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Get Educated : The Kakum National Park

The Kakum National Park

the kakum national park

The Kakum National Park, located in the coastal environs of the Central Region of Ghana covers an area of 375 square kilometres. The park has a long series of hanging bridges known as the Kakum Walkway established in 1931 as a reserve. It was gazetted as a national park only in 1992 after an initial survey of was conducted. The area is covered with tropical forests.

The uniqueness of this park lies in the fact that it was established at the initiative of the local people and not by the State Department of wildlife which is responsible for wildlife preservation in Ghana. It is one of only 3 locations in Africa with a Canopy Walkway which is 350 meters (1,150 ft) long and connects seven tree tops which provide access to the forest.

The most notable endangered species of fauna in the park are Diana Monkey, giant bongo antelope, yellow-backed duiker and African Elephant. It is also an Important Bird Area recognized by BirdLife International with the bird area fully overlapping the parking area. 

The bird inventory confirmed 266 species in the park, including eight species of global conservation concern. One of these species of concern is the white-breasted guinea fowl Nine species of the honey bill and the grey parrot have been recorded. It is very rich in butterflies as well, and a new species was discovered in 1993. 

When it comes to threat encroachment, the Kakum National park has been faced with poaching, visible proof has been recorded in the form of camps, empty matchboxes, pieces of rubber tyres, used carbide, gunshots and cartridges, hunting, land encroachments and chainsaw operation. 

Human-wildlife conflicts around the park have contributed to the destruction of the park elephants damaging the agricultural crops of the farmers.

In other to solve the wildlife conflicts, Farmers around the area have adopted the practice of building pepper fences around their lands to protect their farms in other to prevent raids by elephants during the cropping season on the agricultural fields. 

In the sphere of protection, the park is administered by the Wildlife Department of Ghana. Under the direction of Conservation International and with funding support from USAID, Kakum is considered the best-protected forest in Ghana.

 As a result, it is now a major tourist spot. Though poaching is still prevalent, the management practice of involving local communities to share the benefits of the Kakum National Park would yield positive results. In the park, gamekeepers are specially trained in the medical and cultural significance of the local foliage.

Some Interesting Facts about the Kakum National Park

1. One feature of the Kakum National Park is that It has a long series of hanging bridges known as the Kakum Canopy Walkway at the forest canopy level to provide access to the forest.

 Which is a unique feature in the entire African continent. 

2. Another feature is the Kakum National Park has the Kongo Boateng shrine a circular rock near Aboado and it is approximately 100 meters.

3. At 40 m (130 ft) height, the visitor can approach the limits and view plants and animals from a vantage point that would otherwise be inaccessible to people. 

4. The canopy walkway passes over 7 bridges and runs over a length of 330 m (1,080 ft). Some of the tree canopies are more than 50 meters (160 ft) in height, built with wire rope, aluminium ladders, and wooden planks and it however secured by a series of netting for safety purposes.

5. An additional viewing platform that will allow visitors to climb into the canopy without braving the canopy walkway. 

6. The Canopy Walkway was built by two Canadian engineers from Vancouver with the assistance of five (5) Ghanaian engineers. 

7. The staff of Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust managers of the Kakum National Park Visitor Centre have been maintaining the facility ever since.

The original concept for the establishment of a canopy walkway at this location was the inspiration of Joseph Dudley, a conservation biologist recruited by Conservation International who coordinated the drafting of the Feasibility Study and Preliminary 5 year Management Plan for the development of Kakum National Park as an ecotourism destination under a project conducted for the United Nations Development Program (Dudley 1990).

8. The Kakum National Park can now boast of a Tree House which sits about 20 meters from the forest floor in the trees in the Secondary Forest. This facility which houses close to 25 people provides an adventurous opportunity for campers too, especially at night to experience forest life. 

Due to the thickness of the rainforest, a number of the fauna genets, and leopards are active at night searching for prey to feed on. The Tree House thus provide close proximity to the wildlife of Kakum. A trained Tour Guide is always on hand to take campers on the night hikes as well as share the Folklore of the Kakum Forest by a bonfire. 

Read Also: Powerful Fruits only found in Africa

It is an intriguing adventure you wouldn’t miss for anything.

Ghana as an African country has a lot to offer tourists who plan on visiting the country with their family or friends.

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