Birding Africa
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Yellow-headed Picathartes (c) Chris Farnham

Upper Guinea Tours

combining Liberia and Sierra Leone

Our Upper Guinea Special tour is one of several African tours that we have pioneered, and puts the comfort back into birding this little-known region. Gone are the tough hikes and rough camping required on other tours to Sierra Leone, without compromising on the birds.

Our tour, uniquely, combines the best of Liberia and Sierra Leone (separate, back-to-back tours), in reasonable comfort. Sturdy 4x4s are used throughout and all nights are accommodated in hotels or guest houses, with no camping required. It will be only the second-ever birding tour to Liberia following our successful first tour in 2020.

In Liberia our entire focus will be on the rich forests of the Mount Nimba area. Highlights here may include Sierra Leone Prinia, Black-headed Rufous Warbler, Nimba Flycatcher, Gola Malimbe and Yellow-bearded Greenbul, among many other forest species.

This is complemented by our abbreviated Sierra Leone tour that cuts out all camping and tough hikes. Birding in Sierra Leone will be more mixed with gallery habitats accessed at Tiwai Island, lowland rainforest at Tiwai and Gola, and moist savanna at Bumbuna. Top birds we will be searching for include Rufous Fishing Owl, White-crested Tiger Heron, African Pitta, Yellow-headed Picathartes, Emerald Starling, Crimson Seedcracker, Turati's Boubou and Togo Paradise Whydah.

Featured Leader: Michael Mills

Michael Mills grew up "in the bush" in the Kalahari and Kruger National Parks where his parents were carnivore researchers. His incredible focus, dedication and ability to locate and show people Africa's toughest birds is probably unequalled on the continent.

Michael has led dozens of tours in Southern, East, Central, West and North Africa and his experience in locating birds on just the softest of calls or briefest of views impresses those who have travelled with him.

There is seldom a tour where Michael doesn't make an interesting discovery such as finding a new species for a country or record an undescribed bird call (and he has published these in the scientific literature).

Not only is Michael one of our principal leaders, but he also helps extensively with scouting and planning our most challenging itineraries.

2023 Tours

Tour name Dates in country Days Leaflet Tour report
Upper Guinea Special: (BA2300)
Liberia and Sierra Leone
 5 - 20 January 16 Leaflet USD January 2020
Upper Guinea Special: (BA2312)
Liberia and Sierra Leone
23 Jan - 7 Feb 16 Leaflet USD January 2020

Black-headed Rufous Warbler © Tertius Gous
Black-headed Rufous Warbler photographed by Tertius Gous during our 2020 tour.

Emerald Starling © Tertius Gous
Emerald Starling © Tertius Gous

Rufous Fishing Owl © Tertius Gous
Rufous Fishing Owl © Tertius Gous

Practical tour information

Focus For keen birders and world listers. Designed to see a high proportion of Upper Guinea Endemics.
Photography Many participants on our trips are amateur wildlife photographers. And when we get excellent views of a bird or mammal, some time is usually spent watching and photographing it. However, this is not a photographic tour and once the majority of the people have felt that they have absorbed the animal or bird to their satisfaction, then we move on in search of the next encounter. Thus, while the photographic opportunities are fairly good, the group will only occasionally wait for somebody who wants to spend even longer getting better photos.
Fitness A moderate level of fitness is required. Most walks will be done at a steady pace and last less than half a day. The walks are generally on relatively terrain.
Timing We run our tour during the dry season when access to sites is easy. We will visit during the tail-end of the main breeding season.
Climate Warm and not too humid at Mount Nimba. Warm and humid in Sierra Leone.
Comfort All nights are accommodated (no camping). Poor roads are avoided.
Transport Several four wheel drive vehicles.
Getting there Please enquire.
Group Size Maximum 8 participants.
Top birds Black-headed Rufous Warbler, Sierra Leone Prinia, Rufous Fishing Owl, Emerald Starling, Nimba Flycatcher, Gola Malimbe, Yellow-bearded Greenbul, White-crested Tiger Heron, Yellow-headed Picathartes.
Booking Your booking can be secured with a booking form and deposit. You will receive confirmation and our tour information pack with practical information on what to expect and how to prepare for the tour. The balance is due 150 days before the tour. Contact us to enquire about availability.

About Birding Africa

Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders. We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent. We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

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Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
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