Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kakum National Park - better seen and felt

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

The Kakum National Park, is one of Ghana’s rich natural resources. It is a perfect example of the country’s rich biodiversity, and an enthralling rainforest any country of the world would wish to have making it the tourist’s haven.

The birth of Kakum

Kakum, is named after the Kakum River whose headwaters lie within the park’s boundaries. It was originally set aside as a forest reserve in 1925. The protected area of the forest covers 360 km2.

The area of the park was released for protection by six local authorities. These are; Assin Attandanso, Twifo Hemang, Assin Apimanin, Denkyira, Abura and Effutuakwa all in the Central region. The chiefs of these communities gave portions of land under their domains for the project.

The legal foundations of Kakum

Over the years, several laws have been passed to make the existence of the Kakum Park a reality. The laws were evolved for over four and half decades. In 1961 the Wild Animals Preservation Act was enacted. The main focus of the Act was to preserve the white breasted guinea fowl, the colobus monkey, chimpanzee, hippo and other animals including those whose female and young ones need protection.

Some ten years later in 1971 the legislation was amended to widen the scope of protected species that were not covered by the earlier legislation. The Legislative Amendments of 1971 identified more threatened wildlife for complete protection. And these were seven primate species, three types of pangolius elephant, lion, leopard and the honey badger.

Twenty years later in 1991, the law was amended again. This time it was referred to as Protective Legislation. When the Wild Life Reserves Regulation was amended, it included specifically, Kakum and Assin Attandanso. Following this amendment, the Natural Resources Conservation and Historic Preservation Project was launched between 1992 and 1993. As a result, Legislative Instrument 1525.1991 effectively established the Kakum National Park.

The Canopy Walkway

In 1995, the most remarkable aspect of the park came into being. The Spectacular Canopy Walk was officially opened. The canopy is Africa’s only canopy walkway and it is suspended 100 feet above the ground and from this height, it offers a bird’s eye view of the forest.

At this height, it is possible to have a good view of the birds and insects that fly across the park, something that is impossible to see on the ground The canopy is made of steel cable, netting, and has narrow wooden planks laid on the floor. It is connected by tree platforms that serve as observation points for viewing the rainforest.

Animal and plant species

Kakum contains animal species of great diversity. They include various species of the forest elephant, bongo, yellow backed duiker, nearly 300 species of birds, 100 mammal, reptile and amphibian species, with a three-quarter million insects and at least 600 butterflies.

It also contains hundreds of species of herbaceous and woody plants.

There is a beauty and radiance that the rainforest exudes, but which can only be seen and felt when you are there.


Dave Carrol said...

I got to see Kakum while we were there... I'm glad we didn't miss it.

Really an amazing experience

Emmanuel K. Dogbevi said...

It is indeed an amazing experience to be in the Kakum Park.

I have been there twice already and would be going back there for hiking one of these days.