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Mole Park turns to virtual safari on Facebook to keep visitors interest

In a pre-coronavirus era, most visitors interested in watching big games in Africa travelled from far to feast their eyes on wildlife.

But with almost half of the world having experienced a lockdown and planes grounded, the safari business is in a coma.

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Ghana’s biggest game park—the Mole Park— is turning to social media to keep interest in its biggest product—safari drive –alive.

The park shut down in March in compliance with the president’s social gathering ban to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

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Game rangers, who ordinarily would have been bobbing and weaving through the forest in search of wildlife to entertain their guest, were tamed by the lack of action.

They took to hunting down poachers and hunters who kill the park’s attractions—elephants, cats, antelopes and primates.

The park’s manager, Mr Ali Mahama, told theghanareport.com that the idea of a virtual safari came up in response to the harsh economic realities of coronavirus.

For a park that a few months ago had no name on social media, except for the luxurious hotel in the reserve, Zaina Lodge, its online sessions are now attracting more than 2,000 eyeballs from around the world.

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“We wanted to bring the reserve and its wildlife to the homes of people,” he said.

Twice a week, viewers can watch whatever animals the guides spot as they ramble around the park.

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Highlights of the sessions include a herd of elephants, a troop of baboons, and other primates, species of trees the elephants feed on, how they cool themselves and homes of bee-eater birds.

The Mole Park

The Mole National Park covers an area of 4577 square kilometres. It was set aside as a conservation area in 1958 and declared a full national park in 1971.

The park is home to 94 species of mammals, about 360 species of birds, nine amphibians, about 96 species of trees and 742 species of herbs. It is said to have more than 400 elephants.

One does not see buffalos on daily safari and sighting of lions is even rarer. But most of the animals you see on National Geographic are here in their numbers.

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Visitors to the  Mole National Park will see the animals at its Motel, information centre and at the entrance to the park even before embarking on the first safari.

Park – Mole Motel and National Park

Seeking to sell the reserve’s special attraction–elephants, he said, “Mole is one of the best-protected areas in Africa. Mole is the only place you can be very close to nature.”

“Elsewhere you are not allowed to get close to the animals.  But in Mole, our elephants are not as dangerous, as elsewhere.  Their tolerance is quite high. You’re about 50-60 metres from the elephants and they are calm,” he said,

The tour guards give detailed background information about their environment and the animals as they follow them around.

“What we do is as when the animals come closer to the community, or wherever we meet them, we go live and get the tour guard doing an interpretation of the environment and the name of the animals that come across.

“The excitement is that while you are watching live, you are given the opportunity to ask questions. It is very interactive. While you’re watching, you can ask any question about the park or the animals you are seeing and the tour guide will respond immediately.

For the few times we have done that, we have seen more likes on our Facebook page. For two weeks, we have had more than 2,000 views. It is just an idea we came up with to keep in touch with our visitors all over the world.

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The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill, and tourism has been the worst affected of all major economic sectors. Against a backdrop of heightened uncertainty, experts in the sector believe that as restrictions ease across the world, local tourism will become the fulcrum of revival for the sector.

That, Mr Mahama said the park was positioning itself to milk.

“We are sure that what we are doing now will help us increase the number of visitors to Mole when the ban on social gathering is lifted. After this COVID-19, a lot of people will be careful about travelling or where to choose first.

“But we have immediately started marketing the place.  When COVID is over, people will be interested in seeing what they saw in reality when we were under lockdown,” he said of the park’s future post-COVID-19.

Counting the losses

In the last few months that the park remains shut, it has been counting its losses including revenue from its annual 20,000 visitors.

“We mobilise a lot of revenue for the government, and it is part of duty to do that, so we miss that. The passion we have for our work interpreting the environment, from which we derive a lot of satisfaction, we also miss.  We also miss our very lively guests and the kind of interaction we have with them.

The future

The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill, and tourism has been the worst affected of all major economic sectors. Against a backdrop of heightened uncertainty, experts in the sector believe that as restrictions ease across the world, local tourism will become the fulcrum of revival.

That, Mr Mahama said the park was positioning itself to milk.

Mole National Park - Visit Ghana

“We are sure that what we are doing now will help us increase the number of visitors to Mole when the ban on social gathering is lifted. After this COVID-19, a lot of people will be careful about travelling or where to choose first.

“But we have immediately started marketing the place.  When COVID is over, people will be interested in seeing what they saw in reality when we were under lockdown,” he said of the park’s future post-COVID-19,” he said.

Tripadvisor | 5 Days Adventurous Wildlife Safari in Mole National ...

 

 

 

 

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