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Ghana

In this hugely diverse country we will be able to enjoy many of West Africa's best birds! From excellent raptors like Congo Serpent Eagle, Long tailed Hawk, Akun Eagle Owl, and Fraser's Eagle Owl, to stunning passerines like Blue-moustached Bee-eater, Rosy Bee-eater, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, and the cool Buff-throated Sunbird. One of the global highlights for any birder of course has to be a visit to the famous Yellow-headed Picathartes nesting cave, but other specialties like White-throated Francolin, Western Long-tailed Hornbill, Brown Nightjar, Nkulengu Rail, and the rare Capuchin Babbler are an excellent supporting cast. Not to mention close-up encounters with Egyptian Plover, the incredible Standard-winged Nightjar, and one of Africa's only canopy walkways!

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Price: $

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Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

TBD

This is an optimised small-group route which covers all of the key Ghanan specialties. We do not visit the far north of the country which involves a lot of driving for one or two species best seen in Sierra Leone. We will be using an accredited local ground agent with local guides for the entire tour.

Accommodation:

Medium to good standard accommodation throughout the tour.

Walking difficulty:

Mostly easy roadside birding.

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Day 1: Arrivals into Accra International Airport (ACC) and overnight in the city.


Day 2: Today we will head off early from the capital and a relatively short drive will take us to Shai Hills Reserve. This dry area is the perfect habitat for our main target here: White-crowned Cliff Chat. There is also a chance to find the local subspecies of African Barred Owlet, along with our first West African species such as Ahanta Spurfowl, Violet Turaco, Blue-bellied Roller, and Yellow-crowned Gonolek, just to name a few. We will then transfer southwards to the Winneba area, where we will first stop at a lagoon and hope to pick up a selection of waterbirds, and then later visit the nearby plains for some more widely distributed species. Our list might already be substantial at this stage! We will then keep driving westwards to Kakum National Park, our final destination of the day. Night near Kakum National Park.


Day 3-4: Kakum National Park is world-famous for its impressive canopy walkway, which provides excellent opportunities to locate, at eye level, some of the species that usually stay way up high. We will spend plenty of time trying to connect with canopy-dwelling Upper Guinea endemics such as Ussher’s Flycatcher, Brown-cheeked Hornbill, Sharpe’s Apalis, and Yellow-chinned Sunbird, along with other forest specialties like Buff-throated Sunbird, Fire-bellied Woodpecker, and Fanti Saw-wing. Other excellent species here may include Violet-backed Hyliota, Black and Sabine’s Spinetails, Bristle-nosed, Naked-faced, Yellow-billed, Hairy-breasted, and Yellow-spotted Barbets (the latter a distinctive local form), Preuss’s, Yellow-mantled, and Maxwell’s Black Weavers, Blue-throated Roller, Rosy Bee-eater, Black-casqued, Yellow-casqued, and White-crested Hornbills, Yellow-billed Turaco, Fanti Drongo, Chestnut-winged and Splendid Starlings, the often difficult-to-see Sabine’s Puffback, Blue Cuckooshrike, Red-chested Goshawk, the much-wanted Congo Serpent Eagle, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Forest Penduline Tit, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Little Green Sunbird, and Golden Bulbul, among others. At dusk, we will try to spotlight Brown Nightjar from the canopy.


We will also be concentrating on the Abrafo area – an adjacent forest section of the national park – hoping to track down some more undergrowth specialties such as Grey-headed Bristlebill, Puvel’s Illadopsis, West African and stunning Red-cheeked Wattle-eyes, while we may also have our first chance at finding the marvellous Black Bee-eater. We will also visit a colony of the Vieillot’s Black Weaver; in Ghana, the distinguished form is sometimes treated as a separate species known as Chestnut-and-black Weaver. More key species in this area include Blue-shouldered Robin Chat, White-spotted Flufftail, Forest Robin, Red-vented and Red-headed Malimbes, Tit-hylia, Red-billed Helmetshrike, Copper-tailed Starling, Yellow-browed Caramoptera, Kemp’s Longbill, Forest Woodhoopoe, Icterine Greenbul, Chestnut-breasted Nigrita, Lowland Sooty Boubou, Black-throated Coucal, and Naked-faced Bulbul, just to name a few species that will keep us busy. Nights near Kakum National Park.


Day 5: After some final birding this morning in Kakum National Park searching for anything we might have missed the previous days, we will transfer westwards to the remote Ankasa National Park. On the way, we will stop at a pool, searching for Allen’s Gallinule, African Pygmy Goose, and Orange Weaver. We will then make another stop at Ebi Wetlands, which is a good spot to connect with Hartlaub’s Duck, as well as local Mangrove and Reichenbach’s Sunbirds. If we are lucky, we might find White-browned Forest Flycatcher. We should reach Ankasa National Park just in time to settle into our new base for the next three nights. After dusk, we will go out again for some night birding, where we will be hoping to locate Akun and Fraser’s Eagle Owl. Night near Ankasa National Park.


Day 6-7: Ankasa National Park remains an area of pristine West African forest close to the border of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), with a relatively light history of logging compared to other places in Ghana we will visit during this trip. As expected, birding here is usually tough, but can be rewarding! This area offers our best chance to “extract” some of the hardest and most elusive Upper Guinea Forest endemics, such as Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Rufous-winged Illadopsis, and Red-fronted Antpecker. We will also search for the much-wanted Nkulengu Rail at night, while African Finfoot, White-bellied and Shining-blue Kingfishers, White-crested Tiger Heron, and Spot-breasted Ibis are also possible. Other notable species here include Western Bearded and Plain Greenbuls, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Olivaceous and Tessmann's Flycatchers, Red-chested Owlet, White-tailed Alethe, Black Dwarf Hornbill, African Dwarf Kingfisher, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Blackcap Apalis, Long-tailed Hawk, and Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo. Nights near Ankasa National Park.


Day 8: After some final birding in the morning, we will head off early from the Ankasa forests for a long drive to our next destination: Bonkro. On the way, we will make a quick stop at the Pra River, where we will search for the coveted Rock Pratincole and White-bibbed Swallow. We plan to arrive in good time in the afternoon and get ready for what is undoubtedly the one of the main reasons to come to Ghana: the White-necked Rockfowl (better known as Yellow-headed Picathartes)! On foot, we will reach the rock formations in the hilly forest, where the birds are generally very obliging. We will sit and enjoy close encounters with these incredible birds! We will then transfer to our hotel in Kumasi for overnight.


Day 9: Today, we will head off early from Kumasi on a long drive northward to Mole National Park. We will stop on the way at the Opro area, which used to provide great forest birding until recently but is nowadays sadly deforested and replaced by plantations. Nevertheless, we still have a chance to track down the stunning Fiery-breasted Bushshrike, which apparently seems to be adapting well to the new teak plantations. There is also a chance for the rare Blaumann’s Olive Greenbul, as well as Guinea Turaco and Double-toothed Barbet. Afterwards, we will continue our long journey to Mole while keeping an eye out for Baudouin’s Snake Eagle on the way. We'll reach Mole in the late afternoon, just in time for some exciting night birding. The two stars are the ridiculous Standard-winged Nightjar and equally unique Long-tailed Nightjar, but we should also see Northern White-faced Owl, Greyish Eagle Owl, and African Scops Owl. Night near Mole National Park.


Day 10-11: Mole will be a pleasant change from the previous typical West African forest. Here, adding new species to our ever-growing list will be much easier! The reserve is Ghana’s largest park and comprises of various habitats, ranging from Guinean savanna woodland and swamps to more open grasslands. This variety in habitat means many new birds for us to seek out, particularly Sahel specialties! Among the key species we will be searching for are Sun Lark, Forbes's Plover, White-throated Francolin, Violet Turaco, Western Square-tailed Drongo, White-fronted Black Chat, Lavender Waxbill, Red-winged Pytilia, Senegal Batis, Exclamatory Paradise Whydah, and Yellow-crowned Gonolek, as well as the localised Dorst’s and Rufous Cisticolas, just to name a few. We will have time for more spotlighting too of course! Nights near Mole National Park.


Day 12: After some final birding in Mole, we will head back southwards to Bobiri. We will be passing by the White Volta River for one very special bird in particular: the incredible Egyptian Plover. After spending quality time watching this unique species along the river shoreline, we will continue our travel and should reach Bobiri at the end of the day.


Day 13: This morning, we will explore Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary. The area offers further chances to connect with some of the species we might have missed earlier in the trip. In particular, we will have another chance for Black-throated Coucal, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Melancholy Woodpecker, Forest Woodhoopoe, and Willcock’s Honeyguide. Here is also probably our best chance of locating the endangered Grey Parrot and tiny African Piculet. Other interesting species in the area may include Least Honeyguide, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, and Narina Trogon. We will continue our journey to the Atewa Range and start our exploration in the afternoon.


Day 14: We will have a full day to explore the incredible Atewa Range Forest Reserve, consisting of steep-sided, forested hills. Although deisgnated as an IBA, there is unfortunately constant pressure on the habitat due to mining activities. The forest here is inhabited by some very localised species and will certainly not deliver its treasures easily! The most notable species is perhaps the rare Nimba Flycatcher. While trying to locate this rarity, we may come across the stunning Blue-moustached Bee-eater (Atewa remains the best location in Ghana for this incredible species). Other key birds in the area may include Many-coloured Bushshrike, Little Green Woodpecker, Green-tailed Bristlebill, West African Batis, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Yellow-footed Honeyguide, and Forest Scrub Robin, all being typically very tough to find! Night near Atewa Range.


Day 15: We will spend the morning at Atewa Farmbush and try to connect with some new species like Compact Weaver, Black-and-white Flycatcher-shrike, and Marsh Tchagra, and later transfer to Ho, located not far from Kalapka Ressource Reserve in the Volta River. We will spend the rest of the day birding at Kalapka. Night at Ho.


Day 16: We will be looking for one bird in particular in this extensive reserve: the rare and localised Capuchin Babbler. Once again, we will need to try hard to locate this stunner, and we will also keep looking for Baumann’s Olive Greenbul if still needed. We will then return to Accra, making a last stop on the way for the range-restricted Pied-winged Swallow. The tour ends with drop-offs at Accra International Airport (ACC) for late afternoon flights.

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