Upper Guinea Rainforest 16-day

Ashanti 16 Day Upper Guinea Rainforest & Savannah Special Tour;

    

Duration

16 Days/15 Nights

Transport

Air-conditioned vehicle

Activities

Birdwatching and wildlife viewing

Estimated Species

(May alter slightly at different times of the year)

400 + species

Group Leaders/Guides

This will be subject to availability when booking your tour, all of our bird guides are the finest in the country with years of experience in leading highly productive, enjoyable quality birding tours of Ghana.  When booking a tour with Ashanti you get more than just a local guide, all are of an international standard, know the birds by song and call and where to find them.  Our birding team is constantly in the field leading tours and conducting research with our main aim being to give our guests the ultimate West African birdwatching experience.  No one knows Ghana’s birds and where to find them better than us, that’s why so many of the largest birding tour companies in the world use our services.

Tour organiser

Mark Williams

Mark is Ashanti African Tours Director and founder, he is a British citizen based in the country and has many years experience in organising birdwatching tours around Ghana.

Fitness Grading

Medium

Included

  • Accommodation: high standard of accommodation within the area of birding
  • All meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
  • Morning pre-birding tea, coffee or hot chocolate with biscuits
  • Mineral water:  unlimited and available to every participant for the duration of the tour
  • Transportation around Ghana in air conditioned vehicles
  • Driver
  • Fuel
  • Park entrance fees
  • Guide fees: fully escorted by Ghana’s finest professional and expert birdwatching and wildlife guides
  • Professional care and attention

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Ghana entry visas
  • Soft and Alcoholic drinks
  • Items of purely personal nature

Price

Price on Request – as all trips are tailored to the clients requirements

PECK

Ashanti African Tours commitment to conservation and community development initiatives can be seen through our recently established Picathartes Education and Conservation for Knowledge Fund (PECK).  Not seen in Ghana for nearly 50 years and believed to be extinct in the country, the prehistoric looking upper guinea endemic yellow headed picathartes (or white necked rockfowl) which is classified as an endangered species was rediscovered by chance in 2003.

More than 14 nesting sites have since been uncovered but still this species future is not secure, habitat destruction and in particular illegal logging and hunting are its main threats.  Our Picathartes Education and Conservation for Knowledge Fund aims to support the 3 communities which surround a small upper guinea rainforest that protects at least 10 nesting sites for this much sought after species.  We will assist the communities in educating their children by paying for school and print fees, uniforms, books and supplies and we are also committed to developing a school in one of the communities within a 3 year period.  This will enable the younger children to start school at the correct age as currently many are not beginning to attend kindergarten or primary level one until they are 10 years old due to a long walk to the nearest school.  We aim to staff and run the free education facility ourselves incorporating conservation and environmental learning into the standard syllabus which is currently not the case at government schools in Ghana at present.  We hope to be able to assist outstanding students to further their education to the highest level which so many currently are unable to do due to financial difficulties.  Ultimately we hope that by showing our commitment to the communities enabling them to see the immediate benefits of conserving the habitat they will help us stop the illegal logging and hunting activities by locals that come from or pass through their communities.

Ashanti 16 Day Ghana Birding Map

Tour Summary

We constantly strive to improve our birdwatching itineraries and offer our guests the opportunity to venture into birding areas no other operators visit.  Our 16 day upper guinea rainforest and Savannah special tour takes us to the rarely visited unspoilt Ankasa rainforest near the boarder of the Ivory Coast.  A beautiful rainforest protecting some wonderful quality species and the only rainforest in Ghana where the white breasted guineafowl is known to be.  With over 755 species of birds, Ghana is an ideal birdwatching destination.  Ashanti African Tours use highly experienced tour leaders and guides with expert knowledge of Ghana’s birds and their habitats.  Our tour leaders have been working and living in and around Ghana’s national parks all their lives studying and recording Ghana’s birds.  This local knowledge enhances our guest’s chances of a productive and enjoyable birdwatching holiday.  Ghana covers a variety of habitats from coastal wetland lagoons and saltpans on the Gold Coast, moving inland we find primary Guinea tropical rainforest where the world famous Kakum canopy walkway is found.  We arrange early opening of the walkway during our tours enabling our guests to spend the most productive birding hours in the canopy of this beautiful forest achieving excellent views of canopy species difficult to see from the forest floor.  One of the many highlights of our tour is undoubtedly the visit to a yellow headed picathartes nesting site, getting a glimpse of this remarkable bird is an amazing feeling never forgotten.  We also visit a site for egyptian plover, recently made a family of its own which just adds something more to what was already a quality species.  As we are dedicating the majority of our time to rainforest birding we are enhancing our chances of finding the more sought after secretive, upper guinea endemic species, which all leads to an extremely impressive quality bird tally, a tally we know will not disappoint!

Yellow Headed Picathartes (Mike Nelson March 2010 Tour)

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Our experienced birdwatching tour guides will meet with you on your arrival at the Kotoka International Airport Accra, which is situated on the beautiful gold coast of Western Africa.  Look out for the Ashanti African Tours sign board when you leave the main terminal building after passing through customs.  Make yourself known to your guides who will be accompanying you for the duration of your time in Ghana and they will take care of you from here. After boarding our air conditioned vehicle, which will be your mode of transport for the duration of your tour, we transfer you to your hotel which is situated near Accra.  Once we have checked you in, our experienced guides will offer you Akwaaba (welcome) and brief you on all aspects of your trip.  You can enjoy your evening meal at the hotel restaurant whilst acclimatising yourself to Africa.

Blue Headed Bee-Eater (Alan Pyke February 2009 Tour)

Day 2

Our first full day with you in Ghana, after an early breakfast we visit the nearby Shai Hills reserve, an expanse of Savannah, grassland and woodland.  The bird viewing here is excellent and we hope to find grey hornbill, violet and green turacos, white crowned cliff chat, white crowned robin chat, rock martin, northern puffback, rosy and swallow tailed bee eaters, blue bellied and rufous crowned rollers, piapiac, yellow crowned gonolek, black cap babblers, Senegal parrot, red headed lovebird and if we are lucky barred owlet amongst other species. After a productive morning we enjoy lunch and check out of our hotel before visiting the nearby Sakumono Lagoon, we hope to find black, striated, squacco and grey herons, long tailed cormorant, western reef egret, garganey, glossy ibis, black winged stilt, collared pratincole, kittlitz’s plover, african spoonbill, ruddy turnstone, black tern, Senegal thicknee and ruff to mention just a few.  After some good birding we head west leaving the busy city of Accra behind.  Our destination is Cape Coast where we find the amazing Kakum National Park. En route, we will be stopping at a grassland reserve and lagoon. Today, we hope to find siffling and short-winged cisticolas, splendid and copper sunbirds, flappet lark, red-winged prinia, yellow-mantled widowbird, black- necked weaver, black-crowned tchagra, plain-backed pipit, black-shouldered and yellow-billed kites, western grey plantain-eater, grey kestrel, lizard buzzard, blue-spotted wood-dove and black-bellied bustard to mention a few. Around the lagoon, we aim to see purple heron, purple swamphen spur-winged lapwing and african pygmy-goose before our arrival at Rainforest Lodge, our base for the next 3 nights whilst we visit Kakum National Park.  We retire to our air-conditioned rooms after our evening meal, checklist and discussing the day’s sightings.

Red-billed Helmetshrike (Alan Pyke February 2009 Tour)

Day 3

After an early breakfast we head for the world famous canopy walkway at Kakum National Park, which is approximately 15 minute drive from our hotel.  We aim to get there for first light enabling us to spend the most critical bird viewing hours 40 meters above the forest floor on the canopy walkway, which platforms are large enough to support Telescopes.  The 360 km² Kakum National Park protects secondary upper guinea tropical rainforest and the species we hope to see from the canopy include sabines puffback, sharpes apalis, preuss’ golden-backed weaver, red headed and red vented malimbes, buff throated, tiny and little green sunbirds, rosy bee eater, green hylia, violet backed hyliota, yellowbill, little grey, ushers and shrike flycatchers, grey headed, white breasted and chestnut breasted negrofinch, grey longbill, white headed and forest woodhoopoes, blue cuckoo shrike, rufous crowned eremomela, naked faced, yellow spotted and hairy breasted barbets, red fronted and African grey parrots, velvet mantled drongos and if we are lucky black collard lovebird and yellow footed honeyguide. The raptors we aim to see include red necked buzzard, palm nut vulture, African harrier hawk, congo serpent eagle, long tailed hawk and cassins hawk-eagle to mention just a few.

During the heat of mid afternoon, you will have the option of birding around our hotel with your guide, resting around the hotel pool and bar or you could choose to go on a cultural excursion to Cape Coast castle, compliments of Ashanti African Tours and we will attach one of our experienced cultural guides to you for the one hour tour.  We re-visit the canopy in the evening when our main targets will be brown cheeked, black and yellow casqued hornbills, brown nightjar and fraser’s eagle owl amongst other specials. Our evenings will be spent at the hotel restaurant and bar discussing the day’s sightings, adding to our checklist and enjoying the atmosphere of our surroundings.

Day 4

This morning we visit the Antwikwaa section of Kakum National Park for early morning birding hoping to see white throated, rosy and black bee-eater’s, blue throated roller, piping and white crested hornbills, red and yellow rumped tinkerbirds, kemps and grey longbills, ussher’s, black and white and fraser’s forest flycatchers, white-spotted flufftail, black sparrowhawk, cassins and sabines spinetails, blue-spotted and tambourine doves, African green pigeon, bioko’s batis and maybe long tailed hawk.  We enjoy a short excursion for the beautiful white throated blue swallow, rock pratincole, and the white headed lapwing before returning to the hotel for our lunch.  In the afternoon we will be concentrating our attention on the many trails within and surrounding the park, which should prove to be very productive. We hope to find white tailed alethe, red tailed and grey headed bristlebills, collared and olive bellied sunbirds, blue headed wood dove, black dwarf and red billed dwarf hornbills, blue headed crested flycatcher, olive long tailed cuckoo, forest robin, red chested goshawk, yellow billed turaco, fire bellied and gabon woodpeckers and if we are lucky we may spot forest francolin and spotted honeyguide as well as many of the greenbuls Kakum has to offer. We stay back for night birding before returning to our hotel in the evening.

Day 5

Another early start this morning as we visit a different section of Kakum National Park hoping to see species we may have missed previously.  Our main targets will be red billed helmetshrike, black bellied seedcracker, forest penduline tit, rufous sided broadbill, western bluebill, western black winged and black headed orioles, purple throated cuckoo-shrike, emerald, thick billed and black cuckoos and willcocks honeyguide. We leave after the morning section and set off for Ankasa in the western region of Ghana for what should be a major highlight of your time with us.  Ankasa is Ghana’s only pristine wet evergreen upper guinea rainforest a rarely visited beautiful forest protecting some wonderful species.  We arrive in the afternoon check into our accommodation and have lunch before heading to Ankasa for early evening birdwatching, we hope to see one of Africa’s most sought after but rarely seen owls, the akun eagle owl, in addition to this wonderful owl we will try for african wood and frasers eagle owl’s before returning to our accommodation in preparation for the following morning’s birding.

Crested Guineafowl (Alan Pyke February 2009 Tour)

Day 6-7

Early starts as we dedicate day 6 and the morning of day 7 to birdwatching in Ankasa, which protects so many of Ghana’s specials, we hope to find hartlaub’s duck, african finfoot, dwarf bittern, crowned eagle, great blue and yellow billed turacos, we also hope to see again the yellow casqued, black casqued, red billed dwarf and black dwarf hornbills should we miss them at Kakum National Park. Other highlights are; white bellied, shinning and chocolate backed kingfishers, red billed helmetshrike, purple throated cuckoo-shrike, black capped, pale breasted, rufous winged and brown illadopsis, red and green tailed bristlebills, yellow bearded, western bearded, Cameroon sombre and red tailed greenbuls, blue headed wood dove, olive long tailed cuckoo, white tailed an-thrush, red fronted antpecker and if we are lucky during early evening birding on day 6 we may spot nkulengu rail. After a final mornings birding in Ankasa on day 7 we set off back to Cape Coast. We will stop for lunch at Takoradi then head on to Brenu Beach, an area of grassland savannah, for our evening birding en route. Here we hope to find vieillot’s barbet, preuss’s cliff swallow and marsh tchagra amongst other species. We then continue to the Rainforest Lodge for our evening meal, checklist and to reflect on a productive day.

Red-vented Malimbe (Alan Pyke, February 2009 Tour)

Day 8

Early start as we head towards Aboabo on the north east boarder of Kakum National Park.  We arrive early to make the most of our time here, Aboabo is in our view the most productive section of Kakum National Park, the birdlife here never disappoints.  We take a packed lunch with us which will allow us to dedicate the whole morning trying to add more species to our rapidly growing lists we hope to see african piculet, black cap apalis, black throated coucal, red vented and crested malimbes, yellow throated and black cuckoos, white spotted flufftail, bristle nosed and spotted barbets, western nicator, kemps longbill, grey and brown necked parrots, chestnut capped, red bellied paradise and if we are lucky as we sometimes are the much sought after tessman’s flycatcher amongst other species.

After enjoying our packed lunch we set off for a remote village.  On our arrival we trek into a nearby forest our destination is a nesting site for one of the most sought after birds in the world, the prehistoric looking “YELLOW HEADED PICATHARTES”.  There are around 30 nests at this location and catching a glimpse of this remarkable bird is an amazing feeling.  Once everyone has enjoyed good views we set off for Kumasi Capital of the Ashanti region.  On arrival we check into our hotel and enjoy a cold drink over our evening meal whilst reflecting on one of the most memorable birding days of our lives.

Day 9

We leave Kumasi early after breakfast heading north towards Mole National Park.  We can expect to see different bird species en route as we gradually enter the broad leaved guinea woodland and savannah plains of northern Ghana.  On our arrival at Mole National Park, we check into the Mole hotel, which is the only accommodation in the area.  Situated on a 250 metre high escarpment over looking 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 targeting greyish eagle and northern white faced scops owls.

Standard Winged Nightjar (Ian Fulton April 2009 Tour)

Day 10-11

Over the next 2 days we will be setting off early after breakfast walking in different sections of the park during our time here we hope to see chestnut-crowned sparrow weaver, lavender and orange cheeked waxbills, red throated bee eater, brown backed, fine spotted and grey woodpeckers, greater and lesser honeyguides, red billed and bar breasted firefinch, Senegal batis, stone partridge, white throated francolin, beautiful and pygmy sunbirds, northern red billed and abyssinian ground-hornbills.  The watering hole attracts Senegal thick knee and greater painted snipe, saddle billed and woolly necked storks and hadada ibis, blue breasted, giant and grey headed kingfishers, togo and exclamatory paradise whydahs and yellow fronted canary.

Pel’s Fishing Owl (Mike Nelson March 2010 Tour)

Raptors are common in Mole and we hope to add to our list white headed, hooded, and white backed vultures, African hawk eagle, bateleur, short toed, brown and beaudouins snake eagles, lizard buzzard, lanner falcon and wahlbergs eagle.  We will take guided walks into the woodland that surrounds the waterhole in the cooler early morning and late afternoons.  We will expect to encounter bruces green pigeon, purple and long tailed glossy starlings, white shouldered black tit, Senegal eremomela, oriole warbler, violet turaco, golden tailed woodpecker, blackcap and brown babblers, snowy crowned robin chat, yellow breasted apalis, spotted creeper, northern puffback, rufous cisticola, swamp and lead coloured flycatchers, forbes plover, bearded barbet, green woodhoopoe and black scimitarbill.  During the heat of the afternoon, we have the option of a cultural excursion to nearby Larabanga and the 14th century mud and stick mosque or birding around the hotel grounds.  Alternatively you could relax on the terrace and around the pool.  In the afternoon once the sun cools a little we set off looking for more species staying out until the early evening when we will search for greyish eagle, northern white-faced and the amazing Pel’s fishing owls as well as long tailed, freckled and the remarkable standard winged nightjars.

Forbes Plover Mole National Park (Ian Fulton April 2009 Tour)

Day 12

After a final morning birding on the terrace of the hotel and after a hearty breakfast, we depart for Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.  As we venture northwards the landscape becomes more savannah woodland.  We pass through many villages and stop at Tamale for lunch and refreshments.  Tamale is Ghana’s 3rd largest city and is the capital of the Northern Region.  We arrive in Bolgatanga in the afternoon and check into our guesthouse before setting off for late afternoon birding at the Tongo Hills where our main target species will be fox kestrel, rock loving cisticola, white crowned cliff chat, cinnamon breasted rock and cabanis’s buntings, chestnut backed sparrow lark, white rumped seedeater, red rumped swallows and blue rock thrush.

Day 13

An early start as we watch the dawn activity around the Tono Dam.  We hope to find a variety of egrets, waders and herons as well as cut throat finch, silverbill, red winged pytilia, great reed warbler, winding cisticola, black bellied firefinch, zebra waxbill, namaqua dove, black coucal, great spotted cuckoo, northern carmine, swallow tailed and little bee eaters, Abyssinian roller, chestnut bellied, bronze tailed and greater blue eared starlings and four banded sandgrouse, to mention but a few.

Egyptian Plover (Ian Fulton April 2009 Tour)

In the afternoon after lunch prepare yourself for another major highlight of our tour as we set off towards a site for the beautiful “EGYPTIAN PLOVER”, which has recently been made a family of its own.  We dedicate the afternoon to birding the river and surrounding habitat hoping to find black crowned lapwing, buffalo weaver, african mourning European turtle and collared doves,  adding more species to our ever growing lists and dedicating quality time in this beautiful area of Ghana.

Day 14

After a hearty breakfast, we set off for Kumasi retracing our journey of a few days earlier.  En route we will stop for lunch and to stretch our legs before we set off on our final journey to Kumasi, we hope to spot some different species during our drive.  On our arrival, we will relax and enjoy our evening meal and prepare ourselves for an early start the following morning.

Fox Kestrel (Alan Pyke February 2009 Tour)

Day 15

We wake early to visit Bobiri Forest Reserve which is actually a butterfly sanctuary.  Upon our arrival, we will search this lush forest for swamp palm bulbul, tit hylia, afep pigeon and bronze napped pigeons, yellow footed honeyguide, green headed sunbirds, red billed dwarf, brown cheeked and white crested hornbills, white headed, woodhoopoe, brown illadopsis, western nicator, forest francolin, little green woodpecker, narinas trogon, blue throated roller, golden greenbul,  and some of the many raptors present include, cassins hawk eagle, red thigh sparrowhawks, African cuckoo hawk, long tailed hawk to mention just a few.  After lunch we set off for Atewa and bird the lower portion of the range in the afternoon which should prove to be very productive.  Here we hope to see blue headed coucal, black bellied seedcracker, compact and grosbeak weavers, dideric cuckoo, western bluebill, rufous winged illadopsis, red cheeked wattle eye and if we are lucky as we sometimes are baumann’s greenbul.  We set off to our nearby guesthouse, enjoy our evening meal and discuss the day’s sightings after our checklist.

Day 16

An early start this morning as we dedicate the early part of the day at the Atewa Range, this is the main site in Ghana where we can see the blue headed bee-eater.  Other specialities include the endangered rufous-winged illadopsis, many coloured bush shrike, forest scrub robin, narina trogon, western bronze-napped pigeon, forest robin, chocolate backed kingfisher, red cheeked wattle eye, frasers, johanna’s and tiny sunbirds and shining blue drongo amongst others.  Our main targets during our time here will be the rarely seen nimba flycatcher and lowland akalat.

After a wonderful morning we freshen up, take lunch and re-arrange our bags before setting off for Accra or another destination if you have booked an extension.  Depending on your flight departure time, we will visit a nearby local restaurant to relax and enjoy an early evening meal before your departure and flight home after an unforgettable 16 day rainforest and savannah birdwatching tour of Ghana with Ashanti African Tours.

October 2013

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