throwing them back into the base of the falls. Well, I certainly tried throwing some of the pebbles across the river so see how successfully i could cause them to glide over the water. Oh yes, I was able to obtain three successful glides pebble at a throw. That was fun to do!

So what role did the “gods” play in Tagbo falls? Well, tales have it that the falls got its name from some early experiences with the river. In one story told by the earlier settlers, a fisherman was said to have set some traps in the river. When he later came back to see his catch, he discovered a rather fairy large mud fish that had a pot of herbs on its head and cowry lining its back.

the falls
the falls

Another account was that of a man who caught a fish from the river and brought it home for dinner. Although the fish was cut into sizable pieces and placed in the pot for cooking, it was discovered at some point along the preparation that it had jointed up to become one whole fish again. All the children of the fisherman in the cottage were said to have died one after another and the fisherman and his wife developed blisters all over their bodies. In searching for a solution to the plague that had befallen the family, the people consulted the oracles which revealed that a powerful spirit ruled the water. So they named the river “Togbui” which means “small god” in Ewe. The name later became “Tagbo”. Because of the belief that the gods reside in the river, no fishing is done in it.

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