Surviving the Kakum Canopy Walk

1032 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

3/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

January, 2024

Product name

Kakum Canopy Walk

Product country

Ghana

Product city

Assin South

Travelled with

Couple

Reasons for trip

Culture/Sightseeing

Kakum National Park is one of Ghana’s most visited attractions, due to its canopy walkway which towers over a tropical rainforest of virgin hardwood trees, including ebony and mahogany. The 350m long walkway is made up of seven suspension bridges, and at a height of up to 40m, they provide a unique vantage point.

On arrival, our guide found walking poles for us, as there was a steep 20-minute walk involving steps and a slope. We stopped on route to look at several trees including the Kyenkyen, the only tree in the forest where parrots perch on top for two reasons: they can see everything as it’s the tallest tree and it is so smooth, it cannot be climbed. We were glad of the frequent breaks as it was incredibly hot and humid.

The walkway, which opened in March 1995, took six months to construct. It was designed by a forest ecologist in conjunction with qualified surveyors who conducted strength and health assessments into the anchor trees which the bridges were tied to.

We were told at after the first bridge we had the option of bailing out and returning via a short bridge. However, our guide instilled confidence by telling us that there has never been an accident, that an 80-year-old has done the walk, and 90% complete the full trip.

Our first bridge was a good warmup as, along with the final bridge, it was the shortest at 23m long and only 18m in height. We walked along a narrow plank about a foot wide which had chest-height netting on both sides, and although it swayed a little, it was relatively stable, and we held on to the ropes on either side. Having safely reached the end, we stood on the small wooden platform, caught our breath, took in the views, and decided to continue.

The second bridge (45m long, 23m high), prepared us for the third, the longest at 60m and highest at 40m, but by this point we were feeling more confident. The guide remained at the back of us for the first two bridges and then presumably when he was sure we were not going to freeze midway, he romped ahead.

It was then plain sailing with the final three bridges slowly declining in length and height, although the sixth had a steep slope towards the end, and batons had been placed across the plank to prevent slipping feet.

Although we’d been told the park was full of animals, including six types of duiker, and Ghana’s densest population of forest elephants, they were elusive because we were at the canopy level all we could see was treetops and trees above.

We were fortunate in visiting midweek, as we were the only visitors, but it’s said to get busy at the weekend. Having finished the walk in about 40 minutes, we returned to the centre via an archway with the words ‘I survived the Kakum Canopy Walkway’.

The associated museum was a revelation, not only was it air conditioned, but it was bigger than we expected and contained lots of information about the trees and their contribution to the environment, and the animals found in the park (including some we hadn’t heard of like a Bongo and a spot-nosed monkey).

There was also an on-site restaurant, as well as souvenir shops.

Helen Jackson

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