On Safari With Baboons At Mole National Park

Paul Boakye
4 min readJul 23, 2021
Streetwalking Baboons near Mole Game Park, Ghana.
Streetwalking Baboons near Mole Game Park, Ghana.

We heard an almighty scream at Mole National Park, followed by a loud crash in the motel room next door. We ran into the adjoining room, my driver and I, to find a white American male red-faced on the floor with blood pouring from a gash in his forehead.

“What’s happened to you?” I asked, fearing the worst. He said he left his bedroom door open while he went out to fetch some documents from a hired car parked nearby. He got back to find a baboon stretched out on his bed, eating his Butter Bread.

The white man had tried to coax the animal at first, doing his best Doctor Dolittle act. But the raging baboon “with wild maddening eyes” leapt up and struck him in the face. “It was like some corned methhead back home,” he grinned, trying to make light of a bad situation. But neither Ibrahim nor I could see the funny side.

We were both wondering the very same thing, it seems. Whether this pathetic looking tourist had gone and got himself bitten by a baboon and managed to catch Ebola? Even though we knew there were no known incidents of Ebola in Ghana, we figured if it were to happen, it could only ever happen to an ‘Obroni’. And that tickled us immensely, later, laughing in the car heading back down south.

We had picked the bleeding white man off the floor and led him to reception for the young girls there to patch him up. He was in good, capable hands and smiling broadly when we left.

It would be a 12-hour drive from Mole National Park back to Accra. Ibrahim suggested we fill up the tank with petrol and place a 5-gallon plastic container with the same unleaded gasoline in the back of our jeep, just in case. With enough fuel onboard to blow up to kingdom come, I hoped he might ask Allah to protect us from any accidents along these treacherous dirt roads when he sat for morning prayers.

You might be the most careful driver in the whole of Africa, but you never knew your luck the way most Ghanaians take to the roads. We had already witnessed numerous accidents on our two-day trek up north. Overturned and burnt-out vehicles littered the route like carrion.

A few hours into the long ride back, I decided to stretch my legs along the motorway. I wanted to photograph a school of baboons quietly gathered on the…

Paul Boakye

Often found in far-flung places reading Walter Mosley with a rucksack on his back.