Environmental activists and urban planners have consistently expressed concern about the lack of recreational spaces in cities such as Accra and Kumasi where the urban populace can reconnect with nature.
In recent years, the phenomenon of Ghanaians trooping to shopping malls to ‘have fun’ has gradually become the norm. On weekends and holidays, thousands of Ghanaians -especially teenagers- throng Accra’s shopping malls to consume fast food or simply to window shop with their friends from high school.
Environmental activists and urban planners have consistently expressed concern about the lack of recreational spaces in cities such as Accra and Kumasi where the urban populace can reconnect with nature. The Achimota Forest Reserve has been heavily encroached upon by real estate developers.
With rising incomes, Ghana’s cities are becoming 'concrete jungles'; experiencing gentrification and the proliferation of large commercial enterprises, which are gradually eating away lands available for public use.
As such one place that should definitely be of interest to Ghanaians is the Legon Botanical Gardens. It is a serene and conducive environment, home to an array of exotic flora and fauna. One of the biggest advantages for the gardens is its location; situated within the environs of the University of Ghana’s Legon campus, a short drive north of Accra’s city centre.
There is a large play area for children, documented plant collections and a lake at the Legon Botanical Gardens.
Management of the gardens have recently installed a high rope course over utility poles and a number of obstacles which is gradually drawing dozens of adventure-starved Ghanaians. The rope course, because of the obstacles, is also ideal for personal development and team bonding. A canopy walkway is also expected in 2017.
Picnickers at the gardens, in an interview with Pulse.com.gh, expressed satisfaction with the facilities available.
‘I had fun and I also learned [a lot as well]…I wish there was another level [of the rope course] so I could continue and I can’t wait for the canopy walkway. At least once a month, I go to the mall so I don’t see why I would want to still do that during Christmas when there are other places such as this”, says Nhyira Butah, an entrepreneur.
“As I was on rope course, I learned a lot of things, [such as stability] and I was being motivated which kept me going. But I don’t know what you would learn at a shopping mall, you just see something nice and then maybe you buy it. But here, [I have] gotten something to impact myself with…even by the little things. So I would prefer coming back here to the shopping malls”, says Sharon Ayettey, a reveller at the gardens.