RFI Ghana – gear

We are planning to go to Ghana for three weeks in December (we have tickets, hope to get visa next week). I have looked into some reports and other materials, but basically everyone went with an organized tour and I find it hard to find some practical info for independent travel. Since we have plenty of time, I plan to just turn up and see how it goes – but since it seems like renting a car in Ghana is not very practical (and basically everyone warns against that), we will travel around on public transport with backpacks and thus we would like to optimize the weight. There are three basic heavy pieces of gear that I consider whether to take:

– hiking boots: those were indispensable in Ecuador and Costa Rica, but pointless in many places in SE Asia for example. Anybody knows how muddy the forests are in Ghana and whether running hoes are way enough (like in Taman Negara) or not?

– tent: are there reasonable camping sites in some reserves? I presume that wild camping will be completely out of the question, given how inhabited the country is, but often there are campsites in protected areas. But there is really very little info on that. If camping is possible, I’d much prefer that to some stuffy huts – my tent is also much better against mosquitoes than most accommodations.

– mask and fins: while not that mammal-watching oriented, someone could know this – are there actual snorkeling opportunities in Ghana? There is a handful of pages claiming so, but no real details and most beaches look more suited for surfing as there are constant waves. I know this stuff can be rented, but we are quite particular about our gear – but it takes a lot of room in the backpack.

Any info would be much appreciated!

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  • jurekmammalwatching

    Hi Jan,
    Basing on our trip in January 2022. Hiking boots were not necessary, rainforests tracks were not very muddy, savannas were (very) dry. We did not see any camping sites at all. We only seen one lagoon for birds, and it was pure sandy beach. In two best mammalwatching sites: Ankasa in the rainforest and Mole in savanna, you need a guide. In Kakum we went to a single place – the canopy treetop tour (Tree Hyrax, Pel’s Anomalures) and it would not need a guide, but i am unsure if it is allowed so. We seen very few Westerners, maybe due to Covid. I doubt that independent travel is practical – maybe if you take public transport and hire guides and hotels at every national park. I suggest you take Ashanti Tours guide and a car – they were a very professional company, seasoned guides, knew all birds perfectly, very accommodating to any special needs (we wanted night drives and modified plan, we rebooked for 2 years due to Covid, I had to return earlier due to family emergency – and they sorted out everything perfectly).
    all the best,

  • JanEbr

    Hi Jurek! Are you actually the same Jurek as I know from BF? It feels like it, but would be interested to be sure that I am not imagining two different people as one 🙂 Anyway good to hear that forests are quite dry, that means like 3 kilos per person less gear to pack (our Hanwag boots are really comfy, but reaaaally heavy). I am pretty sure we won’t take any long-time guides, as I simply can’t imagine spending extended amounts of time with a random stranger. I have reached the point, when I have seen enough in Africa so that if this is a complete flop, I don’t really care …

  • pfaucher

    Hi Jan,
    We visited Ghana in Feb./Mar. 2023. We too booked a guide and driver through Ashanti Tours which worked very well for us. We did note that camping is possible in Ankasa Reserve, Kankum National Park and Mole National Park. I’d bring your own tent. I’d still contact Ashanti to see if you need to reserve a campsite at their lodge in Ankasa and Bonkro. You may need a vehicle and guide in Ankasa but this can be arranged at the lodge. Kankum and Bonkro can be explored on foot. You will also need a vehicle and guide in Mole. Since you are visiting in the dry season, hiking boots aren’t really necessary. We did not snorkel. Public buses are available but are slow, crowded and not always reliable. Photos and more information can be found on our website and there are 3 links to blog posts we wrote about our trip.


    Hope this helps,

  • dvrobichaud

    Hi Jan,
    I went with Ashanti in November 2021, and the trails in Ankasa and to a lesser extent Kalakpa, were a mud pit, definitely requiring shin-height gum boots. Hiking boots would be wrecked for the rest of the trip (nothing dries because of the humidity). I recall the other parks being fine. I hope this helps.

    • JanEbr

      That’s interesting. Maybe the boundary of the wet season is sharp? Because I have seen people saying that December was pretty dry – and actually everywhere it states that wet season is “first half of November”, which inspires belief in the sharpness of the end, if it’s worth mentioning with such precision! But this is something to consider …

  • JanEbr

    The answers are: hiking boots not really needed so far – when we needed to cross a river in Kakum, the rangers carried us on their backs 🙂 and then there was some mud, but not terrible. Tent was useful for camping in the forest during this trip, not sure if we use it any more, it’s simply not that practical here. Snorkelling even in the supposedly calmest waters along the coast is pointless, the visibility is zero.

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