Is there wildlife in Ghana? Can you go on safari in Ghana? Can I see the big five in Ghana? Is it expensive to go on safari in Ghana?
Just a few questions that I receive on a regular basis. A blog post about Ghana’s largest nature reserve is long overdue.
Even though we are in the middle of the Covid 19 crisis I will continue to write blog posts. I hope I might be able to distract you for a bit or inspire you to come and visit beautiful Ghana after this passes.
Yes! You can go on safari in Ghana!
When one thinks of going on safari countries like South Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Botswana come to mind. But if you want to travel to a very divers country and also go on a low cost safari to spot wildlife; Ghana’s Mole National Park is your destination!
History of Mole National Park
The British government relocated a lot of communities from the almost 5000 km2 area because of tsetse flies that sickened the inhabitants of the area. After that they re purposed the area as a game reserve. The wild animals were being blamed for the existance of the tsetse flies. And I think the colonial rulers just wanted to hunt…
After independence, the new Ghanaian government changed the designation of the area into a wild refuse. In 1971 they moved the last few communities and they created Mole National Park , a fully protected nature reserve where the wildlife in Ghana are being protected against poachers.
Can we see the ‘big five’ in Mole NP, Ghana?
No, Ghana’s wildlife is missing the rhinoceros and sightings of lions and leopards are very rare. For more detailed information on the park’s fauna you could check out the Wikipedia page
Elephant spotting is the main attraction. You can’t miss the baboons, they are always looking for sweets. Nowadays they even knock on the room doors. The warthogs graze quietly around the rooms and chalets. And also the antelopes sometimes venture onto the terrain.
How sustainable are the safari’s in Ghana
Nowadays safari holidays are a bit under fire. Voices are being raised for animal rights and not to disturb nature. I discussed this with one of the park rangers. Besides being responsible for all the tours from one of the 2 accommodations in the nature park, he also goes out on group patrols. Sometimes for days on end to look for poachers and illegal loggers.
When tourists wouldn’t come to see the wildlife in Ghana, it would be really hard to find funding to protect the area.
The ranger told me that only 5% of the park is used for the safaris, there are also lions, cheetah’s and hyenas but they are not actively visited. There is a group of elephants in the 5% of the park but many live outside this area. According to the new census there are now almost 2200 elephants in the park, in 2006 there were 600.
From both hotels you can overlook drinking pools that have been constructed. There are daily safaris in the morning and in the afternoon with at most 6 jeeps.
There are also 2 walking safaris a day and if you want to bird you can do that separately with a guide. Recently they started with night safaris, but then there are at most 2 cars on the road.
Seeing wildlife in Ghana is very affordable
Can you name any country where you can go on a 2 hour walking safari for less than €4? Most of the time you will get into close range of elephants, you will see many types of monkeys, antelopes and maybe a crocodile. You have to add the park fees of course and maybe you will want to do a 2 hour drive safari. But even with all those costs, seeing wildlife in Ghana is very cheap compared to other countries. Click here for a full price-list.
Where to stay when you are visiting Mole NP?
You have several options, depending on your budget. The most expensive and most luxurious option is the Zaina lodge. Mole motel has rooms in different price ranges. It starts at €18 for a dorm bed and the chalet goes for €90 per night.
When you are travelling on a budget it is smart to look for accommodation outside Mole national park. There is a new lodge just before you reach the park. They offer double rooms for €15. And in Larabanga, the closest town to the park you will find the Savanna lodge. There are several home stay options as well at Larabanga and Mognori. And at the park there is also a campsite.
Is there anything else to do besides the safari’s?
Yes, when you are staying at Mole Motel or at the Zaina lodge you can relax at their swimming pools. But you can also choose to visit Ghana’s oldest mud&stick mosque at Larabanga. Be aware that this is not a day trip so you could also visit on your way coming or going.
Mognori Eco village
I would recommend a visit to Mognori Eco village where you can take a village tour and also a canoe safari on a part of the Mole river. You might spot crocodiles, lot’s of birds and in dry season you might even encounter an elephant. Prices here are also very modest and all proceeds are going into the community development fund.
How to get to Mole National Park
This depends a lot on your time and your budget. From Accra you could take an inland flight to Tamale in the north. After the flight you could get an airport shuttle to the park. This is the fastest, but also the most expensive way.
You could also take a bus like STC (buy your ticket in advance!) or O&A travel&tours straight to Tamale. This will take 12 hours. You can choose to either take a day or a night bus. You don’t have to go all the way to Tamale, you could also drop at Damongo junction. From there you can take a tro tro/shared taxi to Damongo and from Damongo a dropping taxi to the park. I wrote some blog posts about public transport that might be useful to read.
Did you know that Moon&Star guesthouse is on the route to the north of Ghana?
The best way to get to Mole NP is via Moon&Star guesthouse. Explore beautiful Ashanti with the comfortable and relaxed guesthouse as your base. Explore the mountains, adventurous Bomfobiri, waterfalls, craft villages and so on.
Team Moon&Star is ready to help you make your stay here but also in the rest of Ghana a great stay!
Besides seeing wildlife Ghana has a lot to offer! Check the rest of our website for more information and feel free to contact us if you have any questions!