| By Isabella Jones
Ghana’s national parks and reserves attract thousands of visitors every year. Who could resist with its diverse habitat and wide array of species? National park and reserves are vital to maintaining and protecting Ghana’s environment due to the increased level of deforestation. Whether it be from subsistence farming or illegal mining, their forests are in danger everyday and need to be protected. Listed below are five of the best national parks and reserves Ghana has to offer as well as some ways they contribute to reforestation and protection.
Mole National Park is the largest park in Ghana and is located in West Gonja District of the Northern Region.There are a whopping 1,111,974 acres of diverse savannah woodland, forest, and rivers/streams (1). This site hosts about 90 known species of mammals including the buffalo and hartebeest. More than 300 species of bird call this place home (2). Mole National Park does have a visitor center open to the public and even has a motel at the headquarters! In order to find this beautiful destination, one has to visit the nearby town of Larabanga and take a private form of transportation (11). To find out more information, check out: https://molenationalpark.org/.
Nini Suhien National Park & Ankasa Resource Reserve is located in Elobu, in the western region of Ghana. There are about 123,553 acres of conservation area combined (1). Though this area is mostly unexplored, there are 43 known mammal species such as the endangered Dina Monkey (1). The landscape largely consists of wet evergreen forests with rivers and waterfalls. One can get to these areas by private transportation, public transportation, or biking. There is even a visitor center up at the entrance to provide assistance and offer more information about the park (12).
Asubima Forest Reserve is located near Akumadan, Ghana, and is about 19,400 acres of protected area (1). This forest reserve is the base of reforestation in Ghana (2). Multiple programs are hosted to fight deforestation and build more sustainable practices among the locals. Some of these include high quality nurseries and model plantations.
Bia National Park and Reserve covers about 75,520 acres in the western region of Ghana and is located in the Bia district (2). It is the only biosphere in the whole country. There are about 26 species of mammal known such as the Olive Colobus and Chimpanzees (1). It is also rich in bird species with 160 known species, housing the White Breasted Guinea Fowl, an endangered species (2). The park can be visited year round by road from Kumasi though there are no visitation centers (13). To learn more about this site as a protected area: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/ecological-sciences/biosphere-reserves/africa/ghana/bia/.
Kakum National Park and Assin Attandanso Resource Reserve make up about 86,487 acres and are located at the coastal area of the central region of Ghana (2). It consists of an evergreen forest with a tree height of 65 meters. There are about 200 species of mammals including the African Elephant and Red Riverhog (2). The park and reserve do have a visitor center and even have a 350-meter-high canopy walkway open to visitors year round. (1). To learn more about this site, check out: http://ghct.org.gh/kakumpark/about/.
Between 2017 and 2018, Ghana lost about 60% of its rainforests (3). Though some is because of their large presence in the timber exportation industry, most is due to illegal activities such as logging and large scale agriculture (4). It might be surprising to hear that this includes national parks and reserves where many say park rangers turn a blind eye.
IDEAS for us Ghana implements eco-action projects such as tree-planting and community garden installations to fight environmental degradation. We could use your support by following us @ideasforus.ghana and leaving your input in the comment section. We welcome donations but also have a membership program where you can give annually or monthly and get perks for as low as $10/month! Learn more by clicking on “become a member” under the contact tab on our website.