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Mole National Park - Ghana.


Abena

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@@Game Warden - thanks for the edits!! I'll get this figured out eventually....

 

And thanks for the positive comments on the reports - I'm thrilled there's so much interest in Ghana!

 

The trash on the beaches in different locations is seriously horrifying, especially when you consider all that plastic is out there churning around in the surf, injuring the fish, turtles, dolphins and other creatures out there...

 

One of the issues is that there hasn't been a good means of disposing of trash once it's picked up - I saw that this had improved over the past few years since I was there last but still needs more improvement. Additionally, I wonder if there doesn't need to be "economic incentive" to keep beaches and other areas clean. The photo of the trashed out beach was right behind an area of small hotels around the Keta area - which is a big tourist area not only for foreign tourists but also for Ghanaians who can afford it - but the hotels on the lagoon side of the area are a lot fancier. That area is nice and clean. The ocean side is less popular and more trashed. (or more trashed and hence, less popular...) go figure....

 

There's a very nice eco-lodge in the Keta area that's also an NGO and working with the local village with some environmental projects. I think there's so much potential for projects like theirs in other areas.

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The pictures exceeded my expectations. What a beautiful country.

 

 

 

The trash on the beaches in different locations is seriously horrifying, especially when you consider all that plastic is out there churning around in the surf, injuring the fish, turtles, dolphins and other creatures out there...

 

Truly a worldwide and heartbreaking problem...

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  • 4 weeks later...
KaingU Lodge

Thanks for a fascinating report. I lived in Ghana for 15 years, and went to Mole normally twice a year. Great to see it again - the pool brings back memories!

The elephants there are certainly Bush Elephants, the Forest Elephants occur much further south in the rainforest belt.

 

Bui is great - we wild camped there with a scout for a few days, at the time the dam was being constructed... no idea what it is like now.

 

Thanks for bringing back a flood of memories!

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  • 3 months later...

CAPE THREE POINTS, GHANA

 

This is the last of my trip reports from my October 2014 trip to Ghana. Better late than never!

 

Cape Three Points is located at the southernmost tip of Ghana, and interestingly, is the point of land closest to 0 degrees latitude, 0 degrees longitude, and 0 degrees altitude. It is a bit west of half way between Accra and the border with Cote d’Ivoire.

I’d read about this area on the internet before leaving for Ghana and it sounded intriguing. Not only are there beautiful beaches, but this area is known for whale watching and is part of a sea turtle conservation project. There were several likely sounding places to stay, including an eco-lodge.

 

We took the main road heading west from Accra and at some point turned south. The road continued on and became progressively rougher until it was like an undeveloped forest road in the U.S. We made a decision to continue south toward the eco-lodge, Escape 3 Points. The sign said 12 kilometers….

 

12 km later and we were still bumping slowly down the extremely rutted dirt road, in the middle of a rainforest, with no ocean in sight. We began to wonder if the name of the lodge meant there was ‘no escape’ once you arrived (if you ever did arrive that is). We had no choice but to continue, and eventually we came to the lodge (actually more like 24 km from the signpost). And we were immediately glad we’d made the journey – what an incredibly beautiful location!

 

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While it seems to be fashionable in Ghana to call everything eco-something, Escape 3 Points is truly an eco-lodge. The lodging is small chalets built entirely of bamboo, with outdoor compost toilets and outdoor showers. The showers are “bucket showers” – a bucket full of cold water which you pour over yourself with a pitcher. It’s amazing how clean you can get using just a few gallons of water. It really made me wonder at how Americans by and large love to stand in hot running water no matter if they live in arid climates, wasting incredible amounts of water, when a few gallons serves the purpose. Note that despite saying to myself that I would take up “bucket showering” when I got home, I went back to standing in steaming hot water the minute I got back to the U.S.

 

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There’s no need for air conditioning because the sea breezes are quite cool – in fact it got rather chilly in the evening. There was no electricity so we kept our flashlights handy at night. We stayed in one of the larger chalets with a loft, which was a bit hazardous, in that there was a gap between the edge of the loft and the wall that was invisible in the dim light. I promptly fell into the gap when trying to walk around the bed and skinned my leg rather badly. Then my partner twisted his ankle climbing down the ladder in the dark. But other than being injured, we both loved this place and felt like we could live there permanently.

 

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One morning, the staff woke everyone up to come out to the beach to see the sea turtle who had just laid her eggs. She was finished laying, and was on her way back to the ocean. The eco-lodge is part of a network of sea turtle conservation locations; the staff removes the eggs and puts them in a fenced in area where they can develop and hatch without fear of predators (animal or human). We watched for humpback whales, which were reported to be migrating around this time, but didn’t see any.

 

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The Cape Three Points Forest Reserve is a nearby destination – and has been designated as a “globally significant biodiversity area” – possibly the last remaining coastal rainforest in West Africa. Birdlife International has listed 71 species of birds in this reserve. This would be a great destination for a bird watching holiday.

 

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We took a day trip to visit a fishing village that’s located at Ezile Bay. The village was quite picturesque, and a guide took us on an interesting tour of the village, explaining various aspects of village life. From the village one can hire a dugout canoe to take a tour of the mangroves lining the river that feeds into the ocean at the bay. This is normally a great way to see birds and potentially other wildlife – even manatees have been seen in the river. The best time to go is just at dawn; the only time we were able to go was at dusk. We did see several cormorants and a heron – I’m afraid I don’t have any decent photos. The mangroves are very beautiful in themselves and it was lovely just taking a canoe ride and watching the sun set.

 

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Along the bumpy road from Escape 3 Points to the village, we saw a distillery nestled back in the forest. This was an interesting cultural experience! We stopped to visit and my partner explained the process by which the palm trees are tapped, and the slightly fermented palm wine is then distilled into the fiery palm gin. The palm tappers (probably about ten men in all) were obviously very poor and didn’t speak English so fortunately Godfried could translate. We had two young ladies with us, other guests at Escape 3 Points, and one of the palm tappers proposed marriage to one of them in his rudimentary English, which shocked her nearly to death. We women really had a good laugh over that when we got back into the car. Of course in Ghanaian culture it is considered quite a high compliment to be proposed to – even if the man has just seen you for the first time! We shared a bottle of palm wine in the car after that experience – palm wine is really quite refreshing on a hot day.

 

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The palm tree is considered to be the tree of life, because every part of it can be used, from the branches and leaves that thatch the house, to the roots which are used in traditional medicine as a natural Viagra.

The process of distilling palm wine into palm gin is really pretty amazing. The distillery produces quite a quantity of the product, which they put in large plastic containers and set out by the roadside for pick up by the men who will then bottle and sell it. Despite the demand, the guys who make it are obviously not making a lot of money at their work.

 

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I would highly recommend spending some time at Escape 3 Points if you’re traveling to Ghana. We were there three days, but a week would really give you time to do some birdwatching, gaze out into the ocean and maybe see whales, or get up before dawn to watch for sea turtles or take in the tour of the mangroves. The lodging was quite reasonably priced, and the staff prepare three delicious meals a day which are served in their open air dining area.

 

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One last note. It is actually possible to take public transportation to Escape 3 Points (as did many of the other guests). However, we really wondered at how a regular passenger vehicle could make it down the road and get there in once piece. We were really glad for four wheel drive and good clearance.

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Marks

Beautiful pictures! The instantaneous proposal is pretty funny.

I guess the turtle must not have minded the dogs?

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Tom Kellie

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~ @Abena:

 

The lady's expression and pose — TERRIFIC photography!

The falls — none finer anywhere, with such attractive vegetation.

Your images open up a corner of the globe about which I know so little.

Merci Beaucoup!

Tom K.

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