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Independent Ghana with public transport (1 Viewer)

ovenbird43

Well-known member
I've tentatively settled on taking a 2.5 week trip to Ghana this fall. My husband will be coming along, and although he enjoys birds and nature he's not really a birder, so rather than the standard circuit I'll be cherry-picking sites for my highest priority species, staying longer than usual at each to maintain a relaxed pace, and building in some time for other activities.

To stay within our budget we're opting to do all or most of the trip using public transport. I'd really like to get up to Mole, lots of new birds there for me and my husband's first opportunity to see some of the charismatic African mammals. So I'm trying to maximize my chances at the southern specialties, knowing that I can't hit all of the typical sites and will have to sacrifice my chances at some of them. What it's come down to is likely omitting Ankasa, given that it's out of the way from the rest of our planned itinerary and difficult to do independently (though I've found a couple of reports on cloudbirders that describe how to do so).

My tentative itinerary is:
arrival, transfer to town of Kokrobrite
day at Kokrobrite, maybe canoe trip or bicycling
Kakum National Park - 3 nights
New Edubiase/Bonkro - for Picathartes, 1-2 nights
Lake Bosomtwe - 2 nights - relaxing, hiking, paddling
Bobiri Butterfly Reserve - 2 nighs
bus to Tamale, overnight, day trip to look for Egyptian Plover
Mole - 3 nights
return to Accra, end of trip

I'm a bit torn about leaving Ankasa off the itinerary, but I fear it will just result in a lot of extra hassle and time on the road - or extra cost if we hire a car and driver to take us around for several days. We could theoretically fit it in by moving faster through the other areas or cutting out another site, but I've found that my husband has a more enjoyable time when we're not moving somewhere new every single day.

I'd appreciate any thoughts people have about this itinerary and any experiences folks could share about traveling through Ghana independently. I've bookmarked a few key reports from Cloudbirders and just got the Bradt travel guide to Ghana.
 

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
Really glad you're doing this before me, so I can see how you got on doing it this way! Very best of luck, and very much looking forward to reading about it :t:
 

Jens Thalund

Well-known member
I did a three week trip to Ghana on public transport some years back, and it's easily doable - as long as you're not in a rush, because most bushtaxis won't go before every seat is occupied. At least they don't try to squeeze too many passengers inside, compared to other places in Africa.
The Bradt guide was really good for this kind of trip, trying to sort out the logistics.
I also visited Ankasa, camping at the entrance for a couple of nights, and was allowed to walk inside the park without a guide, as most birding would take place along the main dirt track running north from the entrance.
For the Picathartes I took a bushtaxi/trotro to New Edubiase and just asked around, if any of the taxidrivers knew about the bird and where to see it. I ended up paying 80 cedi for the taxi, and at the village (Bonkro) I paid 20 cedi for the guide + 50 cedi to the village, and ended up with between one and two seconds worth of Picathartes views - it was in September and few (if any) birds would turn up this time of year.
The bus from Tamale to Mole NP left at 2.30pm, and the return bus left Mole NP around 3.30am and a dorm bed was 40 cedi. In September much of the floodplain was flooded so wildlife viewing was limited, and walks in the bush (with compulsory guide) was hampered by numerous tsetse flies.
At Kakum I had planned to camp at the entrance, but a single room at the Rainforest Lodge was the same price (25 cedi), so the tent stayed in the backpack.
Outside the NP the Abrafo farmlands are within easy walking distance of the main entrance.

If you leave a little room in your itinerary for unexpected delays, you should have a great trip

cheers

Jens
 

ovenbird43

Well-known member
Thanks all, and Jens, that's some very helpful info.

Not sure we'll want to bring our camping gear just for one spot, though I understand Frenchman's Lodge is cheap and convenient to Ankasa. Nice to know that one can walk the park roads without a guide. Jens, were you able to see many of the area's specialties that way?
 

Jens Thalund

Well-known member
In September birds like Blue-headed Wood Dove, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Forest Robin and Rufous-sided Broadbill were commonly heard, but hard to see, but in the end a few of them gave themselves up.
Other good birds were Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Sharpe's Apalis, Blue-billed, Crested and Red-headed Malimbe, (Western) Crested Guineafowl, Black-casqued and Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Fraser's Sunbird, Blue-throated Roller, Cassin's Spinetail, Great Blue Turaco, White-bellied Kingfisher, African Finfoot with Youngs and Hartlaub's Duck - the last three at the roadside pool, some 5-6 km inside the park.

Jens
 
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