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Return to Molé National Park

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Tuesday 13 March 2012: We departed at the ungodly hour of five AM and drove all day long, stopping at Kintampo Falls to take in the scenery.

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Wednesday 14 March 2012: Our intrepid guide Issa showed us this track and raised our hopes when he told us it had been made by a young lion.

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Upon further examination, however, he noticed the toenail marks and concluded it was the track of a hyena.

Thursday 15 March 2012: We visited the village of Larabanga and viewed the oldest mosque in Ghana, built in 1421.

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I was beset by a swarm of raggedy little children, all vying with each other for the honor of holding my hand in their greasy, sticky little mitts.

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Friday 16 March 2012: We saw nine elephants cooling off in the water hole. The glare from the sun was so great I couldn’t see what my camera was capturing, so I just had to point and shoot and hope for the best. That explains why some of these photos are not well centered.

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As I stood on the bank snapping pictures, out of the corner of my eye I noticed the swish of the tail of a crocodile swimming right towards me. I took a few steps back from the water’s edge, not wanting to become lunch for that beast whilst I was absorbed in the task of photographing the elephants.

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Scientists now tell us that the elephant is descended from more fully aquatic ancestors and, watching these lumbering giants returning to their putative ancestral home, I had no trouble believing it.

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Saturday 17 March 2012: We departed the park at the even more ungodly hour of three AM, stopping in a little village in Brong-Ahafo where the monkey is still venerated.

We checked in at the visitor center to pick up Edmond, one of the village elders, who agreed to serve as our guide. As we walked along the forest path, Edmond explained to us that the sanctuary is home to two species of monkey: the Mona Monkey and the Colobus Monkey. He also noted that whenever a monkey dies, the villagers give it a proper burial inside a monkey-sized coffin and erect a marker over the grave site.

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I was lucky enough to get some excellent picture of a Colobus monkey, Normally this species is extremely shy and almost impossible to photograph, but this guy wasn’t shy at all. In fact, he was glaring at me so intently from his perch I thought maybe he wanted to challenge me to a fight.

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After dropping Edmond off we got back to pounding pavement. I didn’t get home until nine PM.

And someone was waiting for me.

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All photos by author

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