"The Witches' Village" Gnani by grets

Gnani Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 85 photos

To the uninitiated, it looks like any other Ghanaian village, but Gnani is no ordinary community. This is a village like no other village I have ever visited. The inhabitants are all witches. Gnani is one of several such villages in the north of Ghana. 640 witches live here, but it is estimated that over 2000 witches (or supposed witches) are living in exile in these camps. People come from as far away as Togo and Burkina Faso to seek the safety of a dedicated witches’ village.

Traditionally, if a person is condemned for being a witch, the villagers would batter them to death. Simple. Here, there is an alternative. The chief of Gnani village – a witch himself – accepts, and even encourages, witches to come and live in his village. This provides a real sanctuary for those unfortunate individuals who have been accused of witchcraft. There are laws in Ghana that forbid banishment and rituals that violate human rights, but no one has even been known to be been charged, let alone convicted, of accusing a woman of witchcraft. Witchcraft is a very emotive subject, and one which we do not fully understand in the West.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Absolutely fascinating
  • Cons:Totally disturbing
  • In a nutshell:Traditional practices are still alive
  • Last visit to Gnani: Dec 2006
  • Intro Written Feb 8, 2007
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Reviews (19)

Comments (6)

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2008 at 10:02 AM

    Absolutely fascinating reading, great images, not the usual bus tour. A most interesting morning of reading for me - appreciate your effort in this page. N.

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2007 at 7:04 AM

    Really interesting and impressive page Grete! I wouldn't imagine that witchcraft is still existing to such great extent. Well, I did come across a magician-healer in the Amazonian of Peru as well!

  • Aug 3, 2007 at 9:05 PM

    Good tips - I liked the restaurant, nightlife and hotel ones - brilliant haha, fantastic pictures and relevant backgound, touching & intriguing as well! Never heard of this place before, though I travelled around Ghana for 6 weeks. thanks.

  • thedouglas's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2007 at 7:36 AM

    What an amazing place! - and congratulations on the beautiful photography. I love those character shots of those weathered faces.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2007 at 12:37 PM

    This sounds almost surreal, I wasn't aware of witchcraft is still exisiting, but sometimes my brain is still much European.... Thanks for this fascinating tour, Grete :-)

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2007 at 6:30 AM

    A very impressive page, Greta. I didn't realize that there really were witches with magical powers. A sad way to get rid of your elderly relatives.


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