Birding and Nature Tour in Ghana
This 21-day Ghana Birding and Nature Tour is specifically designed for keen birders seeking to collect a good Ghana bird list, in addition to enjoying the other wildlife Ghana has to offer. Twelve of the 15 West African Upper Guinea endemic bird species can be found on a Ghanaian birdwatching tour, as well as over 700 other bird species.
Our expert local tour leaders are of international standard, know all the birds by song/call and, most importantly, where to find them. Early starts, night birding and nature walks off the beaten track are the norm when birdwatching in Ghana - these nature tours aim to be enjoyable, productive, expertly organised and professionally led. Having the most developed infrastructure of any West African country, Ghana offers a birding environment that is safe, friendly and hassle-free.
Our experienced international-standard wildlife guides boast a 100% record of showing visitors the White-necked Rockfowl, aka Yellow-headed Picathartes, and Egyptian Plover. Their expertise also ensures an abundance of other species that guarantees a spectacular trip for our tour participants.
This birding safari explores coastal lagoons, grassland savannah, Upper Guinea rainforest, broad-leaved Guinea woodland and the Sahel savannah plains in the far north. A trip through Ghana offers thorough coverage of all the core west African birding habitats.
Ashanti’s local tour guides are experts in finding wildlife in this friendly English-speaking country. Although our main focus is on birdwatching, the guides will also introduce guests to a variety of other wildlife, taking time to appreciate all there is to see in this welcoming ex-British colony.
Ghana Birding and Nature Tour highlights include:
- Shai Hills - Here we spend time looking for the White-crowned Cliff Chat, which is a special sight in this place.
- Kakum - A visit to the famous Canopy Walkway in search of Congo Serpent Eagle, Violet-backed Hyliota and Brown Nightjar.
- Ankasa - We spend some time at the forest pools, looking for White-bellied Kingfisher and Hartlaub's Duck.
- Bonkro - A visit to the nesting site of Yellow-headed Picathartes is a special treat.
- Mole - Safari drive and birding on foot. White-throated Francolin, Spotted Creeper and Standard-winged Nightjar are some of the highlights. African Savannah Elephants can be seen bathing in the waterholes during the heat of the day.
Would you like to experience some culture in addition to the wonderful African nature and wildlife that is on offer? If so, please have a look at the Ghana Bird Watching and Culture Tour.
You will be met upon your arrival at the Kotoka International airport in Accra Ghana, which is situated on the beautiful “Gold Coast” (Ghana’s former name during its time under British colonial rule) of Western Africa. After clearing immigration, collecting your bags and passing through customs you will enter the main arrival hall, where your tour leader/local guide will be waiting to meet you.
Our team will take care of you from here and offer you “Akwaaba” (welcome). Once you have boarded your air-conditioned vehicle - your mode of transport for the duration of your time with us - we make the hour's journey (depending on traffic) to your hotel, which is located near Tema, close to Shai Hills Reserve. After checking you in, your guide will brief you on the following days' activities and answer any questions you may have.
Depending on your arrival time, you can enjoy your early evening meal whilst acclimatising yourself to West Africa.
Accommodation - Standard Tema Hotel
For your first morning in Ghana we head for the open grassland savannah of Shai Hills.
Here we hope to see: 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 and Stone Partridge.
After a wonderful morning, 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. We will be looking for: 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, Egrets (Little, Cattle and Intermediate) and Herons (Squacco, Grey, Purple, Striated and Black).
We set off towards Kakum National Park through the busy city of Accra, stopping for lunch en route, before heading to a grassland reserve. Here we hope to find: Siffling and Short-winged Cisticolas, Splendid and Copper Sunbirds, Flappet 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 to mention just a few.
After a wonderful day's birding, we continue to Jukwa and our hotel to relax, reflect and add many new species to our bird list.
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 of the 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.
Other species we hope to see include: Red-headed and Crested Malimbes, Sunbirds (Blue-throated Brown, Green, Collared, Johanna’s and the beautiful Buff-throated), 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, Greenbuls (Golden, Slender-billed and Little Grey), 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.
Raptors we have a chance of seeing 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-collared 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 our lodge's grounds, resting in your air-conditioned rooms or 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 others. 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
Today begins with another early start as we visit the Antwikwaa section of Kakum National Park, hoping to add some amazing birds to our growing list.
Highlights might include: Bee-eaters (Little, White-throated, Rosy and Black), 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.
More difficult species include: Yellow-billed Barbet, Forest Penduline Tit, Ayre’s Hawk Eagle and Ahanta Francolin.
We then go to a river site to look for the beautiful White-bibbed (White-throated Blue) Swallow, Preuss’s Cliff Swallow, Rock Pratincole and White-headed Lapwing. If we are lucky, African Finfoot may also make an appearance.
In the afternoon we will concentrate on the many trails within and surrounding the park, which should prove to be very productive. We hope to find White-tailed Alethe, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Forest Robin, Yellow-billed Turaco, Fire-bellied Woodpecker, Melancholy Woodpecker and so many others.
Once again we will remain until dark trying for owls and nightjars before returning to our accommodation for our meal and checklist.
Accommodation - Standard Jukwa Lodge
This morning we will concentrate on the farmland scrub, forest edge and forest trails at Abrafo, a section of forest habitat near to Kakum National Park. Our guides are always focused on getting our clients good views of all species and this morning is no different.
We will 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.
More difficult 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.
There is less action during the heat of mid-afternoon, so with this in mind we return to our hotel to enjoy our lunch, relax around the pool or have a short siesta.
New habitat is in store for us after lunch as we check out of our hotel and head for Brenu Akyinim and the coastal savannah plains. There are some special species found in this area - new birds we hope to see include: Marsh Tchagra, Compact Weaver, Double-spurred Francolin, Oriole Warbler, Red-headed Quelea and Black-rumped Waxbill. If we are lucky we might also spot Yellow-winged Pytillia, Wilson's Indigobird and African Wattled Lapwing.
Our next two evenings will be spent at a small guesthouse as we head further west.
Accommodation - Standard Sekondi Guesthouse
An excellent forest about an hour’s drive from our guesthouse, this secondary semi-deciduous habitat protects a plethora of quality species to add to our list.
Birds we hope to see today include: Sunbirds (Olive, Blue-throated Brown and Little Green), Barbets (Yellow-spotted, Bristle-nosed, Hairy-breasted and Naked-faced), Blue-throated Roller, Western Black-headed and Black-winged Orioles, Buff-spotted and Little Green Woodpeckers, Ussher's and the much sought after Tessmann’s Flycatchers, Square-tailed Sawwing, Gray's and Crested Malimbes, Green Crombec, Green and Tit Hylia, African Piculet, Emerald and Yellow-throated Cuckoos, Red-billed Helmetshrike, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Black Dwarf Hornbill and Great-blue Turaco.
We check out of our guesthouse after lunch and head westwards for what should prove to be a major highlight of your time with us here in Ghana. Our destination is Ankasa Reserve, Ghana’s only wet evergreen rainforest that is in near pristine condition. An exceptional forest in a remote location, Ankasa protects many rare and sought after bird and mammal species.
Due to the remote location and nearly two hours of travelling to reach any reasonably good standard accommodation, Ashanti African Tours has established our own camp inside the forest. Our camp leader and his assistants will be waiting to greet us on arrival and we have large tents with comfortable mattresses, pillows and bed sheets for comfort whilst we sleep. In addition, there are flushing toilets and cold private shower facilities here and our cook will keep us well fed three times a day with cold beers and non-alcoholic beverages available in addition. We also have electricity and a backup generator if needed.
The majority of our tour participants say that camping here is a major highlight of their tour. If you are not happy to camp please inform us and we will discuss alternative arrangements.
As we arrive in the late afternoon, we settle into our camp before heading out for early evening birding. We hope to see Fraser's and Akun Eagle-owls. Your guide will also be looking for the legendary Nkulengu Rail - one of our previous tour participants was the first person ever to get a picture of this species during one of our tours in 2011. Our evening will be spent at our camp enjoying the atmosphere of being at one with nature.
Accommodation - Camping
It’s wonderful to stay at a birding location without having to waste time travelling. Your guide will be up before first light, listening out for the unmistakable call of the Nkulengu Rail. If he locates this species he will alert the group before breakfast.
As we venture deeper into this lush forest our main targets are the Upper Guinea endemics: Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Rufous-winged Illadopsis and Green-tailed Bristlebill.
We will also be keeping an eye out for: other Greenbuls (Ansorge’s, Icterine, Red-tailed and Western-bearded), Pale-breasted and Blackcap Illadopsis, Forest Robin, White-tailed Ant Thrush, White-tailed Alethe, Shining Drongo, Cassin’s Flycatcher, Yellow-spotted Barbet, White-throated Bee-eater, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Blue-headed Wood Dove, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Yellow-billed and Great Blue Turacos, Black-capped Apalis, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Tiny Sunbird and Red-fronted Antpecker.
As we walk towards the watering holes located deeper inside the forest, we hope to see Crested Guineafowl on the road. Our target birds will include Hartlaub's Duck, Dwarf Bittern, African Finfoot and Kingfishers (Shining Blue, White-bellied, Blue-breasted and Dwarf).
Forest raptors are always welcome and we hope to see Long-tailed Hawk and Congo Serpent Eagle. We will scan the sky for Crown Eagle, Square-tailed and Fanti Saw-wings, Black and Yellow-casqued Hornbills, in addition to Black Dwarf and Piping Hornbills.
There are some very rare species here and if we are very lucky, which we sometimes are, we may see White-breasted Guineafowl, White-crested Tiger Heron, Grey-throated Rail, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Forest Scrub Robin, Red-chested Owlet and Akun Eagle-owl.
Our evening is spent at our camp enjoying good food and discussing the day's birding over a cold refreshing drink.
Accommodation - Camping
On our final day at this wonderful location we will be targeting species we may have missed or would like to get better views of. After a full morning of birding we return to camp to arrange our bags and enjoy lunch before heading back towards Kakum National Park.
During our journey we will be targeting several species not seen in other parts of Ghana - these include Reichenbach’s and Brown Sunbirds, Orange Weaver, African Pygmy Goose and Little Grebe.
A revisit to Brenu Akyinim around dusk should give us the opportunity to see Greyish Eagle-owl and Long-tailed and Plain Nightjars before we arrive back at the Rainforest Lodge Hotel for our evening meal and checklist.
Accommodation - Standard Jukwa Lodge
Today is a very special day as we will be visiting the Yellow-headed Picathartes nesting site in the afternoon. However, we have a full morning's birding to enjoy before that.
After an early breakfast we check out of our hotel and set off for Abrafo Forest, where we will spend the morning targeting species we may still wish to see in this habitat. Then we head northwards, stopping for lunch en route, before arriving at a remote village close to a small Upper Guinea rainforest in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
All of 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 activities. It is imperative we show the local surrounding communities the benefits of protecting this species and endangered habitat. To do this, we are currently building an 11 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 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 this beautiful forest you can see why it is one of the most sought-after species in the world - the total experience adds to this mythical bird’s reputation.
When we arrive at the nesting site we need to be very quiet as we take our seats on bamboo benches purposely made for your comfort. The overhanging rock face and small cave with mud nests set the scene as we wait for the birds to come back from foraging for snails, frogs and insects during the day.
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 required!
Once we have enjoyed good views we leave the birds in peace, heading back through the forest to our vehicle. On our arrival in Kumasi we check into our hotel, enjoy our evening meal and reflect on one of the best birding days of our lives.
Accommodation - Standard Kumasi Hotel
After an early breakfast we set off for an interesting forest in a transitional zone between the southern wetter forests and northern drier woodland habitats, where we shall look for some quality species. We will spend around three hours birding here and will need to walk as the road is in poor condition.
Possible sightings here include: Afep and Western Bronze-naped Pigeons, Red-billed Helmet-shrike, Many-coloured, Lagden's and Fiery-breasted Bushshrikes, Red-thighed and Black Sparrowhawks, Bioko Batis, Green (Guinea) Turaco and Rufous-sided Broadbill.
Our main targets will be Blue-moustached Bee-eater, Capuchin Babbler, Yellow-footed Honeyguide and Forest Scrub Robin, however time is limited so luck will need to be on our side before we set off for Ghana’s premier game viewing park, found in the Northern Region.
It is approximately a five hours’ drive from Offinso to Mole National Park and we will be stopping for lunch and several leg stretches en route. We can expect to see different species of birds as we head northwards, as the habitat changes to drier broad-leaved Guinea woodland and savannah.
Your guides will be keeping an eye out for raptors during the journey including Beaudouin's Snake and Long-crested Eagles, Grasshopper Buzzard, Yellow-billed Kite and Shikra amongst others.
Mole is Ghana’s largest National Park, protecting an area of 1,871 square miles (4,847 square kilometres) of habitat, almost 100 species of mammal and 330+ species of birds. Situated on a 250m (820ft) high escarpment overlooking the park, it offers breath-taking views. It is an amazing feeling to sit around the pool on the hotel terrace watching African savannah elephants bathing in the two nearby watering holes, which are also inhabited by crocodiles.
After our evening meal, we head off for some birding around the Mole Airstrip, where we hope to see displaying Standard-winged Nightjars. The airstrip is also good for owls and we will be looking for Grayish Eagle and Northern White-faced Scops owls before we retire for the evening.
Accommodation - Standard Motel
Mole is a nature lover’s paradise and we are in for a treat over the next two full days as we immerse ourselves in the exceptional variety of West African birds and mammals found here at Mole National Park.
After breakfast we will be walking and driving deeper into the park. Your expert guides know good locations for species we hope to see including: Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Sunbirds (Scarlet-chested, Beautiful, Pigmy and Western Violet-backed), Lavender and Orange-cheeked Waxbills, Familiar Chat, White-fronted Black Chat, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow Weaver, Red-headed Quelea, Red-billed, Bar-breasted and Black-bellied Firefinch, Woodpeckers (Fine-spotted, Grey, Golden-tailed and Brown-backed), Starlings (Violet-backed, Long-tailed Glossy, Bronze-tailed Glossy, Lesser Blue-eared and Greater Blue-eared) and Hornbills (Abyssinian Ground, African Grey and Northern Red-billed).
We might also see: Stone Partridge, Double-spurred, White-throated and Ahanta Francolins, Senegal Eremomela, Whydahs (Pin-tailed, Exclamatory Paradise and Togo Paradise), Bush Petronia, Weavers (Little, Heuglin's Masked, Village and Red-headed), Melodious and Willow Warblers, Brubru, Cuckoos (Thick-billed, Jakobin's, African, Black and Great Spotted), Fork-tailed and Square-tailed Drongos, Northern Puffback, White-shouldered Black Tit, Red-faced, Rufous and the difficult Dort’s Cisticolas, Hadada Ibis and Wilson's Indigobird.
Mammals are also in abundance here in Mole and we hope to see Kob, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Hartebeest and the beautiful Roan Antelope, in addition to getting within a few metres on foot to Africa’s largest land mammal: the African Elephant. Green Vervet and Patas Monkeys will greet us in the bush as we enjoy our morning walks.
During the heat of the midday sun we can enjoy a siesta or relax around the pool after lunch. We set off for afternoon birding around 3pm and stay after dark for nocturnal species.
Birds we hope to see include: Yellow-breasted Apalis, Bearded Barbet, Flycatchers (Swamp, African Blue, Lead Coloured, Pied and difficult to see Gambaga), Giant, Shining Blue and Grey-headed Kingfishers, Red-throated Bee-eater, Bruce's Green Pigeon, Senegal Batis, Snowy-crowned and White-crowned Robin Chats, Flappet and Sun Larks, Sulphur-breasted and Grey-headed Bushshrikes, African Golden Oriole, Oriole Warbler, Cinnamon-breasted Rock-bunting, Rollers (Abyssinian, Blue-bellied, Rufous-crowned and Broad-billed), Black Scimitarbill and Violet Turaco.
Raptors are common here in Mole and we hope to see Martial, Booted, Long-crested and Tawny Eagles, White-backed and White-headed Vultures, Lizard Buzzard, Gabar and Dant Chanting Goshawks, Western Marsh Harrier, African Fish and Wahlberg's Eagles, Brown and Short-toed Snake Eagles, Osprey and Lanner Falcon to mention a few.
During our time here we have target species of difficult birds not easily seen in other parts of the world and these include: Forbes's Plover, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Spotted Creeper and Rufous-rumped Lark.
The species above are only some that can be seen during our time here. We will spend the evenings at our hotel enjoying the atmosphere of being so close to nature.
Accommodation - Standard Motel
On our final morning in Mole we aim to pick up species we still wish to see or those we'd like better views of.
Birds we could add before leaving Mole include: Woodchat Shrike, Northern Red Bishop, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Senegal Parrot, Black-billed Wood and Vinaceous Doves, Woolly-necked, Saddle-billed and Black Storks, Yellow-throated Leaflove and Red-headed Lovebird.
Next we set off towards Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region of Ghana. On the way there we have the option of visiting the nearby Larabanga mud and stick Mosque. Built in traditional Sudanese style and dating from the 14th century, the Mosque apparently houses one of the original copies of the Koran.
As we continue our journey the landscape changes from the broad-leaved Guinea woodland of the Northern Region to more open savannah as we head further northwards. After lunch at a hotel in Tamale capital of the Northern Region of Ghana, we continue to the beautiful Tongo Hills, where we will be targeting species only found in this unique habitat of natural boulders and inselbergs.
Birds we hope to see here include: Rock-loving Cisticola, Brown-rumped Bunting, White-crowned Cliff Chat and Fox Kestrel amongst others. After an excellent evening's birding we travel the short distance to Bolgatanga and check into our guesthouse for the evening. Here you will have time to reflect on another productive day after an evening meal.
Accommodation - Standard Bolgatanga Hotel
Today is another major highlight of your time with us here in Ghana. We arrive early at a river location to see the beautiful Egyptian Plover, which has recently been assigned to a family of its own.
We pay locals in the area to protect and monitor this species to ensure its continued breeding success, as locals will destroy the nests and take the eggs. This has also ensured our tour participants have a 100% record of seeing this species during all of our tours to this beautiful part of Ghana. As you look across the White Volta River you can see Togo and Burkina Faso in the distance.
Other species we hope to see during our time here include: Chestnut-bellied and Purple Glossy Starlings, African Mourning Dove, Buffalo Weaver, Zebra Waxbill and, if we are lucky, Yellow-winged Pytillia. Then we head back towards our hotel for lunch and perhaps a short siesta.
We will spend the afternoon birding at the Tono Dam, close to the border of Burkina Faso. Here we hope to see: Black-rumped Waxbill, Little Bee-eater, Senegal, Spotted and Water Thick-knee, White-faced Whistling Duck, Spur-winged Goose, African Wattled and Spur-winged Lapwings, Namaqua Dove, Four-banded Sandgrouse, Black-bellied and Arabian Bustards and African Silverbill.
Some trickier species we might be lucky enough to spot include: Bronze-winged Courser, Yellow Penduline Tit, Cut-throat Finch, Common Whitethroat and European Turtle Dove amongst others. Afterwards we return to our hotel to relax for the evening.
Accommodation - Standard Bolgatanga Hotel
Today is mainly spent travelling as we retrace our journey back southwards towards Kumasi. Depending on which species we may still wish to see, it is possible to revisit the Offinso Forest or Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary for some evening birding when we arrive in Kumasi.
Accommodation - Standard Kumasi Resort
Early in the morning we head back into the Upper Guinea Rainforest habitat, where so many of Ghana’s sought-after species are found.
We shall be looking for: 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 very special Yellow-footed Honeyguide amongst other species.
After a productive morning we head further south towards Atewa, stopping for lunch on the way. Then we set off for the lower farmland bush at Atewa.
Here we hope to see: Weavers (Black-necked, Maxwell's Black, Compact and Grosbeak), Whistling Cisticola, Black-crowned and Marsh Tchagras, Cuckoos (Emerald, Klaas’s, Levaillant's and Yellow-throated) Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Western Bluebill, Tessmann’s Flycatcher and if we are lucky Baumann’s Greenbul and Bat Hawk.
Later, we check into a nearby guesthouse for the evening to relax, reflect and enjoy our evening meal.
Accommodation - Standard New Tafo Hotel
Atewa is critically endangered highland Upper Guinea rainforest. As it protects so many quality and rare species we will spend the next two full days birding here. It is quite a consistent hill walk to get to the top of the range and with this in mind we will take a packed lunch with us to minimise walking and maximise our time.
Target birds will 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, Sunbirds (Little Green, Buff-throated, Blue-throated Brown, Olive-bellied and Collared) and African Goshawk.
We might also see: Red-tailed and Green-tailed Bristlebills, Red-headed and Crested Malimbes, Forest Robin, Greenbuls (Little, Little Grey, White-throated, Icterine, Red-tailed, Western-bearded and the Upper Guinea endemic Yellow-bearded), Many-coloured Bushshrike, Western Nicator, Brown Illadopsis and Western Bronze-naped Pigeon.
There are some rare species here that are difficult to see and if we are 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 two wonderful days of birding we return to the guesthouse to have our evening meals and reflect over a cold drink at the guesthouse restaurant, adding to our checklist.
Accommodation - Standard New Tafo Hotel
Today we make another early start and travel back towards Atewa Range. This morning we will be concentrating on any possible species in this habitat that you still need for your lists or would like to see again.
After a productive morning we return to our guesthouse for lunch then head for Kalakpa Reserve in the Volta region of Ghana. If we have time after checking into our hotel we spend the evening birding at Kalakpa. Here our main target species are the Black-shouldered Nightjar and African Scops Owl.
Accommodation - Standard Ho Hotel
We spend all of today birding at Kalakpa Reserve, which protects open savannah and forest species. Our main targets will be: Yellow-throated Green and Thick-billed Cuckoos, Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, Puvel's Illadopsis, Capuchin Babbler, Leaflove, Pied-winged Swallow and Blue-shouldered Robin Chat amongst others.
We return to our hotel for lunch before heading back to the reserve for night birding. Then, back at the hotel we enjoy dinner and add to our checklist.
Accommodation - Standard Ho Hotel
On your final morning in Ghana we revisit Kalakpa to try and add more species to the list before our departure. We return to our hotel to pack and have lunch, then it's time to leave for Accra. Here we enjoy an early evening meal and go through the final checklist.
After our meal we transfer you to the airport for your departure, signalling the end of a wonderful Ghana birding and wildlife tour.
Some of the wildlife expected to see on this trip are:
Stone Partridge, Vielliot’s Barbet, Greater Honeyguide, Purple Glossy Starling, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Blackcap Babbler, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Guinea Turaco, Oriole Warbler, African Cuckoo Hawk, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Black-shoudered Nightjar, Sharpe’s Apalis, White-crested Hornbill, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black Bee-eater, Kemp’s Longbill, Baumann’s Greenbul, Yellow-billed Barbet, White-bellied Kingfisher, African Finfoot, Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, Yellow-footed Honeyguide, Red-fronted Antpecker, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Red-billed Helmetshrike, White-crested Tiger Heron, Blackcap Illadopsis, Nimba Flycatcher, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Copper-tailed Glossy Starling, Ahanta Francolin, Afep Pigeon, White-spotted Flufftail, Capuchin Babbler, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Long-crested Eagle, Red-necked Buzzard, Gambaga Flycatcher, Egyptian Plover, Fine-spotted Woodpecker, West African Seedeater, Dorst’s Cisticola, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Fox Kestrel and Rufous-rumped Lark.
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
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.