Saturday, March 3, 2007.
Kakum Park Awaits Ghana @ 50 Tourists
From: DAVID YARBOI TETTEH, Cape Coast
IF there is any place where one can experience a serene environment and be in tune with nature then Kakum National Park is certainly the place to visit.
The Kakum National Park is adjacent to the Assin Attandansu Resource Reserve which brings in the uniqueness of watching different animal species living in their own environment.
Stretching on a 360 square kilometer area of tropical rain forest, the park contains forest elephants, monkeys, bushbuck, and many smaller mammals and a variety of bird species. It also contains a butterfly sanctuary.
The area forms part of the Kakum Conservation Area and is managed and protected by the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission.
Kakum constitutes an important remnant of what once was a huge block of forests stretching across most of Africa.
Within the park, one can find Africa’s first and only rainforest canopy walkway which is 350 metres on a suspension bridge. It is made up of seven bridges and six tree platforms with a height of 30 metres above the forest floor.
From the tops, visitors have a chance of experiencing a unique and spectacular view of the eco-system and also have the opportunity to see flora and fauna which can never be viewed from the ground.
Another place of interest is the “Hidden Connection” which explains the complexity and diversity of the tropical rain forest.
It shows the interdependencies among species and the numerous biological connections which make the forest a ‘web of life’ and also highlights the cultural connections that the people of Southern Ghana had.
To ensure the relaxation of visitors, the Kakum National Park Visitor Centre, (KNPVC), managed by the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust (GHCT) has been established with funding from the USAID.
The 512 acre centre is adjacent to the Kakum National Park.
A trail has also been developed to enable visitors to hike through the forest at night.
It provides the opportunity for visitors to experience the forest’s nocturnal life. Additionally the “Afafranto” (Butterfly) composite had been positioned to enable visitors to have an easy access to forest camping experience.
In furtherance to that visitors with special interest in birds are able to watch the birds from a new trail that had been developed. They could use the trail to search for some of the more than 400 bird specie that can be found on the Kakum bird check list.
A learning centre known as the Kuntun Trail located within the park provides a learning experience of the forest flora, particularly, medicinal plaints. You, however, cannot visit the park without making a stop over at Mesonmagor which is 45 minutes drive from the main Cape-Coast – Kumasi Highway.
It is located on the Eastern side of the park and has many attractions and services for visitors.
There is also a guest house for those who visit the park and want to spend the rest of the day.
Those interested in the culture of the people and want to have a feel of it are provided with guides who take visitors on a two-hour evening hike through a cocoa farm to a 30 metre high roofed three-house with platform for an overnight stay. As the forest awakens at dawn, visitors have the best chance of meeting “shy” forest elephants and antelopes moving to their respective locations.
Visitors using the Western side of the park can also stop and watch the grasscutter farm on the Cape Coast-Jukwa road.
The Kakum Conservation Area also serves as watershed for three important rivers that provide water to Cape Coast and its environs.
It was established to halt the rapid degradation of the environment and also use the forest for eco-tourism that would become an alternative to logging, hunting, farming and general collection of forest-based products.
THE SPECTATOR - Saturday, March 3, 2007 Page: 19