Wa, Ghana

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View of a high street in Wa
View of a high street in Wa
Official logo of Wa
Wa Municipal logo
Wa is located in Ghana
Location of Wa in Upper West region
Coordinates: 10°4′N 2°30′W / 10.067°N 2.500°W / 10.067; -2.500
Country Ghana
Region Upper West Region
District Wa Municipal District
Elevation 305 m (1,001 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 102,446[1]
Time zone GMT
 • Summer (DST) GMT (UTC)
Area code(s) 039

Wa is a town and is the capital of Wa Municipal District and the Upper West Region of north Ghana. Wa has a 2012 settlement population of 102,446.[1] Features of the town include several mosques, the Wa-Na Palace, a museum and a nearby hippopotamus sanctuary. The geography of Wa is notable for the dramatic monadnock Ombo Mountain which is located around Kaleo and visible from much of the Wa township.

The town serves as a transportation hub for the Upper West region, with major roads leading north to Hamile, and northeast to Tumu and the Upper East Region. There is also a small airport, the Wa Airport.[2]


Wa has been inhabited for several hundred years, by traders who settled in Wa in order to participate in the trans-Saharan trade. Wa also holds the mortal remains of Babatu, a notorious raider well known for his raids in Upper West region during the late and early 19th century.

Environment and weather[edit]

Wa is in the southern part of the Sahel, the semi-arid area south of the Sahara. Average annual rainfall is around 879 millimetres (34.6 in), almost all of which occurs between May and October. Following the May–October rainly season is a cool dry period called the Harmattan when a steady, often dusty, north wind blows from the Sahara. The hottest period of the year is in February and March when daytime temperatures often reach 103 °F (40 °C).

Climate data for Wa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 34
Average low °C (°F) 18
Average precipitation mm (inches) 5
Source: Myweather2.com [3]

Economy and agriculture[edit]

Despite its urban status, Wa is in many ways still an agricultural community, and the majority of the Wa population make a good portion of their living in small scale farming. The main crops are corn, millet, yams, okra and groundnuts. Upland rice is also farmed in a few areas of Wa. The major fruit crop is the mango. Shea nuts are collected from wild trees, for food or refinement into oils and cosmetics.


The Town of Wa pays host to a few renowned educational institutions. The biggest Senior High School in the Upper West Region, Wa Senior High School (formerly, WASSEC), is in this town. WASSEC had some tumultuous times in the past due to mis-management and indiscipline which decreased the school's standards. However, the school has recently been recording major improvements in students' general discipline and performance in the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination.[4] The school was made a model school, which has boosted its infrastructural capacity thereby making it an attractive destination for students and teachers. Wa also has St. Francis Xavier Junior Seminary. Built in the 1960s, Xavier has produced a plethora of successful young men for the service of the country and the world. St Francis Xavier Junior Seminary, arguably the best secondary school in the country, has scored 100% on the SSSCE for a very long time. Wa also hosts the campus where majority of students of University for Development Studies (UDS) are based with three faculties,[5] namely:

  1. Integrated Development Studies
  2. Planning and Land Management
  3. Education, Law and Business Studies

Schools in Wa[edit]

  • Islamic Senior High School
  • St. Francis Xavier Junior Seminary
  • Wa Senior High School
  • Wa Senior High Technical School
  • Wa Technical School
  • T. I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School
  • Wa Polytechnical Senior High School
  • T.I. Ammass Senior High School


The Damba Festival[edit]

The Damba festival was the main traditional event of Wa. It was typically held in late September to correspond with an harvest in Wa. The highlight of the year was a ceremony in which the Wa-na stepped over a small cow lying on the ground. According to traditional belief, if any part of the Wa-na or the Wa-na clothing touched the cow, the Wa-na would probably die within the year. If on the other hand, the Wa-na stepped over the cow successfully, the Wa-na was guaranteed a successful coming year.

Food and cuisine[edit]

The staple food of Wa is known as sao or T-Zed in English. This is an abbreviation meaning 'very hot'. It is a thick porridge of corn flour eaten like fufu - by tearing off a chunk and dipping into a soup, usually of okra.


  1. ^ a b "World Gazetteer online". World-gazetteer.com. 
  2. ^ Touring Ghana - Upper West Region. touringghana.com.
  3. ^ "Wa Weather Averages". Myweather2. 2013.  Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Secondary Education in Wa". modernghana.com. 31 December 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Wa Campus". uds.edu.gh. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 10°04′N 02°30′W / 10.067°N 2.500°W / 10.067; -2.500