The beginning of this week was full of animals and bus rides. After heading northwest to Mole National Park on a road whose endless craters eventually became lulling, we arrived at the motel and woke early to hike and see wildlife.
You are only allowed to tour with a guide at the park, which is really for your own benefit and safety because they know where to look and are armed, if necessary. Regardless, it took us over two hours to spot our first elephants. Along the way we saw plenty of warthogs, baboons and antelope.
We had just about given up hope and were going to head back because the flies were becoming unbearable when our guide was told that another group had spotted some elephants. Suddenly I could care less that the flies were swarming my sweat covered head and biting my ankles.
It took us a little while to backtrack toward the elephants, especially with the hidden sinkholes in the grass, but when we spotted them it was surreal. Sure, I’ve seen them at the Cleveland Zoo in the new exhibit, but seeing them up close in their natural habitat was amazing. I had to remind myself that they were wild, though, because I really wanted to get close.
The rest of the day was spent swimming and making friends with the numerous other Obrunis who had come to see the wildlife. Walking across the motel grounds I encountered many baboons and warthogs (which I kept wanting to call ‘pumbas’; thank you, Lion King) According to the staff, the baboons can tell the difference between women and men and are more likely to mess with women. So, I made sure to keep my distance.
It was interesting to observe them, though, because they’re so human-like in their actions. Plus it was entertaining to see them steal sugar cubes and condiments off the tables of the restaurant. And I couldn’t believe how fast the mothers are able to run with the babies clinging to their chests. The only time they truly scared me was when one decided to aggressively ‘ding dong ditch’ (bang on the door and then run off) the motel door.
The following day an elephant walked onto the motel grounds to snack on some trees and brush and I was able to get much closer. She only had one tusk and when she started to walk toward us I was in awe. Elephants are such intelligent animals and what the saying about their memories is true.
On Thursday morning we had to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to board the bus by 4 a.m. The ride back was hellacious, but we made it to Tamale safely and then continued to drive south for the rest of the day.
I’m currently in Cape Coast and really enjoying being so close to the ocean. The city’s atmosphere is my favorite thus far. Yesterday we toured Cape Coast Castle, a hub during the slave trade, but I’ll write more about that later. Now I’m headed to the Kakum National Park to do the canopy walk; hopefully I can look past my fear of heights! I need to just telling myself: hakuna matata = no worries.