Ghana Birding Tours
Ghana must be the easiest West African country to travel in and thus gives relatively easy access to a very large number of West African endemics as well as good access to some star North African birds. Ghana has 180 of the Guinea-Congo Forests biome birds, including 12 out of the 15 Upper Guinea Forest endemics, 11 of which are of global conservation concern. These 180 species are West and Central African rainforest birds, some of them reaching as far east as the DRC/Uganda border, but most of them are found only with difficulty outside of West Africa, making Ghana a very convenient country for finding them. This little country also boasts 37 Sudan-Guinea Savanna biome birds; this biome is a strip of savanna just south of the Sahel of North Africa. It is also possible to access the edge of the Sahel itself within Ghana for sought-after species such as Egyptian Plover. Ghana boasts a 100 percent success rate for finding White-necked Rockfowl (Yellow-headed Picathartes), a fine representative of a completely West African family. Brightly-colored bee-eaters (such as Rosy Bee-eater), barbets, turacos, kingfishers (such as Shining Blue Kingfisher, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, and many others), are rather conspicuous on any birding vacation to Ghana. Ghana is also the best of our birding tours for finding the spectacularly adorned Standard-winged Nightjar, which we look for in Mole National Park. Mole National Park is not only a very rich birding site but it also gives the opportunity of seeing African Elephant and a wide range of other African megafauna.
On our small-group birdwatching tours to Ghana we visit some of the country’s most famous sites and game parks. These include not only Mole National Park (Ghana’s first and largest protected area), which we’ve already mentioned, but also Kakum National Park with its impressive canopy walkway, truly famed among birders. Here we invariably see a plethora of amazing bird species. These can include Red-cheeked Wattle-eye, Blue Cuckooshrike, Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, wood-hoopoes, and a couple of species of giant hornbills winging their way noisily from tree canopy to tree canopy.
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We also visit the more remote Ankasa Conservation Area, where we can look for birds like Nkulengu Rail, Akun Eagle-Owl, and other desirables. We always try our best for Rufous Fishing Owl as well!
We often start and/or end our Ghanaian birding tours (both tailor-made ones and set departures) in the famous Shai Hills, where dazzlers such as Violet Turaco, Blue-bellied Roller, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, and other typical West African bird species are usually quite easy to locate. Another site that is conveniently close to Accra (where we begin and end our birding holidays to Ghana) is the Sakumono Lagoon. Towards the end of our Ghana birding tour we will visit Tono Dam for Egyptian Plover and the Atewa Range Forest Reserve for a number of forest bird specials.
While many European birders flock to the Gambia, we recommend Ghana as a more diverse, superior option, which offers far more birds and other wildlife and is also relatively close to both Europe and North America (compared to other parts of the huge continent of Africa). We’re certainly not saying that the Gambia (and neighboring Senegal, for that matter) are bad, but you’ll see a lot more birds and mammals on a tour to Ghana. The long list of sought-after bird species is well staked-out in Ghana, as there is a network of excellent local community birding guides there. These site guides work well with our international birding tour leaders.
The people of Ghana are superbly welcoming and friendly and fluent in English, enhancing the overall experience. Ghana is considered a safe country (unfortunately, not all West African nations are). While we’re enjoying our birding tours to Ghana, we typically also make a couple of cultural and historic stops along the way. For example, we have a sobering tour of the Cape Coast Castle, one of the commercial forts that played a pivotal role in the slave trade.
You might wish to combine your birding tour of Ghana (which is quite far north on the bulge of Africa) with a visit to one of the equatorial West African countries to which we arrange birding tours, Cameroon or Gabon. This would allow you to see the other rockfowl species (the two rockfowl or picathartes species form one of Africa’s most desirable bird families; they’re bizarre birds that only roost and nest in caves in rainforest, only in West and Central Africa – one species was recently found far to the east at the Sangha Lodge in CAR – the Central African Republic). You may also want to combine your Ghana tour with a birding trip to the nearby, endemic-rich islands of Sao Tome and Principe.
Bird watching in Ghana will definitely reward you greatly. Please do peruse our birding tours shown below or ask us to arrange a customized trip.