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Mole National Park

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Mole National Park is the largest and most frequently visited national park in Ghana. It is reasonably well set up to cater for tourists and although it is more expensive than many other parts of Ghana it is well worth a visit.

There is an entrance fee for the park. The fee is reduced for students, but foreign university IDs are not always honored, so it may be worthwhile to apply for an ISIC (international student ID) card.


Get in[edit]

Mole is described as 'easy to get to'. This isn't entirely accurate but it is certainly easier than many other places in Ghana! Your options are:

Bus - As of 2016, there are no longer direct services to Mole National Park. The closest you can get to the park by public transport is the small town of Larabanga. The main services that pass through Larabanga are the Metro Mass services from Tamale to Wa and from Tamale to Bole. These leave relatively early in the morning from the Metro Mass station in Tamale, at around 05:30 and 06:00.

Tro-tro - Run from Tamale and Bole, stopping at Larabanga. The first service from Tamale leaves at around 04:00 and departs from the main Tro-Tro station. Services can be picked up later on in the day. Once at Larabanga, take a local taxi to Mole Motel or the visitors centre for around 25-30 GHC. Other options are: a lift on a motorbike for around 15 GHC. Alternatively, walk to the park from Larabanga in around 60-90 minutes, but probably avoid doing this during the heat of mid-day.

Chartered Taxi - It is possible to charter a taxi in Tamale to take you to Mole, this will probably take about 2-2.5 hours and will be quite expensive but perhaps worth it if time is short. Quotes start at around 250 GHC.

Car Rental Mole National Park- The road leading to mole national park, larabanga and Damongo is asphalted and easily motorable by public transport and taxis, however it can be time wasting and uncomfortable joining public transport if you are a fast pace traveler. One formidable car rental agency who can offer you the best of comfort and timely service is Grassroot Car Rental. CALL ON+233(0)541668682 or [1] for any information you may need.

Private Car Tamale - With the completion of the new road from Fufulso to Larabanga, you no longer need a 4x4 to be able to reach the park. The trip should take you about 2-2.5 hours from Tamale, and it is by far the most comfortable and most expensive way to travel to Mole. Foreigners are for the most part excluded from driving in Ghana, so rentals come with drivers, and should you stay overnight, the driver's lodging expense will be included in rental fee. CONTACT: UPRISE TRAVEL [2] Phone+233(0)249507413 is one tour company that rents out safari 4x4 vehicles to Mole National Park.

Get around[edit]

Within the park your only realistic option is to walk (be aware that walking outside the motel grounds is strictly forbidden unless you have an armed ranger with you). A few taxis are available in nearby Larabanga (3km away), but the road between Mole and Larabanga is hot with very little shade so if you are planning on walking between the two remember to take lots of water.

See[edit][add listing]

Picture taken while on a walking safari.

Mole has the widest range of wildlife in Ghana. You'll see elephants, antelope, bushbucks, monkeys, warthogs, baboons and other smaller wildlife. You are more likely to see elephants during the dry season, as they are obliged to come to the river on the plain below the guest houses for water.

It is rumored that lions exist in the park but even the wardens haven't seen any traces for a few years. The last lion sighting in August 2004 was immediately followed by a serious poaching incident resulting in the capture and killing of a male lion the following day.

Do[edit][add listing]

Within the park itself:

  • Go on a walking safari with an armed ranger. These usually take place in the late afternoon (c4pm) and the early morning (c6am). Depending on the number of people staying, you should be able to have a ranger for each group. This is a wonderful experience and a real opportunity to get close to the wildlife.
  • If you have your own 4x4, you can go on a driving safari with an armed ranger. This gives you the opportunity to cover a much wider area of the park.
  • Or you can just relax at the motel's viewing platform which overlooks a watering hole. You will generally see herds of elephants grazing and bathing in the early morning or evening few hours before the sun sets.
  • The motel has a swimming pool.

Surrounding area:

Mosque at Larabanga
  • Larabanga has the oldest and best preserved example of a mud and stick mosque in Ghana. Although it is worth a visit if you are going to Mole, the experience does tend to be a bit mercenary and you are not allowed inside. If you are interested in mud and stick mosques, it is a better bet to visit the ones in the Upper West region.

Buy[edit][add listing]

There is a souvenir shop, but the prices tend to be higher than in other parts of Ghana. If you prefer a particular brand of cigarettes, bring them, but Ballantine's (found all over Ghana) and also the humorously-named Tuskers are available at the staff canteen (near the museum).

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • The motel has a restaurant attached which serves reasonable western style and local food, although the prices are high (most mains are from 40 GHC). For faster service, it is advisable to order your meals at least several hours in advance and tell them what time you want to eat.
  • Traditional Ghanaian food in large helpings is also available in the staff canteen beside the safari office at considerably lower prices. However, you must order in the morning (before ~11 am). Most mains are 10 GHC - for example, rice, beans and chicken. The canteen usually closes early (~8pm), so don't think about asking for your food after this time.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • The motel restaurant serves the usual range of 'minerals', bottled water, beer, liquor, and wine.
  • Water and other beverages can also be purchased at lower prices in the staff canteen. It tends to close relatively early.
  • There is also a small shop at the main visitors centre, selling water and soft drinks, again at slightly lower prices than the motel

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The Mole Motel, set on a cliff overlooking 2 of the main watering holes, has a wide range of accommodation from budget style dorm rooms with bunkbeds to en-suite chalets with A/C. The prices are higher than in other parts of the north, but less expensive than the recently-opened Zaina Lodge. Check the website for the latest prices.

It is also possible to camp near the motel, or at a number of other campsites throughout the park. The campsite near the motel has running water, but be aware that warthogs and baboons sometimes sneak into the campsite and raid the trash bins.

If you can't afford the prices at the Mole Motel, you can take a short-ish walk to the nearest village by taking a right turn out of the park and travelling for about 5-6km down the road to Larabanga - n.b. although there is no public transport along this route you can often hitch a lift in a car with some locals. In Larabanga there are two guesthouses - The Savannah and Salia Brothers guesthouse, run by both of the Salia brothers. These offer rooms at around 5 GHc. The guesthouses are more likely to accommodate large groups.

The latest addition is the eco-luxury Zaina Lodge, opened in 2015. The main building, with its infinity pool, and each of the fully appointed safari tents overlook two watering holes where animals come to drink. Occasionally elephants will walk up the hill and drink from the fountain in front of the lodge. Guests can enjoy high end dining and various types of safaris (driving, walking, canoe, night) with dedicated guides. In 2016, rates started at US$ 250 per person, with additional packages available, though many items such as meals, drinks, and safaris are included in the price. Airport transfer from Tamale or Kumasi is available for US$160 per vehicle each way as of 2019.

Stay safe[edit]

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