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  • Photograph of Yellow-headed Picathartes

    The amazing Yellow-headed Picathartes in Ghana by Dubi Shapiro.

    GHANA

    Best Wildlife in Ghana

    Mammals
    African Elephant, Common Bushbuck, Kob, Defassa Waterbuck, Olive Baboon, Warthog, Callithrix, Geoffroy’s Pied and Olive Colobuses, Lowe’s (Mona), Patas and Lesser Spot-nosed Monkeys, Lord Derby’s and Pel’s Anomalures, Demidoff's Galago and Potto.

    Birds

    Upper Guinea Forest Endemics (7-10 out of 15)
    A good chance of seven of the 15 Upper Guinea Forest restricted-range species; Brown-cheeked Hornbill, Yellow-headed Picathartes, Sharpe's Apalis, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Rufous-winged Illadopsis and Copper-tailed Glossy Starling, and an outside chance of three more; White-breasted Guineafowl, Rufous Fishing Owl and Nimba Flycatcher.

    Near-endemics
    Baumann's Greenbul, Finsch's Flycatcher Thrush and Kemp's Longbill. Also a chance of Fire-bellied Woodpecker and Red-cheeked Wattle-eye.

    Other Specialities
    Egyptian Plover, Blue-moustached (-headed) and Rosy Bee-eaters, Red-billed Helmetshrike and Buff-throated Sunbird. Also a chance of Brown Nightjar and an outside chance of White-crested Tiger Heron.

    Others
    Hamerkop, Black Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Palm-nut, White-backed and White-headed Vultures, African Cuckoo Hawk, Bateleur, Black Sparrowhawk, White-spotted Flufftail, Black-winged Stilt, African Jacana, Four-banded Sandgrouse, pigeons, doves, Grey, Red-fronted and Senegal Parrots, Green, Violet and Yellow-billed Turacos, Western Grey Plantain-eater, cuckoos including African Emerald, Yellowbill, coucals, Fraser’s and Greyish (Spotted) Eagle Owls, Long-tailed Nightjar, spinetails, Narina’s Trogon, kingfishers including Blue-breasted, Chocolate-backed and Giant, bee-eaters including Black and Red-throated, Abyssinian, Blue-bellied, Blue-throated, Broad-billed and Rufous-crowned Rollers, woodhoopoes, hornbills, barbets, tinkerbirds, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Greater Honeyguide, Cassin’s Honeybird, woodpeckers, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Fiery-breasted and Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrikes, Yellow-crowned Gonolek, Brubru, African Golden, Black-winged and Western Black-headed Orioles, African and Red-bellied Paradise Flycatchers, Piapiac, Preuss’s and White-throated Blue Swallows, greenbuls, Oriole Warbler (Moho), Grey Longbill, Black-capped Apalis, Tit Hylia, Violet-backed Hyliota, Vanga Flycatcher, White-crowned Cliff Chat, White-tailed (Fire-crested) Alethe, White-tailed Ant Thrush, Forest Robin, starlings, sunbirds, malimbes, weavers, negrofinches, waxbills, Western Bluebill and Exclamatory (Long-tailed) Paradise Whydah. Also a chance of Pygmy Goose, Long-tailed Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Crowned and Martial Eagles, Forbes's Plover, Rock Pratincole, Greater Painted Snipe, Black-collared and Red-headed Lovebirds, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Akun and Shelley’s Eagle Owls, Freckled and Standard-winged Nightjars, White-bellied Kingfisher, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Yellow-footed Honeyguide, African Piculet, Bioko Batis, Many-coloured Bush Shrike, Sabine’s Puffback, Blue Cuckoo Shrike, Blue-shouldered Robin Chat, Chestnut-bellied Starling, Spotted Creeper, Capuchin Babbler, Black-bellied Seedcracker and Togo Paradise Whydah, and an outside chance of Hartlaub’s Duck, Crested Guineafowl, Spot-breasted Ibis, Nkulengu Rail and Red-fronted Antpecker.

    Reptiles
    Nile Crocodile.

    Invertebrates
    Some sites support over 500 butterfly species, including Bobiri (500+) and Ankasa (600+), and it is easy to see a hundred species in a day at some places, including acracas, charaxes, foresters, harlequins, mother-of-pearls and playboys. The peak time for butterflies is the second half of October.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Ghana

    Photograph of Blue-moustached Bee-eater

    Blue-moustached Bee-eater in Ghana by Chris Townend.

    Photograph of Rufous-sided Broadbill

    Rufous-sided Broadbill in Ghana by Chris Townend.

    Best Times for Wildlife in Ghana

    October-December, especially November, and February to mid-April.

    Recommended Books etc. for Ghana

    Helm Field Guide: Birds of Ghana by N Borrow and R Demey. Helm, 2010.

    Birds of Western Africa by N Borrow and R Demey. Helm, 2014 (Second Edition).

    Birds of Africa south of the Sahara by I Sinclair and P Ryan. C Struik, 2011 (Second Edition).

    The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2015 (Second Revised Edition).

    The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2016 (Second Edition).

    Primates of West Africa by John F Oates. Conservation International, 2011.

    Butterflies of West Africa by Torben B Larsen. Apollo Books, 2005.


    Apps etc.

    The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals.

    Where to watch birds in Africa by N Wheatley. Helm, 1995.

    Don’t know which country/countries to visit in Africa? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Ghana

    Many trip reports, some for Ghana, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Ghana. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Ghana' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Ghana

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Ghana

    Some Organized Tours to Ghana

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Ghana include the following.