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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Ghana

Tour Information

Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour.  It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space.    The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.  

ENTERING GHANA: United States citizens need a passport valid for at least six months beyond your date of entry and with at least one blank page for an entry stamp, and a tourist visa.  Proof of a Yellow Fever vaccination is also required. 

Citizens of other nations may need a visa and should contact their nearest Ghanaian Embassy for entry requirements required by the embassy or visa-granting entity, WINGS can provide a letter for you to use regarding your participation in the tour.

COUNTRY INFORMATION:You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/ghana.html and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Ghana at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gh.html

PACE OF TOUR: On most days we’ll have breakfast at 4:30 or 5:00 am, then return from our morning birding for lunch between 12 and 1 pm.  Lunch is usually back at our accommodation but occasionally we take a packed lunch. 

On some days we’ll then take time out to relax in the middle of the day before heading out into the field again around 3 pm until dark (6 pm). On several nights we’ll stay out after dark in search of nightjars and owls, which will mean a late dinner (8:30 – 9 p.m.) and no time to shower beforehand. Otherwise in the evenings we will try to allow time to shower before dinner, after which we will do the day’s checklist. 

The days when we move to and from Mole National Park are effectively ‘travel’ days with the whole day taken up with driving. However we will stop when required or when we see a good bird. The journey takes at least 10 hours and the roads in the north are very rough. 

Most of the birding will be done along good paths and tracks, however please see below for exceptions. On most morning walks we will be away from the vehicle for up to four hours. The distance we walk depends entirely on how many birds we see. In Mole, because of the presence of large animals, we will have an armed guard with us and it will not be possible to leave the group to return to the bus as the guard must be with us at all times. 

Forest birding can be very rewarding but there can also be periods of inactivity. On the narrow trails we will operate a rotation system so that each person has time just behind the leader. In a few places we may go off trail.

Kakum Canopy Wakway: At over 120 feet high the canopy walkway really is something different. It was built by a Canadian company and the locals have been trained in its maintenance. Along its course are stable viewing platforms. It is wide enough for just one person at a time, and it is best to allow the person in front of you to get over halfway to the next viewing platform before starting your walk. All our birding will be done from the platforms, where there is space for the leader to set up a telescope. On one afternoon we may go back to the canopy and stay until it is dark. 

Ankasa: The conditions here are ever changing.  We’ll often use 4x4 vehicles followed by some long, muddy walks. Parts of the walks are steep and sometimes in the dark.  

HEALTH:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. 

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. 

Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. 

Yellow Fever:  A vaccination is required for entry into Ghana. A single vaccination is considered by Ghana to be valid for life. 

Malaria: A malaria prophylaxis is recommended. Note that according to the CDC, Chloroquine is not an effective antimalarial drug in Ghana. 

Meningitis:  The CDC recommends a meningitis vaccine if you are visiting Ghana in the “dry season” (December through June).  Please consult your physician. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s  Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/ghana?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001.

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

Miscellaneous : Stomach upsets can be difficult to avoid in Ghana. Bottled water is widely available.

CLIMATE: Temperatures will be very hot (and very humid) with typical day time temperatures around 30 to 40°C (86-104°F). The temperature can drop at night, especially in the north, but not usually below 25°C (88F.). There is still the chance of heavy rain during the trip, especially at Ankassa and at Kakum. 

ACCOMMODATION: Our hotels vary from standard to simple guesthouses with more basic rooms. All have ensuite facilities and either a fan or in some instances air conditioning. Water and power can fail at any time. The hotels at Mole and near Kakum have swimming pools and there will be time on several days for people to swim. We will be spending two nights in camping at Ankasa, where our ground agents will provide walk-in tents, with beds, all ready for us on arrival,  as well as toilet and shower facilities, power, and our own chef.

Internet Access:  Our hotels have reasonably good Wi-Fi connections. Mobile phone access is very good near our lodging locations but can be intermittent when in the field. During our time at Ankasa and Bobiri there would be limited phone and internet connection. If you need to make a telephone call at either of these two places our local guide can take you to an area with better reception. 

FOOD:  Breakfasts typically consist of toast, jam, omelette and baked beans. Lunch will either be a buffet or we’ll take packed lunches. Dinner usually consists of chicken or fish, served with rice or chips. There will be plenty of opportunity to try local dishes which our Ashanti guide will be able to recommend. Most popular are red-red, fufu, ground nut soup, and fried yam or plantain. Vegetarians may find some of the options offered to them monotonous (such as omelettes) or bland (such as vegetable stews). 

Drinks:  Bottled water, a soft drink or a beer (or wine if appropriate) are provided at meals, as is coffee or tea. In addition we keep a supply of bottled water on the tour vehicles. Bottled

or filtered water may also be provided in some rooms where we stay. 

Food Allergies/Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORTATION: Transportation will be by comfortable air-conditioned minibus. At Atewa we will be taken up a forested hill in 4x4 vehicles which we’ll use on a couple of journeys. On the whole the roads are good, although potholes are abundant! We travel on some dirt roads but these are generally not too bad. The journey to Mole takes about ten hours.  Participants should be able and willing to ride in any seat in our tour vehicles.

Updated: 08 December 2015