Preparing For Your Trip

PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP

  • Research your location.
    • Customs
      • Mole NP is located in northern Ghana. The customs in northern Ghana are slightly more conservative and traditional than in places like Accra. There is a sizeable Muslim community in the surrounding towns. Also most people who live in northern Ghana don’t speak Twi, so beware when you try to negotiate or talk to someone in places like Tamale, they may give a confused look.
      • Also Mole and Tamale are not Accra. It is more rural and spread out.
    • Weather Forecast/Climate
      • It is drier and slightly windier in northern Ghana, especially in Mole and Tamale.
      • The temperatures get very high in northern Ghana, so take that in account and bring enough water to keep you hydrated.
      • The altitude is higher, hence why it is drier and hotter.
    • Surrounding towns.
      • Tamale is 4-5 hours outside of Mole. Tamale will be your pit stop when you go to Mole.
      • Larabanga is about 1-2 hours outside of Mole. The bus you take from Tamale to Mole will make a pit stop in Larabanga. There is a rest stop when you can buy snacks and drinks.
    • CDC check for outbreaks
      • Click on this link for more information on CDC and any outbreaks in Ghana.
      • Always check CDC (Center for Disease Control if there is an outbreak of a certain disease(s). You should always be cautious health-wise.
      • If you are in another country and you catch a disease while you are there, the particular country will probably have the correct antibiotics, which is the case in Ghana. Doctors in the USA may not be equipped to deal with foreign diseases because of lack of appropriate antibiotics.
      • Before you go to northern Ghana, it would be best if you have done the following:
        • Previously had the Meningococcal Meningitis shot(s)
        • Currently taking the antimalarial medicine (ex. Doxycycline, Malarone, Mefloquine [Lariam])
    • Political climate
      • No matter what country you are in, there is always a slight chance the social and political climate may alter. In Tamale and surrounding towns, there has been recent uproar between various ethnic groups. It is not necessarily consistent, but it is something to be aware of when you are traveling to northern Ghana.
      • To be on the safe side, check the U.S. Department of State website for any travel alerts, especially to alert you if anything dangerous is happening targeting Americans. Click on this link for the US Department of State’s information about Ghana.
      • Continuously be updated on the news. Google it!
  • Travel with friends or travel alone?
    • I wrote a blog post about whether to travel alone or traveling with friend. (Here is the link to the blog post) When I went to Mole, I traveled with friends and I found that to be the best option. None of us knew what would happen and it was good that we had each other’s back.
    • Also traveling with friends can be cost-effective. When you book hostels and motels, the price goes down when you have more people. Since there were four of us, we only had to pay 15 Ghana cedis compared to paying for 30-35 Ghana cedis for a single bedroom.
  • Decide what days you want to go.
    • Figure out when the best time for you to go. You are not going to escape the heat and dryness not matter what season you go to. However, rainy season does begin in May if that affects your decision.
    • If you plan on going to Mole NP, you have to take in account the amount of days for traveling and your actual stay. I recommend your Mole trip be about 6-7 days (more or less – your choice)
    • Take a look at the sample itinerary listed below or click on the link.
  • Book your lodging.
    • Mole Motel is the only lodging in Mole National Park and they have a limited amount of rooms, so book far in advance.
    • Find the phone number and address
      • When I was trying to find the accurate number for Mole Motel, I kept hitting dead ends. Finally, on a random travel blog, I found the number! Here is the number I have on file for Mole Motel
      • (233) 244316777
        • I called this number again to double check if it was still correct and it was the correct number!
    • Have a second option if possible
      • I recommend having a second option in case your lodging doesn’t work out, but in this case, there is only one hotel on the site. Book in advance and don’t wait till the last minute!
  • Find the fastest and most efficient ways of transportation.
    • Bus
      • I recommend taking the bus to Mole NP. It is usually a 12-hour bus ride from Accra to Tamale with pit stops in every 2-3 hours, depending on what bus company you use.
      • I would use the STC bus company. Our bus was air-conditioned and comfortable, and it left on time. They stayed on schedule and we arrived to our location on time. The bus fare is 28 Ghana cedis, which is a reasonable price and let you stay on your budget.
        • Buy your bus ticket at least 3 days in advance because the bus fills up quickly and there are only two buses each day that leave from Accra to Tamale: 8am and 8pm.
        • I recommend taking the 8am bus. Traveling at night can risk your safety.
    • Car/Taxi
      • Driving a car to Mole NP can be costly and detrimental to your car. Most of the roads you must take to get to Mole from Accra are not paved and very rocky. You will damage your car driving on those roads. In addition to the damage, you will run low on gas and there are not many gas stations you can stop at. Gas is a luxury and it can be very expensive.
    • Train
      • There is not a train system in Ghana, so you won’t be able to travel this way.
    • Air
      • There aren’t any major airlines that fly from Accra to Mole. There is a small airline service that flies from Accra to Tamale, but it will cost you a lot of money and you won’t be able to travel on a budget.
    • Tro-Tro
      • It is not safe to travel in a tro-tro from Accra to Mole because it will be cramped and the tro-tro may break down.  Also it will cost a lot of money and frustration. This is not a good choice.
    • Walk on foot
      • You may attempt at your own risk, but I don’t recommend this way at all!
  • Research activities before you leave.
    • You should research activities you can do before you leave. Since Mole National Park doesn’t have a website, I would research various blogs and see what other people did while they were there. Click on the My Experience at Mole page to find out what I did on my trip to Mole National Park.
  • Exchange your money before you leave and always have more than enough. (Plan for emergencies)
    • You never know what you may encounter, so it is always best to have enough money with you. I brought around 200 Ghana cedis with me and I had money left over, but my trip was only 4 days long. If you plan to stay longer, I would bring around 250 – 300 Ghana cedis. Bring more if you plan to do additional travel after Mole to other places.
    • Here is an example of how much I spent when I traveled to Mole:

  • Notify your emergency contact in the USA and your host country of your future travels.
    • Notify your emergency contacts before you leave to inform them on where and how long you are going. In case something terrible happens to you, they will be able to notify the correct officials to help you.
    • Have a copy of their contact information (name, phone, email, address) in your wallet.
  • Don’t overpack.
    • You need to pack accordingly. You do not need to bring suitcases or luggage, especially if you will be traveling for less than 10 days. Invest in a sturdy backpack. It will be a lifesaver!
    • Clothes-wise, I recommend you bring 4 shirts and two pairs of jean shorts or pants. Bring clothes that you don’t mind wearing more than once, but bring enough fresh underwear. I’m not sure if you want to wear the same pair of underwear more than once. It is not hygienic.
    • Bring the essential hygienic items (ex. Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, towel, washcloth, soap, deodorant, toilet paper). Check out my blog post on the most important hygiene items you should bring with you while traveling, especially in Ghana.

NEXT: Arriving to Mole National Park

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