As part of our blog series on African protected areas, we will bring you at least one new “Photo Sphere” story every week. Photo Spheres are 360º panoramic images (think Street View) that can be shared on Google Maps, or with the Views community. Through theStreet View partner programme, more and more remote places are making their way onto Google Street View. Where this is not (yet) the case, Photo Spheres allow the world an immersive view many of Africa’s protected areas. You can see a selection of Photo Spheres taken in Africa’s protected areas on our interactive story map.
Ghana is experiencing one of the worst rates of deforestation loss in West Africa. At its current rate of forest loss, a study estimates that the country could be devoid of major forest cover in less than twenty-five years. Forest protected areas, like Kakum National Park, is thus particularly important for safeguarding species that are increasingly losing their habitat. Unlike most parks in West Africa, Kakum actually receives a lot of tourists, in large part thanks to this canopy walkway, the first of its kind in Africa. The suspension bridge (inspired by the Vancouver’s Capilano) takes visitors into the restless heart of an African forest, a refuge for seven primate species (including the endangered Diana monkey), more than 500 species of butterflies, and about 250 species of birds. The endangered Mona meerkat, Pygmy elephant, Forest buffalo and African civet also occur in the park.