Elephants, Mole National Park, Ghana

Elephants in 2009

Elephant, Mole National Park, Ghana

Elephant 2019

 

Elephants, Mole National Park, Ghana
Elephants, Mole National Park, Ghana
Elephants, Mole National Park, Ghana

Elephants, Mole National Park, Ghana

Elephants gather at the edge of a main watering hole, 2019

Africa is famous for its wildlife, especially the big five—lions, elephants, leopards, cape buffaloes and rhinos. But the big five are most common in the south of the continent. We saw all of them there when we travelled overland through Africa back in 2009.

This year we travelled up north, in West Africa only. It’s that bit of Africa that bulges out on the left side. There aren’t quite so many animals up there, but there are more than enough to satisfy wildlife lovers.

Antelope, Mole National Park, Ghana

Kob antelope (I think) 2009

 

Antelope, Mole National Park, Ghana
Antelope, Mole National Park, Ghana

In 2009 and again this year, we visited Mole National Park, Ghana’s largest wildlife refuge. Mole (pronounced Mo-lay) is home to 93 species of mammal, including elephants, hippos, buffalos and warthogs. It’s an important preserve for African antelopes, such as kobs, waterbucks, bushbucks, oribis, roans, hartebeests and two kinds of duiker.

The park is also popular with primates. There are black-and-white colobus monkeys, green vervets, patas monkeys and olive baboons (also called Anubis baboons).

 

Warthog, Mole National Park, Ghana
Warthog, Mole National Park, Ghana
Monkey, Mole National Park, Ghana

On both visits, we saw plenty of baboons and made a point of steering clear of them. They are aggressive, hungry and thieves. While the park has motel-type accommodation and a restaurant, we chose to camp. That meant we shared the area with hungry, opportunistic baboons. You can’t leave food or even a tube of toothpaste in your tent because they’ll break in and take it.

Back in 2009, a baboon came in through the skylight of the van we were riding in. He was after a chocolate bar one of our companions was holding. The driver beat him off with a club that he carries for just that purpose.

Baboons in Ghana

Baboons in the campground waiting to steal something (2019)

 

Baboon in Ghana
Baboons in Ghana
Baboon in Ghana

Baboons in Ghana, Mole National Park

A field of baboons, 2009

Beyond mammals, Mole has 33 species of reptiles and 334 species of birds. Sadly my telephoto lens conked out early in the trip, so the birds in my pictures are the size of a flea.

You’d think seeing all the wildlife and landscapes would be enough, but there were two unexpected events at Mole.

Interview for Ghana TV

Gary being interviewed by Ghana TV. Elephants in the water in the background (2019)

First, a TV crew turned up at the park (mostly because of the second unexpected event). Gary, who we have been lucky enough to travel with repeatedly in Africa, India, and London to Sydney, was interviewed about his experiences in Ghana. Turns out he was interviewed for TV on a previous visit to the country. He must be a media magnet.

Second was meeting the 2018 Miss Ghana Tourism Ambassador and her two princesses. Apparently these three women are travelling the country to promote the most popular destinations. Elorm Ntemm is the ambassador. The two princesses are Maud Kunorvi (1st) and Ama Owusuaa (2nd).

The 2019 Miss Ghana Tourism Ambassador will be crowned in August.

2018 Miss Ghana Ambassador

Elorm Ntemm (centre), 2018 Miss Ghana Ambassador, and princesses, Maud Kunorvi (left) and Ama Owusuaa (right)

A bit more about Mole
Mole dates back to 1958. That was when land was set aside for a wildlife refuge. In 1971, the small human population was relocated from the area, and the land was designated as a national park.

The park is poorly funded to prevent poaching, but professional and armed rangers guard the animals.

The Mole and Lovi rivers flow through the park during and after the rainy season. The park gets about 1000ml (40 inches) of rain a year between April and mid-October. 

Ranger, Mole National Park, Ghana

An armed ranger on duty in Mole, 2009

Mole National Park, Ghana

The park in 2009

About the pics here
This post includes pics from 2009 and 2019. Ten years ago, we visited in the month of May. That was after the rainy season had begun, although I don’t remember it raining while we were there. This year, we visited in March, at the very end of the dry season. You can probably immediately figure out what year a pic was taken, but I have added dates for your convenience.

Ants, Mole National Park, Ghana

Ants on the march, 2009

Elephants, Mole National Park, Ghana

Elephants enjoying a bath, 2009

 

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