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Birdwatching in Ghana

Ghana is a country with great potentials as far as birdwatching is concern, it advantages are that it is politically stable, speaks English, has friendly people and complimented by a decent network of national and regional parks and ecotourism facilities with the Kakum Canopy Walkway being the iceing on the cake.
The two main climatic zones [dry north and wet south] spawn several distinct habitat biomes which includes the south western Guinea forest, Guinea savanna and far north eastern dry Sudan savanna.
Ghana's premier birding region is its lowland forest, which falls within the upper Guinea forest block. This stretches from Guinea to Ghana and harbours 15 endemic species of which 14 are globally threatened. Ghana is currently the only safe country in which this internationally recognined endemic birds area can be visited. Kakum National Park provides superb oppurtunity for sampling this forest jewels.
Another excellent forest birding site is the Atewa Range which is situated on the south Volta scarp and is one of the only higher lying forest in Ghana. Birding is extremely productive here. It is the only site with the dazzling but elusive Blue-headed Bee-eater and a whole lot of other special species.

"Kakum Canopy Walkway"

In a broad belt accros the center of Ghana lies the extensive tract of pristine, broad leaved Guinea woodland and in this zone the vast Mole National Park is a superb place to be. The lodge at the Mole National Park is a wonderful place for birds associated with the drier northern woodland. The moist woodland surrounding the swamp below the lodge is the home to some special birds, in particular the highly desirable Oriole Warbler one of west African most beautiful birds.
Birding in Ghana received a big boost with the rediscovery of the White-necked Picathartes, in fact in one of the hilly forest with rocky out crops, about 30 birds with their nest was discovered and this is a bonus for any birder visiting Ghana. This bird is one of the most endangered species in the world.

Birdingpaltours offers three birding tours in Ghana

14 day birdwatching tour to Ghana

10 day birdwatching tour to Ghana

7 day birdwatching tour to Ghana

"Trip map"


Electronic map of Ghana

Tour I

14 day birding tour to Ghana.
Expect 300+ species in peak periods during the tour.

Itinerary

Day 1.
Upon arrival, you will be met by our guides who will transfer you to our nearby birder friendly hotel for a good night’s rest and acclimatization.

Violet Turaco Ben van den Broek

Day 2.
After an early departure towards the west we head for Kakum National Park. On our way, our first stop will be at a Ramsar scheduled site with its complex of lagoons, salt pans and marsh land. Here, depending on the season, we expect to see both resident and migrant shore birds such as, Collared Pratincole, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Sanderling, Senegal Thick-knee, Wattled Lapwing, African Jacana, various species of Terns, Western Reef Egret and other Herons and Egrets. Weavers, Cisticolas and Bishops are to be seen in the grassy areas of the site. Further along the way we will also stop at a site known as Lily-Pond. Here we may see Purple Heron, Purple Swamphen, Hornbills, Egrets, etc.
Day 3 -5.
Kakum National Park is the leading destination for birdwatching in Ghana. The incredible canopy walkway which is suspended between seven huge forest trees with its platforms for telescopes is the highlight of this forest birding. Bird watching from this walkway will allow the seldom seen canopy dwelling birds to be closely observed.
Apart from the canopy walkway we shall bird all the areas around the Kakum forest as well as the coastal savannah around Cape Coast. The number of birds we shall see in these areas will certainly exceed your expectations.
We shall also allow some time to visit the Cape Coast and Elmina castles which were the major route by which African slaves were shipped to the new world. These castles are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites and originally date back to 16th century.
Day 6.
After a final morning of birding at the Kakum area, we will head for Assin Foso. This is surely the highlight of the tour, where we hope to be able to show you Yellow-headed Picathartes. This enigmatic species has quite recently been rediscovered in Ghana after not having been seen in the country for over 40 years. We are proud to be able to give you the opportunity of seeing this most spectacular forest bird.

Palm-nut Vulture Ben van den Broek

Day 7.
We shall go to Aboabo camp in the northern part of Kakum for further forest birding and possibly catch up with some species that we might have missed previously around Kakum’s main entrance. Aboabo is a very productive area. We will leave Assin Foso for Kumasi. On arrival we take up our rooms in our hotel in order to have a good rest before going out for some evening birding at the Bobiri sanctuary. Bobiri is not as big as Kakum but very productive and serves as a very good stop-over en route to the Mole National Park. Here we expect to see many forest species and it will also serve as a good place to increase our number of forest species as some of those that we missed at Kakum may also be found here, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Blue-throated Roller, Shining Blue Kingfisher, Bat Hawk, Gray Parrot and Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, amongst others, are possibilities.
Day 8.
After a morning birding in the Bobiri forest we leave for Mole National Park. Mole which is situated in the north of the country is the best place in Ghana to see savannah birds. Our arrival at Mole will be in the evening and depending on our arrival time we may be able to do some night birding. Such nocturnal species as Scops Owl, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Spotted Eagle Owl, Standard-winged Nightjar, Freckled Nightjar, Plain Nightjar can often be found here.

Green Wood Hoopoe

Day 9 to 11.
Bird watching at Mole is outstanding; the ease with which one can see the birds will amaze you. All Ghana’s savannah birds are to be found here. Amongst the most interesting species one can mention: Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Saddle-billed Stork, Bateleur, Martial Eagle, African Hawk Eagle, Hadada Ibis, Long-tailed Starling, Purple Glossy Starling, Egyptian Plover, African Golden Oriole, African Hobby, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow, Stone Partridge, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Giant Kingfisher, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Red-throated Bee-eater, Broad-billed Roller, Exclamatory Paradise Whydah, and water fowl such as African Jacana, Spur-winged Goose, White-faced Whistling Duck, Senegal Thick-knee, Common Sandpiper are found around the water holes in the park.
However the full list of birds for this exceptional site is too long to be included here, but on request we would happy to let you have a fuller list of the birds that can be seen in the Mole National Park.
Birding watching here is impossible without also coming face to face with large mammals, over 800 African Elephants are present in the park, and some around the village near the park entrance are extraordinarily tame. Many species of antelopes, several species of monkeys can also be seen and the remarkably tame Warthogs and troops of Baboons are always to be seen around the hotel. Crocodiles and Water Monitors are also frequently encountered around the water holes.
Day 12.
We shall depart for the Atewa plains, Depending on the time of our arrival; we shall go birding in the evening. It is the only forest where Blue-headed Bee-eater can be seen, and this site will also give us the opportunity to increase our list of forest birds.

White-necked Picathartes on nest.

Day 13.
After a morning birding on the Atewa plains, we head for Accra and the same evening we continue on to the Shai Hills Resource Reserve for some evening birding. Here we will have the opportunity to see some of the savannah birds that we missed at Mole National Park as well as observing some birds that are particularly associated with this location such as, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Senegal Parrot, Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrike, Violet Turaco, etc.
Day 14.
This morning we visit the Sakumono Lagoon for our final birding in Ghana. Here we have the highest concentration of water fowl in Ghana; it is a very productive area. After birding here you will be driven to the airport for your departure in the evening.


14 Day tour price is: 2 pax US$2750 per person. 4 pax US$2530 per person.
Single supplement: US$165

Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

Included:
Collection from the airport, Transportation around Ghana, accomodation, all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), Mineral water, park entrance fees, all guide fees and excursion cost.
Excluded:
Flight ticket, entry visa, alcoholic and soft drinks, items of purly personal needs.


Tour II

10 day birding tour to Ghana.
Expect 250 species in peak periods during the tour.

Itinerary

Day 1.
On arrival you will be received at the airport by our tour guides who will drive you to our birder friendly hotel and brief you on the tour.

"Red-headed Malimbe" Stephen Bocca

Day 2.
This morning we will head towards the western part of Ghana where we have the forests,on our way we will stop for birding at the Winneba plains and Lilly pond before arriving our hotel which is located few kilometers away from kakum forest.
After lunch,we will have our first taste of the forest. We'll bird Antwikwaa in the western part of the forest. Here we hope to see many beautiful forest jewels such as the enchanting Black Beeeater, the dashing Long-tailed Hawk, the secretive White-spotted Flufftail, Pipping Hornbill, the impressive White-crowned Hornbill, the Malimbe species, Yellow-billed Barbet, many species of Bulbuls, Bat Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Yellow-billed Turaco, Klass's Cuckoo, the elusive Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Letham Francolin and Ahanta Francolin etc.
Day 3.
Today we will be at the canopy walk way. This walkway is heist on seven huge trees 40 meters above the rainforest floor, this means that we watch the forest canopy on eye level. The canopy jewels are exposed in this forest. The rule here is see as much as your eyes can see. Black Beeeater, White-throated Beeeater, Rosy Beeeater, Black Casqued Hornbill, Brown-cheeked, Yellow Casqued, White-crested, Black and White Casqued Hornbills. Malimbes, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Narrow-tailed Starling, Chestnut-winged Starling, Senegal Parrot, Gray Parrot, Tit Hylia, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Turaco, Yellow-mantled Weaver, many species of Bulbuls, Cassins Hawk Eagle, African Harrier Hawk, Congo Serpent Eeagle, Long-crested Eagle etc. are all exposed here.
After lunch we return again to this forest where we will stay till night in an attempt to see the the Brown Nightjar, Fraser's Eagle Owl and Akun Eagle Owl.
Day 4.
Another morning visit to the canopy walkway, this time we will try to pick some of the species that we might have missed out the previous morning. We will also expect some suprises.
After lunch we take off for Ghana number on bird. The Picathartes. On arrival at this remote village, we will pick our guide and head straight for the forest. We may see some beautiful birds like the White-tailled Ant Thrush, Letham Francolin, Buff-throated Sunbird, etc. Great attention are normally not paid to this birds as everybody's target is the rock fowl.

"Great Blue Turaco" Stephen Bocca

Day 5.
Today we visit the ever productive forest of Aboabo. This forest is in the northern part of Kakum forest. This forest area is blessed with special species which gives a lasting memory. Species like African Piculet, Brown Illadopsis, many species of Barbets, Black Cuckoo, Black Dwarf Hornbill, many species of Flycatchers, Bronze-napped Pigeon, Cuckoo Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Black Sparrow Hawk etc. to mention but a few that adorns this forest.
After lunch we will repeat this forest as it is very good at pulling surprises.
Day 6.
After our last morning visit to Aboabo camp, we will depart for Kumasi. On arrival at Kumasi after lunch we will go to Bobiri forest. A special forest by all standard. We will look out for the Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Gray Parrot, many species of Wood peckers, Yellow-billed Turaco, Brown Nightjar, Black-throated Coucal, Afep Pigeon, Narina Trogon, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Broadbilled Roller, Blue-throated Roller, Forest Wood-hoopoe, Violet Hyliota and many other species we might have missed out.
Day 7.
After another great morning birding at Bobri forest we head south to the Atewa forest. This magical forest is an authority as far as bird production is concern. Apart from quantity, the quality of birds you will see here will thrill you. Before arriving at our hotel we will stop and have our lunch at the beautiful Linda Dorstop, which will also serve as our eating point in this area. After lunch we bird the lower area of the Atewa plains in what will be a warm up for the following morning birdwatching.
Day 8.
Today will be dedicated to birds as we walk all the way to the top of this hill. This is also home of the magical but elusive Blue-headed Bee-eater, the newly discover Nimba Flycatcher, Icterine Greenbul, Western Bearded Greenbul, Long-tailed Hawk, Forest Robin, SShining Drongo, Spotted Honeyguide, Kemp's Longbill, Gray Longbill, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Dusky Longtailed Cuckoo, Olive Longtailed Cuckoo etc. are all found in this forest. Even the hardest birder finds a reason to smile here.
Day 9.
This morning we will visit the Apapam area of the Atewa plains. We will be picking up any of the species we missed out the previous day. It promises to be interesting as we'll likly encounter many species we have not seen before.
After lunch we visit Bunso Aboretum and the lower part of the Atewa forest after which we depart for Accra.
Day 10.
Before your final departure, time permitting we will visit Shai Hill near Accra, a coastal savanna with interesting birding. A slight departure from forest birding will do us no harm before taking you to the air port for a final good bye.

10 Day tour price is: 2 pax US$1800 per person. 4 pax US$1600 per person.
Single supplement: US$200

Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

Included: Collection from the airport, Transportation around Ghana, accomodation, all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), Mineral water, park entrance fees, all guide fees and excursion cost.
Excluded:
Flight ticket, entry visa, alcoholic and soft drinks, items of purly personal needs.


Tour III

7 day birding tour to Ghana.
Expect 200 species in peak periods during the tour.

Itinerary

Day 1.
On arrival you will be received at the airport by our tour guides who will drive you to our birder friendly hotel and brief you on the tour.

"Black-collared Lovebird" Stephen Bocca

Day 2.
This morning we will head towards the western part of Ghana where we have the forests. On our way we will stop for birding at the Winneba plains, birding this coastal savana is always prouctive. We will also stop and bird Lilly pond before arriving our hotel which is located few kilometers away from Kakum Forest or we may even go for the lodge inside Kakum Forest depending on your choice.
Day 3.
Today we will be at the canopy walk way. This walkway is heist on seven huge trees 40 meters above rainforest floor. This means that we watch the forest canopy at eye level. The canopy jewels are exposed in this forest. The rule here is see as much as your eyes can. Black Bee-eater, White-throated Bee-eater, Rosy Bee-eater, Black Casqued Hornbill, Brown-cheeked, Yellow Casqued, White Crested, Black and White Casqued Hornbills. Malimbes, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Narrow-tailed Starling, Chestnut-winged Starling, Senegal Parrot, Gray Parrot, Tit Hylia, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Turaco, Yellow-mantled Weaver, many species of Bulbuls, Cassins Hawk Eagle, African Harrier Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-crested Eagle etc. are all exposed here.
After lunch we return again to this forest where we will stay till night with an attempt to see the the Brown Nightjar, Fraser's Eagle Owl and Akun Eagle Owl.
Day 4.
We'll bird Antwikwaa in the western part of the forest. Here we hope to see many beautiful forest jewels such as the enchanting Black Bee-eater, the dashing Long-tailed Hawk, the secretive White-spotted Flufftail, Pipping Hornbill, the impressive White-crowned Hornbill, the Malimbe, Yellow-billed Barbet, many species of Bulbuls, Bat Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Yellow-billed Turaco, Klass's Cuckoo, the elusive Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Letham Francolin, Ahanta Francolin etc.
After lunch we take off for Ghana number one bird. The Picathartes. On arrival at this remote village, we will pick our guide and head straight for the forest. We may see some beautiful birds like the White-tailled Ant Thrush, Letham Francolin, Buff- throated Sunbird etc. Great attention are normally not paid to this birds as everybody's target is the rock fowl.

"White-necked Picathartes" Stephen Bocca

Day 5.
We shall go to Aboabo camp in the northern part of Kakum for further forest birding and possibly catch up with some species that we might have missed previously around Kakum’s main entrance. Aboabo is a very productive area. We will leave Assin Foso for Kumasi. On arrival we take up our rooms in our hotel in order to have a good rest before going out for some evening birding at the Bobiri sanctuary. Bobiri is not as big as Kakum but very productive and serves as a very good stop-over en route to the Mole National Park. Here we expect to see many forest species and it will also serve as a good place to increase our number of forest species as some of those that we missed at Kakum may also be found here, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Blue-throated Roller, Shining Blue Kingfisher, Bat Hawk, Gray Parrot and Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, amongst others, are possibilities.
Day 6.
Today will be dedicated to birds as we walk all the way to the top of this hill. This is also home of the magical Blue-headed Bee-eater, the newly discover Nimba Flycatcher, Icterine Greenbul, Western-bearded Greenbul, Long-tailed Hawk, Forest Robin, Shining Drongo, Spotted Honeyguide, Kemp's Longbill, Gray Longbill, Thickbilled Cuckoo, Dusky Longtailed Cuckoo, Olive Longtailed Cuckoo etc. are all found in this forest. Even the hardest birder finds a reason to smile here. Birding here takes a whole day, breaking only to drink water and eat snacks.
Day 7.
Depending on your time of depature we will go birding before taking you to the airport for a final good bye.

7 Day tour price is: 2 pax US$1300 per person. 4 pax US$1100 per person.
Single supplement: US$150

Due to currency fluctuations and fuel cost we reserve the right to adjust any pricing prior to departure.

Convert your tour cost into your currency of choice.

Included:
Collection from the airport, Transportation around Ghana, accomodation, all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), Mineral water, park entrance fees, all guide fees and excursion cost.
Excluded:
Flight ticket, entry visa, alcoholic and soft drinks, items of purly personal needs.


Notes:
All the date of itineraries include arrival and departure dates.
Transportation: Air conditioned vehicles.
Accomodation: Hotels with aircondition, ensuite facilities and guest house with ceiling fans and ensuite facilities. Some of our hotels are Dutch hotel Nshona, Hans cottage motel, Mole motel and Silicon hotels.
All trips are available year round, but prices may be adjusted around special holidays.
Minimum lead time 2 month.
To check availability for tours on short notice, fill out “Request for Quote” form with desirable dates.
Birding season: January/March - excellent. April/July - Fairly Good. August/October - Good. November/December - very Good.

Fitness:
Maximum fitness is required, as we have to walk most of the times. Sometimes we walk for a long distance before joining the car.
Equipment: You will need Binoculars, Telescope, a good pair of boots and sometimes a long sleeve shirt. Insect repellants are also needed.


Should you only need a guide for a day please send a message to Kalu.   

Birding guide Kalu Afasi, your local Birdingpal guide
Kalu Afasi is a highly experienced tour guide and has led tours for many companies in Ghana. His love of birds and his identification skills of the birds of West African are exceptional, as is his knowledge of where to find them.
Kalu was taught the science and art of birdwatching by a Danish birdwatcher by name Jens Byskov. After receiving his first lesson from Jens, Kalu attached himself to David Daramani, who himself has birded in Ghana for close to 40 years. His youth fulness and sense of humor makes him the best.


Testimonials.

Myself and a colleague, Ian Searle contacted Kalu via Birdingpals last year to organise a tour of Ghana. We wanted a reliable, knowledgable guide who could organise our trip, arrange transport and suggest places to stay. We also wanted to see as many species as possible including the Yellow-headed Picathartes. Kalu was a surperb guide as he was extremely knowledgable about the birds of Ghana including their calls and the best sites. We saw an amazing 253 Species in only one week including some of the most difficult species. Kalu knew many of the local reserve officials and was able to gain access for us outside normal visiting hours so we could make an early start some days. He also arranged excellent accommodation and engaged an excellent driver for our trip. In summary we were extremely happy with Kalu’s service, and our journey was real fun. I would have no hesitation in recommending him to visiting Birders.
Rob Rackliffe, robertr(AT)gryconsulting.org
February 2008
I just wanted to feedback to you on a recent trip to Ghana. Marlin Jones and I had a terrific time with Kalu, who was an excellent guide. Everything went smoothly, with no glitches. I saw 80 life birds and Marlin saw 160. Thank you for setting up this terrific guide service. Cheers, Charles H. Trost, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus of Ornithology, Idaho State University, Pocatello Idaho 83204
Dear Kalu.
Thank you for your very nice email. Yes, I did have a cool and nice flight home. And thank you very much for an excellent trip. I was hoping for quite a lot of new birds, but it far exceeded my expectations. It was very successful and well organised. Your ability to find and instantly identify the birds by sight and sound was exceptional. I am very envious of your excellent vision. I can understand your frustration at my not being able to see the birds so quickly and by not being able to catch what you said. I saw 324 birds, over half of them new for me, including many special ones. Brilliant! I think you saw another 5 or 6 that I was not able to see. I would be interested to know the name of that animal we saw that was new for you, at the Forbes's Plover sight. You will see that I have copied Knud at Birdinpals with this email as I wanted him to know about your trip. I will also be telling my friends about the success of the trip, but not too many as I know you want to spend some time with your family. And please pass my appreciation to the driver, Cobby, for his reliability and dedication, especially in not wanting to leave the trip to join his wife at the time of the birth of their second baby.
Thanks again Kalu and I wish you success in the future.
Terry Boss, USA

Should you only need a guide for a day please send a message to David.   
Birding guide David Daramani, your local Birdingpal guide
David is regarded as the father of birdwatching in Ghana,he has led uncountable bird watching trips.He knows the birds of Ghana and can easily identify them by their songs.David knows all the important bird watching areas in Ghana and in fact he helped in the development of some of them.Birdwatching with David in Ghana is the best things that can happen to any birdwatcher who visits Ghana as he is guaranteed a very memorable trip.


Some facts about Ghana.

Ghana lies on the gulf of Guinea on the western coast of tropical Africal.Ghana extends for a maximun of 672km from south to north and for 536km km east to west. It is bordered to the west by Cote d' ivoire, to the north by Burkina Faso, to the west by Togo and to the south by the Atlantic ocean. It has a total land area of 238,537km square.
Accra is the capital of Ghana and has a population of about three million. It is the largest city in Ghana and it is closely followed by Kumasi the capital of old Ashanti empire with a population of about two million.
Ghana is divided into ten administrative regions, all of which to some degree have borders dating back to the colonial days.
The total population of Ghana stood at 18,845,265 according to 2000 census which represents an increase of 54% since the 1984 census counted a population of 12,296,081.
English is the official national language and it is widely spoken. A total of 75 African languages and dialets are also spoken in Ghana with Twi an Akan tongue being the most spoken.
Freedom of worship is a constitutional right in Ghana and although significant christian and islamic population live side by side the level of tolerance is very high.
Since the constitution of the fouth republic was approved by a referendum in april 1992, Ghana has been a multi party democracy. It has successfully voted and changed power from one political party to another. Ghana today is widely regarded as the friendliest nation in Africa.


More facts about Ghana.

Guide books and CD’s recommended:

"Birds of western Africa" by Ron Demey and Nik Borrow
"Birds of Africa south of sahara" by Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan

Find lowest prices here

Bird Recordings from Ghana

"African Bird Sounds Vol. 2, West and Central Africa" by Claude Chappuis


www.birdsounds.nl

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Last update 20/02/2014