Davey West and Liz Hopkins
Many of us woke with the sun to find deer, monkeys, baboons, and warthogs rummaging outside of our rooms. After watching a rabble of baboons scarf the remnants of vicious moths, the group gathered at 6:30 to begin our safari! We split into two groups, each accompanied by an armed guide, and set out on an eager adventure to see wildlife. We roamed the African savannah for about two hours, anticipation building in hopes of seeing elephants. While meandering, we saw a plethora of water buck, various species of birds, antelope, warthogs, and monkeys.
Then the climax of our journey arrived, as we got our first glimpse of the largest land mammal in the world. To our delight, we discovered that there was a whole family of elephants bathing and cooling off in the murky, brown waters of an African pool. We stood in awe for about half an hour, not wanting to leave this once in a lifetime opportunity. One group had to move to the other side of the watering hole to escape a charging elephant. It was evident that this massive beast was declaring his territory. There were fourteen elephants in all, romping about. Once they exited the water, the freshly washed creatures began to fling dirt all over themselves with their trunks. Some even rolled around in the mud to keep cool. Much to our dismay, it was time to begin the steep ascent back to the Mole Motel. After climbing up the precipice, we enjoyed a typical breakfast of oats, omelets, and toast on the patio overlooking the grasslands we had just ventured through.
We packed up the bus, and regretfully pulled away from the vast beauty of Mole National Park. Our next stop was in the community of Larabanga, to view the Mystic Stone and one of the oldest mosques in West Africa. We were joyfully greeted by many of the local people. They showed us around their village, and gave us a brief history of the sites. Larabanga is home to about 4,000 people, and the area is populated entirely by Muslims. We enjoyed the short amount of time we spent with the local residents, learning more about their culture.
We all piled into the bus again to begin our three hour journey to Tamale. Along the way, we were all relieved to finally reach a paved road, as we had been bumped and jostled about for the duration of Mole. As we pulled up to our hotel, we were all pleasantly surprised by what greeted us. We went from sparse rooms with no running water, to luxurious rooms with plenty of hot water. The group spent the rest of the evening relaxing, deciphering the menu at dinner, and reveling in the company of friends.