Location: Zenga Crocodile Pond, Paga, Ghana
Whilst living and working in the northern region of Ghana, I was staying in a large and vibrant town called Bolgatanga. Animals I'd see on a daily basis included goats, guineafowl, pigs and dogs - and it's not uncommon to have your car stopped by a herd of geese crossing the road either. A short drive from Bolgatanga however lies a little village called Paga, home to Zenga Crocodile Pond or 'The Chief's Pond', famous for being a place where humans and crocodiles live in harmony. Here, a crocodile has never reportedly killed anybody, and the crocodiles are seen as sacred and never hurt or killed by the people that live there. Hearing about this place, I was pretty curious to visit the reptiles myself, and so one quiet Sunday we jumped into the Tro Tro and headed on over to see if the stories we'd heard were true.
Heading down to the pond is a surreal experience, and before you enter you must buy food for the crocodile which comes in the form of a guineafowl. As we ventured down the grass, I was a little nervous even after being reassured that these animals won't hurt me - after all, they are notoriously vicious and unpredictable creatures. At first, just one crocodile made his way out of the water and seemed almost enthusiastic to see us, before lying on the grass in the hot sun. A second then made his way to the land, slowly, but happily, and the animals seemed quite content and unbothered that we had entered their territory. The relationship between the crocodiles and humans that come to visit them remains to baffle both tourists and scientists, and as long as the crocs are respected and given space, they're even happy to pose for a photo. Prior to heading down to the pond, I felt nervous, slightly anxious, and sceptical, but once in front of the crocodiles I felt peaceful and in awe of these beautiful creatures.
If you're heading over to Ghana to work or just discover the incredible country, a visit up north to see the sacred crocodiles of Paga is a must. It's an unforgettable and exhilarating experience and it was amazing to see the animals in perfect harmony with humans - something I'm glad I ticked off of my bucket list.
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