Tamale is Ghana's third city and the capital of Northern Ghana. It is the second largest and the third most populous city in Ghana. Tamale has been voted three consecutive times by the Ghana Tourist Board as the cleanest city in Ghana and is proud of its well organized road networking in comparison to other cities and regions through Ghana. The city is like a conglomeration of villages where one can find an architectural blend of traditional mud houses and modern buildings. While the majority of the houses are roofed with corrugated iron sheets, a good number of them are roofed with grass. Many of these mud block compounds have TV antennae and electricity wires.
Public bus from Accra or Kumasi is cheap and safer than the maniac private bus drivers. It takes 11 hours from Accra, leaving around 8AM so make sure you make a bathroom stop on the lunch stop as you might not be able to otherwise.
You can also take a direct flight to Tamale from Accra using Fly540Africa.
Private car from any medium sized town with driver is only about GH₵30 a day.
Get around town in any of the following based on convenience and cost.
- Yellow-Yellow: It's a tricycle with spacious air seats that can take you to your destination.
Good point from which to visit Bongo (Moon Landscape) Tongo and Congo or if heading to Burkina Faso (neighboring country). Visit the Paga crocodile pond and all the slave camp near paga. Also visit Sirigu Art Village to learn about all the arts and craft of the northern people of Ghana.
Mole National Park can be a day trip from Tamale.visit mole to see elephants, warthogs, several types of monkey. The road to Mole is very bad: You will need a 4-wheel drive to Mole Park for your safari and canoeing in to the national park. Near Mole National Park, you can visit the oldest mosque in Ghana, Larabanga. There is also a new eco-village near the park. You can tour the village and also overnight there (homestay). You can book a tour from Tamale township or Tamale Airport. Tours include guide and vehicle. Cost is approximately $130 per day plus fuel.
Top up on supplies if you are heading out into the smaller towns or countryside.
Chat to the locals, very friendly bunch and you will find the best travel info this way.
Market on Main Street Cobblers, textiles and lots of food. Worth going into for the look of it alone and you may be hassled to 'buy Yam!' especially if you are a woman.
Cultural Centre behind the main street in the grounds of a disused theatre. Oil paintings from GH₵7.50!!, batiks, ornaments, cheap jewelry, goatskin handbags foot pillows, drums.....
Wander around a bit and you will find music shops selling tapes of the current Ghanaian charts, worth bringing a few home to remind yourself of the sunny, almost Jamaican style music being played everywhere.
It is not recommended that you eat from food stalls on the road as food poisoning is a high risk.
In Cultural Centre behind the theatre there is a great place with air conditioning and a Video Disc player playing Celine Dion songs endlessly.
Koose - a local snack made from deep fried bean flour dough which can be bought just off the main street across from the taxi station. A few western style shops also on the main street.
Gidipass (now called Crest Restaurant)- Is a bar on the main street that also serves good rice dishes and even spring rolls. If you want something more like home they have a dining room in a colonial style.
Nite Food is a neat, nice and well preserved area with both local meals Banku, Fufu, TZ and exotic ones like fried rice with chicken, noodles and many more. It's located along the hospital road directly adjacent Las Hotel and adjacent Total filling station.
Sparkles Restaurant in the Cultural Centre offers a wide variety of dishes and is recommended for its hygienic kitchen and friendly staff. Every Friday evening at 9PM there is a cultural performance to introduce local culture to the visitors.
Tacarobama Restaurant on the main road serves an amazing variety of food, from pizza and chips to local dishes. Their staff are fast and friendly and there is a nice open-air area to relax in.
Gidipass bar on Main Street, across and down a little from taxi rank where all the 'whites' and a few locals go. Has a few types of beer and sodas. Also serve good meals. Other small bars located around the main area (taxi rank and market)
Meet Me There Drinking spot is a few km north along the main road towards Bolgatanga (called Bolga Road). Set in a tall canopy of palm and date trees, drinks are at cost or below (meaning GH₵0.25 for a mineral/pop bottle), where as at Gidipass or other tourist centres, they cost GH₵0.60 or more. You can pick up some food from the street, and they'll bring you dishes to eat with and soap to wash with! Don't get too comfortable though. They'll kick you out at 10PM regardless of how much business you're giving them
- 1 Gariba Lodge, ☏ (+233 071-23371/23041-3 ), ✉ email@example.com. Is a hotel considered to be two stars by the government.
- Tamale Institute of Cross Cultural Studies. Offers boarding as well as a roof-top cantina/bar. Limited number of air-conditioned rooms available. Rooms generally available when courses are not in session (most of the time).
Venture out to the nearby riverine port town of Yapei