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Published: March 11th 2005
I've just been to Mole National Park. The 'e' at the end is pronounced. I visited it from the Northern town of Tamale. I spent rather longer in Tamale than I planned because I arrived in the town during a national holiday. I arrived in Tamale on Ghana's 48th anniversary of its independence.
Mole National Park is Ghana's best place for viewing classic African wildlife, and it's cheap! The entrance fee to the park was 40000 Cedis, which is about 2 pounds sterling. A 2 hours walking tour in the park with an armed guide was only 18500 Cedis, that is only about 1 pound sterling. Added to which the lodge I stayed at was in the park - so you could watch the elephants at the waterhole from the lodge swimming pool! The lodge itself only cost 143000 Cedis a night, which is only about 8 pounds sterling. A bargain!
This next part is my diary as I wrote it up longhand, that carries on from where the last blog ended.
SUNDAY 6th MARCH
Today is Independence Day.It's the 48th anniversary of independence from the British. So, it's an official
holiday, which means that even the internet cafe's are closed. I saw a rally for Independence Day, but did nothing else much all day, except sweat. It was hot and humid, the only way to cool off was to keep taking showers and then standing under the fan. I also didn't sleep very well last night because of the heat, and when I woke up found that I was sleeping in a pool of sweat.
Again I did nothing much all day. But, I changed hotel to the Catholic Guest House. It's further from the centre but it is a much better place - and it's air conditioned. I was actually able to cool off. It cost 123000 Cedis, which is less than 8 quid sterling. It was still a holiday and the banks were still closed, but one of the business centres was open. This allowed me to make a phone call. I needed to phone the lodge in the Mole National Park to make a reservation. It's advisable to pre book a room, because it's the only place in the Park and it is often full. I made a reservation for a
room for the 8th.
I left my luggage at the hotel to pick it up later, whilst I killed time in Tamale. The bus didn't leave till the afternoon. I reported for the bus at 1.30pm. It was very hot and humid, everyone in the bus station was sweating buckets.
The bus, which was a large coach didn't leave till 3.30pm. They squashed lots of extra people into the bus. The bus,like many in Africa had fold up central isle seats. These seats should take one person at most, but each seat had 2 people on. Added to this there were people standing at the front and back of the bus. So, if there was an accident... it would be hell.
At 4.30pm the bus broke down, and we were dumped in a village with no electric in the middle of nowhere for 3 hours.
Half an hour after being dumped a high wind started. It created a sandstorm. A few minutes after the sandstorm there was thunder and lightning and very heavy rain. Rain this heavy at this time of year is unusual -
it is the dry season. The rain came down like monsoon rain for about an hour. This was the first rain I'd seen since leaving England. And it was a relief, because the humidity dropped.
Eventually another bus came. It didn't rain again, but the wind resumed and so did the lightning, which lasted all night.
We didn't get to the Mole Motel till nearly 10pm. We booked in with perhaps the least helpfull receptionist in the world. The restaurant was closed and he wouldn't even get us bottled water!
I woke up at 6.50am. I had meant to get up earlier because the walking tour of the park was due to start at 7am. Despite that I made it in time. We toured the park for 2 hours. After the tour I had breakfast and took it easy for the rest of the day. It was too hot to do anything after 11am, and anyway you can see a lot of wildlife from the poolside!
We were woken up at 4.30am by the lodge security guard, in order to catch the
only bus back to Tamale. We arrived in Tamale at 9am. There was no bus to Kumasi till 5pm. I didn't fancy hanging around all day in the heat. So, I bought a ticket for the Kumasi bus for the following day. This would mean getting up very early again, but at least I could hide from the worst of the midday heat in Tamale. I booked myself back into the Catholic Rest House and took it easy all day. I had an air conditioned room again for less than 8 pound sterling. The reporting time for the Kumasi bus was 4am, so I was going to have to get up very early!
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