Monday, January 23, 2012

Mission Accomplished!

first things first....

oh nothing, just me spectating an elephant as it eats the landscaping at Mole Hotel. the hotel staff was unsurprised by this little breakfast interruption, but the rest of us loved it. they really do kinda see them as pests.

backing up a bit, here are some castle pictures from the Elmina Castle, a few k outside of Cape Coast. the castle was originally built by the Portuguese and eventually taken by the Dutch, then the British when Ghana was the stronghold during the slave trade. almost all the slaves that left west Africa spent time in this castle or the one at Cape Coast. we saw the dungeons all the way up to the governors quarters, but i'm only gonna put a few pics here. this is the view of the fort that was used as a lookout, on the top of that hill. you also can get a pretty good glimpse of Elmina itself, a "small" village (huge!) that is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon.
another view. the castle hugs the coast but still had a moat.
the view from where the governor stood to address his troops. to the left are the dungeons, to the right are the rooms where they imprisoned unruly soldiers, or the tomb where they threw rebellious slaves. the building in the middle, oddly enough, was the chapel.
another view, from the other side of the courtyard.
ok. now to the good stuff...Mole National Park. it was originally established as a hunting ground in the 1950's, when the government was trying to eliminate the tsetse fly. the theory was that the larger animals were its' breeding grounds, so they should all be killed. after 20 years, it was decided sleeping sickness (caused by the tsetse fly) was no longer a threat and turned into a game reserve. in 1974 it was formally established as a protected area (and they doubled it in size!) this picture is of a "bachelor pack" of male kops, a kind of gazelle. once the young male kop is about 7-9 months old, they are driven out of whichever elder male's territory they were born on. they then roam in these large bachelor groups until they are old enough and strong enough to fight a lone male for his territory. the female kops can come and go as they please, meaning the males are really just fighting for land, not right to the females.
here is an elephant crossing the road, causing quite a ruckus. this is a male elephant, the only kind we saw, as the females are all hiding deep in the forest with their babies.

i'm a little obsessed with warthogs now. they like to walk around on their knees. here is a baby demonstrating. they are fairly dangerous, according to the staff at Mole a full-grown warthog can defeat a baboon anytime. this one was too little to do much damage yet. just don't make it's mama mad.

when not scaring baboons, the warthogs enjoy the scraps of the staff canteen. they treat them almost like dogs, though they are careful not to touch them and to keep the baby away. but they are not unpleasant to have around. and they will eat anything. we even saw one eat a plastic bag.
the elephant down by the watering hole. just headed to pack some mud on his skin. he doesn't worry about the crocs in that pool, they're all scared of him.
if you can ignore the glowing eyes (my bad) you can see the pattern of this bush back perfectly. they were one of the most beautiful animals we saw. and this one got so close to us!
the view from Mole's observation platform. spectacular.
this is the first elephant we saw, about 20 minutes into our morning walk. he was wallowing in the water when we found him, which is why he has that delightful painted look about him. cute?

so as you can imagine, we are 2 very happy campers right now. and tomorrow, we're headed to the beach to take a vacation from our vacation. all this trip people have been telling us to go to Busua, so it seems like the appropriate place to end our Ghana adventure. enjoy the pictures and i'll post again soon!

1 comment:

  1. WOW Amazing pictures, I loved the one of you and the elephant. Can't wait to see more. Love you, Mom