The drive across Ghana from East to West from Tamale to Mole was quite an experience and a testament to the quality of Francis’s driving skills. Some of the journey was conducted in silence as we all held our breath through the worst of the mud baths and the mammoth, rain filled craters in the road. Surely we would become stuck somewhere, wheels spinning, heading for the ditch. But no, we made it, quite miraculously having come across no more than 3 other vehicles in about 4 hours. We would have waited a long time with poor network connection for assistance!
Mole National Park was as welcoming as I remembered from 2 previous visits. Some refurbishment since Easter included the luxury installation of AC in the same room I have stayed in for each visit. After dropping bags we headed for the bar and a much needed drink. As the permanent residents have a free rein here, the baboons, in particular can be difficult if hungry. One took a liking to my colourful handbag and snatched it off a table whilst I was distracted briefly. All my worldly goods were inside which alarmed me somewhat. Fortunately, a waiter armed with a catapult fired a direct hit at the animal and it dropped the bag before darting up a nearby tree. It seems to be a game they play, a means to a peaceable end but disconcerting when you are not expecting it!
The best view was from the roof of the vehicle and I managed to climb up there, holding tight to the flimsy rack. Nothing got in the way of my camera and I was in heaven as we sped along the muddy tracks ducking under overhanging branches.
Eventually, we came to the lake and there they were as regal and magnificent as ever! Two were in the water and one stood on the bank watching, alert for predators. We watched from the opposite bank and from the shelter of a large hide.
After some time we got back in the jeep and toured the immediate area to spot other interesting animals and birds. We were rewarded richly and loved this morning of exploration. We couldn’t believe our luck when we came around a bend and there were the three elephants drying themselves off in the sun and throwing dust over their backs. We edged closer and closer with me on the roof, slightly nervous but extremely excited. The youngest one stamped his feet and trumpeted his concern about our proximity, but neither he nor we were in any real danger. Mission accomplished, we dragged ourselves away after a long time and returned to the hotel.
This was probably my last trip to Mole. I have been very lucky and seen elephants each visit and in two different seasons. I feel privileged to have had these experiences and the memories will stay with me forever…….. along with many photos of which I am proud.