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To find Ghana's best wildlife, it's Mole National Park in the north of the country where you need to head. Here's our guide to the park.
Mole (pronounced Mo-lay) National Park is Ghana’s biggest wildlife sanctuary. There are 93 mammal species in the park, including buffalo, warthogs, hippos and several antelope species.
For practical purposes, one of the places to stay is Mole Motel (027 756 4444, www.molemotelgh.com), the only hotel inside the park. Situated on the edge of an escarpment and looking out over a waterhole, it’s somewhere where monkey-watching becomes just another part of breakfast, lunch or dinner. In the dry season, it’s not uncommon for elephants to pay sneaky visits to the hotel’s swimming pool. A new luxury residence is about to open called Zaina Lodge (030 393 8736, www.zainalodge.com). This ecolodge is located in Mole National Park. Facilities will include an infinity pool, open bar fire pit and 25 rooms with private balconies and outdoor showers if you choose!
The park office next to the motel acts as the meeting point for localised game waland looks over two waterholes (on which elephants tend to be the main draw), or 4x4 tours much deeper into the Mole Park. Despite the hotel and park office, there’s very little in the way of tourist infrastructure. This is seen by many as a positive thing, and one consequence is that it’s become an important place for scientific study, particularly in relation to poaching and sustainability.
Two hours from the motel by bike, Mognori is a friendly ‘eco-village’ offering canoe trips and village walks – these include encounters with weavers, local medicine men and the village chief. If requested a day in advance (via the Park office), the community will also showcase their traditional drum and dance performances. Some families provide basic overnight stays and, during the dry season, accommodation can also be found on top of the mud houses, directly under the stars.
The main hub from which to reach Mole National Park is Tamale, a calm and amenable town in northern Ghana. Orange Metro Mass buses leave daily heading for Mole Motel, although departure times should be checked in advance and tickets bought early. In Tamale pre-trip, try Saam Hotel (071 24200).