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BEST OF GHANA

Yellow-headed Picathartes, Egyptian Plover and much more

Ghana Birding Tours: our Best of Ghana bird watching holiday offers exactly that: the best localities and experiences in this bird-rich country. Our Best of Ghana birding tour produces many specialities, most notably the Yellow-headed Picathartes or White-necked Rockfowl and the superb Egyptian Plover (now in its own family), amongst a fantastic array of West African birds ranging from many rainforest species to the dry-country specialists of the far north.

Wednesday 7th March — Wednesday 21st March 2018
(15 days)


Leaders: Nik Borrow and a local bird guide

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and mostly comfortable accommodations

The stunning Yellow-headed Picathartes (or White-necked Rockfowl) will be our prime target species (Nik Borrow) (This painting is featured on the front of Nik's Field Guide "Birds of Western Africa")

The stunning Yellow-headed Picathartes (or White-necked Rockfowl) will be our prime target species (Nik Borrow) (This painting is featured on the front of Nik's Field Guide "Birds of Western Africa")

BEST OF GHANA BIRDING TOUR: OVERVIEW

Situated in the heart of West Africa, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan colonial country to gain its independence in 1957 and is now recognized as a friendly, safe and stable African destination. Once known as the Gold Coast, its growing tourist industry has much to offer in the way of a colourful and vibrant culture and a turbulent history, including a coast lined with beautiful beaches and numerous slave forts still standing to remind visitors of a grim episode in the country’s past. A European power struggle over the Gold Coast raged between the 15th and 19th centuries. The Portuguese built a castle at Elmina on the coast in 1482 and their presence was swiftly followed by the Dutch, Swedes, Danes, Prussians and British: all motivated by the lure of gold, ivory and of course slaves.

Ghana is now also firmly on the map for the birding tours, with over 750 species of birds (all covered by a dedicated field guide) and a surprising number of large mammals. With the recent rediscovery of the Yellow-headed Picathartes (or White-necked Rockfowl) in Ghana, birders now have the chance to see this unique bird with rather more ease and comfort than in other destinations. During this enjoyable birding tour, which is designed to visit the best combination of habitats that Ghana has on offer and run up a large bird list in only two weeks in the field, we shall make a concerted effort to see the picathartes at one of its nesting colonies. Under dry overhangs, these bizarre birds attach their swallow-like, mud-cup nests to the bare faces of the granitic boulders and inselbergs that are such a feature of the landscape.

We begin our Ghana birding tour in the capital city of Accra, but soon leave for the nearby Shai Hills, where we may well find Blue-bellied Roller and White-crowned Cliff Chat.

Afterwards we shall make a stop at the Winneba Plains on the way to our base for exploring the world-famous Kakum National Park with its canopy walkway where rare butterflies can prove a colourful distraction from the wealth of birds (including many sought-after Upper Guinea Forest endemics). The prime attraction here is the little-known Brown Nightjar, while other great birds include Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Fraser’s Eagle-Owl, Rosy Bee-eater, Brown-cheeked, Yellow-casqued and Black-casqued Hornbills, Little Green, Melancholy and Fire-bellied Woodpeckers, Grey-headed Bristlebill, White-tailed Alethe, Finsch’s Rufous Thrush, Sharpe’s Apalis, Kemp’s Longbill and the gorgeous Buff-throated Sunbird.

We shall then head towards the border with Ivory Coast where we will explore the superb forest reserve at Ankasa, which should give us our best chances of finding scarce regional endemics such as Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Green-tailed Bristlebill and Rufous-winged Illadopsis. African Finfoot can be found here and there is a good chance of Hartlaub’s Duck and Akun Eagle-Owl.

At an area of forest to the north of Kakum National Park, we shall get our chance to visit a colony of Yellow-headed Picathartes, an experience that should prove to be an amazing highlight of the tour.

Heading further north our next stop will be in the superb Mole National Park where African Savanna Elephants can be watched from our hotel. Avian attractions include the possibility of White-throated Francolin, Forbes’s Plover, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Standard-winged Nightjar and Sun Lark.

At Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region near the border with Burkina Faso we shall look for Fox Kestrel and the sublime Egyptian Plover, the latter now placed in its own monotypic family.

Returning south, a visit to Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary near Kumasi for Black anmd Red-billed Dwarf Hornbills is conveniently en route as we head back to Accra. By the time we return to the capital we will have explored all of Ghana’s major habitats and seen a superb selection of West African birds.

Birdquest has operated birding tours to Ghana since 2008.

BEST OF GHANA BIRDING TOUR: GENERAL INFORMATION

Important: The Birdquest group size limit is significantly lower than for some Ghana tours. There is a lot of forest birding in Ghana and so a smaller group size is a real benefit to participants.

Accommodation and Road Transport: The hotels/lodges used in Ghana are of good or medium standard throughout. Road transport is mostly by small coach (but by 4x4 vehicles at Ankasa), and roads are mostly good or reasonable.

Walking: The walking effort during our Ghana birding tour is mostly easy, sometimes moderate. At Atewa there is an optional long walk uphill to the top of the ridge, mainly for a slim chance of Nimba Flycatcher and a second chance for Blue-moustached Bee-eater.

Climate: The weather in Ghana will be hot and often humid. There is likely to be a mixture of sunny and overcast conditions. Rain is unlikely but possible in the southwest (and can be heavy if it occurs).

Bird Photography: Opportunities during our Ghana tour are quite good.

BEST OF GHANA BIRDING TOUR: PRICE INFORMATION

Tour Price: £3350, €3820, $4390 Accra/Accra. Single Room Supplement: £322, €367, $422. Deposit: £400, €480, $520.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Base prices for this tour are in US Dollars. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.150.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

The splendid Blue-breasted Kingfisher will be another forest speciality to delight us! (Pete Morris)

The splendid Blue-breasted Kingfisher will be another forest speciality to delight us! (Pete Morris)

The forests of Ghana offer great opportunities to see some of the spectacular West African forest species such as Chocolate-backed Kingfisher (Pete Morris)

The forests of Ghana offer great opportunities to see some of the spectacular West African forest species such as Chocolate-backed Kingfisher (Pete Morris)

... the lovely Blue-throated Roller (Nik Borrow)

... the lovely Blue-throated Roller (Nik Borrow)

... and the gorgeous Splendid Sunbird (Nik Borrow)

... and the gorgeous Splendid Sunbird (Nik Borrow)

Orange-cheeked Waxbill is a common inhabitant of more open areas (Nik Borrow)

Orange-cheeked Waxbill is a common inhabitant of more open areas (Nik Borrow)

More dowdy, though nonetheless interesting forest species include the tiny Lemon-bellied Crombec (Pete Morris)

More dowdy, though nonetheless interesting forest species include the tiny Lemon-bellied Crombec (Pete Morris)

And with just a bit of luck we will come across a Congo Serpent-Eagle (Nik Borrow)

And with just a bit of luck we will come across a Congo Serpent-Eagle (Nik Borrow)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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