Mognori is the full package of community based tourism destinations in Ghana. It is located on the side of Mole national park and its inception follows the all too familiar story of a top down policy by the government to conserve wild life by building a National Park that is protected from all human activities. This often involves relocating the people that traditionally live in these areas. Often they are relocated to marginal land on the outskirts of the park, where they are expected to carve a living for themselves without any of the resources of the park reaching them. Often they will see visitors passing through on the way to the park and feel left out of the whole system.
Magnori was started to offer the people of the community ways to involve themselves into the tourist system and use the proceeds from it to help develop their community and better their lives. This also helps to protect and conserve the resources in the park because they are more willing to respect it as a way to bring future customers to their door steps as well. Magnori has done a wonderful job of seizing this opportunity and developing a great community based Ecotourism site within their village, that is definitely worth a visit for anyone going to Mole.
When visiting Magnori you will have some great choices about what you want to do or you may choose to do them all so you don’t feel like you miss out on anything. A great place to start is by taking the village tour, one of the great guides will show you around the village taking you to the chiefs compound to meet the chief and his family, showing you how Shae nuts are used for food and a cash crop, the tobacco fields, the house for the sacred pigeons, and the traditional healer. You will get a good feel for the village and how people spend their day, feed their families and make a living. Around every corner you will meet excited curios children who will love to show you the games they play and giggle and make faces with you.
In addition to the village tour the community offers a great canoe safari on the near by river where you will ride in a canoe on the river into Mole National park, along the way you will see so many different kinds of birds. Kwame one of the guides is able to tell you the name of every one of them. He does not know how to read or write and is a self-taught English speaker but over the years he has learned all the birds with help from specialists and visitors with bird books. If you are lucky you will see some elephants possibly. There is an option to take the canoe trip even further into the park if you want to stay the night camping at one of the camps within the park.
A really great way to get a feel for this wonderful village and the friendly welcoming people in it is to opt for a home stay. You will stay in the compound of the daughter of the chief, they have a spare room which has a bed and a mosquito net. They will prepare dinner for you and the children of the village will take it upon themselves to keep you company during this time. This is also a great way to stick around after dark when the village will put on an amazing dancing and drumming ceremony if you wish. In a village without TV and other forms of entertainment this is a favorite way for the village to get together and enjoy music and dancing together.
There is a board of people from the village that work with the village to decide how they want to govern their tourism activities and make decisions in regards to them. They also decide how they want to use the proceeds from the tourism activities. To date they have built a tourism center in the village with one of the only toilets, they are planning to build communal toilets for the rest of the village and hope to one day build a health clinic.