Skip to content
10 July 2019 / leggypeggy

Ghana national park is home to almost 500 species

Elephants, Mole National Park, Ghana

Elephants in 2009

Elephant, Mole National Park, Ghana

Elephant 2019

 

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 (the West-African subspecies Buffon’s Kob) 2009

 

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).

 

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)

 

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

 

73 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Miriam / Jul 10 2019 10:49 pm

    Interesting seeing the landscape and animals in different seasons. You were very brave camping!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jul 10 2019 11:02 pm

      I hadn’t remembered that the landscapes were quite so different. But camping is fine if you can avoid the baboons.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. BoomingOn / Jul 10 2019 11:15 pm

    I love the antelopes!!!! And the elephants too. Is that antelope a Leechwe? Looks a bit like an impala but they don’t have dark markings on their legs like that, I think. ??

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 10 2019 11:32 pm

      I’ve been puzzling over that antelope. Maybe someone will know for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. paolsoren / Jul 11 2019 12:01 am

    It is so good to see animals free. I hate seeing anything in a cage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 7:48 am

      We’ve really cherished our chances to see critters in the wild.

      Like

      • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 10:31 pm

        Oh wow, Thijs, thanks so much for identifying the monkey and confirming the antelopes. Most appreciated.

        Like

    • thijsdegroot / Jul 11 2019 5:30 pm

      Hi Peggy,

      Nice post!
      The first picture of antelope is indeed a Kob, in this case the West-African subspecies Buffon’s Kob.
      The smaller one with the dots and stripes is a Bushbuck. The ones next to that are also Kob.
      The monkey with young is a Patas Monkey.
      Cheers, Thijs

      Like

  4. beetleypete / Jul 11 2019 12:06 am

    This took me back to a visit to Kenya, in 1983. There is nothing quite so wonderful as seeing so many animals of the same species wandering in large groups, free in the wild.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. susan@onesmallwalk / Jul 11 2019 1:26 am

    LeggyPeggy – What travels you have done – then and now, fun to go along with you! Thanks for sharing them – Susan

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gilda Baxter / Jul 11 2019 1:47 am

    Peggy, how wonderful to see all these animals in their natural habitat. Nothing can beat that. Very brave to stay overnight in a tent with the cheeky baboons trying to steal from you. But also are there other dangers lurking around? I am not sure I could sleep soundly with wild animals so close.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 7:54 am

      Except for baboons, there’s not much that wants to go after you, your belongings and your food. Elephants and hippos won’t trample a tent. The big cats hunt at night, but usually wouldn’t break into a tent. That said, they might catch you outside on a midnight pee. Some campgrounds have the kitchen in a cage and/or overnight guards.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gilda Baxter / Jul 12 2019 12:23 am

        I would be just a little snack for a big lion. I would love to tour Africa with a motorhome /RV, like I am doing in Europe now 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2019 8:43 am

        The main thing about travelling by road in Africa is that you need to have a good mechanic on hand.

        Like

  7. Ética Hoje / Jul 11 2019 3:24 am

    Olá
    Muito bom, ótimo
    Um abraço

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 8:09 am

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting. A big hug back to you.

      Like

  8. chattykerry / Jul 11 2019 3:40 am

    So lovely to see elephants in the wild. I met some aggressive little monkeys in Malaysia but adorable Howlers in Belize but would still like to see Baboons. How wonderful that you were able to documents trips 10 years apart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 7:56 am

      Going back through the old pics (before I started the blog) was a real eye-opener. Such different landscapes depending on the season.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Robert Parker / Jul 11 2019 5:20 am

    Lots of wonderful shots, except the ant march, which makes me itchy just looking at them, and I love seeing elephants wading & swimming, they seem to enjoy it as much as we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 7:58 am

      The good thing about ant trails is that you can just step over them. Your comment about the elephants reminded me of my mother when she was heavily pregnant with twins. She, my sister and I spent every day in the water at the community pool. It was the only place mum got any relief.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yahooey / Jul 11 2019 6:24 am

    One of the elephants in the first picture looks tuskless. I hear it’s becoming more common because of the poaching. Is that something you’ve seen?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 8:03 am

      I’ve enlarged two pics of that elephant and can’t see any tusks. The angle of the head is such that it might have one tusk. I doubt that the tusk/s were removed back in 2009. But these days elephant tusks and rhino horns get all sorts of treatments to keep them from being poached.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yahooey / Jul 11 2019 8:26 am

        Thanks for checking. It’s one of those things I have read about and it’s cool to see a picture even if turns out not be exactly what I was reading about.

        The tusklessness is also happening naturally. It used to be rare, normally, tusklessness would occur only in about 2 to 4 percent of female African elephants, but they are not being poached so they are becoming more common. Natural selection at work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 9:04 am

        Excellent observation about natural selection at work.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Brian Paul Bach / Jul 11 2019 7:15 am

    Superb comparative park tour, Peggy. Looks like their efforts are an ongoing success.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 8:03 am

      Thanks Brian, was glad I could easily access the pics from 10 years ago.

      Like

  12. Vicki / Jul 11 2019 10:49 am

    Such a wonderful series of images, although its a shame your telephoto lens ‘conked out’. I imagine the primates are probably so used to tourists/humans, they don’t scare away easily.

    I don’t know about the camping bit though. I have visions of retiring to my ‘tent’, waking up and finding a baboon rummaging through my belongings next to me.

    (the vision is so clear, because I was awoken in my tent on my 1976 9 week camping tour of central Europe to find an intruder opening the tent flap in the camping ground near Amsterdam – don’t remember exactly where we camped, just the fright I got at the time).

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 12:16 pm

      Oh my gosh, that would have scared the wits out of me too. Our only really scary camping experience was torrential rain in Burkino Faso.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vicki / Jul 13 2019 11:50 am

        I might add, from memory, I was the only person in the whole bus tour group who didn’t have something stolen from their tent in the whole 9 weeks. Leaving tents closed with only a rope (in a camping ground) isn’t much protection from thieves.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jul 13 2019 5:24 pm

        You did very well. We’ve had good luck camping. Nothing ever stolen. That said, our valuables were never left in the tent unless we were in the tent. Otherwise we left our belongings in the truck.

        Like

  13. Jolandi Steven / Jul 11 2019 11:44 am

    There is always something interesting happening when you guys are around, Peggy. So interesting to see how different it looks during two different seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. afterthelasttime / Jul 11 2019 3:15 pm

    Nice photos from both years. No giraffes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 11 2019 3:20 pm

      No giraffes in Ghana. We saw some further north in Senegal in a wildlife reserve, but they had been brought up from the south.

      Like

  15. thijsdegroot / Jul 12 2019 2:33 am

    Nice post, Peggy!
    The first antelope is indeed a Kob, more specifically the West-African subspecies Buffon’s Kob.
    The small antelope with the dots and stripes is a Bushbuck, the one next to it is also a Kob.
    The monkey with young is a Patas Monkey.
    Cheers, Thijs

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2019 8:31 am

      Thanks so much Thijs. I’ll update the captions.

      Like

  16. dfolstad58 / Jul 12 2019 5:57 am

    The places you have been and things you have seen are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. barkinginthedark / Jul 12 2019 10:26 am

    wonderful LP. enlightening. as usual. continue…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. indianeskitchen / Jul 12 2019 11:41 am

    This is absolutely amazing!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. jeanleesworld / Jul 12 2019 11:59 am

    Such an adventure! I’m pretty sure I would NOT camp, though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2019 3:08 pm

      Trust me, it’s really not dangerous.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeanleesworld / Jul 12 2019 8:28 pm

        Those baboons are awfully feisty, though, aren’t they?

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2019 9:53 pm

        Baboons are most unpleasant, but won’t bother you if you don’t have any food or what they think might be tasty toiletries.

        Like

  20. pvcann / Jul 15 2019 7:47 pm

    It was really great to share in these photos and your commentary. How sad that economically vulnerable nations are at the mercy of the first world nations even in the protection of their environment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 15 2019 9:38 pm

      Protecting wildlife is such a huge challenge in all countries. I get cross thinking about all the damage cats do to our wildlife in Australia.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pvcann / Jul 16 2019 2:18 am

        Oh indeed, we have been so mindless on this.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. kunstkitchen / Jul 18 2019 11:20 pm

    Thanks for all the wildlife pics.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Jul 19 2019 11:50 am

    I thought I’d left a comment but my technical skills being what they are, doesn’t surprise me that it got lost in the ethernet. Love this wonderful photo essay. So many incredible animals. Love the baboon mama with her baby slung under her belly, keeping the little tyke close and out of trouble. I hope they are still here in 1000 years. An interesting contrast between 2009 and today. The 3 young ambassadors are lovely. What do you eat most days?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 19 2019 1:17 pm

      Because we are camping and shopping in the local markets, we eat what’s available and in season. The constants are eggs, tomatoes and onions, with some type of protein. We make a lot of stir-fries and casserole type dishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. America On Coffee / Jul 19 2019 12:58 pm

    These are a lot of interesting animals. I often wonder how people lived in such wilds. I would have been eaten by a lion or tiger or chased by a giant ape.😫

    Liked by 1 person

  24. CarolCooks2 / Jul 25 2019 10:01 am

    How lovely to experience the two different seasons… The wildlife is so spectacular what a special trip.. 😀 X

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 25 2019 8:22 pm

      We’ve been so lucky with all of our travels.

      Like

  25. barkinginthedark / Jul 28 2019 4:26 am

    with far too few exceptions i like animals more than people. sad but true. continue…

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Imani-Amour / Jul 29 2019 9:41 am

    SO nice just to see them all smiling and happy. What a lovely place to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. vinneve / Jul 29 2019 3:33 pm

    A wow of an adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Imani-Amour / Jul 30 2019 10:24 am

    Oh this is just funny to read after having seen the new “The Lion King.” All the animals here are the exact same as the movie haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 30 2019 12:54 pm

      Oh that is funny. Now I need to see the movie.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Imani-Amour / Jul 30 2019 12:56 pm

        If you can, bring some tissues. While it’s packed with hilarious scenes and cute voice actors, it really makes you ponder the meaning of life and is a serious eye-opener.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jul 30 2019 1:28 pm

        Thanks for the advice.

        Like

  29. cbholganza / Aug 6 2019 1:45 pm

    beautiful animals. i wonder if i will ever get the chance to come and see your fascinating place.

    Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks

  1. Ghana national park is home to almost 500 species — Where to next? – Truth Troubles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: