The Major Rivers Of Ghana

The Volta River in Ghana
The Volta River in Ghana

The country of Ghana is located in West Africa, sitting along the Gulf of Guniea. It is bordered to the south by the Gulf of Guniea, and surrounded by the countries of Togo, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire. The major geographical feature in the country is Lake Volta, which helps to feed 4 of the six biggest rivers in the country, the Red Volta, White Volta, Black Volta and the Volta. The country is also noted for its diverse wildlife, sequestered beaches, rainforest, and old colonial buildings and forts. This article will discuss in detail the five longest rivers in Ghana with some basic facts and interesting details about them.

The Five Longest Rivers In Ghana

Tano River

The Tano River is the fifth longest river in the country, having a total length of 249 miles (400 kilometers). The river starts near the town of Techiman in Ghana and then flows through the Ehy Lagoon and the Tendo Lagoon in Ghana. The river then enters the neighboring Côte d'Ivoire and flows through the Aby Lagoon before it finally reaches its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean. The river is mostly in Ghana as only the last few kilometers of the river are along the Ghana-Côte d'Ivoire international land boundary before crossing into Côte d'Ivoire for the rest of its smaller stretch. The possible remaining members of the critically endangered primate Miss Waldron's Red Colobus (Piliocolobus badius waldronae) are believed to live in the wild in the forest located by the Tano Rover and the Ehy Lagoon. Local indigenous beliefs of the Akan people, who make up the majority ethnic group in both Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire believed that the highest Akan God, Taakora, lives at the source of the Tano River.

Oti (Pendjari) River

The Oti River, also called the Pendjari River, is the fourth longest river in the country, having a total length of 323 miles (520 kilometers). The source of the Oti River starts in Burkina Faso from a tributary of the Volta River and then flows through Benin and Togo, which are east of Ghana. The river then flows into Ghana to its mouth which is in the Lake Volta reservoir. The rivers path also helps to form some of the international borders that exist between the four countries. The Oti rivers also flows right through the Pendjari National Park in Benin that is adjoined to the Arli National Park in neighboring Burkina Faso.

White Volta River

The White Volta River is the third longest river in the country, having a total length of 550 miles (885 kilometers). The source of the river starts north of Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou between two massifs and then takes a mostly southward path through Burkina Faso and Ghana until it reaches its mouth at the Lake Volta reservoir. The White Volta, like the other Volta rivers is named so due to the many turns that it makes along its course, since Volta is the Portuguese word for twist and the Portuguese where the first Europeans to arrive in the area in 1471. There are also two main towns in Ghana, Daboya and Yapei, that sit on the White Volta.

Black Volta River

The Black Volta River is the second longest river in the country, being a total length of 840 miles (1,352 kilometers). The source of the Black Volta starts in Burkina Faso and then flows north and east until it turns southwards to form the border between Ghana and Burkina Faso and later the border between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. At this point when the river reaches the town of Bamboi in Ghana it then flows north and later east until it finally reaches its mouth at Lake Volta reservoir. The major town that sits on the river in Ghana are Lawra and Bamboi, the latter of which has ferry services to use on the river. In 2013 the Bui Dam was built on the Black Volta river at the Bui Gorge near the border with Côte d’Ivoire and it is currently the second largest hydroelectric generating plant in Ghana.

Volta River

The Volta River is the longest river in the country and also by far the longest river that is completely in Ghana, being a total length of 994 miles (1,599 kilometers). The Volta River formed at the point where the headstreams of the Black Volta and the White Volta meet. From this point it flow south through the country, goes through Lake Volta, and then it finally reaches its mouth by discharging into the Atlantic Ocean at the Gulf of Guniea between the Keta Lagoon Protected Area and the Songor Lagoon Protected Area. Lake Volta, where the Volta River goes through is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world, having been formed in 1965 with the completion of the Akosombo Dam. The reservoir at this dam help to generate electricity to the people of Ghana via the Volta River Authority and help to provide a route for inland water transport.

The Importance Of Ghana's Rivers

There are many way that the rivers of Ghana are important to the country, its wildlife and its people. The rivers of Ghana are key locations for towns to be built upon and help to provide trade and transport, as well has having some religious importance for certain people. The areas along the river also serve as a habitat for wildlife and even go through protected nature reserves and national parks. The dams that are built along the rivers also help to provide electricity to the people of Ghana, so that they can life better and easier lives.

The Major Rivers Of Ghana

RankMajor Rivers of GhanaTotal Length
1Volta994 miles
2Black Volta840 miles (shared with Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast)
3White Volta550 miles (shared with Burkina Faso)
4Oti (Pendjari)323 miles (shared with Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo)
5Tano249 miles (shared with Ivory Coast)
6Red Volta199 miles (shared with Burkina Faso)
7Bia186 miles (shared with Ivory Coast)
8Pra149 miles
9Ankobra118 miles
10Densu72 miles

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