We hit the road on an aggressive four-day road trip that took us into the heart of Ghana. (Check out the Map page to see how far we ventured.) Leaving Cape Coast, the scenery is mostly jungle, but as you drive further north the jungle starts to diminish and giant baobab and mahogany trees jut out of the forest towering above their surroundings.
Our first stop was the Boabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, home to around 700 monkeys of two different types. The monkeys here live free in the forest nestled between two villages and are revered by their human neighbors. When a monkey dies, it is buried in a monkey graveyard within the forest. It is believed that a monkey’s death is a sign that the oldest person in one of the villages will die soon.
We walked through the forest to a village where we purchased bananas to feed the monkeys. Ray asked if he could pet the monkeys but the guide said that they don’t let humans touch them. It was quite a surprise to everyone that one monkey climbed up on Ray’s shoulder without any hesitation to get to a banana. The only part of this adventure that I didn’t really care for was when the guide kicked at the monkeys (and connected) to shoo them away from the bananas.
The next day we drove to Mole National Park. We were able to book a room in the park on a bluff overlooking the elephant watering hole and were treated to a view of the elephants when we arrived. That afternoon we took a jeep safari further into the forest to see what we could see. Once we got into the forest, we stopped and got out of the jeep and walked a ways until we found three male elephants pulling down trees and stripping the leaves to eat. We were able to get to about 20 yards from the elephants. I am not so sure that our guide and his rifle would have stopped a charging bull elephant, but luckily they remained peaceful during our visit.
In addition to the elephants, we saw baboons, which hang around the hotel and apparently knock on doors to steal food; warthogs and baby warthogs, which are surprisingly cute; several varieties of colorful birds; velvet monkeys; bush buck, a type of small antelope; and many crocodiles.
We did a second safari the next morning, only this time we walked. We didn’t see any elephants during the walk, but we did go right up to the watering hole, where the crocodiles lurk just below the surface. It was a bit disconcerting how close we were to the water. We could see crocodile tracks leading out of the water and into the forest.
Our final stop on this adventure was in Kumasi. Kumasi is the second largest town in Ghana and home to the largest marketplace. We had hoped to do some shopping at the market, but our guide (who was prearranged for us without our consent) had ideas of his own. In taking us to an arts center, which was really just a small collection of road-side shops, he took us through a part of town that was engaged in a civil war. There were armored police vehicles lining the street and evidence of bonfires and destruction from the previous night. It was the first time on the whole trip where I hit the uncomfortable-nervous state. And I was pretty frustrated (to put it mildly) with our guide at this point as well. We all felt pretty let down with out visit to Kumasi. If we had to do it again, we would definitely ditch the guide and find our way around ourselves. Getting lost in the market would have been far to superior to the adventure we ended up with.
A few more pics from our road trip adventure…
Bateleur Eagle at Mole National Park.
Baby warthog with his mama… told you they were cute!
RJ found this little guy in our bathroom.
We had our driver stop at this termite mound just so we could take a picture to show how big they were.