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March 24th 2015
Published: March 29th 2015
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(by guest blogger Kit Rawson)

Besides spending time at Mole Park and hanging at the Savannah Lodge, we found several other interesting things to do around Larabanga. Ten km from town, on a dirt road bordering the park, is the Mognori "Eco-village". Some years after the park was set aside and the elephant population started to grow and expand its range, the agricultural areas around this village were devastated by foraging elephants. Rather than move away, the villagers obtained some funds to make Mognori a place for ecotourism as an alternative economic activity. We visited one morning and had a nice tour of the village, learning a lot about the culture and the old ways. We also noted that the town has installed solar panels that provide public outdoor lighting and a little power for other purposes, independent of the whims of the Volta River Authority.

The other activity at Mognori is a canoe trip on the fly-infested Mole river. This was a fun low-key nature tour with fish in the water, exotic birds flying under the stream's thick vegetation, and scary 6-inch millipedes on the path to the canoes. The price we paid for all this was quite reasonable, and it's hard to see how this level of ecotourism can create much of an economy, but we sure enjoyed it. Home stays are possible in this town, and you can buy locally made shea butter and a few other things.

In Larabanga itself, a 15 minute walk from the Savannah Lodge, we visited the outside of the 15-century mosque, which may be the oldest extant building in Ghana. (The other candidate is the castle at Elmina). Unfortunately, this mosque attracts unscrupulous tour guides who try to get tourist to donate to a false fund to build a new school in town. We were given the pitch but had been warned by Hussein so we didn't succumb. It was fun walking around the small town, although it didn't require much time. We stopped in at the Salia Brothers' Guest House, run by Hussein's twin brother, Hassan, but Hassan wasn't in, so we didn't get to meet him.

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