Things to know before visiting Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana

Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana Zebra

Shai Hills Resource Reserve is a wildlife reserve about an hour from Accra, the capital city of Ghana. The reserve is home to 31 species of mammals and over 150 bird species. Among those are kob antelopes, baboons, zebras (which are not native to Ghana) and an ostrich. The proximity to Accra and the possibility to self-drive a car (or taxi) through the reserve makes the Shai Hills Resource Reserve one of the easiest and most accessible wildlife viewing options in Ghana. Several hills inside the reserve offer some incredible views over the plains of the park. In terms of wildlife variety, the park can’t compete with a real safari experience but it is a great and affordable option to escape the hectic city of Accra.

This post will give you an overview of the following:
What you need to know before going to Shai Hills Resource Reserve
How to get to Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana
Animals in the Shai Hills Resource Reserve
Shai Hills Entrance Fee and Activities
Want to visit something else while you are in the area?

What you need to know before going to Shai Hills Resource Reserve

Shai Hills is a self-drive reserve which means that you need to bring your own car to drive through the park. Officially, it is recommended to use a 4X4 car to venture over the unpaved roads of the park. But we used a standard sedan taxi to get to Shai Hills and to drive us around the park and had no issues at all. The roads inside the reserve are in good condition and shouldn’t be a problem for any 2WD car.

Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana Guide
The unpaved road in the Shai Hills Resource Reserve is in a good condition and suitable for all kinds of cars.

It is compulsory to hire a guide for the visit of the reserve and the guide will drive along in the main vehicle. So make sure to have one free seat in the car before driving to the reserve or you may end up with a rather uncomfortable experience with too many people in one car.

You can also organize a mountain bike tour through the park if you feel like getting out of the car. In this case, you should call the park manager at least three hours ahead of your arrival so they can organize the bikes for you. The number is +233209010963.

According to several sources, the best time of the day to visit the park is early in the morning. At that time, the baboons and antelopes are said to congregate around the entrance area of the park and are easier to spot. We visited the park in the afternoon and also saw several baboons as well as antelopes – so I can’t really comment on that.

Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana Baboons
Baboons on the road side on the entrance to the Shai Hills Reserve.

How to get to Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana

The reserve is located around 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Accra. In order to get there, you can either rent your own car or hire a taxi or Uber. Since taxis and especially Uber is very affordable in Ghana, I would not recommend renting your own car unless you need it for other reasons.

We used Uber to get to the park and the drive of nearly 1.5 hours (including traffic) cost 36 Cedis (around €7).

Once you get to the reserve, you have to register at the office first. After you’ve chosen your tour (1, 2 or 3 hours), your guide will hop onboard and the tour begins.

Shai Hills location:

Shai Hills Contact Info:
The park is open seven days a week from 8 am until 5 pm. In case you have any questions or special requests, you can reach the park manager under the following number: +233209010963 or via e-mail: [email protected]

Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana Baobab tree
A baobab tree on Mogo Hill inside the reserve

Animals in the Shai Hills Resource Reserve

As we reached the reserve on our visit in late April, the entire reception area was full of beautiful orange butterflies. Quite a good start to our visit.

Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana Butterfly

The tour itself is divided into two parts. First, the roads through the park lead past two fenced areas, one of them includes an ostrich (as of April 2018, its partner died recently but according to the guide, they are looking for a replacement mate for the lonely female ostrich). The other large fenced area includes several zebras. Zebras are not native to this part of Africa but they are probably what Western tourists expect to see in a game reserve in Africa. Even though they live inside a fenced area, they have plenty of space and green savanna grasses to feed from. Unlike other parks I have visited around Africa and Asia, the animals seemed to be taken care of.

Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana Zebra

The second part of the tour leads through the open areas of the reserve. Here we saw several antelopes and baboons. The reserve is also a Ghana bird sanctuary with over 175 bird species living inside it. I am not a big ornithologist so I can’t really comment on that. But we did see plenty of birds. Our guide was very professional and explained us a lot about the animals and the importance of wildlife sanctuaries for Ghana.

Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana Antelope
An antelope in the Shai Hills Resource Reserve

Shai Hills Entrance Fee and Activities

Compared to other game experiences in Africa, the Shai Hills wildlife reserve is very affordable. Prices are calculated per hour and include the fees for the guide (as of November 2019):

The price for Non-Ghanaians for one hour is 50 Cedis per person (around €10). Each additional hour is 10 Cedis.
For students, the price is 30 Cedis for the first hour and also 10 Cedis for every additional hour.
Children pay 12 Cedis for the first hour and 5 Cedis for every addition hour. There is an additional vehicle fee of 5 Cedis per car.

In addition, we had to pay our driver for the time we spend driving through the reserve. We felt bad leaving the Uber meter on since we were moving rather slowly and kept on stopping every couple of meters for photos. In the end we agreed to pay him 150 Cedis (€28) total. A fair price for the drive to Shai Hills from Accra, the game drive there and the drive back to Accra.

There are several sites inside the reserve that can be visited. The most famous sites are Mogo Hill and the Sayu Cave. We decided to choose the Mogo Hill option and it was the right decision. The hike up the hill only takes a couple of minutes and is not very demanding. But the views from the hill over the reserve are just breathtaking. We could even so some antelope cubs running over the savanna grass lands from the top of the hills.

Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana View from Mogo Hill
The beautiful view from Mogo Hill over the savanna.

Want to visit something else while you are in the area?

Are you looking for more things to do in Ghana after your visit to the Shai Hills reserve? If so, head over to the nearby village of Dodowa. Here you can take an easy hike to the 100 m (250 ft.) Tsenku waterfalls and visit a voodoo fetish shrine. The Tsenku falls are less known than the famous Boti falls further up north but a great option to see some waterfalls in Ghana.

The Shai Hills Resource Reserve is a great way to see some Ghana wildlife. It is also one of the most famous tourist sites in Ghana. We’ve read mixed reviews before going there but it was an absolutely positive experience. Overall, Ghana is a very safe country for travelers and scored 12th on our ranking of the safest countries to visit in Africa.

Have you been to Ghana before or did you do any other Safaris in Africa? What were your experiences? Let us know in the comment section.

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Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana
Things to know before visiting Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana

10 thoughts on “Things to know before visiting Shai Hills Resource Reserve Ghana

  1. Thanks for the tips. Good to know that the road is in a good condition though its unpaved. A special thanks for mentioning the phone number, makes things a lot easier.
    I always prefer early morning. Its easier to spot some, when you venture as the first vehicle of the day into the park.

  2. This seems to be a good place to do wildlife photography. I promised myself to try it and already found someone who can lend me a proper super-telephoto lens. Looking forward to trying it.

  3. Shai hills seems like a lovely place to visit. Its good to know which vehicle is suitable to those terrains. Last time we went for a safari in kenya and the vehicles back wheel got stuck in the mud. Later we realized it was better to use a 4WD.

  4. I think it is too expensive for school children. We want to bring the kids there. The phone number is not working too.

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