A couple weekends ago, I decided to be a part of an optional tour of Mole National Park in the northern region of Ghana. We were told it would take 13 hours to get there and 13 hours to get back….. now we should covert that to Ghana-time. In reality, it actually took us about 22 hours to get there, and 21 hours to get back.  In 5 days we did 43 hours of driving.

We had numerous bush stops (I did pee* for the first time on the side of the road- so much better than the actual bathrooms we stopped at), lunch breaks, and lots nap time.

*If you enlarge this picture you can read what is written on the wall. I didn’t.

I think the bus was were I realized the kindle was the best purchase I’ve ever made (speaking of which- I am always open to suggestions for new books to read!). Needless to say, if I never come across that bus again, I could die happily.

Despite the seemingly endless hours spent on that bus, we did have a really good time. First, we stopped at Kintampo Falls.

Unfortunately, it was raining and a wee bit cold, and there was a huge school group there at the same time. Everyone was jumping in the muddy falls fully clothed, and us obrunis all stood back in our bathing suits, taking pictures.

The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, and I could not have imagined such a green place in the middle of Ghana. There were also ants the size of the small rocks that surrounded the water, and they were almost scarier than the snake we saw under the falls.

When a guy saw me and a couple other people with a camera, he asked me to take a picture with him. With my camera. No, he didn’t want a copy for himself.

Next we went to Mole National Park. We got to stay in the only hotel that resides in the park and it brought me back to my days in Costa Rica. The view was incredible; overlooking the waterhole where we saw elephants, antelope, and water buffalo. When I got to my room I opened the door with a jerk and a giant lizard dropped to the floor. I turned to my guide and said “oh my god…a lizard” he looked at me and said, “Yes….you are in the jungle.” I thought there was no sarcasm in Ghanaian humor. I only stayed one night in the room-I think the lizard did as well, and there was still no hot water- and we could only take showers at specific times. But, I’m not complaining- however, I don’t think I have ever been so smelly in my life. On the same night of the lizard incident, I walked outside my door and saw three antelope hiding in the grass outside my room. The next night I stayed in a treehouse (more about that later) and when I came back, there was a family of warthogs huddling in the doorway of another room- I’m just glad I didn’t wake up to that. I could not imagine how I would react if I was getting dressed one minute, and then next minute I am faced with four warthogs trying to stay out of the rain. I was scared just thinking about it. My sympathies went out to that room.

The monkeys were not shy either! One of the guys in our group had a monkey walk into his room and hit him with something. Yes…it would seem we were in the jungle!

One of the coolest parts of the trip to Mole was the morning Safari walk. In order to see animals in their natural habitat, it is extremely important that everyone meet at about 7:00am for a walk through the park. We all met at 7:30 (it seems we are adjusting quite well to Ghana time), and set off on a walk. In the first five minutes, an elephant walked out in front of us. A real one. A really really big real elephant. Woooow.

Then, another five minutes went by and another really big real elephant walked out. Now there were two!

The guide (who was armed because it’s not safe to go out into the jungle without a gun) told us that we were super lucky- a lot of people will stay a week at the hotel, and never see elephants.

We also saw crocodiles, antelope, baboons, and a couple other kinds of monkeys. And Lizards. Lots and lots of lizards. All different colors, shapes, sizes.

If any of you have a chance at some point to go to Ghana, you should definitely stop by Mole National Park. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and quite the experience- and the groundnut soup is to die for!

Sorry it has taken so long to get another post out! My computer is currently having some major issues-anyone know how to get a computer fixed or find an alternative computer to use in Ghana?  I am using the computers in the international student office (limited hours), and the Internet is not always reliable, but at least we have some Internet access this week.  Last week we had none.