One place, which qualifies without doubt to be referred to as a haven in Cosmopolitan Accra, with the hustle and bustle of city life, is the Accra Zoo.
Located at the Achimota Forest, the zoo has a naturally fresh atmosphere with soothing air that greets one’s presence with a serene, clean, and safe environment, not only getting the visitor relaxed but also helping him or her to de-stress.
The trees and shrubs, through their own ballet dance, magnifies the greenery they birthed. The visitor experiences an amazingly sweet breeze generated by the flora and fauna, which produces oxygen-rich air through the natural process of photosynthesis.
Visitors would not only come face-to-face with wildlife, but the entire enclave of the zoo gives one the best treat with fun games like table tennis, snooker, and soccer tennis.
Mr Paul Addah, the Zoo Manager, told the Ghana News Agency that it is the only facility that gives an experience of wildlife where the visitor gets close to nature to resonate with the peacefulness and calmness of the environment, whilst having fun.
“I must say without a shred of doubt that the Accra Zoo has seen some tremendous improvement in terms of service.”
Every misfortune, they say, is a blessing in disguise. A middle-aged man was mauled by the lions at the zoo when he allegedly intruded the lion’s den, in August 2022, to take away the cub.
The facility was closed temporarily after that incident for investigations to be carried out and had seen massive development in infrastructure when it was later opened to the public.
Mr Addah said the necessary preventive measures were taken during the interim closure, paving the way for the impressive developmental works.
“We listen to our visitors; the development has been done based on the feedback we got from them. We saw the quick completion of projects when it was closed,” he said.
A visit by the Ghana News Agency to the zoo on Easter Monday, to have glimpses of species of animals it kept, saw more than 200 visitors; including families and church members on excursion to appreciate what nature had to offer.
The infrastructure improvement had been massive and the service delivery excellent.
At the Reception, visitors’ biodata and contact details were taken by officials, ticketing services were great, and people spent less than one minute at the main entrance.
The facility had more trained and experienced tour guides. There was a play area for children. Visitors had food, beverages, and water to buy, something that eluded them at a point in time.
Interestingly, tricycles operated a shuttle system, transporting visitors from the main entrance to the gate of the zoo. That was fantastic as it saved those without vehicles and motorbikes from walking some distance to see the animals.
The Lions’ zone had been reinforced with heavy security metals to make it difficult for visitors to either climb or be harmed by the lions.
Indeed, some memorable scenes were the different species of monkeys, ostriches, tortoises, alligators, deers, snakes and the queens of the jungle; the four lionesses!!
It was an experience worth every cedi spent and it would be more gratifying if management of the zoo could bring in animals like elephants, giraffes, and tigers, which would attract more patrons.
Currently, there are 30 different species of animals in the zoo with about 160 individual animals.
In 2022, the Zoo recorded a total of 45,000 visitors. This year, from January till April, the facility had about 11,000 visitors with as many as 6,000 patrons just for the month of March.
The Zoo, originally known as the Accra Zoological Gardens, was created in 1961 by Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, and situated behind the Flagstaff House for the sole purpose of entertaining his guests.
To make room for the building and remodelling of the Flagstaff House, which had become the new seat of government, the Accra Zoo was shut down in 2006 and the animals were moved to the Kumasi Zoo.
The authorities in charge realised that establishing the zoo at the Achimota Forest would be a good idea, as it was far from the busy city setting, as well as to bring the animals closer to nature, where they would feel more at home.
Mr Addah noted that plans are underway to bring in more species of animals that will do well in the Ghanaian environment adding that management was working towards bringing in species like the chimpanzee, elephant, hyena, and zebra to augment the species of animals at the zoo.
“As conservationists, we need to look at what the environment can contain because all animal species have their own ecology, environments they can thrive in so that we also breed and reintroduce them into the ecosystems,” he said.
“Ordinarily, animals that you may see in movies like the zebra, lion and ostrich are all in the zoo. Are you struggling to go out there to rest? Don’t go far, the Accra Zoo is just here. We are here to serve the dictates of your taste!”
“We will continue to bring in more developmental activities as we have brought in the games requested by our clientele.”