Mole National Park is By far the most popular tourist attraction in the northern half of Ghana is the. In terms of size, it is the largest national park in the country, found on a Savannah woodland ecosystem. The Park is located in the West Gonja District Assembly area of the Northern Region of Ghana and lies between Latitude 9° 12’ and 10° 6’ North and to Longitudes 1° 25’ and 2° 17’ West. The Park is about 146 kilometres or two hour’s drive from Tamale, the regional capital, and 15 kilometres from Damongo the district headquarters of West Gonja District Assembly.
The district together with the newly created Central Gonja, accounts for approximately 24% of total landmass of the region and is a strategic link of the region to the southern sector and the two other northern-most regions of Ghana. Currently, the Mole Park has an area of 5,198 square kilometers and together with the Kenikeni and Yakobo Forest Reserves accounts for over 16,706 square kilometres or 30% of West Gonja District. 

The Park is the largest of the seven declared national parks in Ghana. It is also one of the three parks established in the interior Savannah ecological zone in the north of the country. Mole National Park is by far the most prestigious in terms of visitor attraction and tourist facilities, both in quantity and quality.

Between 1948 and 1954 about 2,300 square kilometres of the present area was designated a game clearance zone for the control of tsetse fly, which was believed to be responsible for the spread of trypanasomiasis, a disease that hindered animal rearing in the area. 

The policy of game clearance was, however abandoned and the area was officially constituted a game reserve. A European ecologist and twelve game scouts were stationed there to take charge of the Park. In 1962 a boundary description of the Park was published in the Wild Animals Preservation. It also delineated an area of about 1,910 square kilometres with a 171 kilometer perimeter. More villagers were forcefully evicted in 1964. 

In 1971 Mole Park was declared a National Park with an enlarged area of 4,554 square kilometres. The boundaries of the Park were extended northwards to the River Kulpwan and eastwards to the Konkeri Escarpment. In 1992 villages around the Gbantala Triangle were forced to relocate elsewhere and the Park’s size of 4840sq km attained under Gazette Notification number L.1.1710. The park is under the control of the Ghana Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission.

Features of Mole National Park

The park lies on the stern rim of the Volta Basin, and has a generally undulating topography that is characterised by flat-topped hills. The Konkeri Scarp is the most prominent highland running in a north-south direction through the park to attain a height of 250 meters. Soils at the Park are mostly of plinthic ferrasols in the south while nitisols dominate the northern sector of the Park. Generally, laterite pans of outcrops of between 0.2 and 2.0 meters are common, and are the result of exposure of iron rich horizons due to erosion processes. 

Like the rest of the Northern Region, and characteristic of the Guinea Savannah, the climate of the Mole National Park is distinctly seasonal, with a mean annual temperature of 27.8 degrees centigrade with little variation of between 21.6 degrees minimum and 30.5 degrees centigrade maximum. The average diurnal range is 13.3 degrees centigrade. The coldest period is December–February, whilst March and April are the hottest months of the year.

The Mole National Park is a fairly undisturbed Guinea Savannah ecosystem with limited human impact through annual bush burning, localized farming and collection of fuel wood and wild fruits. The vegetation type is the Guinea Savannah, a dominantly woodland, with a grass layer that reaches up to three meters during the rainy season. There are also noticeably narrow bands of gallery forests along many streams. All these environmental conditions make the area most suited to biodiversity conservation and justify the continued existence of the over 742 plant and fauna species of the Park, which are well spread throughout the savannah zone.

Detailed descriptions of the zoological records have been provided in Aerial and ground zoological surveys, which have indicated that substantial numbers of various faunal species were available at the Park. Eight larger species of mammals, including elephant, buffalo, roan, hartebeests, water buck, kob, oribi and baboons, duikers, monkeys, and many bird species including francolins, swallows, sparrows, egrets and guinea fowls. Estimates for various species include the Oribi (5,000), elephants (500), buffalo (3,000) hartebeest (4,000-5,000), waterbuck (4,000), kob (4,000) and roan antelope (1,958). Substantial numbers of smaller mammals like the baboon, the red-flanked duiker and species of antelopes are very common. A small population of over ten hippopotamus, residing in the River Kulpwan, is being protected by the people of adjacent villages as gods. 

The main animal species at the Park include elephants, roans antelopes, hartebeest, buffalo, waterbuck, and kob herds. There are also large carnivores such as leopard, lion and hyena. These carnivores and their herbaceous neighbours constitute a major tourist attraction. The most interesting thing in the park is the ease with which visitors can freely see these animals except for the lions and leopard that are active at late night. For all tour, well trained and armed tour guide(s) go with visitors to ensure their absolute safety and security.

However, for visitors who would not like to go on nature tours, there is a higher wooding platform closer to the reception area that enables visitors to see the animals without necessarily getting closer. This is mostly enjoyed by visitors with binoculars. About 20 elephants could be spotted taking their bath in the pond which is just 200 meters way from the reception area. Also within the park is a restaurant where visitors could have access to both local and continental food. You can also relax in a pool after a long safari tour.  For those who wish to have overnight stays, the motel in the park provides a range of rooms dormitory, double room to en-suite chalets with air conditioners. For those interested in camping, 

Mole National Park is the place to be since it is possible to camp near the motel or other alternative sites in the park. Campers are however advised to take care of their properties since warthogs and baboons sneak to steal properties form visitors especially food items. There is a souvenir shop close by for you to buy some Ghanaian craft or cigarette. You may also have the pleasure to see “Onipa Nua”; the elephant which may allow you to pose with him for a picture. Visitors are cautioned to abstain from feeding animals at the park. Other nearby attractions are the Larabanga Mosque, Bui National Park and Larabanga Mystic stone. 

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