Tamale – We were told that the Damango bus (to Mole) was full when it was 11am! We were going to stick around and wait for standing tickets, but we really were unclear as to how to do that – perhaps the next writer of the book can clarify? We decided that waiting for 3 hours in the hot sun wasn’t what we were up for at the moment, so we overnighted at the Picorna hotel to catch the Wa morning bus. It’s important to note that when we came back through the station later to talk to somebody about the next morning’s bus, a woman mentioned that there was a scalper selling tickets past 11am – and that we could have bought them (albeit at an inflated price). We didn’t even know they had scalpers there! We would have paid, so maybe other travelers can ask around if /anyone/, not just the Metro Mass folk, are selling tickets.
Picorna Hotel in Tamale wasn’t worth the money, and the garden bar, frankly, sucked. The restaurant there was pricey and the minerals were, too! It was comfortable, had running water and electricity, but we paid 40GhC. They didn’t have DSTV, only GTV.
Another night we ended up being there we spent the night at “Central” Guesthouse (indeed centralised!) It wasn’t bad at 15GhC a night, but the window to the outside didn’t shut — we didn’t enjoy it because Ghana’s Black Stars had just won a very important game and the Ghanaians were up partying allllll night. We were right by the Guesthouse’s spot. Not ideal, but I’d still suggest it.
We ate at “Swab” fast food – which is actually SWAD fast food. It was really delicious, but pricey at about 10GhC per pizza (we got the U&Me size each – and it was only ME sized) and about 8GhC per indian/Ghanaian dish.
Lots of things were shut down on Sunday, but we were told to hit up Colwods for fabric and trinkets and also Zuk’s (an obruni grocery store) – neither of which we got to.
We attempted to bargain for a taxi to Mole from Tamale. We figured it might be worth it to spend a few extra hours there. The guide suggests around $60, and when we asked, they quoted us 200GhC at first, the lowest offer they were willing to take us for being 120GhC – which was too expensive for us. No big deal, just WAY overpriced. A group of our friends, however, did charter a tro [they didn’t mention how much it cost] and ended up playing mate; picking up passengers along the way and charging them to make some of the fare back. Interesting, to be sure.
The bus to Wa cost 10GhC per person, something to be considered as the bus to Damango is only 3.50GhC. The guide book suggests it may fill and tickets will be sold out by 4.30, so we woke up at 3.30 to make it there by 4, only to find out that tickets didn’t begin to sell until 5.15. We had to walk outside the bus station and it was still kind of confusing, but fine. The other downside to this is arriving in Larabanga around 10am. If you wish to walk to Mole from here, guidebook says it’s doable, but I say “Not in this heat” and “not with my luggage”! There were three young ‘scalpers’ who tried to “help us” get to Mole, saying there were two ways: taxi or motorbike, each cost FIVE Ghana Cedi PER PERSON!!! For a 5k journey, this is so expensive it’s ridiculous! There were three of us, and we somehow ended up bargaining down to 3GhC per person (walking away after he refused the offer the first two times helped), however I wouldn’t suggest that all people could do this.
The entry fee to the park is 10GhC per person (or 5GhC for students) and we ended up paying 3GhC extra for our taxi to go through (ugh!) I don’t know if we could have told our taxi to beat it at that point and walked the extra 1k to the motel. Guide fees have been hiked up to 3GhCper person per hour (at two hours for the walk= 6Gc pp). Wear long pants (not dresses) and bug spray on the hike and bring at least 500ml water per person. The guided tour was nice, our tour guide, PK (like the gum!), was informative and tried his best, although we didn’t see any elephants. Go during the dry season if you want a guarantee.
Eating at Mole is super expensive. We brought bread, we should have brought our own water sachets (they only had bottled water), and I wish we had just packed all of our own food. Meals were about 9GhC. If you want to eat chop, ask where the locals eat inside the park. There is a chop bar not too far away from the hotel that serves more reasonably priced food. We ordered dinner prior to going on the evening walk to avoid any “waiting for dinner for hours” hassle and it worked out well, dinner was served within fifteen minutes of our asking time.
A double twin at Mole cost 51GhC (with AC) or 48 (without), so we splurged the extra 3c to get the AC. It was nice, but we wish we had another couple or person to share the cost with…
The information center ISN’T, but we did check out the nice little gift shop. Reasonable prices, some interesting things to buy there, it’s at least worth a look. There’s also a convenience store right next to it.
Getting away from Mole, they said the bus left at 4am! Our wakeup call was at 3.20am! I wish we could have told them to not wake us up so early (neither of us shower in the morning and all of our bags were pre-packed), but we had little choice. The bus left right on time, when the driver came to get us from the hotel check in, at 4am!
[Side note: to Accra from Tamale on an STC bus was GhC 22.50 per person, but worth it for the A/C, extra room, and comfort].
Krista & Rick S