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map of Ghana Kakum Conservation Area, Ghana

In 1992, the Kakum Conservation Area (KCA) was formed, consisting of the Kakum National Park and the nearby Assin Attandaso Resource Reserve. The Kakum National Park is a fairly old national park, having been established all the way back in 1932, and used for the last fifty years for extracting timber. It is located in the Central Region of Ghana, about 20 kilometers north of Cape Coast, a city on the southern coastline. It covers 350 square kilometers of Ghana's rapidly dwindling rainforest. The government of Ghana officially opened the park in 1994.

For the benefit of tourists, a visitors' center was opened in 1997. It provides information about the unique relationship between people and nature in the region and fulfills a variety of functions. Tourists visit the park for a chance to glimpse the endangered forest elephants, bongo, yellow-backed duiker and diana monkeys, about 550 species of butterflies, 250 species of birds and about 100 species of mammal, reptile and amphibian species. Walking tours are operated from 7am to 5pm by trained guides who educate visitors about 40 interesting species of trees, and their economic, social, cultural and medicinal uses. Visitors encounter, among other trees, the Strangling fig, which embraces its host tree to death. Many of the trees provide ingredients that are used for treating diseases such as leprosy, small pox, and tumors and problems such as upset stomachs and toothaches.

A special treat for visitors is the canopy walkway designed and constructed under the guidance of Conservation International's (CI) Ghana Program. Only Malaysia, China and Peru have similar facilities. The viewer walks on a walkway built high along the tree line and views nature from a great height. More guided tours are being planned for the future to allow visitors to observe animals like the almost extinct Mona monkey, Bongo, Royal antelope, duiker, forest elephant, Giant Forest hog, Honey badger, African Civet cat, Forest buffalo, reptiles and a variety of birds.

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