The Big Tree at Akim-Oda is one of Ghana’s numerous natural tourist sites, with a diameter of 3.22 meters at 1.37 meters, 2.72 meters at 3.1 meters, making 12 meters in circumference and 66.5-90 meters tall. It also has a girth of 10.11 meters at 1.4 meters and 8.63 meters at 3.1 meters and located in the Esen Apam Forest Reserves, about 22 kilometers from the Akim-Oda township, it is accepted to be “The Biggest Tree” in West Africa.
As a natural tourist attraction that does not need frequent maintenance to keep it evergreen as compared to most artificial tourist sites, it should be generating great revenue for the Tourism Ministry and the country as a whole but it is disheartening to know the opposite is the case.
As a regular user of the Akroso-Oda road, I always pay a visit to “The Big Tree” which has a piddling signpost making me always wonder if the Tourism Ministry is really giving the tourist site an exposure or trying to hide it from tourists. The signpost is too little in size to catch the attention of any traveler hence the low patronage of the tourist site.
It not being enough, after always paying GH₵5.00 and walking about 2 minutes to the exact orifice where “The Big Tree” has comfortably been stationed by God for the past 400years since its discovery, there are no seats, benches nor a resting place for tourists who would love to stay a bit longer than the usual 5 minutes I spend to listen to the history I am familiar with for the past 10 years since I first visited “The Biggest Tree” in West Africa.
Worsening the issue is the lack of lavatory at the tourist site. Imagining travelling 72Kilometers i.e 2hours 20minutes from the capital city of Ghana to have a feel of mother nature, then nature calls and you have no place around to answer such urgent call.
For the past 2 years, whenever I visit the The Big Tree at Oda, I intentionally ask for a place to ease myself, expecting a different answer from the one I heard on the first day of my request but the situation seems to be too rigid to be changed. Yet GH₵5.00 is paid per head as entrance fee in order to be able to go see “The Biggest Tree” in West Africa.
Ghana’s Tourism Ministry is believed to have earned $1.9 Billion in 2019 from the “Year of Return” initiative which brought a lot of tourists into the country. With no doubt, I believe some of these tourists paid a homage visit to The Biggest Tree in West Africa. What positive outcome has the natural cash crop in the Esen Apam Forest Reserve benefitted from the money it gives to the nation every single year if the site lacks a common lavatory.
We may not see the small axe we are gradually using to chop off the Biggest Tree in West Africa but many may not think of going back to the place after their first experience. A decision I am currently battling my mind to make if not for curiosity to go back and check if the story has changed or still remains the same after this article.