March 17, 2018
Out of all the places I have been and the things I have had the opportunity to do over the past month and a half, this is by far my favorite! After our stops in Kumasi and at the Ghana Premaculture Institute, we headed North to Mole National Park. From Kumasi to the Premaculture Institute was about 5 hours and from there to Mole was another 6. Thankfully our bus was air conditioned and I had two whole seats to myself. Before we arrived to Mole, Uncle Joe warned us about the baboons. He said “if you hear someone knock on your door, make sure to ask who it is. If you don’t hear a response, do not answer because it’s a baboon”. Of course we all thought he was joking but let me tell you… he wasn’t.
We arrive to the Mole Motel around 7pm Friday night, ate some dinner and then headed off to our rooms. I thought Accra was hot but I was so wrong in comparison to the North. Being on the coast, Accra is blessed with a nice breeze the majority of the time and as soon as the sun goes down, it cools down. We weren’t so lucky in the north. When we arrived at 7pm, it was 95F, felt like over 100F and there was absolutely no breeze.
We woke up early Saturday morning for an hour long walking tour through the park before the sun really woke up. As we walked we encountered some warthogs who couldn’t be bothered by us. We saw a few antelope and crocodiles but other than that, not too many other animals. I was a little bummed was we reached the end of the walking tour because we didn’t see any elephants (my favorite animal). Well, that was until our tour guide John had a surprise for us! There was a male elephant heading to the watering hole for the morning!
Y’all, I was TEN FEET AWAY FROM A WILD ELEPHANT!!!!!!!! After spending ten minutes staring at this beautiful creature, wondering how God created such an amazing creature, and taking some pictures, he decided he had enough. As he continued on his way, my life had been officially completed. We headed back up to the motel where we had a great view of the watering hole full of over 100 crocodiles and a family of elephants.
By 10am the UV index was already 11 (out of 12) and the temperature was quacking approaching 100F. We ate some lunch, took some naps and then everything Uncle Joe had warned us about happened.
My friend Chase was taking a nap in her room (right next to mine) when we woke up thinking her roommate was back… NOPE! Chase and Amanda didn’t have their balcony door locked so a momma baboon and her baby decided to welcoming themselves in. If that wasn’t enough, she rummaged through their bags until Chase chased them out with a shoe. Around the same time, a different baboon was fighting Meghan for her plantain chips. So if you are lucky enough to find yourself at Mole, make sure to always keep your doors locked and make sure a human is outside before opening your door!
This is John, he was our ranger who did both our day tour and our night tour. He has worked at the park for 8 years and is so knowledgable!
now prepare yourself for an overwhelming amount of elephant pictures…
Every time he took water into his trunk, he was was able to hold 28 liters of water!
This is the view from our hotel/motels (HOLIDAY INN) just kidding, this was no holiday inn
This isn’t the one who terrorized our group but his friends did and I think if we would have stuck around any longer, he might have terrorized us too.
After all of that fun stuff, we hoped on our bus for a quick trip to a neighboring village to see some cool stuff. Where Accra is predominately Christian, the North is predominately Muslim. The village we went to is home to the oldest mosque in Ghana, built in the year 1421! Because it was prayer time, we didn’t enter but we did get to walk around and look at the structure of the mosque. It was so interesting and not at all like the mosques we are accustomed to seeing. After that, we went to the mystic stone where the chief prayed over us, we got to hear about the stone, and make wishes if we pleased. The whole 15 minutes in the sun was enough for us so we headed back to the motel, lathered on sunscreen, and jumped in the pool.
Later that night after dinner, a group of us decided to invest in the night safari. We left on the tops of the 4×4’s around 7:30, just as the stars had come out and oh my goodness… I have never seen so many stars in my entire life. Indiana has some pretty good night skies but I don’t think they will ever compare. I tried a few times to take some pictures of the stars but I didn’t think I was getting them until I found this little gem when I imported the pictures into Lightroom.
Our group didn’t get to see an elephants but we did get to see a hyena, a lot of bush babies and a some other wild cats (no lions or leopards 🙁 ). The temperature was perfect and that was easily the most peaceful two hours I think I have had since I have been here. It’s crazy to think about how small you really are in relation to the world and that God so perfectly created each life.
If you ever get the chance to go to Ghana, I highly recommend taking the trip to Mole National Park.
I also recommend doing the 7am walking tour that way you can do it before being blasted by the sun. We only did an hour but I would recommend two, that way you are much more likely to see the elephants as they migrate to the watering hole. Also take note as to what season you are going in. We are currently in the dry season right now which means the elephants have to come out of the deeps of the forest for water where in the rainy season they stay deeper in the forest so a driving tour might be better. I would also recommend the night safari because you get to see the most beautiful stars and the night life you don’t have the opportunity to see during the day.