Birding and local culture tour in Ghana
Our 9-day Ghana Bird Watching and Culture Tour is a moderately-paced trip that is available on request throughout the year. A fascinating blend of wildlife and history, you can expect to see more than 300 species of bird, including several Upper Guinea endemics, as well as numerous butterflies and mammals.
This Ghana birding tour focuses on the rich avifauna and wildlife of West Africa. Ghana has 750 bird species, including 12 of the 15 Upper Guinea endemics, as well as monkeys, bats, elephants and hippos. Early mornings and evenings are the best times for observing these, so we dedicate these times for our wildlife excursions. We spend afternoons and some later evenings visiting historical sites of interest and experiencing the rich cultural traditions of Ghana.
"Our Ghana Bird Watching and Culture Tour was really magnificent! Our aides, Prince and Oscar, were the absolute best, continually paying special mind to well-being and clarifying in detail the way of life and history of the different spots we visited in Ghana. The tour was glorious, including an extraordinary assortment of social, cultural, historical, and natural wildlife encounters. We could not have asked for more!" - Kristine & Willis Carraway
On this birding and culture tour, we will visit some of the many UNESCO World Heritage sites to be found in the country, to learn about its often turbulent colonial past and much more vibrant recent history. This tour offers the perfect combination of history and natural history, to give you an excellent introduction to this wonderful country, especially if you only have limited time.
Ghana is possibly the safest and most welcoming country in Africa, and on this culture and birding tour in Ghana you will benefit from the experience of our award-winning guides. These local specialists are not only experts in Ghana's varied birds and wildlife, but can also reveal what daily life is like for the people living in this fascinating country and introduce you to the artisans who specialise in traditional crafts, such as the unique fantasy coffin builders of Accra.
In short, this mixed bird watching and culture tour will introduce you to Ghana's wonderfully welcoming locals, ancient cultural sites and intriguing history, beautiful beaches and exceptional flora and fauna. The Ghanaian world is just waiting to be discovered!
Ghana Bird Watching and Culture Tour highlights include:
- Shai Hills: birding and a visit to the roosting colony of Egyptian Tomb Bats
- Accra: city tour and a visit to the shop where craftsmen build amazing fantasy coffins
- Aburi: a botanical garden that is home to some indigenous and exotic tree species
- Cape Coast: we visit the castles in Cape Coast and Elmina, as well as visiting the canopy walkway in Kakum for birding
- Kumasi: In Ntonso and Adanwomase we witness traditional cloth processing
Do you like the look of this tour but also want to see what else is on offer? Have a look at the Birding Safari Tour in Ghana.
Alternative Tour Name: Ghana Wildlife and History Tour
On your first morning in Ghana we collect you at 5am at a pre-arranged location in Accra and set off for the open grassland savannah of Shai Hills. Your expert local guide will offer you 'Akwaaba' (welcome) and brief you on all aspects of your tour as you head to Shai Hills Reserve.
On the reserve we hope to see a wide range of species such as Northern Crombec, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Snowy-crowned Robin Chat, African Pigmy Kingfisher, Cardinal Woodpecker, Vielliots and Double-toothed Barbets, White-crowned Cliff Chat, Rock Martin, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Violet Turaco, Senegal Parrot and Senegal Batis.
There's also a chance of Blue-bellied Roller, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Oriole Warbler, Black-cap and Brown Babblers, Copper and Splendid Sunbirds, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Croaking and Short-winged Cisticolas, African Thrush, Red-necked and Lizzard Buzzards, Lanner Falcon, Green Wood-hoopoe and Stone Partridge - all of which gives you an idea of the number of wonderful species on offer here!
After a morning's birdwatching we head for more familiar birding at the Sakamona Lagoon. There is usually an abundance of birds to see here depending on the level of water, including Black-winged Stilt, Senegal Thick-knee, Common Ringed, Grey and Spur-winged Plovers, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Common Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Collard Pratincole, Marsh and Curlew Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstone, Little Stint, Long-tailed Cormorant, Squacco, Grey, Purple, Striated and Black Herons, Little, Cattle and Intermediate Egrets.
Next, we set off towards Kakum National Park through the busy city of Accra, stopping for lunch en-route before heading to a grassland reserve. There we hope to find Siffling and Short-winged Cisticolas, Splendid and Copper Sunbirds, Fappet Lark, Red-winged Warbler, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Black-necked Weaver, Black-crowned Tchagra, Plain-backed Pipit, Black-shouldered and Yellow-billed Kites, Western Grey Plantain-eater, Grey Kestrel, Lizard Buzzard, Blue-spotted Wood-dove and Black-bellied Bustard.
At the end of a good day's birding, we continue to Jukwa where we settle into our hotel to relax, reflect and write up the many new species on our bird lists.
Accommodation - Standard Jukwa Lodge
After an early breakfast we head for the world-famous canopy walkway at Kakum National Park, which is approximately 15 minutes’ drive from our lodge.
We aim to get to Kakum for first light, enabling us to spend the most critical bird viewing hours 40 metres above the forest floor on the canopy walkway. Seven platforms are large enough to support telescopes. The 139 square mile (360 km²) Kakum National Park protects secondary Upper Guinea semi-deciduous tropical rainforest - it is a wonderful feeling being so close to the canopy of this beautiful forest.
Our main target species during our time on the canopy walkway are Violet-backed Hyliota, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, the Upper Guinea endemics Sharpe's Apalis, Brown-cheeked Hornbill and Copper-tailed Glossy Starling, Bioko Batis, Blue Cuckooshrike, Little Green Woodpecker and the White-crested Hornbill. There is the possibility of five species of Sunbird: Blue-throated Brown, Green, Collared, Johanna’s and Buff-throated.
Other species we hope to see include Red-headed and Crested Malimbes, Rosy Bee-eater, White-breasted and Grey-crowned Negrofinch, Red-fronted and African Grey Parrots, Yellowbill, Western Black-headed and Black-winged Orioles, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Splendid Glossy and Forest Chestnut-winged Starlings, Preuss’s Golden-backed and Yellow-mantled Weavers, Green Hylia, Golden, Slender-billed and Little Grey Greenbuls, African Green Pigeon, Yellow-billed Turaco, Emerald Cuckoo, Blue-throated Roller, Yellow-throated, Red-rumped and Speckled Tinkerbirds, Hairy-breasted and Naked-faced Barbets, Ussher's and Little Grey Flycatchers, Cassin's Honeybird and African Pied Hornbill to mention a few.
The raptors we have a chance to see include Congo Serpent Eagle, African Harrier Hawk, Palm Nut Vulture, Cassin's Hawk Eagle, European Honey and Red-necked Buzzards. Some of the more difficult but still possible species from the canopy include Long-tailed Hawk, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Yellow-footed Honeyguide and Black-collard Lovebird.
After a wonderful morning, we return to our lodge to freshen up and enjoy our lunch. During the heat of mid-afternoon, you will have the option of birding around the grounds of our lodge, resting in your air-conditioned rooms, around the pool and bar or you could choose to go on a cultural excursion to Cape Coast castle, compliments of Ashanti African Tours. We revisit the canopy walkway in the evening when our main targets will be the Brown-cheeked, Black and Yellow-casqued Hornbills, Great Blue Turaco, Brown Nightjar and Fraser’s Eagle-owl amongst other species.
Our evening will be spent at the lodge's restaurant and bar discussing the day’s sightings, adding to our checklist and enjoying the atmosphere of our surroundings.
Accommodation - Standard Jukwa Lodge
Another early start as we visit the Antwikwaa section of Kakum National Park, hoping to add more birds to our growing list.
Highlights include: Little, White-throated, Rosy and Black Bee-eaters, Blue-throated Roller, Piping Hornbill, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, White-spotted Flufftail, Cassin’s Spinetail, Sabine’s Spinetail, Didric Cuckoo, Melancholy and Buff-spotted Woodpeckers, Vieillot’s Black and Black-necked Weavers, Kemp's and Grey Longbills, Western Nicator, Western Bluebill, Olive-bellied, Superb and Johanna’s Sunbirds, Copper-tailed Glossy and Violet-backed Starlings, Yellow White-eye, Bronze Mannikin and Orange-cheeked Waxbill.
We might also see rarer species such as: Yellow-billed Barbet, Forest Penduline Tit, Ayre’s Hawk-eagle and Ahanta Francolin.
Next we go to a river site for the beautiful White-bibbed (White-throated Blue) Swallow, Preuss’s Cliff Swallow, Rock Pratincole and White-headed Lapwing. If we're lucky, which we sometimes are, African Finfoot may make an appearance.
After a full morning of bird watching, we return to our accommodation for lunch. Then, we set off for an afternoon of history at Cape Coast castle, which has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The castle is a thought-provoking monument to a harrowing period in the region’s history. We will embark on an emotional journey through the castle, which held more enslaved Africans captive than any other in West Africa. We will also visit the dungeons and the infamous “Door of no return”. There is a historical museum inside explaining the entire history of the castle and Cape Coast itself, as well as a souvenir shop selling literature on Ghana’s forts and castles, cultural history and traditions.
After a wonderful and thought-provoking time here, we set off on a walking tour of Cape Coast town before returning to our accommodation for the evening.
Accommodation - Standard Jukwa Lodge
Our guides are always focused on getting our clients good views of all species and this morning is no different. Today we will be concentrating on the farmland scrub, forest edge and forest trails at Abrafo, a section of forest habitat near Kakum National Park.
We shall be searching for: Pale Flycatcher, Black and White Mannikin, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Sooty Boubou, Puvel’s Illadopsis, Olive-green Camaroptera, Red-faced and Whistling Cisticolas, Lesser Striped Swallow, Fanti Saw-wing, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Naked-faced and Hairy-breasted Barbets, Fraser's and Little-green Sunbirds, Yellowbill, Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Common Fiscal, Spotted Greenbul, Finsch’s Flycatcher Thrush, Yellow-whiskered and Red-tailed Greenbuls, White-crested Hornbill and African Harrier-hawk.
Rarer species include Long-tailed Hawk, Red-billed Helmetshrike, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Red-billed and Black Dwarf Hornbills and Congo Serpent Eagle.
We stop for lunch at Hans Cottage Botel near Kakum. Hans is built over a lake containing Nile crocodiles and is surrounded by tropical Guinea rainforest. Teeming with birdlife, this comfortable establishment is an excellent place to enjoy lunch before setting off for Elmina town.
During our time in Elmina we shall visit the castle of St. George, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the oldest extant colonial building in sub-Saharan Africa, dating from 1482. The castle is steeped in history and played a prominent part during the tragic transatlantic enslaved African trade era. There is an informative museum inside about local history.
Finally, a walking tour of Elmina fishing town is a must before returning to our accommodation. Visiting the traditional boat builders and fish market will enable us to get a feel of what life is like here for the locals.
Accommodation - Standard Jukwa Lodge
Today is very special as we visit the Yellow-headed Picathartes nesting site in the afternoon. However, before that we have a full morning's birding to enjoy.
We check out of our hotel after an early breakfast and set off for Abrafo Forest, where we look for more species we may still require in this habitat. Then we head northwards, stopping for lunch en-route, to a remote village close to a small Upper Guinea rainforest in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
All the known nesting sites for the Yellow-headed Picathartes are in forest reserves and not protected areas. This location has more nesting sites than any other in Ghana and we are proud to be actively involved in protecting this habitat from illegal hunting and logging activities.
Ashanti African Tours is currently sponsoring 24 community forest committee members from the surrounding villages to patrol and stop illegal hunting and logging. It is imperative we show the local communities the benefits of protecting this species and endangered habitat. To do this we are currently building an eight-classroom school facility and reception centre. Future plans include accommodation for nature lovers with all proceeds going directly to a community fund. There has been a dramatic reduction in tree felling and our groups seem to be enjoying better views of the birds than ever when visiting the Yellow-headed Picathartes nesting site.
There are around 20 nesting sites in this small forest and we will visit one of the largest colonies, which has approximately 30 nests. As we walk through the stunning forest, you can see why this bird is one of the most sought-after species in the world - the whole experience adds to the mythical bird’s reputation.
As we arrive at the nesting site we need to be very quiet as we take our seats on bamboo benches we have purposely made for your comfort. The overhanging rock face and a small cave with mud nests set the scene as we wait for the birds to come back from foraging for snails, frogs and insects. It is hard to contain your excitement as these legendary prehistoric-looking birds hop and jump on the rocks whilst preening themselves just metres from our eyes. No telescope is needed!
Once we have enjoyed some good views we leave the birds in peace and head back through the forest to our vehicle. On our arrival in Kumasi, we check into our hotel, enjoy an evening meal and reflect on one of the best birding days of our life.
Accommodation - Standard Kumasi Hotel Accommodation
We enjoy a well-deserved, relaxing breakfast this morning after our early morning birding adventures of the previous few days. A day of culture and history awaits us on our city tour of Kumasi including the Manhyia Palace - home of the Asantehene King of the Ashantis and ruler of the powerful Asanteman Kingdom.
The Palace Museum offers a fascinating and informative excursion through the history of this powerful tribe and the well-documented Ashanti history and culture. Our tour gives us a firsthand insight into the legacies of the Ashantis and enables us to understand their culture during our time in this region.
We shall also visit the National Cultural Centre in one of the oldest suburbs of Kumasi, near Bantama. There is a wonderful craft market here and during our leisurely tour we can visit the Prempeh II Jubilee museum, which offers an excellent overview of Ashanti history and houses some wonderful ancient artefacts.
A short distance from the palace is Kejetia market, reported to be the largest outdoor market in West Africa. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to experience everyday life for the people in this great city and pick up a few bargain souvenirs. The market is a hive of activity with a labyrinth of stalls nestled closely together. Some stall holders sleep here in the evenings as trade rarely stops. We have lunch at a local restaurant offering an excellent selection of local and continental dishes.
Our next stop is the Okomfo Anokye Sword, found at the Okomfo Anokye teaching hospital in Kumasi. Okomfo Anokye was a powerful priest born in 1600 in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He helped Ashanti King Osei Tutu I to defeat the powerful Denkyera tribe. After defeating the Denkyera, legend has it the Golden Stool of Ashanti descended from the sky and landed on Okomfo Anokye’s lap, which he gave to the Ashanti King. He then planted a sword into the ground as a symbol of unity between the Ashantis and Nzema tribes. The sword is still there to this day and has defied all human strength to pull it out.
Before returning to our accommodation, we visit the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, which was established by Ghana’s founding President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in 1952. It is the leading university in the sub region for research into science and technology - students from all over West Africa study here.
In the evening we have the option of heading into the city to experience Kumasi night life, enjoying an evening meal and a live highlife band. If you are not feeling up to a late night you can choose to relax at your accommodation.
Accommodation - Standard Kumasi Hotel Accommodation
This morning we see the last material remains of the great Asante Empire as we visit the traditional Asante buildings now recognised as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. There are 10 active shrines within the buildings, which are made from bamboo, timber, mud and thatched roofs. On the walls are motif designs with traditional symbolic meanings attached to ancient Adinkra symbols that we will learn more about later.
This is also where Nana Yaa Asantewaa, possibly the most important woman in Ashanti history, comes from. She was a great female warrior who led the Ashantis in the war against the British in 1901. Nana Yaa Asantewaa was also the Queen Mother of Ejisu Besease - we will visit the local spiritual shrine where she used to fortify herself before going into battle.
We continue our journey through Ashanti history by visiting some traditional villages. Our first stop is Adanwomasie, the birthplace of Ghana’s rich and colourful Kente cloth. Some of Ghana’s finest Kente cloth is produced in Adanwomasie - many designs are woven here and some are exclusive to the region.
We spend quality time here, walking through the community and interacting with families who have been weaving Kente for generations, playing an important role in the history of this beautiful cloth. We learn about the history behind the many designs and see skilled weavers outside their homes still using traditional looms that have not changed in design for centuries.
Former US President Bill Clinton has had a design named after him called the “Clinton Kente”, as Ghanaians were so impressed with the respect he showed our nation during his state visit to Ghana when he was in office. This is an ideal time to purchase quality Kente cloth at very low prices before we set off for Ntunso.
The ancient village of Ntunso is where Adinkra cloth and symbols originate. These traditional symbols all have meanings and are carved from calabash shells. The Adinkra symbols are then printed onto traditional cloth using natural dyes made from the bark of certain local trees. Adinkra cloth has been adorned by the Ashantis for more than four centuries and pre-dates Kente cloth. Even today, most Ashantis will wear Adinkra cloth for funerals, festivals and other important occasions. During our time here, we can make our own strip of Adinkra cloth using symbols with personal significance.
After lunch, we visit the village of Sokoban Krofrom, where traditional brass casting has been the main source of income for the community for generations. A wide selection of items ranging from beads and jewellery to traditional statues are made here. The methods used to produce these wonderful brass works has not changed and during our time here we see a demonstration of the skilled process. After visiting some of the stores selling a wonderful selection in the village, we return to our accommodation to have our meal and relax, spending the remainder of the evening as free leisure time.
Accommodation - Standard Kumasi Hotel Accommodation
Today we make an early start as we head back into the Upper Guinea Rainforest habitat, where so many of Ghana’s sought-after species are found.
This morning we hope to see Tit and Green Hylias, Magpie Mannakin, Narina’s Trogon, Red-billed Dwarf and Black Dwarf Hornbills, African Grey and Brown-necked Parrots, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Black-throated Coucal, Golden-backed Weaver, African Piculet, Red-chested Owlet, Dusky Tit, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Barbet, Grey-headed and Red-tailed Bristlebills and the much sought after Yellow-footed Honeyguide.
After a productive morning we head further south towards Atewa, stopping for lunch en-route. Then, we set off for the lower farmland bush at Atewa. Here we hope to see Whistling Cisticola, Black-crowned and Marsh Tchagras, Emerald, Klaas’s, Levaillant's and Yellow-throated Cuckoos, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Western Bluebill, Tessmann’s Flycatcher and four species of weavers: Black-necked, Maxwell's Black, Compact and Grosbeak.
If we're lucky we may also see Baumann’s Greenbul and Bat Hawk before checking into our nearby guesthouse for the evening to relax, reflect and enjoy our evening meal.
Accommodation - Standard New Tafo Accommodation
Atewa is critically endangered highland Upper Guinea rainforest and as it protects so many quality and rare species we will spend a full day birding here. It is quite a consistent hill walk to get to the top of the range - we will take a packed lunch with us to minimise walking and maximise our time birding.
Target birds include Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Blue-moustached (Headed) Bee-eater, Bioko Batis, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, African Hobby, Long-tailed Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Red-rumped, Yellow-rumped and Speckled Tinkerbirds, Little Green, Buff-throated, Blue-throated Brown, Olive-bellied and Collared Sunbirds, African Goshawk, Red-tailed and Green-tailed Bristlebills, Red-headed and Crested Malimbes, Forest Robin, Many-coloured Bushshrike, Western Nicator, Brown Illadopsis and Western Bronze-naped Pigeon.
We could also see seven species of Greenbul: Little, Little Grey, White-throated, Icterine, Red-tailed, Western-bearded and the Upper Guinea endemic Yellow-bearded Greenbul.
There are some really rare species here that are difficult to see. If we're lucky we may get a glimpse of Red-fronted Antpecker, Nimba Flycatcher, Crowned Eagle, Brown-chested Alethe, Forest Scrub Robin and Lowland Akalat amongst others. After a wonderful day bird watching, we return to our guesthouse to freshen up before returning you to your pre-arranged location in Accra after a wonderful nine-day Ghana Birding, Culture and History Tour.
Transfer to Accra
Some of the wildlife expected to see on this trip are:
Northern Crombec, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Snowy-crowned Robin Chat, African Pigmy Kingfisher, Cardinal Woodpecker, Vielliot’s and Double-toothed Barbets, White-crowned Cliff Chat, Rock Martin, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Violet Turaco, Senegal Parrot, Senegal Batis, Blue-bellied Roller, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Oriole Warbler, Black-cap and Brown Babblers, Copper and Splendid Sunbirds, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Croaking and Short-winged Cisticolas, African Thrush, Red-necked and Lizard Buzzards, Lanner Falcon, Green Wood-hoopoe, Stone Partridge, Black-winged Stilt, Senegal Thick-knee, Common Ringed, Grey and Spur-winged Plovers, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Common Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Collared Pratincole, Marsh and Curlew Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstone, Little Stint, Long-tailed Cormorant, Squacco, Grey, Purple, Striated and Black Herons, Little, Cattle and Intermediate Egrets.
What is included?
- Accommodation - This will be pre-determined prior to your booking and will depend on your budget. We offer the choice from high-standard to mid-range and budget options for all our tours. Our standard small group set departure scheduled tours will use mid-range accommodation. Our day tours do not include accommodation, we will collect and drop you at a pre-arranged location.
- Food - Our high-standard and mid-range tours all include breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition we have fruit available on all our vehicles. Our budget tours are on a bed and breakfast basis and do not include lunch and dinner within the tour price. Our day tours include lunch only.
- Mineral water - Unlimited mineral water is available to every participant for the duration of your time with us on all our tours.
- Transportation - In a fully air-conditioned vehicle for the duration of your tour - vehicle type will depend on the group size and all our vehicles are comprehensively insured. Our budget tours use well maintained and comprehensively insured non-air-conditioned vehicles.
- Driver - All our drivers are highly experienced and employed on a full-time basis by our company - their focus is on your safety and comfort. On the occasions we may need to rent vehicles and drivers from outside our company, these are well known to us and are of the highest quality with your safety and comfort as their priority.
- Fuel - All fuel is included in the tour price.
- Entrance fees - All entrance and excursion fees are included in the tour price for our high-standard and mid-range tours. Our budget tours do not include entrance and excursion fees - you would need to pay these at the various sites directly if you book onto one of our budget tours.
- Guide fees - All guide fees are included in the price for all our tours. In addition, we tip site guides and hotel staff at all the locations and accommodations we use and visit.
- Additional services - Our company offers 24/7 professional care, attention and office support to all our clients.
What is not included?
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Soft and alcoholic drinks
- Anything else not mentioned in the itinerary and “What is included”
There are always other options when travelling, however we are currently the only expert birding and wildlife tour company operating legally here in Ghana. Ashanti African Tours is registered with the Ghana Tourism Authority (a legal requirement). Our operating licence number is T-04/CR/16, our company and vehicles are comprehensively insured, our guides are registered and our services and tour leaders are of the highest standard. In addition to the above, we practise ethical and responsible travel which can be seen through our conservation and community development projects. We were also proudly awarded “Tour Operator of the Year 2014 and 2016” by the Ghana Tourism Authority to go alongside our current “West African Tour Operator of the Year Award”.
This will be subject to availability when booking your tour - all of our bird guides are the finest in the country with years of experience in leading highly productive, enjoyable quality birding and nature tours of Ghana. When booking a tour with Ashanti you get more than just a local guide. All are of an international standard and know the birds by song and call and where to find them. Our birding team is constantly in the field leading tours and conducting research here. Our main aim is to give our guests the ultimate West African bird watching experience. No one knows Ghana’s birds and where to find them better than us. That’s why over 90% of the largest birding tour companies in the world use our services.
Most countries in West Africa require visas for entry, and this will ultimately depend on your country of origin and your chosen destination. Once you have decided on your preferred holiday destination, go to the destination page for that country on our website and you will find all the entry requirements and visa information for that specific country in the Travel Tips section at the bottom of the page. Ashanti African Tours offers tours to Ghana, Togo, Benin, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Sao Tome and Principe and Ethiopia. We are here to help, so if you do not see the visa information on the relevant pages please get in touch via the Enquiry Form on Blue Sky Wildlife.
All countries we travel to in West Africa require Yellow Fever vaccination and you must ensure you keep the certificate with your passport when entering the country, as this may be requested for inspection. For up to date information on all other vaccinations you may need, please consult your doctor, travel clinic or public health department six to eight weeks prior to departure for extensive up to date information on foreign travel to West Africa.
If you are on any medication for your personal wellbeing, then please ensure you keep this in your hand luggage prior to travel in case your main luggage is delayed. Malaria is prevalent in West Africa and you will need to take preventative malaria treatment. There are several prophylactics available so please consult your doctor or travel clinic to see which one is best for you. Imodium or similar medication is always advisable to have with you when travelling in case you experience traveller tummy, which is common when travelling to places with a different climate. Pharmacies are common in most locations here in West Africa and your guide is always available to assist you if you need to visit a pharmacy. Please be open and discuss any issues you have with your guide.
You must ensure that you have adequate personal insurance cover for your trip. It is a compulsory requirement for all our trips in Senegal and other African destinations and it is your responsibility to take out a suitable policy. You will not officially join our tours until evidence of your insurance has been provided to our office. This must include personal accident, medical expenses, and repatriation to your country of origin. We also strongly recommend that your policy covers cancellation (especially significant since the Covid-19 pandemic), curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Please note that free insurance cover offered by some credit cards does not cover repatriation expenses.
Prior to your arrival, our office will provide you with a photo of your guide and driver in addition to their personal mobile/cell phone number in case you cannot locate them at the airport. The guide and driver assigned to your tour will also be holding an Ashanti African Tours sign or a sign with your name on it at the arrival hall when leaving the main building after clearing customs and immigration. Please ensure you check your guide's or driver's company identification card when meeting them prior to joining our vehicle. Airports can be busy and some people can be disorientated when arriving in an unusual country so in the rare instance you cannot locate your driver or guide, please wait at the arrival hall and call their phone number which our office provided you. In the unlikely event you still cannot reach them, call our office 24/7 emergency number and we will ensure they locate where you are in the airport.
The amount of spending money you will need is determined by the type of tour you have booked with us. Most of our standard scheduled and customised tours are all-inclusive, so you only need to budget for the following: snacks, soft (not mineral water as this is always included) and alcoholic drinks and items of a personal nature. If you have booked a budget tour, then some aspects of the tour may not be included in the tour price. You will receive this information during your enquiry process.
Access to Automated Teller Machines varies greatly depending on the country, city, or town you are in and it is common for machines to have technical problems disbursing money. It is advisable to withdraw your spending money in the capital city of your chosen destination on your arrival. Alternatively, your guide can arrange for money to be changed at local Forex Bureaus and banks during your trip.
Our drivers and guides are available 24/7 during your time touring with us. On our student trips, they will always remain with the group, stay at the same accommodations and always be on hand in case of an emergency. On our standard tours, the guide and driver are with you for as long as you need them. Sometimes they stay at the same accommodations - when this is not possible they stay at a nearby accommodation but are always available if needed. You will be provided with your guide's and driver's personal contact number and our clients are always given a 24/7 emergency contact number.
All our company drivers, assistants and expert local guides are employed on full-time contracts with Ashanti African Tours and receive a good salary and, in addition, a daily bonus when on tour. Ashanti African Tours also has a company policy to tip all local site guides and hotel staff. Therefore, if any of our clients would like to tip any of our guides, site guides, drivers, or staff at hotels we use, it is at the client's own discretion.
It is common for our tour participants to want to bring donations for schools, hospitals, libraries and other organisations that are in need here in West Africa. This is very much appreciated; however, we do not encourage giving out pens, books and other items directly as these are often taken off their intended recipient by bigger or older people. This also breeds a begging culture in locations we visit. To ensure the donations go to their intended recipients, our office will identify schools, communities and organisations in need and we will arrange for you to hand them over to a representative or person in charge. This ensures the item and donation goes to those in most need of help. Ashanti African Tours has also registered our own NGO charity “Rainforest Rescue Ghana” which builds schools, helps local communities, youth and protects rainforest and endangered wildlife in Ghana. To date (2020) we have donated over $135,000.00 USD from our company profits to our projects. If you would like more information on our projects please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to use your phone and number registered to your home country when in West Africa, you must inform your service provider and arrange international roaming. You will then be able to connect to local networks, however please be aware this can be an expensive way to use data and make calls. It is possible for our office and your guide to arrange a local sim for your phone for you to use during your time here. For this to work please ensure your phone is not locked to a network in your own country. The local sim would need to be registered, but this would be a cheaper way for you to call and use the internet. Alternatively, use WhatsApp when connected via WiFi.
Due to the wide variety of tours we offer, this information will be forwarded upon confirmation of your booking in your pre-trip information pack.
Birds of Ghana by Nik Borrow and Ron Demy, published by Helm Field Guides.