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Horrors in the night...

View Tour d'Afrique de l'Ouest on SunReg's travel map.

After another night under the mosquito net, we headed for the Kakum National Park, famous for its canopy walk supported by enormous trees, where one can take a stroll about 40 m above the ground of the rainforest. We agreed to stay the night, so we could catch an early morning walk, which is the best time to spot animals, and being the backpackers we are, we decided to take the cheap solution and stay at the campsite inside the jungle. The campsite consisted of an old dirty matress with a mosquito net that served as walls, and roof.

However, the rough backpacker feeling gradually decreased as the night came, and we realised that all employes had left the park and we were the only humans staying deep in the jungle. As the nocturnal sounds of the jungle increased, so did the sense of being vulnerable preys to the wild animals of the night, and Regitse seemed to be determined to stay awake and keep guard all night while Sune was already snorring satisfied dreaming about what a great scout he had been in the old days.

For Regitse time went unbelievably slow and she constantly felt/hoped that dawn was right below the treetops. However, only a few hours had passed when only a few meters away from the shelter some seemingly loud animal growled loud enough to wake Sune. At first we were petrified, had all our senses on alert and a high enough pulse to leave Michael Phelps short of breath...then the animal growled again. Now Sune immediately pulled out his swiss armyknife containing a terrifying blade of at least 3 cm, while Regitse hectically illuminated the pitch black jungle with the flashlight that she had held on to all night. Since we quickly concluded that we had averted a leopard attack, we packed up our things and retreated to the restaurant at the Park reception, where we spent the rest of the night trying to sleep on four tables we had pulled together. On the morning tour we told our guide the story, and he told us, that the fierce predator that had tried to attack us, was likely a Dendrohyrax dorsalis, also known as a tree hyrax (a small tree-rodent that comes down from the trees at night to feed, and when doing so, it lets out a sound to scare off any enemies in the vicinity). Hmm ... having fleed from a rodent (!) was not a particularly satisfying information. However, when we later read about this animal, we found out, that the tree hyrax lets out a high shrieking call, which is not exactly a fit description for the deep growling sound we heard in the jungle, so we conclude hereby that what we encountered remains unknown ...

Posted by SunReg 08:58 Archived in Ghana

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