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ULTIMATE GHANA

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.

Tuesday 19th November — Monday 9th December 2019
(21 days)


Leaders: Pete Morris and a local bird guide

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and 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")

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.

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 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 and Rufous Fishing 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 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 and Red-billed Dwarf Hornbills 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 and Capuchin Babbler.

Birdquest has operated tours to Ghana since 2008.

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 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 is mostly easy, sometimes moderate. At Atewa there is an optional long walk uphill to the top of the ridge, mainly for Blue-moustached Bee-eater and a chance of Nimba Flycatcher.

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.

Prices are provisional

Tour Price: £4590, €5410, $6010 Accra/Accra. Single Room Supplement: £400, €472, $524. Deposit: £550, €660, $720.

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 = $1.110.

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 superb Egyptian Plover, the sole member of its family, is one of the star attractions of northern Ghana. (Nik Borrow)

The superb Egyptian Plover, the sole member of its family, is one of the star attractions of northern Ghana. (Nik Borrow)

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)

59 photos View Gallery Photos From ULTIMATE GHANA
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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