Did you know spending your week end in a natural environment like Shai Hill Resource Reserve could help you receive healing? I spent my week end at The Shai Hills Resource Reserve. I lodged in the guest house and it was a real great experience with nature and animals. Did you know that it’s forbidden to kill any animal in the resource reserve? Irrespective of whether it’s a snake, baboons or any other animal? The animals need to be protected and that’s the beauty of the place because tourists visiting the reserve and not seeing any animals will be disappointed and will eventually not visit again.
There are many baboons colonies and I heard a story where they snatched one lady’s I-phone and unfortunately, they never saw it again. Its dangerous feeding them because they can be quite violent most especially without the escort of a guide. I saw groups of tourists who add visited and went on hiking. It was a real interesting moment as I could see tiredness written all over their faces as they return. The first experience upon arrival at the gate is the presence of a guard holding a pump action gun. I asked him why a gun in at the gate. I felt it looked like the entrance of a military barracks. He jokingly and politely said some changes are taking place. However, he told me there were some new changes and this is one of the new changes happening. He checked my vehicle and then allowed me in. The staff are very professional respectful. Tourists will always feel welcome upon arrival. I told them the purpose of my visit and I was taken to the guest house where I checked in. The night was peaceful and relaxing. I Woke up early in the morning to enjoy the sound of the birds and possibly the early baboons. I saw a lovely mother carrying a little one at her back. The kids really loved to see that.
Later in the day we went on a hike and we saw some antelopes and baboons. I also climbed some of the hills. It was a great exercise hiking and seeing the flora and fauna around me and enjoying some very fresh air around. Green tourism at its best. We later visited the museum. The museum has the skin of snakes, crocodiles, and other animals, the skull of elephants, antelopes, deer and other reptiles. It also has images of wild life and other birds. It’s climaxed with a library opened to those willing to come and learn. There is also a seating place near the museum where tourists can relax and enjoy their meals after a long day’s hike. The hiking is not for the faint hearted because it normally takes a minimum of three hours.
According to the guide, The Shai Hills Resource Reserve is covered with grassland and low dry forest vegetation. There are nearly 400 plant species spread on the 5 separate hills at the Shai Hills Resource Reserve. There are nearly dozens of primary animal species including antelopes, bats, birds (such as violet Turaco, Paradise Flycatcher, Green Turaco Red-billed Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, and Red-necked Buzzard), baboons, cats, duiker, guinea fowls, kobs, green monkeys, monitor lizards, African python, royal python, and zebras.
In addition to the natural beauty and game viewing potential of the reserve, one could also enjoy the pleasure of visiting Obonu tem and Se yo caves on the Hioweyo and Sayu hills. The Shai people’s ancestral caves, these were used by the Shai King until the end of the 19th century. The primary cave, these were used by the Shai King until the end of the 19th century. The primary cave was defendable in times of was due to the abundance of great stone rocks, a tunnel-like openings, and overhangs.
The Shai Hills Resource Reserve is a resource reserve located in Doryumu in the Shai Osudoku District all in the Greater Accra Region. The area was declared Forest Reserve in 1962 with area of 47 square kilometres (4,700 ha; 18 sq mi) which was later extended to 51 square kilometres (5,100 ha; 20 sq mi) in 1973. It was made a Game Production Reserve in 1971. The protected area was home to the Shai people before they were ejected by the British in 1892, remains of Shai peoples work can still be found at the reserve. A mosaic of forest covers the 5 separate hills in the reserve, while grassland and low dry forests are found in intervening canyons. The reserve also houses the Manya Ancestral home, which is the second largest settlement and second highest hill in the Reserve. Sites along the 1,200 trails are strewn with artifacts over 150 years old offering visitors a glimpse into the past of the shai people.
The following are activities visitors can engage in when they visit the reserve.
- Rock climbing
- Nature Walk (Hiking)
- Game Viewing
- Bird Watching
- Exploring the caves
- Quad Bike tours (Occasionally)
I will recommend an expansion of the guest house to accommodate more tourists similar to the one at Mole National Park. I also encourage more week end visits.
Research indicates that nature is a public health resource and highlights the potential of nature tourism enterprises to deliver nature therapies, either themselves or as efficacious partners, to improve overall wellbeing (Buckley, 2019). The editorial team of ecobnb researched into some of the benefit of having an encounter with nature. Below were their findings;
Oftentimes, the rejuvenated feeling tourists garner after a nature trip doesn’t leave them even if they already go back to the city and get on with their usual routine. Their increased energy because of their nature trip will most likely persevere for a couple of weeks, or even months after they get back. Thereby, it can be deemed that a nature trip is essential, especially for those who are on the verge of burning out, in order to recharge and rejuvenate.
A nature trip will increase attention span
The benefit of an increase in attention span seems to help adults and children as well. There are studies that show that children exposed to nature can concentrate more and focus on a certain task, compared to children who more frequently use technology. Thus, while technological innovations also have benefits for children, it is important that they get to spend some time and appreciate the beauty of nature more.
A nature trip can boost your creativity
There is just something in nature that is so inspiring. There are writers that spend days, weeks, months, and even years in log cabins because they find it easier to write in the stillness of nature. In the same manner, poets and composers often go far and wide in search for an inspiration to write their next poem or compose their next song. More often than not, they find what they are looking for in the midst of a nature travel, either through a hike on a trail, camping outdoors, or even through a stroll on the beach. Painters also bask in the beauty of nature to search for a motivation and a theme for their paintings and drawings. Thus, more and more painters prefer to create their masterpieces outdoors. It can therefore be deemed that nature in itself is a source of inspiration, which can boost a person’s creativity.
A nature trip can leave you in awe
If you are wondering how being in awe is actually good for you, just take a look again in a sea of clouds you see on a mountain peak, or a magnificent sunset on the beach. It may be unfathomable but being in awe because of the majestic scene that unfolds right before your eyes somehow gives you hope that there is someone out there bigger than you, more powerful than you, capable of creating the beautiful view that you are able to bask into. There is even a study that shows that being in awe is linked to an improved patience and an increase intent on being able to help and give back. The same study links being in awe to a greater life satisfaction.
A nature trip will give you a breath of fresh air
Different modes of transportation exist in the city. In parallel, it is also in the city where different processes that increase the carbon footprint of humankind can be found. Thus, it can be deemed that the air you breathe in urban areas such as the city you live in can already be deemed polluted. You may feel sick time and time again or you may notice other people around you are experiencing the same. Medical professionals may give you the medicines you may need to help you get better and you may find that this work for quite some time, until you eventually get ill again. This is true even for those who tend to spend most of their time indoors. The pollutants in your home can cause the same ailments and diseases that you acquire while living in an urban area. There are even studies that show that these pollutants have a higher and greater concentration compared to the outdoor scene in an urban setting.
It is in these instances wherein a nature trip will most likely help. While a trip to the beach can prove to be of an advantage, embarking on a trip to a natural landscape of greens is more recommended if you are after a breath of fresh air. This is because the air quality improves more with the presence of trees and greens. The trees are natural air makers or pollutant cleaners. Thereby, the air you breathe when you take a nature trip is definitely much cleaner, leaving you healthier.
A nature trip can improve your mood
Over the recent years, mental health issues have been discussed more openly to encourage more and more people who encounter the symptoms to seek professional help. These mental health issues may include depression and anxiety, which are also often linked to a person’s mood. While medications do help a lot, there are studies that show that people with mental health issues who take a walk outdoors in a serene and natural environment consistently, significantly improved their condition. This is because being one with nature considerably reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, improving their overall mood. It is not just the walking exercise that can make a person feel alive or with a purpose, but it is actually his or her immersion with nature. Nevertheless, even people who are not suffering from mental health issues benefit from a nature trip and stabilize their mood. The view of a beach, a walk on a forest trail, or even just sitting under the shade of a tree and watching the clouds can already lift one’s spirit.
A nature trip can help you heal
No two people undergo the same healing process. This is because different people employ different measures to help them cope and heal from either the emotional pain of losing a loved one, or the physical pain of trying to recover after an accident. No matter what kind of pain you are going through, a nature trip can definitely help you heal. Physical pain can oftentimes be addressed by medications and treatments. Nonetheless, a nature trip can complement the medications and treatment by providing you with a new environment where you can fully heal, such as the beach where you can exercise by swimming, or an easy trail where you can exercise by hiking. It is noteworthy to consider that your body will tend to heal faster if you continue to move, and what better way to encourage yourself to do so if you spend your exercise time with nature.
Dealing with emotional pain on the other hand proves to be a more challenging feat. This is because more often than not, no medications can immediately offer relief from the pain you are feeling. It is in these instances wherein a person looks for avenues where he can express and let go of the pain that he is dealing with. It can thus be deemed that one of the best places to go to and help you heal is a place where you can infuse with nature. It has been said before that nature can actually feel. Thereby, scream out your pain and worries in nature and let nature embrace you back for comfort.
Philip Gebu is a Tourism Lecturer. He is the C.E.O of FoReal Destinations Ltd, a Tourism Destinations Management and Marketing Company based in Ghana and with partners in many other countries. Please contact Philip with your comments and suggestions. Write to [email protected] / [email protected]. Visit our website at www.forealdestinations.com or call or WhatsApp +233(0)244295901/0264295901.Visist our social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: FoReal Destinations