Half an hour's drive from Cape Coast, Kakum National Park's verdant slice of semi-deciduous rainforest offers a fresh green alternative to the bustling cities and stifling heat of the coast (+233 33 21 302 265, www.kakumnationalpark.info, 8am-4pm).
The 607 square kilometres (234 square miles) of protected rainforest are home to an assortment of wild residents, including forest elephants, giant hogs, flying squirrels, leopards and various species of monkey. However, with much of the elusive wildlife buried deep in the forest's flora, there's little chance of seeing anything more than a millipede or two unless spending a night on an organised camping trip.
For those content with gazing at the greenery to a soundtrack of birdcalls, try the canopy walk (Ghanaian GH¢14, non-Ganaian GH¢40). Elevated 40 metres above the forest floor, the 350m-long wooden walkway and various viewing platforms offer spectacular, vertiginous views of the park, although it is unlikely much wildlife will be seen.
There is a simple but informative visitors' centre, a café and gift shop administered by the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust.
Signposts to the Kakum National Park are found along the Jukwa road, roughly 33 kilometres (20 miles) from Cape Coast. Jump on a tro tro heading to Jukwa from any Cape Coast stop.
Where to eat and stay
Kakum National Park services
Kakum National Park’s onsite café offers a range of local and international dishes. While the park can be easily visited in a day from Cape Coast and the surrounding area, there is accommodation in the park itself.
Located four kilometres from Cape Coast and 12 kilometres from Kakum is Hans Cottage Botel which provides an array of guest houses, suites, private rooms and dorms. It’s notable principally for the crocodiles that patrol its lake (and occasionally its bar-restaurant), but there’s plenty of passable accommodation on offer, and its location makes it a haven for birdlife. There’s a wide mixture of chalets, double and family rooms available to ‘experience the joy and comfort of a sleep’. There’s also a gift shop, conference facilities, restaurant and bar (main courses GH¢6-18).
Double from GH¢35; chalets GH¢75-200.