Kakum

Picture of visitor_center Kakum National Park is one of the more accessible parks in Ghana. It's just a short cab ride from Cape Coast or Elmina. Short meaning somewhere between half an hour and an hour depending on how good your cab driver is at avoiding toll checkpoints (or bribes as we'd call them in most places). The park entrance is a rather innocuous looking hut with another toll gate attached to it (that cannot be avoided). On our visit it was 4000 Cedi to enter, which is really insignificant compared to the costs of a guided land or canopy tour hike. Realistically, the entrance fee gets you access to the museum, the gift shop and the restaurant and that's about it. Everything else is an additional expense although I seriously doubt any visitors show up at Kakum not intending to do the canopy walk (we're not sure if you get your money back if you flee once you actually see the canopy walk).
Picture of canopy_walk The canopy walk is a series of seven rope bridges strung between assorted species of very sturdy trees. The valley drops away as you walk out along it so at the midpoint it's really quite far to the forest floor, not that you can see it very often through all the foliage.
Picture of melanie_canopy Quite a lot of people suffer a variety of bad reactions to it. Everyone in our group of ten people completed it, although several of them were not very happy at all. The advantage of people who take a very long time to struggle across each bridge is that you can spend plenty of time on the platforms, especially since the bridges cannot hold many people at once (another comforting fact).
Picture of melanie_canopy2 For the sure-footed, it's still a bit alarming as the V-shape made by the ropes tends to close in on your feet as you apply pressure. Naturally there is swaying caused by your movement, and unless it's a rare day indeed, the wind will be helping out as well. We suspect this must be extra enjoyable in a rainstorm.
Picture of kakum The most annoying thing about Kakum is that it's truly enormously vast and contains fascinating wildlife including assorted primates, forest elephants and members of the antelope family that we can't distinguish from one another. Why is this annoying? Because you can't actually get to any of it. The canopy tour, while interesting, is a very short loop. The guided ground hikes are not much bigger. There are no maintained trails into the interior. So this is really the best view of the heart of Kakum that we have.
Picture of canopy_bridge Of course, the canopy tour does allow fine access to the winged creatures of Kakum. While that does include a variety of birds (we saw a harpy eagle on our visit) it primarily means butterflies. Lots of them. That may or may not be season dependent but they're certainly abundant in November.
Picture of platform Another exciting feature of Kakum: you can take all the pictures you want with no spiritual, legal or cultural taboos. Hoorah.
Picture of anchor Once you've finished the canopy tour and optionally the ground hike there's not much to do except return to Cape Coast. Other than a horde of scurrying lizards, there is no wildlife around the visitor center. The museum meets worldwide national park standards and gives one something to do while waiting for the next canopy tour. This picture incidentally is of the canopy anchoring system connected to ironwood and ebony trees.
Picture of ticket 1 Non-Ghanian. Collectively we were 2 non-Ghanians of course and that means it's really expensive to take a tour. For the two of us it was slightly more than 3 nights lodging in our hotel in Cape Coast. On the other hand, it's no more expensive than US and Canadian parks are, and is definitely something not to be missed (unless maybe it's raining really hard).

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