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Ghana: Kakum

Rainforest canopy in Kakum National Park
The luscious rainforest of Kakum National Park

Lazing in paradise for a couple of weeks is all very well if you can switch your brain off, kick back and do nothing without going stir crazy. I've never been very good at relaxing on the beach, though; there's a constant danger of me becoming bored, and being bored is the worst affliction I can think of outside of being employed, so when Lukas started planning an overnight trip along the coast with Susie, a friendly German girl whom I'd met in Kumasi and who turned up at Big Milly's for the festive season, I was all ears.

A Walk in the Park

Rainforest canopy in Kakum National Park
Everywhere you look in Kakum there are trees, trees and more trees

The tourist rest house in which we found ourselves was, I presume, rather pleasant, but as we arrived after dark and the rest house had no electricity (it had light switches, yes, but no lights), I couldn't really tell. There was, however, a little girl whose business sense was truly staggering to behold, and as she showed us to our room and explained the dinner and drink options, I found myself once again thinking just how wonderful it is to be able to talk to the Ghanaians, not only because English is the official language, but because they are such delightful people. Her charm worked; we decided to eat there and then, and settled down outside in the flicker of a kerosene lantern.

On our way through the rest of the forest we got attacked by ants again, and from that moment things started to really scrape the bottom of the barrel (though, luckily, we avoided a third bout of bites when the guide spotted a huge two-inch-thick line of ants marching across the path; we'd obviously trodden on similar lines before, and it was easy to see how a simple footfall could produce a hundred or so irate ants swarming up your legs). There were no animals to be seen, we all itched like crazy and we were tired, so it was a definite pleasure to get to six o'clock, when our guide plonked himself down on a bench and said, 'That was terrible. No animals.' This was pretty much the only thing he'd said on the entire trek – apart from 'Look, a mouse,' 'Can you see the bush baby?' 'They're ants,' and 'Ah, moths' – and although I couldn't fault his accuracy, it would have helped if at least one of our party had been enthusiastic about the walk, especially the one who was being paid. But never mind; we'd reached the canopy walkway, and things were about to get a whole lot better.

In the Canopy

Kakum National Park's canopy walkway
Kakum's canopy walkway

Kakum's canopy walkway is famous throughout Ghana, and for good reason. Constructed with overseas help in 1995, this 350m-long string of seven suspended rope-ways through the rainforest canopy is unique in Africa, and is a great way to see the rainforest from above. I've walked through a lot of rainforests in my time, from temperate to tropical, but I've never walked through the canopy, and it's a wonderful way to view the greenery. It's also a good way to appreciate just how high the tallest trees are; the walkway is around 30 to 40m high and the trees still tower above you, and although it seems pretty safe as you bounce along high above the ground (which you can't see for rainforest canopy), it's definitely no place for those with vertigo or suicidal tendencies.