A hike through the Kwahu caves (Mirror, Friday, April 17, 2015) Spread
Only a few people who visit Kwahu in the Eastern Region during the Easter festive period, find time to explore the rich tourist sites which enrich knowledge gathered from history books and folktales.
Several of the people who visit the mountainous habitations of Kwahu, only find solace in a number of activities usually sponsored and advertised by parties with vested commercial interests.
A team of reporters and photographers from the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) who attended this year’s Easter celebration, joined others on an adventure that paid off in ways never imagined.
The group decided to take a hike through the ‘Nkofieho’ caves of life situated at Kwahu-Twenedurase under the guidance of Abusuapanyin Kofi Ayim-Poakwa, a dedicated tour guide who provided The Mirror with the history of the caves.
The caves of life
The ‘Nkofieho’ caves of life was a sacred protectorate for ancient warriors who migrated from the Asante Kingdom to save themselves from total extinction due to the many wars being waged by the Asante kings.
The caves have unique exhibits that show the wonders of nature and myth has it that they used to serve as a hideout for indigenes of the area during war times.
Their adversaries could never explain why and how the indigenes appeared and disappeared at will during battles, enabling them to triumph in the end.
The discovery of the existence of the facility now explains this myth.
Abusuapanyin Ayim-Poakwa explained that from that strategic location, they were able to disperse, assemble or regroup and attack due to the comfort and shelter offered them by the caves.
Historically, not only did the caves provide shelter and acted as a hideout to the indigenes of the area, but also served as the secret to their successes in battles.
“This is where rituals termed ‘yérenoaoko’, literally meaning ‘we are cooking war’, were performed, where certain herbs and stuff were cooked in pots for eating, drinking, bathing and sprinkling during the war times; including that which invokes their spiritual messenger of war known as ‘Afrim’ literally meaning ‘I’ve escaped attack’ to fortify and protect them against gun shots and other physical attacks and to disappear and appear at will,” Abusuapanyin Ayim-Poakwa narrated.
“The messenger ‘Afrim’ is still in existence at the Twenedurase Palace where it is being recognised and rituals are performed by the chief of the town on Fridays known on traditional calendar as ‘Fofie’ which comes on once every 40 days.”
Accessing the caves area itself is a unique experience through a typical forest. At a certain stage in the journey, tourists have to take on the challenge of climbing up hill as part of the excitement it offers.
The use of ropes as climbing aids comes as added excitement in the journey to reach the entrance of the caves.
Upon reaching the caves, head torches are provided to help illuminate the way through the caves and it requires no special skill to do that.
An interesting journey
The journey through the caves is interesting. It first leads to a sloping path, through two high mountain rocks separated about 28 inches in width.
No one can see the sky whilst in the caves because the top has a seemingly conical shape.
Inside the caves, one gets to notice the special features and cool conditions as if one is in a refrigerator that makes it a perfect hideout to the people outside the caves.
Outsiders cannot detect nor hear voices of those in the caves and it reveals as those in and outside the caves are many decades back in time.
The route to the entrance of the caves is another herculean task that prepares one for actual route in the caves, because one will at certain stages walk sideways through the path with the rocks nudging at both ends of the shoulders.
The caves, apart from its aesthetic and cultural symbolism, is said to be a place where men of God access to seek the face of God.
The team chanced upon a pastor who had camped under a canopy of the rocks at a high point overlooking the entire Kwahu towns.
From that level, he said, he was far above the limitations of human beings and closer to the heavens from where he communes with God and goes back to his church with the message from God.
The team would not leave his prayer camp unless he had offered prayers for each team member which he did, laying his hands on each individual and pronouncing blessings.
We exited the caves with a combined benefit of the physical, traditional, cultural and the spiritual, revived in all aspects.
Without doubt, a hike through the ‘Nkofieho’ caves of life is an adventure that everyone must experience.