The unique Canopy Walk at Kakum National Park (near Cape Coast)
04.08.2010 - 14.10.2010 34 °C
Deciding to travel for 18 hours (by tro tro) the previous day in order to spend as much time as possible at Cape Coast was possibly the best decision ever. Despite the severe lack of sleep I woke up at the crack of dawn eagerly anticipating what was awaiting us. The journey itself to Kakum National Park was not easy, however, we had long got used to the potholes that caused us to constantly veer from side to side quite effectively inducing seasickness. Yet what we saw at the park completely took our breath away. From the incredible sunshine and light breeze to the intense vividness of the surrounding greenery it was hard to remember why we were tired at all....
The Canopy Walk offers visitors a unique way to see the rainforest canopy - in the form of 7 rope suspended bridges that create a walkway looping around a large reserve of the forest.
Hands up - I was the first one out of 8 to volunteer to go first! Attempted to hold my breath (helps with the nerves) at first but the first walkway was so long that if I hadn't of taken oxygen in at some point I probably would have passed out and blocked everyone else! All I can say is that the scenic view was without a doubt, worth the 18 hour travel. I don't think I've seen so many shades of lush greens at once in my life. The rope suspended bridge was very sturdy and beautifully constructed but that didn't stop it swaying dramatically from side to side, once again inducing the seasickness. Yet, surprisingly, I wasn't actually afraid at all. Now, I can distinctly recall that horrible sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you're utterly terrified. I actually used to be one of those girls that would scream and shout if I ever even remotely felt like I was going to fall off something (ok, I was like 10). Maybe it was how safe it felt but really I think it was the amazing sense of calm I felt being surrounded by this beautiful display of nature.
Apologies, I don't mean to turn into a tree hugger here but it was honestly hard not to. Have you ever heard one of those Amazon Rainforest tracks - well this was exactly what it was like. The air was practically humming with the sounds of the bird, monkeys and a crazy number of animals we couldn't see (if you want to animal spot you are better off going at night - you can camp nearby and get a guide to take you around). Atmospheric, serene, beauty - you name it. A few of us enjoyed it so much we didn't want to leave and attempted to run around all 7 bridges again! But unfortunately, you not meant to do that and were appropriately told off! Will attempt to upload a video I took whilst on one of the walkways. I apologise now for any annoying comments – I was in a world of my own by that point!
Ok, practicalities. We took a tro tro from Cape Coast designated for travel to Kakum and managed to get it for about 2 cedi each. Entry had gone up since my Bradt guidebook was published and so it cost us 15 cedi (we were charged ‘volunteer’ rates so it may be slightly more for other visitors). Don’t worry too much about any baggage as you can quite safely leave it at the Reception (I did put the important personal belongings in my handy pockets though but you don’t really want to risk dropping things). You get assigned a guide who will take you around in the next available time slot (so that there isn’t any overcrowding) and it should last a total of 35 – 45 minutes depending on how busy it is. Aim to get there when it opens (about 8am) and you should be able to take your time. PLEASE wear appropriate shoes (trainers/sneakers are fine) are you will have to trek up some hills first. We saw a lady after in wedges and I dread to think how she got up there! Bring some water in a bottle if you want but I managed without – it depends how hot it is and how much you need to drink in general but you do break out in a sweat. There is a lovely restaurant (reasonably priced) located on site as well as a gift shop (no haggling!). We discovered too late you could get one of those token T-shirts saying ‘I survived the Canopy Walkway’ with a personalised pictured of you printed on so if you want one make sure you ask first! Unless you have prearranged transport you have to make your way to the main road and flag down a tro tro or taxi. We did have to wait about 30 minutes or so but it was quite pleasant; there’s a small hut selling some paintings and another selling the infamous palm wine! We also managed to buy some oranges to ‘eat’ Ghanaian style (slicing the top off and squeezing the juice out) and were given this red berry to eat first that literally made the oranges taste like ‘sweet nectar’!!! We were so amazed as we first thought they were special oranges or something (oranges were a staple in my Ghanaian diet) but then realised it was due to the berry. So look out for this special lady!