Welcome to Birdquest
Birdquest's Ultimate Ghana tour offers the most comprehensive coverage of Ghana available. Our Ultimate Ghana 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 dry-country specialists of the far north.
Sunday 19th November —
Saturday 9th December 2017
Leaders: János Oláh and James Ntakor
Group Size Limit: 8
Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and mostly comfortable accommodations
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.
This interesting English-speaking country is now also firmly on the map for the birder, 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 special tour, which is designed to see as many of the Upper Guinea Forest specialties as possible, 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 West African adventure 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, and perhaps Etchecopar’s Owlet.
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, 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 visit Nsuta Forest near Sekondi. Here in this little-visited area we shall look for some prized specialities, such as White-crested Tiger Heron, Spot-breasted Ibis, Rufous Fishing Owl and Akun Eagle Owl, although all are hard to find.
Next 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.
Returning to the forests on the northern edge 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 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, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Standard-winged Nightjar and there are also chances of Forbes’s Plover and Togo Paradise Whydah.
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 Afep Pigeon is conveniently en route to the Atewa Range, an upland area that supports remnants of upland evergreen rainforest, one of the most unusual and interesting habitats in Ghana. Here we will have a chance to look for Blue-moustached Bee-eater and we have even seen the little-known Baumann’s Greenbul and Nimba Flycatcher here.
Our final destination will be Kalakpa Reserve in the Volta Region where in a forest-savanna mosaic we will search for Thick-billed Cuckoo, Pied-winged Swallow, Blue-shouldered Robin Chat and Capuchin Babbler.
Birdquest has operated tours to Ghana since 2008.
Important: The Birdquest group size limit is significantly lower than for some other Ghana tours. There is a lot of forest birding in southern Ghana and trying to get all members of a large group onto the more secretive birds is difficult to say the least.
Accommodation and Road Transport: The hotels are of good or medium standard throughout. For three nights at Ankasa we will stay in a simple but comfortable tented camp arranged by our local outfitters. Tents are of the large, walk-in, safari variety complete with beds. Road transport is mostly by small coach (but by 4x4 vehicles at Ankasa), and roads are mostly good or reasonable.
Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, sometimes moderate. At Atewa there is an optional long walk uphill to the top of the ridge, mainly for a chance of Nimba Flycatcher and a second chance for Blue-moustached Bee-eater.
Climate: It 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 are quite good.
Important Information for Pound Payers: Kindly note that the Pound prices shown here are based on post-EU-referendum exchange rate reality, unlike the website prices of most UK bird tour operators which are still based on outdated and hugely higher pre-referendum exchange rates. Consequently you can rest assured that we will not have to adjust these prices upwards at invoicing, unless the Pound falls significantly further, and if there is any recovery by the Pound you will receive the full benefit of the cost-saving by way of a price reduction at invoicing.
Tour Price: £4390, €5180, $5750 Accra/Accra.
Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, bottled water, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.
Base prices for this tour are determined in US Dollars, the currency in which we pay for most tour services. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = $1.310 and €1 = $1.110. For those not paying us in US Dollars, prices may be adjusted (either downwards or upwards) at the time of invoicing should there be a change in the exchange rate. See booking information.
Single Accommodation Supplement: £400, €472, $524.
Deposit: £500, €700, $750.
Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.
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