CAPE COAST, GHANA

Walking on the canopy

June 21, 2014

Our first trip began in the most cheerful mood. Our personal trotro driver showed up on Saturday morning to make our virgin trip outside Accra happen. The agenda included Kakum national park and Cape Coast.

When in the trotro, I felt that I was actually in a tropical place. The flora was dense and consisted of peculiar plants I had never met again. Plantain, banana trees, coconut trees. After a four hour drive, we found ourselves at the entrance of Kakum National Park. Salesmen approached the trotro trying to entice us with cute bracelets, african masks etc.

The fee is up to thirty ghc for the foreigners. The entire place was crowded by tourists but mostly schoolkids. They were all wearing school uniforms and no girl had long hair. I asked my local friend who confirmed that in the public highschool girls are not allowed to have long hair, but a short boy’s cut. Moreover many of the students at puberty age had two scars in their cheecs. They were tribe marks. A distinctive way to indicate in which tribe each person belongs to. Although I was informed that the practice has been prohibited, it seems that it is still broadly implemented.

The surrounding area of the Park is very pleasant, where one can visit the gift shop, buy a refreshment or spicy sausages. The cashier is located in a room with short information about the Park. The most interesting was about the forest elephant, who inhabitates there. The chances to encounter him were signifficantly low though, because of the human made fuss.

We would soon experience the canopy walk, that has been pined in my wish list from the first moment. In fact, there are 7 air bridges, which connect the huge tropical trees. The employee let us know that there is a shortcut of 3 bridges instead of the 7. We declared brave enough and followed the hard path. Right behind some 15 year old students.

Ropes were holding a wooden path. The extreme part was that in some points the wood was missing and a small hole replaced it. The tip is to always watch your step. According to the norms of nature the canopy should shake a little, but the school boys ahead of us decided to intervene and make the shaking much more intense. They aimed to scare the girls and raise their manly shelf esteem. Goal achieved! The girls were screaming, eliminating the already scarce chances to meet any forest elephant.

We were practically in the heart of a rainforest. The beauty was impeccable. The walk did not last more than ten minutes and the fear of the unknown canopy walkway was diluted from the first bridge. Nonetheless, at the exit we took a traditional touristic picture under a porch which congratulated us for surviving the canopy walk!

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