Tongo-Tengzuk Cultural Landscape and Sacred Shrines

This cultural landscape consists of outstanding balancing rock formations and many sacred Talensi ancestral shrines, all lying at and near the base of a horseshoe-shaped chain of hills. The Ba’ar Tonna’ab Ya’nee shrine is the most recognized among the shrines. This is a popular destination for Asante traditionalists, who call it Nana Tongo.

The harmattan wind that is experienced between December and February is known to cause an interesting whistling sound as it blows through the rocks. Also of special interest in the area are the Hiding Caves, where the local chief took refuge and commanded his forces against the British during their attempts to colonize the area around the year 1911; and the Hyena Caves, where the chief and other leaders met during their battle with the British.

It is believed that the Talensi people of the Tongo-Tengzuk hills have lived in the area for centuries. The people of the area are mainly agriculturists. In late October of every year, they perform the Boar Dam festival, to celebrate the harvest. The festival is also centred on the Ba’ar Tonna’ab Ya’nee shrine and other Talensi ancestral shrines. Also of interest is the sacred Bat Tree at Baare, 3 km from Tengzuk.

This landscape is located in the small town of Tengzuk, also known as Tongo, in the Talensi-Nabdam District, about 15 km southeast of Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region of Ghana.

For a tour of the Tongo-Tengzuk Cultural Landscape, non-Ghanaians are charged Gh¢ 10.00, while Ghanaian visitors enjoy a little discount. The tour includes visits to a model home, hills, caves, the Chief’s house, and the shrine. Both genders are permitted to enter the shrine but they must do so without any clothes on their upper body.

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