Working for birds in Africa

Visiting

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 13:20 -- abc_admin
Blue_throated_Roller_Ghana

Pair of Blue-throated Rollers Eurystomus gularis, Kakum National Park, Ghana photographed from the aerial walkway.

Image Credit: 
John Caddick

Birding tours

Ashanti, Birding Africa, Birdfinders, Birding Ecotours, Birdquest, Field Guides, Rockjumper, and Sunbird operate tours to Ghana.

Guides

It may also be possible to find guides at the Ghana Wildlife Society - see contacts for addresses.

Williams Apreku is a guide for the Shai Hills Reserve and areas surrounding it. He has taken quite a few international guests for a few days around the reserve and the neighbouring habitat. He can be contacted at 028 501 5437.

Trip reports

Ashanti African Tours have sent 2 trip reports from 2008 which can be downloaded

Ghana_trip_report1 *

Ghana_trip_report2 *

Logistics

This and the following sections were updated following a tour in April and May 2013. 

Ghana Airways operates from Kotoka Airport in Accra to almost every country in West Africa, as well as flights to New York and London. 

There are regular flights on British Airways from London to Accra although they can be crowded and it is worth booking well in advance.

Buses, taxis and minibuses run between Ghana and Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Togo. Vehicle hire is difficult and very expensive. Government-run buses connect most major towns and some smaller ones but it's usually better to travel with any of the private bus companies.

The driving standard is good, if somewhat fast on open roads, and the main roads generally are in excellent condition though there are some badly potholed stretches between Kumasi and Tamale, and almost all secondary roads are unsealed. Traffic is often congested in major towns and overall journey times can be long. The south coast highway can be slow going between Accra and Cape Coast. Accra itself can take a considerable time to cross which makes the journey from Shai Hills to Kakum for example a long one, 7 hours in our case. Getting from Tamale into Mole can be tricky but backpackers manage it somehow. One enthusiast even cycled from Germany. The general signposting on roads is adequate. Camping is possible when at Mole National Park but perhaps not elsewhere. The Encarta map of Ghana is okay if no other can be found.

A current passport, visa and proof of yellow fever vaccination are all required for entry. In London, a visa can be obtained from the Ghana High Commission following a registration process via their website. The visa tends to be expensive and the price is variable depending how quickly you need it for example. 

Currency

It is not possible to take the local currency into or out of Ghana so it is necessary to change money in Ghana. The exchange rate at the airport is poor and it is better to wait to change the majority of your cash at a Forex bureau if possible. $US, £UK and Euros were all acceptable but as in most african countries, it is best to have more recent notes in good condition and this is especially true for $US. The exchange rate was 1.93 to the $US.

Accommodation

The standard of accommodation is generally good, clean and air-conditioned (note that temperatures of 36oC coupled with 100% humidity were recorded). Hotels may not be available close to the major reserves and national parks and for example, a drive of 40 minutes was needed to reach Kakum from our hotel, and 60 minutes to reach Ankasa. Food is good value and chicken, fish and vegetarian meals are served with chips, rice or pasta, often starting with soup and followed by fruit for dessert. Beer is good and available in all the places we stayed and varied in price between 3.5 and 5.0 in local currency. Bottled water is available everywhere. 

Safety

Safety issues encountered are no different from those met in many other African countries. Guidebooks, travel companies and websites provide much of the advice one needs, but some key points warrant repetition here. (1) be aware of the risk of malaria, seek current advice, sleep in a sealed tent or under a net and take prophylaxis as recommended. (2) always ensure you have sufficient water and some method of purification (even if this comprises a pot and a campfire for boiling). (3) do not underestimate the danger of being in the sun too long. Ensure you use sun-block and drink plenty of water, and wear a hat. (4) The incidence of Aids is high. (5) Ensure that you take a reasonably-equipped first-aid pack with you including supplies of hypodermic and suturing needles.

See the following websites or your local embassy site for the latest safety and travel information http://travel.state.gov and UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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