GHANA NATIONAL GAME & WILDLIFE PARKS
Mole National Park (Largest)
Locate in the heart of the Northern Region, Mole National Park
has offered visitors the unique experience of its "foot
(trekking) safaris" since the early 1980s.
instead of being confined to a four-wheel drive vehicle (from
which it is often prohibited to descend) as frequently occurs
in other African wildlife reserves, visitors are encouraged
to set off on foot along the numerous paths that traverse the
park. The result is a first-hand, direct contact with nature,
during which visitors will gradually learn the ancestral art
of tracking and approaching animals as silently as an Apache.
The time that one spends here is accompanied by the progressive
realization that when if one manages to master the instinctive
fear of wild animals, it is apparent that on the other hand,
the latter have not gotten over their instinctive fear of man.
And rightly so, if the sad experience of their wholesale slaughter
during the great African hunting safaris of recent history is
Possibly for this reason, visitors are rarely able to approach
them at really close range, since the slightest movement or
odour signifying a human presence will usually send them running
as if their lives depended on it, which of course, was formerly
the case. Nevertheless, to minimize any potential risk, every
trekking safari is accompanied by an armed guide perfectly familiar
with the park and the habits of its animal population. The reserve,
which is administered by Ghana's Department of Game and Wild-life,
covers over 519,000 Hectares (2,330 square kilometers), a portion
of which are traversed by the Mole River. Current wildlife includes
numerous varieties of antelope (Defassa or Buffon bucks, guibas,
reeboks, bubales, etc.), warthogs, monkeys (cercopithecus, baboons,
red patas, blue and black Colobus), elephants (fairly difficult
to approach), a multitude of African buffalo, the occasional
lion, and scads of leopards, hippos and hyenas. Over 300 bird
species live permanently in the park, while over 150 additional
migratory species regularly touch down, along with the intermittent
visits of eagles and bee-eaters.
Visitors desiring to observe these animals generally hike to
either of the two principal watering-places, or are driven in
the park Land Rover vehicle to Camp Lovi, 30 kilometres distant,
to spend the night. Both trekkers and camp guests must bring
their own food and camping equipment, since the park's unique
stone shelter is totally unfurnished.
If the Land Rover vehicle is unavailable, other than during
the rainy season there is generally no problem in attaining
either Camp Lovi or Konkori (situated at the base of a cliff
in the northeastern section of the park) in an ordinary vehicle.
The Vestiges Of Ancient Villages
The cliff overlooking Camp Konkori dominates a great, rolling
and wooded plain dotted with clearings and rocky outcroppings.
Even during the rainy season, the thin topsoil generally prevents
the grass and vegetation from growing high enough to conceal
the wildlife. The landscape is lovely in all seasons, with red-coloured
succulents and scattered clumps of brilliant yellow wildflowers
contrasting with the green sea of the tropical grasses.
Along the track leading to Konkori, visitors will occasionally
notice the presence of amaze-like network of cavities and underground
passageways, frequently used as a natural refuge by some of
the park's wildlife.
Prior to the tribal wars which swept through the region in the
1870s, the area contained a number of villages, the vestiges
of which are still visible in the form of the above-mentioned
To the south of the park in the vicinity of Larabanga Mosque
(over 200 years old and national monument) a safari-hotel has
been constructed. The hotel complex contains accommodations
for over 35 guests in private bungalows, a restaurant, and a
Mole National Park is open throughout the entire year, the rainy
season frequently transforms the paths into muddy swamps, while
high grasses can complicate the viewing of the reserve's wildlife.
For these reasons, the best period for visiting the park is
from December to May.
Don't forget to bring along appropriate gear and clothing if
you are planning a trekking safari. Clothing should be either
neutral or jungle-camouflaged to provide low-visibility to the
skittish animals. Sturdy boots, a hat and sunglasses are also
essential, as is a water canteen and a pair of binoculars. Photographers
should equip themselves with a telephoto lens, while campers
should not forget the indispensable butane lamp or battery-powered
Owabi Wildlife Sanctuary
This natural habitat for many speicies of the wildlife, as well
as for number of migratory birds.Located on the Akropong road,
some 16km west of Kumasi, the sanctuary is closed to car traffic
but accessed by footpaths, and may be visited in the company
of a guide.
Boumfoum is located just before Juaben. Although the tarred
road continues to the entrance to the Boumfoum Reserve and practically
to Banfabiri Falls, cars must be left at the reserve entrance,
after which visitors proceed on foot.
Shai Hills Game Reserve
Created in 1974, the Shai Hills Game Reserve is a small wildlife
sanctuary occupying over 5,180 hectares north of Tema in the
Greater Accra Region.
To get here from Accra, take the Tema Expressway straight to
the end, followed by the highway to Ho. On the right, just beyond
the Shai Training Centre, the main entrance of the reserve leads
to the building where visitors' passes are issued and the mandatory
Guides are not only obligatory, but also indispensable. As in
Ghana's other wildlife parks and reserves, visits on foot are
both recommended and encouraged. But only a trained guide, perfectly
familiar with the habits of the animal population and the nature
of the territory can ensure that visitors will profit from their
excursion to the maximum.
During the rainy season, even experienced guides can hesitate
over which path to take amid the tall tropical grasses of the
reserve. As visitors will soon discover, these grasses are anything
but gentle to the touch, and after a single thorny encounter,
one is only too happy to let an experienced companion reconnoiter
the area in search of wildlife or simply the right direction
to the next stopping-off place.
The guides also know how to find the elusive vestiges of a series
of villages inhabited from the thirteenth to the 19th centuries
by huntsmen and their families. Occasional fragments of ruined
walls indicate the former presence of dwellings, while elsewhere,
innumerable pottery shards or intact earthenware receptacles
offer much testimony of the lives that were led here.
In more remote historical periods, the Shai dwelt in the careens
of the surrounding hills. Ulteriorly, these same caves were
used as temporary refuges and strategic strongholds during the
episodic wars between the Shai and the Ga.
As wildlife rarified during the early years of the 20th century,
the Shai huntsmen progressively abandoned the hillsides for
the surrounding villages which their descendants inhabit today.
At present, there reserve's animal population includes monkeys
(baboons and cercopithecus), water bucks, royal antelope, cephalophes,
oribus and wildcats, while the lovely surrounding hills offer
the possibility of hiking, camping and excursions on horseback.
Digya National Park
The Digya National Park was created in 1971 and it occupies
over 312,600 hectares of land. Bordered on the north, east and
south by Lake Volta, the park can only be accessed by boat.
Wildlife is somewhat scarce, but spectacular. Elephants, buffalo,
various species of antelope, panthers etc. can be seen.
Kogyae District Nature Reserve
Created in 1971 the Reserve comprises 32,400 hectares essentially
destined for agricultural and botanical research. It is located
in the Volta Region.
Located near Wenchi, between the Northern provinces and the
Brong-Ahafo Region, the 207,360 hectares park run parallel to
the Cote d' Ivoire. Bui offers visitors the opportunity of viewing
the largest hippo population in Ghana.
The Park is accessible from Kumasi. It was enlarged to 7,780
hectares in 1977. Largely comprised of secondary-growth forest
after intensive farming destroyed much of the original vegetation.
Bia is a haven for elephants, monkeys, leopards and birds. The
only way of exploring the park is by foot.
Located near Tumu in the savanna of northwestern Ghana, the
park occupies 54,690 hectares and contains a limited wildlife
Ankasa Game Reserve
& Nini Suhien National Park
With a comparable range of wildlife as Bia, Ankasa Game Reserve
(30,740 hectares) and Nini-Suhien National Park (10,630 hectares)
were created in 1976. Located in the tropical forests of western
Ghana,both reserves can be accessed by Mpabata.
Occupying 32,440 hectares, located in the Volta Region and a
few kilometres from the Accra-Ho highway, the Reserve offers
a dense forest population as Mole Park, with the exception of
elephants and lions.
Covering 5,180 hectares the Sanctuary is located in Ashanti
territory, in a transitional, lightly wooded region lying between
the savannas and the tropical forest. The sanctuary offer a
wide variety of bird life, monkeys and small antelope.
Situated to the east of the Kintampo-Nkoranza axis in the Brong-Ahafo
Region, the Sanctuary is celebrated for its black and white-furred
Colobus monkeys, considered by the local inhabitants as being
protective spirits and allowed free run of their homes during
Kakum And Assin-Attandanso
Located between Cape Coast and Elmina in central Ghana, these
Reserves offer 420 square kilometres of semi-deforested tropical
Along the site of logging operations, a recent study revealed
the presence of innumerable animal species, certain of which
were on the verge of extinction. These include the forest elephant
and buffalo, the bongo (a rare variety of antelope), panters,
Colobus monkeys, a wide variety of birds and reptiles, including
Nile crocodiles and a wide range of tropical flora. Both reserves
have been given a highly-protected status with hunting and logging
Hiking is both authorized and even recommended in all
of the above-mentioned parks and reserves, despite the presence
of potentially dangerous wildlife. The only prerequisite is
the presence of an armed guide to ensure visitors' safety, and
to prevent them from inadvertently provoking attacks.
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