One of the imaginative tourist sites to visit when in Ghana is the Kakum National Park. The park is located in the coastal environs of the Central Region of Ghana. It covers an area of 375 square kilometers (145 sq mi). Its established took place in 1931 as a reserve, it was passed as a bill in parliament as a national park only in 1992 after an initial survey of avifauna was conducted. The area is covered with tropical forest. The most notable endangered species of fauna in the park are Diana Monkey, Giant Bongo Antelope, and African Elephant. It is also an Important Bird Area recognized by the Bird Life International with the bird area fully overlapping the park area. The bird inventory confirmed 266 species in the park.
The park’s best-known feature is undoubtedly its 7 suspension bridges which form a 333-meter-long canopy walkway, suspended up to 27 meters above the forest floor from trees that are over 300 years old. The canopy walk is only one of Kakum’s many delights. There are a variety of trails and guided walks that allow visitors to experience the solitude of the rainforest. It is very rich in butterflies as well, and a new species was discovered in 1993. As of 2012, the densest population of forest elephants in Ghana is located in Kakum.
In 1931, the area drained by the headwater catchment of the Kakum River was declared a forest reserve and managed by the Forestry Division. During this period, logging operations were prevalent, particularly of the Mahogany (Khaya ivorensis) tree species.
The logging operations continued till 1989 when the management of the reserve was transferred to the Wildlife Department. A Feasibility Study and Preliminary 5-year Management Plan for the development of Kakum National Park as an ecotourism destination were developed in 1990 under a project conducted for the United Nations Development Program (Dudley 1990). The Feasibility Study included preliminary biodiversity assessments of the flora and fauna of Kakum Forest Reserve and adjoining Assin-Attandanso Forest Reserve, and an elephant population survey (Dudley 1990; Dudley, Mensah-Ntiamoah, & Kpelle 1992; Dudley 1995).
The Kakum River originates within the park, and hence the park is named after the river. Its tributaries which flow through the park are Obuo, Kakum, Afia, Sukuma, Nemimi, Aboabo and Ajuesu. It is located 33 kilometres (21 mi) north of Cape Cost and Elmina near the small village of Abrafo. It is easily accessible by taxis from the town center, and through organized tour buses. There is a treehouse for you if wish to stay the night for bird and wildlife watching. The treehouse is fitted with mattresses, bedding, and mosquito nets and comfortable for anyone who is accustomed to camping. There is also an outhouse. tree top accommodation for anyone who wish to stay the night for the love of animals. Kakum is about 4hours drive from Accra.
The park is child-friendly so don’t forget to take the kids along to the newly added children’s park with a super mini and safe canopy walkway swings and play area. It is a nice and conducive tourist site to visit.