Mole National Park


A two and a half hour drive to Mole National Park where we settled in for some elephant watching, swimming, three walking safaris and poolside wildlife viewing – February 19, through 22, 2013




It takes about two and a half hours to travel the road from Tamale to Mole National Park. To pass the time we marveled at sights along the way such as a man sleeping atop a load of something we couldn’t quite identity and a woman threshing groundnuts (peanuts.)




The road into the park is dirt although it was much wider and smoother than expected. The level of road building investment going into this long stretch of desolate road boggled our minds and made us quite envious given the deplorable state of the roads in Kumasi, Not to mention the roads radiating from Kumasi to Accra, Obuasi, Bosumtwi, etc. We wondered where the money was coming from to improve this road and why those funds weren’t being used instead to benefit Kumasi.




We were pretty happy to be closing in on our destination!




We arrived well before noon, dropped our bags in our rooms and wandered out to see what we could see.




Within minutes we were happily drinking in the sight of a herd of a dozen elephants bathing in the water hole below the hotel! We shared some conversation with a woman named Barbara from Cape Coast who as it turned out is also friends with our friend Andreas. Barbara told us that this herd was composed entirely of male elephants.

We later heard the same thing while on Safari and also that the male elephants leave their mamas to join the bachelor groups when they are around ten years old. So although some of these elephants looked much smaller than the others they were not babies. We were told that their mothers wean them at four years of age and that herds of mothers and their young stay deeper into the park, away from human eyes. Our guide also told us that the males treat each other as brothers which is what we saw, lots of playful interactions and affectionate slapping with their trunks.




We enjoyed many teaching moments while on Safari. The guides were excellent birders, ecologists and botanists. They knew their wildlife and loved their work. And they were willing to share stories of how the plants, humans and animals interact traditionally in the villages they came from. For more photos from our Safaris, follow the links at the bottom of the page for the First Two and Final Safaris.




We returned from a morning Safari to see extensive damage to the landscaping outside our room and the telltale prints of an elephant and the humans who chased it off. The thought of an elephant outside our room while we were off searching the Savannah for elephants made us laugh. We wondered whether we would have come out of our room to see it or chosen to peer cautiously from the windows.
The wart hogs weren’t shy either. They could be routinely found behind our room or moseying along the dusty red dirt parking lot.




We confess – the wart hogs captured our fancy. They peered at us with begging eyes but we declined to feed them. Even though they are as ugly as sin, we found them extremely photogenic. The smallest ones were no bigger than a large rat!




Amy and Bob bought straw sun hats in the gift shop over by the Information Center the better to Safari with and making it possible to spend the afternoon at the pool without burning.




These glimpses of the Savannah, including one with a monkey in a tree epitomize the feel of Mole. Africa has many looks, but the one which usually captures our imagination is the look of the Savanna. This African Green Monkey browsed the poolside dawa dawa tree (Parkia biglobosa) for hours, hopping from branch to branch, sucking sweet sap from pod nodes.




For three days this was our routine: After a morning spent walking and breakfast at the lodge, we went for a swim, ordered up some drinks and sat under the big beach umbrella, gazing down at the wildlife below.




When the routine got old, Jeremy decided to skim the dawa dawa leaves from the pool. None of the staff objected. He also took Bob’s discarded hat strap and used it to achieve the Lawrence of Arabia look with his orange towel.


[Latest] * [Troutsfarm] * [Green Ranch] * [FS2BD February] * [Journey to Asempa] * [Mole National Park] * [First Two Safaris] * [Final Safari] * [Meeting Savannah Plants] * [Mbanayili Village] * [ Tamale]