The sacred monkeys of Fiema Boabeng and the Volta river

4th December 2017 

Fiema Boabeng is a sacred rainforest in northern Ghana and is home to Monas and Colobus monkeys venerated by local tribes, as they believe the monkeys are the reincarnation of their ancestors. After the excursion, the journey continues crossing the Volta river in a barge.

Boabeng sacred forest
The trip to Ghana continues by visiting the rainforest of Fiema Boabeng, considered sacred as it hosts Monas and Colobus monkeys venerated by the local tribe. The vegetation is very dense and hosts lot of ultra-secular trees.
Monas monkeys Mona monkey
Sacred monkey Sacred monkey in Ghana
While the Colobus monkeys are very shy and more difficult to see, Monas monkeys are instead much more friendly and they are also very numerous. People who live in this region of Ghana believe that these monkeys are their reincarnated ancestors and therefore they are venerated, as if they are guardian angels.
Cercopithecus monkey
Cercopithecus mona

In the Fiema Boabeng forest it is not uncommon to meet Monas monkeys who bring the puppy with them. The Mona monkey (its scientific name is Cercophitecus mona) is native to West Africa and the largest male individual can exceed 60 centimeters in size, without counting the beautiful long tail. Females are instead smaller.
Monkey cemetery
Monkeys cemetery. As a sign of respect, the dead monkeys are buried in a small cemetery, indicating on each tomb the name of the monkey and its date of death.
Ficus watkinsiana
Strangler fig

In Fiema Boabeng forest there are lot of strangler fig trees (Ficus watkinsiana), so commonly called because they behave like a kind of parasite that suffocates its victim. The seed of stranglers figs sprout on the upper part of the unfortunate host, which is slowly suffocated by the dense network of aerial roots projects towards the ground and becoming thicker and thicker. The guest dies for lack of light and space, before decomposing completely: what remains is only the cage, now empty, formed by the fig's aerial roots, that in the meantime have assumed the appearance of a strange trunk.
Monumental tree
Fiema Boabeng

The Fiema Boabeng forest is home to many monumental trees of considerable size and age.
Secular tree
The little Mona monkey looks even smaller, almost invisible, in front of this monumental tree.
Boabeng Boabeng village
The village of Boabeng in the middle of the forest, among red dirt roads and tin-roofed houses.
Mango flowers Mango fruit
Mango tree


Mango trees are a constant presence in West Africa, the exquisite fruits (which if picked ripe by the plant have nothing to do with those found in western countries) grow from inflorescences formed by hundreds of small flowers.
Volta river
The journey to Ghana continues by crossing of the Volta river, which in this region forms a kind of lake about ten kilometers wide.
Roads of red dust Truck waiting to cross the river
The long line of vehicles waiting to cross the Volta aboard a barge. The damage to a bridge along a road further north has forced many people to choose this alternative route today.
Volta river barge service Volta river crossing in Ghana
People carrying goods on their head


The ferry service along Volta river, with vehicles loaded to capacity and the traffic of people carrying everything on their head.
Truck carrying yam in Africa Yam
The yam truck. The yam is a very important tuber for West Africa, cultivated and consumed in many different ways, is one of the main foods in many villages and remote communities.
Crossing Volta river
Passengers on the barges will share the space with just everything, including goats.
Barge on Volta river Fisherman on traditional boat
Trunks of dead trees


After the departure and during the crossing of the Volta river, it is easy to observe fishermen engaged with their traditional boats, or ghostly trunks of dead trees emerging from a shallow river bed.
Volta river ferry service
Before arriving on the opposite bank of Volta river, visitors will usually see a long line of vehicles waiting to embark.
Goats on the roof of the bus Goats on the bus
The goats loaded on the roof of the bus, and the bus loaded onto the barge. But are they really respecting the maximum allowed load-weight for this type of boat?
Fisherman throwing a net
Meanwhile, a fisherman launches his net in the water to catch the dinner.

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