Lake Bosumtwi

About an hour outside of the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region lies a large meteorite crater lake that is quite out of the ordinary, but the people around seem even more so. I was hesitant to post anything about this trip because it was so short and I didn’t really get any good photos. Still, it’s was a nice break from Tamale and an item checked off my Ghana Bucket List.

Over the Dec 28-29th weekend, I made the trek from Kumasi with a few of the other die-hard EWBers who were not going out of the country for Christmas. The Lake itself is pretty spectacular, especially if you try to imagine what the meteorite impact would have looked like a million years ago:

Lake Bosumtwi (also spelled Bosomtwe), situated within an ancient meteorite impact crater, is approximately 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) across and the only natural lake in Ghana. It is situated about 30 km south-east of Kumasi and is a popular recreational area. There are about 30 villages near this crater lake, with a combined population of about 70,000 people.

The Lake Bosumtwi impact crater is 10.5 km in diameter, slightly larger than the present lake, and is estimated to be 1.07 million years old (Pleistocene period). Depth of crater is approximately 380 m, but, if counted together with the depth of lake sediments – 750 m. The crater has been partly eroded, and is situated in dense rainforest, making it difficult to study and confirm its origin by meteorite impact.

The Ashanti consider Bosumtwi a sacred lake. According to traditional belief, the souls of the dead come here to bid farewell to the god Twi. Because of this, it is considered permissible to fish in the lake only from wooden planks.

The legends say that in 1648 an Ashanti hunter named Akora Bompe from the city of Asaman was chasing an injured antelope through the rainforest. Suddenly, the animal disappeared in a small pond. It was as if this body of water wanted to save the animal’s life. The hunter never got the antelope, though he settled close to the water and started catching fish. This place he named “Bosomtwe”, meaning “antelope god”. This story suggests that at that time the lake level was very low. The large dead trees standing offshore in the lake also evidence this, for they are over 300 years old.

The following centuries saw several wars about the lake as both the Ashanti and the Akim clashed, each claiming the area. The Ashanti prevailed.

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Lake Botsumtwi Map

5 Replies to “Lake Bosumtwi”

  1. Thank you for sharing, Jonathan, always good to hear what you’re up to and that you are OK. Happy New Year to you!!. I wonder what it’s like living in a place where it’s always warm and you never have to battle the cold?–Darlene

    1. It’s been great! The last two months have been the “cold” season and are comparable to nice summer days in Vancouver. February and March are apparently the hottest months, so I probably haven’t seen “hot” yet.

    1. Seems like they are still catching something. I’m not sure what I could say about ecology as there are obviously more and more people everyday. I guess it’s still “better” (more natural) than your typical recreation lake in Canada as they don’t allow power boats or even metal to be used on the lake.

      We took a minibus (tro-tro) from Kumasi to a suburb then a taxi into the lake. On route we were stopped for sometime by a real, live extortionist road block, which tried to get everyone to pay $10 to enter the public lake. Fortunately we gave them the slip and made it in without paying.

      No real mosquitoes to speck off as we were pretty high up the mountain side and it’s the dry season.

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