Botanical gardens are a marvel to behold. The diverse and numerous species of trees, fruits, flowers and occasionally, a few birds and squirrels have a way of lighting up your soul.
ABURI BOTANICAL GARDENS
This is the biggest botanical garden in Ghana. Established in the year 19kk, it has served its purpose of education cum recreation till date.
In the rainy season, the temperature within and around the garden and surrounding communities hovers between 23˚C to 25˚C. This rises to between 30˚C to 33˚C during hotter parts of the year. You must know however that, due to the topography of the garden area and its environs, dawn to early morning temperatures can drop to the region of 20˚C and it gets much cooler during harmattan nights.
The total land size of the Aburi botanical gardens is 64.8 hectors, over 60% of which is a forest reserve which can only be accessed by special request and will always have to be a guided tour.
The first tree to be planted in this botanical garden, the silk cotton tree (ceiba pentandra), started showing signs of withering and finally died about the year 2015 after over 600 years of existence. I must tell you however that, you wouldn’t even notice a dead tree when you see it but for the nonexistence of branches and leaves. There is so much life wrapped around it, such that even in its death it is still blissful to behold.
Sir Gordon Guggisberg in 1924, planted the same species of the silk-cotton tree right next to the maiden tree in the garden and is still breaming with life till date. Judging from the age of the initial silk cotton tree, you know this one is not going away anytime soon.
A Mahogany tree planted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ii in 1961, is well-positioned for your viewing pleasure.
You should do well to see the oak tree planted by Prince Charles in 1977 and the Cider tree planted by both Nicholai Cheusaux and Gen I.K. Acheampong in the same year when you get the privilege of seeing the Aburi botanical gardens.
But the biggest marvel in the garden, for me, is the Hollow tree (Ficus Elasticodis, commonly known as The rubber shade tree) a few meters to the north of the main car park in the facility.
History has it that this famous woody epiphyte was first discovered in the fork of another tree called Afzelia Africana in 1906. It kept on developing, just like any other parasitic plant, a common example being the Mistletoe. It developed such that by the year 1936, it had successfully strangled its host and took over its place in the garden. The hollow inside the Ficus tree shows the tree size of its host.
You should definitely see this awesomeness of nature if you get the privilege of patrolling the Aburi botanical gardens at any point in your life.
Look out also for the Jack fruit tree, nutmeg tree, monkey pot tree and the natural plant chewing gum tree which produces fruits that are more or less chewing gums but with no flavouring.
The facility has a clubhouse and restaurant that serve both local (Fufu, Ampesi and Banku) as well as assorted continental dishes too.
There is a guest house in the facility that cost Gh50 per night, for those who might want to relax a bit more or sleepover.
Note that the Aburi botanical gardens are always open.
The atmosphere is generally serene and quiet except for special occasions and holidays where crowds within the region of 2000 are expected.
LEGON BOTANICAL GARDENS
The Legon botanical gardens is one of a slightly different feel and design. This particular venue fuses education, entertainment and fun in one complete package.
There are amazing trees to behold but that is not the game-changer. This park-like botanical garden has a Vaughan dam. The garden also has fun as well as challenging high rope gladiator course you could test your stamina and zeal with.
The garden has a stylish canopy walk that kisses nature on the forehead.
Established in 2010, it is the younger among the two major botanical gardens in Ghana.
You can’t visit the Legon botanical gardens without challenging yourself with the gladiator course within the establishment.
Do well to have some extra cash on you since you pay a little token to enjoy all this fun. But, trust me, it is worth every penny.