Tamale, Ghana

Tamale is an interesting town.  If you’re coming from the north it will probably remind you a bit of a busier Bolgatanga.  If you’re coming from the south it’ll probably remind you of a quieter Kumasi.  Truth is, it’s a little bit of both.  Tamale is a bustling city, but it also has its quiet hideaways as well.  The city is most visited by tourists keen on seeing the many mosques in town.  This is also the stopping point for those hoping to get to Mole National Park.  Personally, I wasn’t too fond of Tamale, but it does have its appeals and the high number of expats living here are testament to that.

Time Needed: 1-2 Days
Backpackers Budget: 40-50USD per day


Things to Do and See in Tamale

As I alluded to in the intro, the most common reason for a stop in Tamale is to see some of the mosques.  They are very interesting, and worth checking out.  But there are some other things to do as well.

  • Paga: The town of Paga is up near the border of Burkina Faso, but is worth a day trip if you have time.  You can see the crocodile pond and visit the old slave camp.
  • Sirigu: Another day trip, you can head out to this village famous for its art.
  • Cultural Center: You can also do some craft buying here.  It also makes for a decent place to get some grub.
  • Central Market: The market is mostly set up for locals, which actually makes it a good place to wander without getting hassled too much.
  • Mole National Park: If you have your own vehicle, you can visit Mole National Park on a day trip.  However, I don’t recommend it.  Just too long a day and you’ll likely miss the good wildlife hours of dawn and dusk anyways.

Where to Eat in Tamale

There is some good eats to be had in Tamale, both international and Ghanaian.  You’ll also find a nice range of prices catering to all wallet widths.  Here are a few options:

    • Luxury Catering: As expected by the name, it’s a bit costly.  But the food here is as good as it gets, well worth the cost.
    • Swad Fast Food: There is a massive menu here with everything from pizza to Indian curries.  Good grub and decent value.
    • Jungle Bar: On the grounds of TICCS Guesthouse.  It’s slightly overpriced, but the food is good and there’s a cool atmosphere as well.
    • Cultural Center: A nice place to get some of the local foods for reasonable prices.

Where to Stay in Tamale

You’ll find a really wide variety of accommodation in Tamale as well.  Most of the places are along the main road leading into town from Bolgatanga, but there really are places scattered all over the place.

  • TICCS Guesthouse: Really good value as long as you don’t mind being a fair distance from downtown.  Good clean rooms, nice garden area, and has a nice bar/restaurant, what else do you need.  Oh, and a room will only cost you about $15.
  • Catholic Mission: The Catholic mission in Tamale also has a guesthouse.
  • Asempa Lodge: This was where I intended to stay, but it was booked up when I was there.  I’m told it’s fantastic, has a pool, and costs between $15-40 a night depending on the room.

Getting out of Town

You can get pretty much anywhere in Ghana from here in Tamale.  The tro-tro station is right next to the central market which you’ll likely want to catch for quick destinations like Bolgatanga and Paga.  You’ll need to head to the STC buses which usually leave for Kumasi and Accra between 7-8am.  If you’re going to Mole, ask locally for the time of departure as it can vary from time to time.

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