• Yellow-headed Picathartes

    Credit - Lucas Lombardo

14 Day - GHANA STANDARD BIRDING TRIP

Ghana is a unique destination in West Africa with the rare opportunity to see the Yellow-headed Picathartes (White-necked Rockfowl) which is one of the most sought after birds in Africa . Apart from this amazing forest jewel the other star attractions in Ghana include the enchanting Egyptian plover, the dazzling Forbes Plover and the Hartlaub's Duck. With 755 species, of which more than half can easily be found, Ghana remains a top destination for international birders.

ITINERARY TAB BELOW NEXT TO GALLERY TAB
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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Ghana

You will be met upon your arrival by your guide at the Kotoka International airport arrivals hall in Accra Ghana. It is a short journey (approximately 15 minutes depending on traffic) to your hotel which is located in Ghana’s capital Accra. After checking you in your guide will brief you on the following days activities and answer any questions you may have. Depending on your arrival time, you can enjoy your early evening meal whilst acclimatizing yourself to West Africa.

Day 2 Birding Winneba lagoon and Kakum surrounds

As the vast majority of international flights arrive in Ghana late in the evening, we take a relaxed breakfast on our first morning allowing us time to acclimatize to Western Africa and also recharge our batteries after travelling the previous day. We check out of our hotel at 9am enabling us to miss the worst of the famous Accra rush hour traffic as we head west towards Winniba Lagoon.

Target species:  Royal, Black and Caspian Terns, White-fronted Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Tern, Grey Plover, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Whimbrel, Wood Sandpiper, Eurasian Curlew, Marsh Sandpiper, Little Stint, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Sandwich Tern, Common Redshank and Common Greenshank

After a wonderful morning we have lunch in Winniba before setting off for Jukwa and the Rainforest Lodge our accommodation for the next 3 nights whilst we visit Kakum National Park. After we have checked into our accommodation we set off for late afternoon/early evening birding around the farmland scrub of Jukwa. 

Target species: Red-headed Qualia, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, Bar-breasted Fire-finch, Village and Compact Weavers, Splendid and Copper Sunbirds and Red-faced and Whistling Cisticolas amongst other species.

We will visit a small forest close to our lodge and try for the Frasers Eagle Owl and Long-tailed Nightjar before returning to our accommodation for our evening meal and checklist.

Day 3 Birding Kakum National Park, canopy walkway

An early breakfast as we head for the world famous canopy walkway at Kakum National Park which is approximately 15 minutes’ drive from our lodge. We aim to get to Kakum for first light enabling us to spend the most critical bird viewing hours 40 meters above the forest floor on the canopy walkway, which 7 platforms are large enough to support Telescopes. The 360 km² Kakum National Park protects secondary upper guinea semi deciduous tropical rainforest and it is a wonderful feeling being so close to the canopy of this beautiful forest.

Target species: Violet-backed Hyliota, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, the upper guinea endemics Sharpes Apalis, Brown-cheeked Hornbill and Copper-tailed Glossy Starling, Bioko Batis, Blue Cuckooshrike, Little Green Woodpecker and the Whitecrested Hornbill. Other species we hope to see include Blue-throated Brown, Green, Collard, Johanna’s and the beautiful Buff-throated Sunbirds, Red-headed and Crested Malimbes, Rosy Bee-eater, White-breasted and Grey-crowned Negrofinch, Red-fronted and African Grey Parrots, Yellowbill, Western Black-headed and Black Winged Orioles, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Splendid Glossy and Forest Chestnut-winged Starlings, Preuss’s Golden-backed and Yellow-mantled Weavers, Green Hylia, Golden, Slender-billed and Little Grey Greenbuls, African Green Pigeon, Yellow-billed Turaco, Emerald Cuckoo, Blue-throated Roller, Yellow-throated, Red-rumped and Speckled Tinkerbirds, Hairy-breasted and Naked-faced Barbets, Usshers and Little Grey Flycatchers, Cassins Honeybird and African Pied Hornbill to mention a few. The raptors we have a chance to see include, Congo Serpent Eagle, African Harrier Hawk, Palm Nut Vulture, Cassins Hawk Eagle, European Honey and Red-necked Buzzards. Some of the more difficult but still possible species from the canopy include Long-tailed Hawk, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Yellow-footed Honeyguide and Black-collard Lovebird.

After a wonderful morning we return to our lodge to freshen up and enjoy our lunch. During the heat of mid-afternoon, you will have the option of birding around our lodges grounds, resting in your air conditioned rooms, around the pool and bar or you could choose to go on a cultural excursion to Cape Coast castle, compliments of Ashanti African Tours. We re-visit the canopy walkway in the evening. Our evening will be spent at the lodges restaurant and bar discussing the day’s sightings, adding to our checklist and enjoying the atmosphere of our surroundings.

Target species: Brown-cheeked, Black and Yellow-casqued Hornbills, Great Blue Turaco, Brown Nightjar and Fraser’s Eagle Owl amongst other specials.

Day 4 Birding Antwikwaa and Kakum National Park

Another early start as we visit the Antwikwaa section of Kakum National Park, hoping to add some amazing birds to our growing list 

Target species: Little, White-throated, Rosy and Black Bee-eaters, Blue-throated Roller, Piping Hornbill, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, White-spotted Flufftail, Cassin’s Spinetail, Sabine’s Spinetail, DiEdric Cuckoo, Melancholy and Buff-spotted Woodpeckers, Vieillot’s Black and Black-necked Weavers, Kemps and Grey Longbills, Western Nicator, Western Bluebill, Olive-bellied, Superb and Johanna’s Sunbirds, Coppertailed Glossy and Violet-backed Starlings, Yellow White-eye, Bronze Mannikin, Orangecheeked Waxbill and the more difficult species include Yellow-billed Barbet, Forest Penduline Tit, Ayre’s Hawk Eagle and Ahanta Francolin to mention a few.

We then go to a river site for the beautiful White-bibbed (White-throated Blue) Swallow, Preuss’s Cliff Swallow, Rock Pratincole, White-headed Lapwing, and if we are lucky which we sometimes are African Finfoot may make an appearance. In the afternoon we will concentrate our attention on the many trails within and surrounding the park, which should prove to be very productive. Once again we will remain until dark trying for owls and nightjars that we may still need before returning to our accommodation for our meal and checklist.

Target species: White-tailed Alethe, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Forest Robin, Yellow-billed Turaco, Fire-bellied Woodpecker, Melancholy Woodpecker.

Day 5 Birding Kakum Forest and Ankasa Reserve

This morning we will be concentrating our time on the farmland scrub, forest edge and forest trails at Abrafo a section of forest habitat near to Kakum National Park.

Target species: Pale Flycatcher, Black and White Mannikin, Brown-crownedTchagra, Sooty Boubou, Puvel’s Illadopsis, Olive-green Camaroptera, Red-faced and Whistling Cisticolas, Lesser Striped Swallow, Fanti Saw-wing, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Nakedfaced and Hairy-breasted Barbets, Frasers and Little-green Sunbirds, Yellowbill, Redcheeked Wattle-eye, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Common Fiscal, Spotted Greenbul, Finsch’s Flycatcher Thrush, Yellow-whiskered and Red-tailed Greenbuls, White-crested Hornbill, African Harrier Hawk and the more sought after difficult species include Long-tailed Hawk, Red-billed Helmetshrike, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Olive Longtailed Cuckoo, Congo Serpent Eagle, Red-billed and Black Dwarf Hornbills.

We'll check out of our hotel after enjoying our lunch and set off westwards for what should prove to be a major highlight of your time with us here in Ghana. Our destination is Ankasa Reserve, Ghana’s only wet evergreen rain forest that is in near pristine condition. An exceptional forest in a remote location Ankasa protects many rare and sought after bird and mammal species. Our camp leader and his assistants will be waiting to greet us on arrival and we have large tents with comfortable mattresses, pillows and bed sheets for comfort whilst we sleep. In addition there are flushing toilets and cold private shower facilities here and our cook will keep us well fed three times a day with cold beers and non-alcoholic beverages available in addition. We also have electricity and a backup generator if needed. The majority of our tour participants inform us camping here is a major highlight of their tour. If you are not happy to camp please inform us and we will discuss alternative arrangements available. As we arrive in the late afternoon we settle into our camp before heading out for early evening birding where we hope to see Frasers and Akun Eagle Owls. Your guide will also be looking for the legendary Nkulengu Rail. Our evening will be spent at our camp enjoying the atmosphere of being at one with nature.

 

Days 6 Birding Ankasa Reserve

Your guide will be up before first light listening for the unmistakeable call of the Nkulengu Rail, if he locates this species he will alert the group before breakfast. It’s wonderful actually staying at a birding location and not having to waste time travelling. We set off venturing deeper into this lush forest.

Target species: the upper guinea endemics Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Rufous-winged Illadopsis and Green-tailed Bristlebill in addition to Ansorge’s, Icterine, Red-tailed and Western-bearded Greenbul’s, Pale-breasted and Blackcap Illadopsis, Forest Robin, White-tailed Ant Thrush, White-tailed Alethe, Shinning Drongo, Cassin’s Flycatcher, Yellow-spotted Barbet, White-throated Bee-eater, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Blue-headed Wood Dove, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Yellow-billed and Great Blue Turaco’s, Black-capped Apalis, Grey-headed Bristlebill, Tiny Sunbird and Redfronted Antpecker.

As we walk towards the watering holes located deeper inside the forest we hope to see:

Target species: Crested Guineafowl on the road. Our target birds will include Hartlaubs Duck, Dwarf Bittern, African Finfoot, Shining Blue, White-bellied, Blue-breasted and Dwarf Kingfishers. Forest raptors are always welcome and we hope to see Long-tailed Hawk and Congo Serpent Eagle. We will scan the sky for Crown Eagle, Square-tailed and Fanti Saw-wings, Black and Yellow Casqued Hornbills in addition to Black Dwarf and Piping Hornbills.

There are some very rare species here and if we are very lucky which we sometimes are we may see Whitebreasted Guineafowl, White-crested Tiger Heron, Grey-throated Rail, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Forest Scrub Robin, Red-chested Owlet and Akun Eagle Owl. Our evening is spent at our camp enjoying good food and discussing the days birding over a cold refreshing drink.

Day 7 Birding Ankasa Reserve and Brenu Akyinim

A final mornings birding at this wonderful location, we will be targeting species we may have missed or would like to get better views of. After a full mornings birding we return to our camp to arrange our bags and enjoy our lunch before we head back towards Kakum National Park. During our journey we will be targeting several species not seen in other parts of Ghana.

Target species: Reichenbach’s and Brown Sunbird, Orange Weaver, African Pygmy Goose and Little Grebe to mention a few.

New habitat is in store for us after our relaxing lunch as we check out of our hotel and head for Brenu Akyinim and the coastal savannah plains. There are some special species found in this area and new birds we hope to see include:

Target species: Marsh Tchagra, Compact Weaver, Double-spurred Francolin, Oriole Warbler, Red-headed Quelea, Black-rumped Waxbill and if we are lucky Yellow-winged Pytillia, Wilsons Indigobird and African Wattled Lapwing.

If we choose to stay late around dusk should give us the opportunity to see Greyish Eagle Owl, Long-tailed and possibly Plain Nightjars before we arrive back at the Rainforest Lodge Hotel for our evening meal and checklist.

Day 8 Birding Abrafo Forest and Picathartes Nesting Site

Today is special and it is difficult to focus our minds on anything other than the afternoon visit to the Yellow-headed Picathartes nesting site, however we will have to as we have a full mornings birding to enjoy. We check out of our hotel after an early breakfast and set off for Abrafo forest where we will be targeting species we may still require from this habitat. After an excellent morning we set off northwards stopping for lunch en-route before arriving at a remote village close to a small upper guinea rainforest in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. All of the known nesting sites for the Yellow-headed Picathartes are in forest reserves and not protected areas. There are around 20 nesting sites in this small forest and we will visit one of the largest colony’s that has approximately 30 nests. As we set off on the walk through this beautiful forest you can see why it is one of the most sought after species in the world, the total experience adds to this mythical birds reputation. The overhanging rock face and small cave with mud nests sets the atmosphere as we wait for the birds to come back from foraging for snails and insects during the day. It is hard to contain your excitement as these legendary prehistoric looking birds hop and jump on the rocks whilst preening themselves just meters from our eyes (no telescope needed). Once we have enjoyed good views we leave the birds in peace as we set off back through the forest to our vehicle. On our arrival in Kumasi we check into our hotel before enjoying our evening meal.

Day 9 Birding Offinso Forest and Mole National Park

After an early breakfast we set off for an interesting forest in a transitional zone between the southern wetter forests and northern drier woodland habitats where we find some quality species. During a full mornings birding here we hope to see:

Target species: Afep and Western Bronze-naped Pigeons, Red-billed Helmet-shrike, Many-coloured, Lagdens and Fiery-breasted Bushshrikes, Red-thighed and Black Sparrowhawks, Bioko Batis, Green (Guinea) Turaco, Rufoussided Broadbill and our main targets will be Blue-moustached Bee-eater, Capuchin Babbler, Yellow-footed Honeyguide and Forest Scrub Robin to mention a few.

We set off for Ghana’s premier game viewing park found in the Northern Region after an excellent morning at Offinso. It is approximately a 5 hours’ drive from Offinso to Mole National Park and we will be stopping for lunch and several leg stretches en-route. We can expect to see different species of birds as we head northwards as the habitat changes to the drier broad leaved guinea woodland and savannah. Your guide will be keeping an eye open for the many raptors we hope to see during our journey which include Beaudouins Snake and Long-crested Eagles, Grasshopper Buzzard, Yellow-billed Kite and Shikra amongst others.

Mole is Ghana’s largest National Park protecting an area of 4847 square kilometres of habitat, almost 100 species of mammal and 330+ species of birds. Situated on a 250 meter high escarpment overlooking this 4840km² park, it offers breathtaking views. It is an amazing feeling to be sitting around the pool on the hotel terrace watching African savannah elephants bathing in the two nearby watering holes which are inhabited by crocodiles. After our evening meal, we shall set off for an evening of birding around the Mole Airstrip where we hope to see displaying Standard-winged Nightjars. The airstrip is also productive for owls and we will be looking for Grayish Eagle and northern White-faced Scops owls before we retire for the evening.

Day 10 &11 Birding Mole National Park

Mole is a real nature lover’s paradise and we are in for a real treat over the next 2 full days as we immerse ourselves into the exceptional West African birds and mammals found here at Mole National Park. We will be setting off after breakfast walking and driving deeper into this national park, your expert guides know all locations for species we hope to see which will include:

Target species: Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Scarlet-chested, Beautiful, Pigmy and Western Violet-backed Sunbirds, Lavender and Orange-cheeked Waxbills, Familiar Chat, Whitefronted Black Chat, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow Weaver, Red-headed Quelea, Red-billed, Bar-breasted and Black-bellied Firefinch, Fine-spotted, Grey, Golden-tailed and Brownbacked Woodpeckers, Violet-backed, Long-tailed Glossy, Bronze-tailed Glossy, Lesser Blueeared and Greater-Blue-eared Starlings, Abyssinian Ground, African Grey and Northern Redbilled Hornbills, Stone Partridge, Double-spurred, White-throated and Ahanta Francolins, Senegal Eremomela, Pin-tailed, Exclamatory Paradise and Togo Paradise Whyda’s, Bush Petronia, Little, Heuglins Masked, Village and Red-headed Weavers, Melodious and Willow Warblers, Brubru, Thick-billed, Jakobins, African, Black and Great Spotted Cuckoos, Forktailed and Square-tailed Drongos, Northern Puffback, White-shouldered Black Tit, Red-faces, Rufous and the difficult Dort’s Cisticolas, Hadada Ibis and Wilsons Indigobird.

Mammals are in abundance here in Mole and we hope to see Kob, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Hartebeest and the beautiful Roan Antelope in addition to getting within a few meters on foot to Africa’s largest land mammal the African Elephant. Green Vervet and Patas Monkeys will greet us in the bush as we enjoy our morning walks. During the heat of the midday sun we can enjoy a siesta or relax around the pool after our lunch. We set off for afternoon birding around 3pm and stay after dark for nocturnal species.

Target species:  Yellowbreasted Apalis, Bearded Barbet, Swamp, African Blue, Lead Coloured, Pied and difficult to see Gambaga Flycatchers, Giant, Shinning Blue and Grey-headed Kingfishers, Red-throated Bee-eater, Bruces Green Pigeon, Senegal Batis, Snowy-crowned and White-crowned Robin Chats, Flappet and Sun Larks, Sulpher-breasted and Grey-headed Bush-shrikes, African Golden Oriole, Oriole Warbler, Cinnamon-breasted Rock-bunting, Abyssinian, Blue-bellied, Rufous-crowned and Broad-billed Rollers, Black Scimiterbill, Violet Turaco and raptors are common here in Mole and we hope to see Martial, Booted, Long-crested and Tawny Eagles, White-backed, White-headed Vultures, Lizzard Buzzard, Gabar and Dark Chanting Goshawks, Western Marsh Harrier, African Fish and Wahlbergs Eagles, Brown and Shorttoed Snake Eagles, Osprey and Lanner Falcon to mention a few.

During our time here we obviously have our main target species of difficult birds not easily seen in other parts of the world and these include Forbes Plover, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Spotted Creeper and Rufous-rumped Lark. The species above are only some that can be seen during out time here. Our evenings will be spent at our hotel enjoying the atmosphere of being so close to nature.

Day 12 Birding Mole National Park and Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary

A final mornings birding at Mole where we aim to pick up species still needed and to also get better views of birds we only had glimpses of previously. Birds we could add before leaving Mole include:

Target species: Woodchat Shrike, Northern Red Bishop, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Senegal Parrot, Black-billed Wood and Vinaceous Doves, Woolly-necked, Saddle-billed and Black Storks, Yellow-throated Leaflove and Red-headed Lovebird to mention a few before we retrace our journey back southwards to Kumasi.

Depending on which species we may still require it is possible to revisit the Offinso forest or alternatively Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary for evening birding when arriving in Kumasi. If we were to visit Bobiri butterfly sanctuary our main targets would be the more difficult to see species and we have a chance of African Wood Owl, Akun and Frasers Eagle Owls, Plain, Long-tailed and Brown Nightjars, Latham’s (Forest) and Ahanta Francolin and if we are lucky an endangered Long-tailed Pangolin before we check into our hotel for rest and relaxation.

Day 13 Birding Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary and Shai Hills Reserve

An early start as we head back into the Upper Guinea Rainforest habitat where so many of Ghana’s sought after special species are found. This morning we hope to see:

Target species: Tit and Green Hylias, Magpie Mannakin, Narina’s Trogon, Red-billed Dwarf and Black Dwarf Hornbills, African Grey and Brown-necked Parrots, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Black-throated Coucal, Golden-backed Weaver, African Piculet, Red-chested Owlet, Dusky Tit, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Barbet, Grey-headed and Red-tailed Bristlebills and the much sought after Yellow-footed Honeyguide amongst other species.

We set off after a productive morning heading further south towards Accra stopping for our lunch en-route. We pass through the beautiful Akwapim range during our journey, as we descend these mountains a visit to the Shai Hills Reserve is most welcome for a leg stretch and more quality birding. As we will be here in the late afternoon and early evening our focus will be on the more difficult to see species that include Swamp and Freckled Nightjars, Northern White-faced and African Scops Owls in addition to the much sought after Barred Owlet before heading off to our hotel for the evening.

Day 14 Birding Shai Hills Reserve and Sakumono Lagoon before Departure

Our final day with you here in Ghana and a more relaxed pace and enjoyable habitat as we head for the open grassland savannah of Shai Hills hoping to see:

Target species: Northern Crombec, Yellowfronted Tinkerbird, Snowy-crowned Robin Chat, African Pigmy Kingfisher, Cardinal Woodpecker, Vielliots and Double-toothed Barbets, White-crowned Cliff Chat, Rock Martin, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Violet Turaco, Senegal Parrot, Senegal Batis, Bluebellied Roller, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Oriole Warbler, Black-cap and Brown Babblers, Copper and Splendid Sunbirds, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Croaking and Short-winged Cisticolas, African Thrush, Red-necked and Lizzard Buzzards, Lanner Falcon, Green Woodhoopoe and Stone Partridge to mention a few species on offer here.

After a wonderful morning we stop for lunch at our hotel before heading for more familiar birding at the Sakamona Lagoon. There are usually an abundance of birds to see here depending on the level of water, we hope to see Black-winged Stilt, Senegal Thick-knee, Common Ringed, Grey and Spur-winged Plovers, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Common Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Collard Pratincole, Marsh and Curlew Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstone, Little Stint, Long-tailed Cormorant, Squacco, Grey, Purple, Striated and Black Herons, Little, Cattle and Intermediate Egrets, Western Reef and Blackheaded Herons, Royal, Black and Caspian Terns, Sanderling, Ruff, Sandwich and if we are lucky Roseate Terns and Kittlitz’s Plover.

An amazing end to a wonderful tour as we head back to our hotel to rearrange our bags and freshen up, no rush as we have arranged a late check out for you. We enjoy an early evening meal and final checklist before transferring you to the airport for your departure after a wonderful Ghana birding and wildlife tour. Departure

Rates

Best birding seasons:
January to May

2021 Pricing - Please inquire for your preferred dates.

• 1 PAX $7,995.00 USD
• 2 PAX $5,550.00 USD per person sharing
• 4 PAX $4,150.00 USD per person sharing
• 6 PAX $3,550.00 USD per person sahring

Included: Accommodation, Meals, Air-conditioned transport, Specialist guides, Activities mentioned, Park and Entrance fees, Bird list, Water in vehicle

Excluded: Flights, Travel and Medical Insurance, Alcoholic Beverages, Guide Tips