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Rich unadulterated culture is up for tourists viewing in Kumasi and for this, the metropolis has gained much recognition.This is visible from royal Akwasidae Festivals to fetish rituals and even to everyday ceremonies.Kumasi metropolis also has several unique tourist attractions. One is the Centre for National Culture, which helps to promote, preserve and protect Ghana’s culture.

It provides facilities for recreation and opportunities for study and research in the arts and craft industry in Ghana.The famous Golden Stool, which was conjured from the sky by Okomfo Anokye, which today forms the symbol of the Ashanti nation and the collective soul of the Ashanti tribe, is housed at the Manhyia Palace. The Palace is itself a major tourist attraction, being the residence and court of the Asantehene, King of Ashanti.

Okomfo Anokye’s Sword is behind the Teaching Hospital named after him and is said to be immovable.The Bantama Royal Mausoleum is where the bodies of Ashanti kings were preserved until the late 1850s.Non-members of the royal family cannot enter the mausoleum.There is also the Kumasi Fort and Military Museum, which exhibits relics of Ashanti wars, the two World Wars and Ghana’s recent military history.

For nature lovers, there is the Kumasi Zoo, adjacent to the Cultural Centre, and has on display reptiles, lions, elephants, birds and primates. The metropolis has hotel facilities that cater for all groups of people from budget hotels to those of international standards.

Information on Kumasi Zoological Gardens
Contact Information  
The Manager
Kumasi Zoological Gardens
Wildlife Division (Forestry Commission)
P. 0. Box KS 3148
Kumasi. Ghana
Tel: 233 51 23842

History
Kumasi Zoological Gardens (Kumasi Zoo) was opened as a result of a decision taken in July 1951 by the Asanteman Council to preserve Ashanti culture, foster social research and publish journal notes on Ashanti customs and other matters of general interest.
The Zoo was officially opened in 1957 with the purpose of displaying indigenous wild animals of Ghana in captivity (including free roaming Pea-fowls) with the view to demonstrating the linkage between wildlife and culture and thereby emphasising the need for wildlife conservation.

The Zoo was managed at different times by the then Kumasi Municipal Council and the Forestry Department and since 1974 managed by the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission
(formerly Department of Game and Wildlife).

Overall Functions of Wildlife Division
Protect, manage and develop wildlife resources in the national interest and regulate the harvesting of wildlife resources. Vet the export of wildlife products, conduct pre-shipment inspection, examination of wildlife products. Develop and promote the economic potential of wildlife through eco-tourism and sustainable exploitation of wild plants and animals, including their by-products.
Develop the wildlife management capacity at the national, district and community levels including stakeholder participation of the effective management of wildlife within and outside the protected areas. Promote public awareness, understanding and support for wildlife conservation, facilitate continuous improvement in wildlife management through research.
 
Functions of Kumasi Zoo
The functions of the Zoo are to:
  1. Display local fauna in captivity to satisfy the curiosity of the viewing public.
  2. Conduct Conservation Education with the aim of educating the public about wild animals especially the rare and disappearing (endangered) ones.
  3. Conduct scientific research into various aspects of wildlife biology, ecology etc.
  4. Engage in the breeding of endangered species.
  5. Offer a sanctuary for orphaned animals.
  6. Generate revenue.
  7. Offer a place for relaxation and recreation for the leisure time visitor.
Location
The Kumasi Zoo occupies a prime site in the centre of Kumasi, providing one of the few green urban areas in Kumasi for both local citizens and visitors. It is situated in Kejetia, a suburb of the central business area of the Kumasi Metropolitan Area and is located between 6° 34’ N - 6° 46’ N and 1°30’ W - 1°44’ W of Ghana.

Area
It occupies an area of about 11 ha and is completely walled.

Landscape
Forest and marshland with centrally flowing stream of high cultural significance to the people of Ashanti.

Zoological Collection
Mainly local fauna comprising of the following:
Carnivores (Big & Small Cats)    Six (6) Species
Primates    Nine (9) Species
Rodents    ,    Five (5) Species
Reptiles    Thirteen, (13) Species
Ungulates    Six (6) Species
Birds    Eighteen (18) Species

Tourism in Kumasi has taken a different path now, compared to the past when Queen Elizabeth visited the city of Kumasi in 1961; she named Kumasi “The Garden City of West Africa” because of its flora and beauty.  It has been estimated that 50 per cent of tourists who visit the country visit Kumasi.  The city has an outstanding rich cultural heritage, which is depicted in festivals, like the Akwasidae, funerals and child naming ceremonies.  These basically attract tourists worldwide and if well promoted would help to improve tourism in the city.  

Current Situation
The current situation is that, some of these tourist attractions that were once highly patronised are not so functional due to underutilization, poor maintenance, outmoded materials/equipment and little publications of these sites.

Tourist Attractions
There is no doubt that Kumasi, and for that matter the Ashanti Region, constitutes the very core of the cultural and tourism heartbeat of Ghana. Visitors and tourists to the capital of the Golden Kingdom of Ashanti are always pleasantly surprised by the hospitality of the people.  In fact, according to some tourists, a visit to Ghana is incomplete without a visit to Kumasi.

What will equally strike visitors is the people’s manifestation of the rich Ashanti culture magnificently demonstrated in their language, customary rites, festivals, cuisine and vivacious mannerisms.

Manhyia Palace
It is the seat or palace of the Ashanti King, which dates back to the 17th Century.  It also houses a Royal Museum stocked with rare and unique royal paraphernalia and life-size effigies of notable Ashanti Kings and Queens.

The palace also hosts the ever-popular Akwasidae Festival held every six weeks in accordance with the Ashanti traditional calendar.

Centre for National Culture
The Cultural Centre, the first of its kind to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa in 1952 features the following:
  • Prempeh II Museum – (This museum principally showcases the rich history and culture of the Ashanti Kingdom.
  • Craft Centre – (Traditional craftsmen can be observed here displaying their skills in the weaving of the world famous kente cloth, pottery and brass smithing)
  • A Gift Shop – (The centre has a number of gift shops where Ashanti traditional textiles, leatherworks, carvings and other Ghanaian artifacts may be bought).
  • Cultural Displays and Tutorials – (Traditional dances and performances can be observed or taught for a fee on request)
Other places of interest include the following:
-    Okomfo Anokye Sword
-    Fort St. George (War Museum)
-    Kumasi Central Market
-    Kumasi Zoological Gardens


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