Butterfly trip to Ghana
Our 15-day Ghana Butterfly Tour is available on request throughout the year and is a leisurely paced trip allowing time to enjoy the country's forest habitats and fantastic photographic opportunities. A Ghana butterfly tour never disappoints as it offers the perfect mix of nature with the best Ghana has to offer, including almost 1,000 species of butterfly.
"The schedule - specially crafted for us to maximise time spent encountering nature at various scenes - couldn't have been better. The tour turned out to be extraordinary." - Allen & Linda Crockett
The Upper Guinean forest zone, west of the Dahomey Gap, was once a continuous band of rainforest stretching from Ghana to Sierra Leone. However, due to excessive deforestation in the last century, only about 10% of the original forest cover remains. Thankfully, Ghana is one of the few West African countries where the idea of protecting forests came early enough to set up a network of national parks. Some forest reserves also received protection due to a decades-long ban on logging.
Ghana's remaining rainforest areas protect more than 950 butterfly species and there is good access to important and diverse habitats on this Ghana butterfly safari. On a good day, a visitor can sometimes see more than 100 species.
This specialist butterfly tour in Ghana aims to introduce enthusiasts to many different forest areas and their butterfly fauna, with exceptional photo opportunities for many of the species.
Ghana Butterfly Tour highlights include:
- Atewa Forest Range: we will be looking for the endemic Atewa Dotted Border, Green Orange Forester, True Forester, Shining Red and Charaxes
- Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary: offers a chance to see the Janetta Themis Forester, Flame-bordered Charaxes, Large Fairy Hairstreak, African Mapwing, Hebes Pink Forester and more
- Kwabena Sam Forest: home to Square-winged Red Charaxes, Brilliant Nymph, Edward's Forester and Western Yellow-banded Swallowtail
- Kakum: an opportunity to see the African Giant Skipper, Forest Caper White, Gambia Nymph and Large Orange Tip.
- Ankasa: stunning views of the Veined Swallowtail, Perseis Mimic Forester, Ankasa Sprite, Ghost, Hildebrandt's Charaxes and Simple Liptena
- Aburi Botanical Gardens: target species include Mocker Swallowtail, Coffee Playboy, Western Pearly, Blue Diadem, Gaudy Commodore and Golden Pansy
If you'd prefer to take a longer tour, why not try the Ghana Birding and Nature Tour?
Alternative Tour Name: Ghana Invertebrate Tour
Our expert local tour guides will meet you on your arrival at the Kotoka International Airport Accra, which is situated on the beautiful gold coast of Western Africa. Look out for the Ashanti African Tours sign when you leave the main terminal building after passing through customs. Make yourself known to your guides who will be accompanying you for the duration of your time in Ghana and they will take care of you from here.
After boarding our vehicle, which will be your mode of transport for the duration of your tour, we transfer you to your accommodation which is approximately a two hours’ drive and located near Atewa Forest Range. Once we have checked you in, our experienced guide will offer you Akwaaba (welcome) and brief you on all aspects of your trip. You can enjoy your evening meal at the hotel restaurant whilst acclimatising yourself to West Africa.
Accommodation – Standard New Tafo Hotel
On your first morning in Ghana we visit Atewa Range, arguably the best location for rare endemic butterfly species in the country. We will be spending three full days at this excellent location. With unique upland rainforest, Atewa is one of the most endangered habitats in West Africa, threatened by mining and illegal logging activities.
The forest of Atewa hosts the largest variety of butterflies in Ghana - over 50 species are found only in Atewa, including rarities such as Western Mimic Forester (Euphaedra eusemoides) and Moyamba Harlequin (Mimeresia moyambina).
Atewa has several common species that are rare everywhere else in Ghana: Green Orange Forester (Euphaedra zampa), Green-spotted Forester (Euphaedra francina) and the Uniform Bush Brown (Bicyclus uniformis). However, the highlight is the Atewa Dotted Border (Mylothris atewa), which is not only endemic but confined only to the upland rainforest area of the Range.
On our third day in Atewa, we break the day with lunch but dedicate most of our time enjoying more of the splendid variety of species the Range has to offer. Our evening will be spent at our nearby guesthouse, relaxing and adding to our lists.
Accommodation – Standard Tafo Guesthouse
We set off early after breakfast this morning to the world-famous Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary. It is just over two hours’ drive to Bobiri from Atewa so we can still enjoy a full day’s butterfly watching and photography. The sanctuary is now only a 5,000-hectare fragment of what used to be over a million hectares of dry, semi-deciduous rainforest.
These types of forests have an unbelievably rich mixture of butterflies from wet forests to Guinea savannah. Results of extensive studies in Bobiri estimated that the number of butterfly species exceeds 630, which is quite exceptional considering its size.
This forest is unbelievably rich in Bebearia, Euriphene, Euphaedra and other fruit-feeding butterflies. Charaxes or Pashas are often seen along the main track in the forest and Liptena blues are frequently seen flying slowly near the guesthouse.
The bamboo spot always has a good number of mud-puddling butterflies; sometimes clouds of African Nettle-tree Butterflies (Libythea labdaca) and different species of Grass Yellows (Eurema) fly in clouds around the passing visitors.
On two occasions even the extremely rare Giant African Swallowtail (Papilio antimachus) was observed here. To maximise our time in the field, we will enjoy our lunch in the comfortable guesthouse at the heart of the forest. However, as the guesthouse only has a generator to produce electricity that is switched off at 10pm each night, we have the option of staying here or at a comfortable hotel 40 minutes’ drive away.
Accommodation –Standard Kumasi hotel or Guesthouse
After an excellent few days enjoying the diverse and multi-coloured butterflies at Bobiri, we travel to a new forest location with arguably our most diverse number of butterflies. We dedicate quality time in this forest and take a packed lunch each day to maximise our chances of seeing more exceptional butterflies.
Kwabina Sam Forest is about 45 minutes’ drive from our guest house. It is a semi-degraded rainforest with a lot of open areas, making it an excellent site for West African butterflies. Our company is very keen to promote this location to benefit the long-term protection of this forest habitat.
Accommodation – Standard New Edubiase Lodge
Some of the species we will look for here include: Ashanti Forester (Bebearia ashantina), Sophus Forester (Bebearia sophus), Laetitia's Forester (Bebearia Laetitia), Hebes Pink Forester (Euphaedra hebes), Cutter's Forester (Bebearia cutteri), Common Pink Forester (Euphaedra xypete), Unmarked Pink Forester (Euphaedra diffusa), Crocker's Forester (Euphaedra crockeri), Common Orange Forester (Euphaedra ruspina), Perseis Mimic Forester (Euphaedra perseis), Common Blue-Banded Forester (Euphaedra harpalyce) and Western Blue-Banded Forester (Euphaedra eupalus).
Other species we could see include: Western Emperor Swallowtail (Papilio horribilis), Western Yellow-Banded Swallowtail (Papilio menestheus), Common white-banded Swallowtail (Papilio cyproeofila), Common Albatross (Appias Sylvia), Hybrid Spirit (Leptosia hybrid), Dainty Spirit (Leptosia medusa), Paul's Pentila (Pentila pauli), Western Red Pentila (Pentila petreoides), Common Red Pentila (Pentila petreia), Peter's Pearly (Eresiomera petersi), Narrow-margined Yellow (Citrinophila marginalis), Similar Yellow (Citrinophila similis) and Large Yellow (Citrinophila Erastus).
There is also the possibility of eight species of Nymph butterfly: Brilliant (Cynandra opis), Grose-Smith's (Euriphene grosesmithi), Atossa (Euriphene atossa), Simple (Euriphene simplex), Dark (Euriphene aridatha), Friendly (Euriphene amicia), Gambia (Euriphene gambiae) and Common Brown (Euriphene ampedusa).
Accommodation –Standard New Edubiase Lodge
There are many different butterflies to look for in Kwabena. Some others we might encounter include: Moyamba Epitola (Stempfferia cercene), Western Scalloped Epitola (Stempfferia leonine), Little Epitola (Stempfferia zelza), Royal Sapphire (Lolaus eurisus), Long-tailed Sapphire (Lolaus timon), Large Fairy Hairstreak (Hypolycaena antifaunus), Black Fairy Hairstreak (Hypolycaema nigra), Shining Red Charaxes (Charaxes zingha), Lesser Blue-spotted Charaxes (Charaxes etesipe), Small Flame-bordered Charaxes (Charaxes anticlea), Hildebrandt's Charaxes (Charaxes hildebrandti), Flame-bordered Charaxes (Charaxes protoclea), Western Red Charaxes (Charaxes Cynthia), Cream-bordered Charaxes (Charaxes pijasius), Giant Charaxes (Charaxes castor) and White-barred Charaxes (Charaxes brutus).
After a full morning of butterfly watching, we have lunch then set off towards Bunso. Our aim is to arrive in the evening, check into our hotel and relax whilst identifying the many butterfly photos we have taken.
Accommodation – Standard Tafo Guesthouse
After breakfast we drive the short distance to Bonsu Arboretum for a full morning of exploring and hopefully spotting a wide variety of butterflies.
Sightings here might include: Hebes Pink Forester (Euphaedra hebes), Western Mimic Forester (Euphaedra eusemoides), Edward’s Forester (Euphaedra edwardsii), Ceres Forester (Euphaedra ceres), Purple Giant Epitola (Epitola urania), Yellow Liptena (Liptena xanthostola), Western Pierid Blue (Larinopoda eurema), Scalloped Yellow Glider (Cymothoe fumana), Jodutta Creamy Glider (Cymothoe jodutta), Royal Sapphire (Lolaus eurisus), African Leaf Butterfly (Kallimoides rumia), Paul’s Pentila (Pentila pauli) and the Karsch’s Dotted Border (Mylothris jaopura).
After a full morning here we have lunch and then set off to the Volta Region of Ghana. On our arrival in the evening we check into our accommodation and relax in preparation for tomorrow's activities.
Accommodation – Standard Wli Guesthouse
Over the next three days we will be exploring a different habitat as we focus on the hill tops and drier transitional zone of the forest and savannah woodlands in the Volta Region. Mount Gemi, Mount Afajato and the Wli Falls sanctuary will be our main areas of focus with lots of Lycaenidae.
We also hope to see other species such as: Volta Swallowtail (Papilio nobicea), Western Craem Pentila (Pentila picena), Ghana Pentila (Pentila phidia), Hewitson’s Cream Pentila (Pentila hewitsonii), Western Fragile Glasswing (Ornipholidotos nympha), Western Pearly (Eresiomera bicolor), Similar Yellow (Citrinophila similis), Large Yellow (Citrinophila Erastus), Warm Sienna Eresima (Eresina pseudofusca), Theodor’s Eresina (Eresina theodori), Lathy’s Liptena (Liptena submacula) and Simple Liptena (Liptena simplicial).
Accommodation – Standard Wli Guesthouse
We spend a few hours looking for new species before setting off for Aburi, aiming to get there for lunch time. After lunch, we can dedicate a few hours to exploring the Aburi Botanical Gardens, where we hope to see the Endemic Savannah Dotted Border (Mylothris aburi) and African Emigrant Bunso.
Some of the wildlife expected to see on this trip are:
African Giant Swallowtail, Mocker Swallowtail, Veined Swallowtail, Western Emperor, Swallowtail, Broad-banded Green Swallowtail, Western Yellow-banded Swallowtail, Large Striped Swordtail, Ghost, Large Vagrant, Large Orange Tip, Forest Caper White, Calypso Caper White, Sabine Albatross, African Spirit, Atewa Dotted Border, Karsch’s Dotted Border, African Apefly, Ghana Pentila, Western Pearly, Simple Liptena, Seven-striped Liptena, Scarce Marble, White Acraea, Western Virgin, Royal Sapphire, Large Fairy Hairstreak, Coffee Playboy, African Giant Skipper, Lowland Branded Blue, Forest Pied Pierrot, Brilliant Nymph, African Blue Tiger, Flame-bordered Charaxes, Giant Charaxes, Hildebrandt’s Charaxes, Shining Red Charaxes, Square-winged Red Charaxes, Ussher’s Palla, Gaudy Commodore, Blue Diadem, Western Blue Beauty, Golden Pansy, African Mapwing, Gambia Nymph, True Forester, Janetta Themis Forester, Edward’s Forester, Green Orange Forester, Perseis Mimic Forester and Hebes Pink Forester.
What is included?
- Accommodation - This will be pre-determined prior to your booking and will depend on your budget. We offer a choice of high-standard, 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 that is 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 email@example.com.
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.