Ghana # 6

Posted on December 27th, 2010 in General,MAPA expeditions by Administrator

Travel journalist March Eveleigh is volunteering for MAPA in Ghana and this is his latest post…..

MAPA Blog 06
26-Dec 2010
Our Christmas was short on snowfall and reindeers but we had a thick coating of laterite and good sightings of kob, roan antelope, bush buck, water buck… And instead of turkey plenty of guinea fowl curry.
Mole National Park is Ghana’s flagship park, and is by far the best wildlife habitat we’ve seen so far.
The elephant grass is a hindrance to wildlife spotting at the moment however. It is at the stage where it needs to be burnt off to provide a ‘green bite’ for the game. The powers-that-be at Mole consider it far too dangerous for visitors to be able to drive the park alone and nobody goes anywhere without an armed guard. (It seems a bit melodramatic but for some tourists it probably feels more of an adventure). We were joined by a veteran ranger by the name of DK Basig. DK was raised in a village in the north of the park but his family and their neighbours were ‘sacked away’ when the park was being cleared in 1964. I helped DK set a couple of bushfires along the track of our evening game drive – a pyromaniac’s dream!
Predators are extremely elusive. Lions are seen only every few months and few rangers have ever seen a leopard here. Apart from some big crocodiles that inhabit the waterhole in front of the Mole Motel, the most common predators are certainly hyenas and during the night I woke in my hammock to listen to their riotous yip-yipping and yak-yaking.
On Christmas morning we followed fresh spoor of some of the park’s estimated 600 elephants and, although we were surrounded by the broken branches and barked trees in what had clearly been the nighttime feeding spot for quite a big herd, they remained elusive. Mole is quite densely forested and one wonders what its natural state really is: there were once perhaps be far more elephants here, and therefore greater expanses of open savannah.
There is only a fairly small network of roads in Mole that are open to the public. Nothing in the north. We’re confident that we flattened as much of Mole as could be done but I was hoping for a wild trip to the far north and maybe a bush camp up there. No go!
From here we move on to Bui National Park. Since 1971 there have been plans to build a dam and flood the Bui area and the project should have been completed late this year but even today nobody is really sure whether there is a dam there or not. We will soon find out.
MAPA Blog 06
26-Dec 2010
Our Christmas was short on snowfall and reindeers but we had a thick coating of laterite and good sightings of kob, roan antelope, bush buck, water buck… And instead of turkey plenty of guinea fowl curry.
Mole National Park is Ghana’s flagship park, and is by far the best wildlife habitat we’ve seen so far.
The elephant grass is a hindrance to wildlife spotting at the moment however. It is at the stage where it needs to be burnt off to provide a ‘green bite’ for the game. The powers-that-be at Mole consider it far too dangerous for visitors to be able to drive the park alone and nobody goes anywhere without an armed guard. (It seems a bit melodramatic but for some tourists it probably feels more of an adventure). We were joined by a veteran ranger by the name of DK Basig. DK was raised in a village in the north of the park but his family and their neighbours were ‘sacked away’ when the park was being cleared in 1964. I helped DK set a couple of bushfires along the track of our evening game drive – a pyromaniac’s dream!
Predators are extremely elusive. Lions are seen only every few months and few rangers have ever seen a leopard here. Apart from some big crocodiles that inhabit the waterhole in front of the Mole Motel, the most common predators are certainly hyenas and during the night I woke in my hammock to listen to their riotous yip-yipping and yak-yaking.
On Christmas morning we followed fresh spoor of some of the park’s estimated 600 elephants and, although we were surrounded by the broken branches and barked trees in what had clearly been the nighttime feeding spot for quite a big herd, they remained elusive. Mole is quite densely forested and one wonders what its natural state really is: there were once perhaps be far more elephants here, and therefore greater expanses of open savannah.
There is only a fairly small network of roads in Mole that are open to the public. Nothing in the north. We’re confident that we flattened as much of Mole as could be done but I was hoping for a wild trip to the far north and maybe a bush camp up there. No go!
From here we move on to Bui National Park. Since 1971 there have been plans to build a dam and flood the Bui area and the project should have been completed late this year but even today nobody is really sure whether there is a dam there or not. We will soon find out.

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