Have you ever felt that thrilling feeling of getting lost in the unknown?
As a traveller, I often encountered unexpected situations and explored unknown lands. But there was one moment that made me feel the wondrous feeling of being outside of my comfort zone.
In 2017, I got the opportunity to participate in a project in Ghana and travelled in several cities and regions of the country. While I was in the central region, I got to visit the national park of Kakum. Although it was certainly not my first time in a national park, my time at Kakum was an experience that I never got to live or relive again.
Park Kakum is the first protected area of Ghana. Today it is both a wildlife conservation forest and a popular ecotourism destination. The park contains several facilities for visitors such as an arts and crafts shop from local artists, a visual exhibition of both the fauna and flora of the forest, a restaurant, and a lodge. Furthermore, there is the Kakum Canopy Walkway that consists of hanging bridges at the height of 40 m and a length of 330 m. Also, another unique feature of the park is a treehouse inside the forest that stands at 20 m and can host up to twenty people. The brave visitors who wish to feel closer to nature can stay overnight at the treehouse alongside a guide.
And like a brave visitor, that’s what I did. I visited the park with my colleagues, and we decided to stay overnight at the treehouse. It was probably one of the most amazing, uncomfortable, and scariest nights I ever had.
Our tour at Kakum started with the Canopy Walkway. One of my colleagues had height fright. Therefore, her reactions made the trip even more thrilling. The Walkway consists of hanging bridges. Hence when there are several people or when they try to walk faster, the bridges start to swing. Even though I do not have a height phobia, it can be a bit scary when you think how high you are hanging in the air. But the views that you get up there are marvellous. All you can see it’s green. And I mean that beautiful healthy thick green that you only see in postcards. The combination of the tall trees and the blue sky was the perfect image. I could easily stay there for hours and just observe the scenery.
Unfortunately, I visited Kakum mid-October, and all animals were deeper into the forest. So, if you wish to see any animals, it would be better to visit in the summertime.
After the fantastic experience on the Canopy, we had two different hiking tours in the primary and secondary forests. During the tours, the guide explained to us some basic information on the flora of the forest and their significance both to the land and the people of the area. It was an exciting tour that showed us the life of the local tribes and their traditional uses of specific plants or trees.
Finally, after the visit to the shop that showcases the artistic side of the area, we went to the treehouse where we would spend the night. Although sleeping in a treehouse in the forest was undoubtedly an unforgettable experience, I think another indescribable moment was showing at the no-roof showers outside of the treehouse. That’s when I felt that I am indeed in a forest.
After the very natural shower and a good meal at the restaurant, we headed at the treehouse. The night was interesting. I almost couldn’t sleep at all. Sometimes people who move to the city, from the countryside, cannot sleep because they find the city too loud. Well, in this case, it was too loud, but instead of noises from cars, you could hear all kinds of calls from animals that you couldn’t recognize. And also, it was pitch black. When I sleep, I tend to dislike when there is light, but I’ve never realized how dark nigh time is until this moment.
In the beginning, it felt quite scary hearing the animals crying and calling. It felt as if they were preparing an attack on us. But when you relax and think that it is you that came into their natural habitat, you then enjoy the music of not only their calls but also the trees and the wind. And what is also amazing is how the guide can help you identify the different calls and gives you a briefing on the different species that live in the forest.
After the extraordinary night at the treehouse, in the morning, we had another small hiking tour on a different path. Then we said our goodbyes with a few souvenirs from the arts and crafts shop.
Overall, the entire experience at the Kakum national park was incredible. If you are in Cape Coast in Ghana, one night at the Kakum park is a perfect addition to your stay.