The 375 square kilometres Kakum National Park is situated in the Central Region of Ghana, close to the seashore (145 sq mi). It was first established in 1931 as a reserve but only became a national park in 1992 after an initial avifauna assessment was carried out. Tropical vegetation covers the entire area. This park is special since it was created on local residents’ initiative, not by Ghana’s State Department of Wildlife, which is in charge of protecting the country’s wildlife. It is one of only three places in Africa with a 350 m (1,150 ft) long canopy walkway that connects seven tree tops and gives access to the forest.
The African elephant, yellow-backed duiker, gigantic bongo antelope, and Diana monkey are among the park’s most renowned endangered species of wildlife. Additionally, BirdLife International has designated it as an Important Bird Area, with the bird area completely enclosing the park area, 266 kinds of birds were found in the park, including eight species that are threatened by worldwide conservation. The white-breasted guinea fowl is one of these threatened species. The grey parrot and nine other hornbill species have both been identified. A new species of butterfly was found there in 1993, and it is also highly abundant in butterflies. Kakum is home to Ghana’s largest concentration of forest elephants as of 2012.
The Republic of Ghana’s Museums and Monuments Board has asked UNESCO to list the park as a natural World Heritage Site under criteria vii and x. The 2000 entry is included in the preliminary list of World Heritage Sites.
The Kakum River headwater catchment region was designated a forest reserve in 1931 and is under the management of the Forestry Division. Logging activities were common during this time, especially for the mahogany (Khaya ivorensis) tree species. Up until 1989, when the Wildlife Department took over management of the area, logging operations were still in progress.
As a unique feature on the entire African continent, the park contains a lengthy network of hanging bridges known as the Kakum Canopy Walkway at the level of the forest canopy to offer access to the forest. The visitor can get close to the edges and see plants and animals from a vantage point that would otherwise be inaccessible to people at a height of 40 m (130 ft). The canopy walkway spans 330 meters and crosses seven bridges (1,080 ft). Some of the tree canopies reach heights of more than 50 meters (160 feet).
It is constructed of wire rope, hardwood planks, and aluminium ladders, and is surrounded by netting for safety. a further viewing platform that tourists can ascend into the canopy fearlessly Construction on the canopy walkway is currently ongoing. Five (5) Ghanaians (employees of Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust, caretakers of the Kakum National Park Visitor Center) helped two Canadian engineers from Vancouver build the Canopy Walkway, and they have been maintaining it ever since.
In the Secondary Forest, the Park now has a Tree House that is located around 20 meters from the forest floor. This facility, which can accommodate about 25 people, offers campers an exciting opportunity to experience woodland life, particularly at night. Many of the animals (such as genets, leopards, etc.) are active at night in search of prey to feed on because of how dense the rainforest is. Thus, the Kakum animals may be viewed up close to the Tree House. An experienced Tour Guide is always available to lead campers on night treks and share Kakum Forest folklore over a bonfire. It’s a fascinating journey.
The first protected area in Ghana, Kakum, has received significant funding for visitor amenities. On Earth Day 1997, the visitor center opened, and the park was given the Global Tourism for Tomorrow Award the following year. Over time, the number of tourists has increased: from 2,000 in 1992 to 27,000 in 1996 to over 70,000 in 1999 to 135,870 in 2009.
I visited Kakum in 2018 and it was a memorable experienceSamuel Haller