Tuesday, March 4, 2014

MOLE - Safari

It's 5 am and voices ring through the house, 'Wake up! Wake up!' It was to my understanding that everyone was very excited about Mole and wanted to make sure everyone was on time for the mini bus, which a few of us knew would not be on time, because rushing to get to different places, just isn't Ghana's thing. Really thought people would have picked up on that by now, but ah well, who cares. We got to the meeting point for the mini bus on time, and waited a cheeky half hour for the driver to arrive, which wouldn't really have been a problem except some of us were tired and wanted to sit down, but swag yolo at the end of the day. Anyway it gave me time to get some sweets from a shop so really, if you think about it, it worked out for the better that he was late..

Anywayyy, the drive there was, interesting to say the least; I slept for a good portion of the journey, until we reached, THE ROAD. What is the THE ROAD I hear you ask? Well, it's a road. BUT! This road isn't one of the those run of the mill roads that gets you from A to B with ease, this road is relentless, it will push you to the edge and make you cry out for your mommy as you wonder if you will ever make it to the end or if this will be your end. Realistically, it's just very bumpy, I hit my head off things in all different directions for a good 45 minutes, but the entrance to Mole National Park, was just on the other end, so it was worth it.

We get through and get off the mini bus, obviously the first thing on people’s minds is food. I grab a drink and a burger from the menu, then sit down. Through all the hustle and bustle I didn't really think to stop and look where I was, I turn around and as far as the eye can see, a breath-taking view grasps my attention... a really fit blonde in a bikini. Only joking, it was of course the vast forest and right below a watering hole, no animals as of yet, but that was fine, they would come sooner or later. Pictures were taken, laughs were had, it was a great time to be alive. The plan was to stay in the tree house in the forest but all of a sudden people started dropping like flies preferring the idea of comfort in a fancy room, but I'm a man of the wild, I wouldn't be so easily defeated by such temptations. Of course, most realised that my way of thinking, was the only way, Charlie, Jack, Zay Zay, Meriame, Rob, Alistair, Ollie BJ and Falah were ready to take the night with both hands and enjoy the ride. Alex, Johanna, Sophie and Lukmaan decided to book the dorms and I don't blame them, the wild isn't for the faint hearted, who knew if we would even return... We did, I just like making things dramatic.

So we head off for the canoe safari, a crafty stop on the way allows me and Zay Zay to get some nice pictures of our surroundings. A small village to our right catches my eye; the buildings are covered in markings, which are very interesting. Finding out what they mean would be great, but time is of the essence and our canoe awaits. Now, of course one of the questions I would imagine most people ask is 'has anyone ever fallen in the water?' and it was asked, repeatedly, to which the reply was a reassuring 'no' each time. The first load of people piles onto the canoe, and set off a long the water. Me, Lukmaan, Falah, Meriame, Charlie, Jack and Rob... I think... piled onto the canoe. Now, the men operating the paddles could not of stressed enough that we needed to keep still and centre to the canoe, but apparently some people didn't hear and before I have time to take a picture, the canoe fills with water and we all plunge in. Luckily we were still close enough to land, that we were out of the water within seconds. We tried for round two and it was really nice and quiet. The occasional comment, the sound of the birds and the paddle gliding through the water surrounded me, it felt cleansing. The calm was just what I needed after the incident of sinking. The visual aspect of it all was nothing short of beauty, different birds that were full of more colours than I could name, and vines dangling from the tree's that arched around us to form this wonderful journey. All in all I'd say everyone enjoyed it and I don't see how anyone couldn't.

We get back and after chilling out for a little while, we take our rice and stew to go and go to find our guide to the tree house. Whilst we are waiting for everyone to get their things together some baboons make an appearance, I loveeeeeeeeeeeee anything monkey so I was really happy to see them at first, but then they turn around and they have these massive swollen bums because they were 'on heat'. Ready to do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight... as one might say. It really wasn't pretty, it reminded that nature though very beautiful in many senses of the word, is not always appealing to the eye.

The plan was to walk to the tree house, but after the long day we decided to treat ourselves to a cheeky rooftop Jeep ride, which of course was insanely awesome. The bumps and ditches in the road made it feel like you were going to be thrown off the sides and under the wheel, which is always a fun feeling. We arrive at the tree house full of excitement, our guide is class, really nice dude and you could ask him anything and most of the time he would know what to say, concerning our surroundings of course. At around 8pm he takes us to this opening surrounded by trees, he says we can lie under the stars for a while, which we do and all I can say is wow. The stars were something else, literally. We headed back to tree house, and spent the night in a circle in a corner of the tree house chatting and such, not a lot else can be said other than I remember waking up multiple times due to the very cold weather, and I think others had the same problem too.

We walk back the next day to where the reception and dorms are, it took around an hour max. The walk was actually very nice, especially so early in the morning as the sun was not yet ready to start frying us all half to death. As we get back to the office, we drop off the mats and bags and get ready to do, what a lot of us had been waiting for, the walking safari. As we step back outside I look to the left and these giant elephants are just at the edge of the road eating trees, incredible. I walk over and just stand there, not even ten meters away are these giants of nature. A lot of us just stand there and appreciate them for 20 minutes, I remember thinking that I could just stay there all day looking at them and wondering if the elephants were thinking the same about me, but they see people all the time, so I guess not. This space between us and the elephants was brilliant, as in, it was like there was this mutual respect of space between man and beast, that neither of us would cross. One of them was rather displeased with all the birds around him and went on a stampede through the woods knocking down tree's like they were giant toothpicks, which was easily one of the best things I had ever seen. They start to move away, and we are soon to follow in their direction.

As the guide takes us through the wood the elephants surround us, not in a hostile way, just going about their day; eating, a cheeky poo, everything you would expect an elephant to be doing. We come out of the wood and watch the elephants from the bottom of the hill. All of a sudden out of nowhere, I cannot believe it... I rub my eyes just to be sure... a wild American appears from the bushes. He explains that he just fancied a walk and doesn't have guide with him, our guard was not best pleased with him, the American continued into the wild.. well restaurant. We make our way down to the watering hole. After exploring for half hour, we see the elephants make their way into the water, bathing away, they climb and struggle over each other in the water, which I'm guessing is just them having fun, but it is spectacular to see. We get our pictures and just watch them as they throw themselves around in the water. I was never really sure how an elephant actually sounded when it opened its mouth, but I was not expecting the elephants to roar the way they did, like a dinosaur, insane.

So we finish the walk, take a picture with our guide and continued to the pool to chill out till we had to go home.

All in all Mole was brilliant, couldn't really fault the weekend at all, the only thing I would suggest is, if you are going to go in a canoe, make sure the people you are with know how to sit in a canoe...

This is Yolo Swaggins aka Ollie A representing Sandem Mandem fo'real, peace yo.

So yeah, that happened.

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