Shai Hills

Trip Start Aug 13, 2005
Trip End Jan 03, 2006

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Our trip to the Shai Hills Forest Reserve

Two weeks ago Lisa, Meghan, Hannah, Mike, and I, all Carletoners, took off to the Shai Hills Forest Reserve. It is a large park spanning hundreds off kilometers which preserves space for wildlife. Baboons, antelopes, many bird species, and small animals are all common sites there. We arrived Saturday afternoon, made a reservation at the park and headed to the one and only resort in this small community. Mike and Hannah took off to explore the small local village, while the girls and I sat to have some coffee (only instant nescafe here) and get some readings done (occasionally we have some of those assigned). Although the sign out front of the resort says that they have a swimming pool, in actual fact there is no pool. We were a little disappointed but enjoyed our stay regardless. Sunday morning we woke bright and early to get to the park for 6am. Of course there was a down pour and we got soaked. We waited at the park's office for a few hours until the rain let up. Then we were given an armed guide (the baboons can be dangerous) and off we went. After the first 10 minutes of our walk we had a family of baboons cross directly in front of us. They didn't really care to see us, although one of the males came over and got within a few feet of us and just checked us out for a minute. They were so cool to see!! The fog was just lifting from the ground at that point so the floor of the forest still had a thick midst, it was really beautiful.

We had decided to visit the watering hole and the grazing land. The walk was long, and very muddy, but the landscape was beautiful. We reached the watering hole and saw a crocodile. Well the eyes and snout of a crocodile, he just swam around in the water. Unfortunately due to the rain there were no other animals nearby. The guide took us back to the main trail and we began to walk towards the grazing land. Half way through our two hour hike the guide noticed a herd of cows in the distance. He got quite upset and announced that they weren't allowed to be there and he would be back in "small small", we should just wait for him. After an hour and a half we decided that the "small small" was a little too long long for us and we headed back out towards the main gate. On our walk we ran into several other guides and park officials who were on their way to meet with our guide, as they walked away we noticed the extremely large guns slung on their backs. The group tried to reassure me that they were only BB guns, yea right guys, thanks anyway.

We made it back to the gate just in time to meet another large family of baboons. For over half an hour we sat and hung out with this wild family. You can see in the photo album just how close we were to them. It was really amazing. Although I'm not sure how I feel about them hanging out so closely to the highway and crossing the street, but I guess that's what happens in our day of modernization.

We left to have some breakfast at the resort. After which we headed out again, this time to a new entrance of the park to go and see the sacred bat cave. At both park locations I noticed a housing community. The guide explained that they have been built for people who maintain the park to live in. The community is fairly small, about 15 houses in all, but they seem to be quite prosperous and happy, it looks like a good development project. We walked the 4km track to the hill that contained the sacred bat cave. Along the way herds of wild antelope ran in front of us and grazed along side us. None got close enough for any great photos so unfortunately you'll have to leave it to your own imagination.

The bat cave was a long and muddy walk but gorgeous none the less, with Sahara looking landscape. We climbed the hill and entered the first of two caves. The outer cave use to be used by the local tribe as a meeting/gathering place and an area to protect themselves. They use to climb to the cave and roll rocks down the hill when other tribes were approaching. The inner cave is where the bats live, thousands of bats. We just stood in the cave and let them fly all around us, a pretty cool experience, although they sometimes got alarmingly close to your face.

We went back to the main road to catch a tro-tro, but being a Sunday evening empty tro-tros are nearly impossible. Fortunately for us a land cruiser stopped and picked us up. The man driving was a local tribal chief and he and his daughter were on their way to Legon. The man use to live in the states so his English was excellent. The air conditioning felt amazing and all of us were so thankful. When I get back to Canada I have a lot of "paying it forward" to do, especially to travelers.

Hope you enjoy the pics. Not sure where I'm off to next, this past weekend was not much to write home about. Just did some homework and some partying. But I will write again soon. Let me know how things are at home.

Love you all,

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Rivky on

Hi, just wanted to let you know that after reading this, my friends and I- study abroad students from America currently at U of Ghana- trekked to Shai Hills for the day and we loved it! The baboons were amazing, we loved the hike- thanks for the tip!

Emmanuel on

Hey there everyone,I'm emmanuel and a teacher in one of the private schools here in Ghana. i went to shai hills with some of the students and staff just yesterday.It was a very great experince and i loved it.I took a hole lot of great pictures which i'm about to upload them on facebook now.The baboons where also great.Africa(Ghana) is very blessed and am proud to be a Ghanaian.My next toure is just around the corner.Anywhere if you want to check the photos my usrename at facebook is 'Emmanuel Della Dzah'.Take care everyone and i bet you,you are going to love it when you visit Ghana.

Ghana awaits for you.

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