Giant swallowtails nearly eight inches (20 cm) across are among more than 650 butterfly species fluttering among Leopards, honey badgers, and eagle-owls in Ghana’s Kakum National Park.

Snails glide along, antennae waving, peacefully protected in fetishistic forestlands in Ghana’s Ashanti region. Nile crocodiles snooze secure in sacred pools at Paga. Chattering mona and black-and-white colobus monkeys frolic freely in consecrated woods in the Brong-Ahafo. Most of surviving southern marginal forest lies in sacred groves—all part of centuries-old totemistic belief here in mystical union between humans and all natural life.

First reserves date back to 1901 under Ghana’s Wild Animals Preservation Ordinance. Now there are six national parks and several dozen other kinds of nature reserves in this relatively small West African country of 92,000 square miles (238,000 km2) bordering the Gulf of Guinea between Togo and Côte d’Ivoire.

They protect habitats ranging from virgin rain forest, semi-deciduous dry forest, and riverine gallery forest to lakes, marsh, and savannah. In them roam dozens of large mammal species including herds of endangered forest elephants, rare chestnut-striped bongos—largest of forest antelopes—and striking Diana monkeys with gray-chestnut bodies and black faces wreathed by white ruffs and beards.

Shrill, fire-bellied woodpeckers hammer on tall ebony trees. Long-crested hawk-eagles with wind-tousled crests overlook savannah and forest clearings. Barbary shrikes with olive-yellow crowns and scarlet underparts scout for insects, sometimes in brilliant groups. Tall Denham’s bustards peer over grasslands, and aptly-named splendid and beautiful long-tailed sunbirds look for nectar-filled blossoms, among more than 700 bird species.



MOLE NATIONAL PARK as well as...

Bia National Park

Buabeng-Fiema Sanctuary

Digya National Park

Gbelle Game Reserve

Keta-Angar Lagoon

Volta River Estuary

Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary

More about the Reserves in Ghana

Each button selection will take you to a site outside the Nature's Strongholds site, in a separate window so that you may easily return to the reserve page.