Few studies exist about the extent to which co-management in protected areas contributes to conflict prevention or mitigation and at what level of the conflicts such collaborative efforts are possible. Following varying degrees of conflict, Mole National Park, Ghana, embarked on a collaborative community-based wildlife management programme in 2000. Using Glasl's conflict escalation model, we analysed the contribution of co-management to mitigating and preventing conflicts from escalating. We conducted a total of 22 interviews with local traditional leaders, Park officials and local government officials, and 26 focus group discussions with farmers, hunters, women and representatives of co-management boards, selected from 10 of the 33 communities surrounding the Park. Our findings indicate that co-management can help mitigate or prevent conflicts from escalating when conflicting parties engage with each other in a transparent manner using deliberative processes such as negotiation, mediation and the use of economic incentives. It is, however, difficult to resolve conflicts through co-management when dialogue between conflicting parties breaks down, as parties take entrenched positions and are unwilling to compromise on their core values and interests. We conclude that although co-management contributes to successful conflict management, factors such as understanding the context of the conflicts, including the underlying sources and manifestations of the conflict, incorporating local knowledge, and ensuring open dialogue, trust and transparency between conflicting parties are key to attaining sustainable conflict management in protected areas.