I have recently returned from a 2 week long camping trip in the Atewa forest here in Ghana. The purpose of the trip was to conduct research on the togo slippery frog. We were trying to get an estimate of the population of the frog which are endangered. It was certainly an experience that I will never forget. There were a few things I would like to share that really stuck out on my trip.
The first was the noise and the sounds of the forest. At night it is so loud from the mammals and insects. The noise actually made me less scared of the forest at night because it wasn’t that eery silence that you get in northern Canadian forests. There was also the sounds of gunshots and chainsaws. The Atewa has recently become a protected area but you could still hear the hunters now considered poachers and the logging activities. Which just goes to show there is still work to be done to keep the forest protected.
The second thing was the ants. Yes there are ants in Canada and yes if you leave food out they will come by the hundreds or thousands but here they come by the billions. I am not exaggerating. One evening we arrived back to our camp around midnight (as we had to do out research at night when the frogs come down from the trees and into the streams) and the ground was moving. In the small area where our tents and food was the entire ground was covered in ants. Our tents were covered as well and they were even inside them. The problem is these ants bite and it really hurts when they do. It took us four hours to get rid of them. We had to mix sopey water and wash the tents and dumps buckets of it on the ground. We also made a fire and we were spreading coals on the ground to keep them away. It was an ordeal especially since it was in the middle of the night and we were all exhausted. My ankles were swollen the next day from the bites. I had anticipated that I would be dealing with big spiders and gross centipedes on the trip not ants and although it wasn’t enjoyable I still prefer the ants over other creepy crawlies.
The third was the fire flies. Never in my life have a seen so many fire flies. At night it was absolutely beautiful. You would be surrounded by them. It was as if I was in the romantic part of disney movie. One evening it was thunder storming the rain had just stopped but there was still lightening. The forest was bright even at 1 am. It was enchanting and magical.
My trip to the Atewa was truly fantastic!