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Ghana

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The Aknac Hotel Accra
The Aknac Hotel Accra - dream vacation

TrasACCO Valley, Opposite Trasacco Valley Estate, Accra

Ghana is a country in West Africa. It borders the countries of Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north and Togo to the east and the Atlantic Ocean Gulf of Guinea to the south.

Ghana is a very friendly country, ideal for first time travellers to Africa, the people are generally very helpful and welcoming. While their laid back attitude and lack of organised tourist sights/trips can be a little annoying to begin with, before you have been there for very long you realise that it is one of the delights of this country.

Tourism in Ghana is growing very quickly, and more tour operators are seeing increased requests for Ghana as a travel destination. Ghana has gold mines, and is a stable country with good potential for growth.

Ghana means "Warrior King" and the name of the country is derived from the ancient Ghana Empire.

Regions

There are 10 administrative regions in Ghana namely the Northern Region which is the largest in terms of size. There is also Eastern Region, Western Region, Upper East Region, Upper West Region, Central Region, Volta Region, Ashanti Region and Brong Ahafo Region which is the second largest.

Cities

  • Accra — national capital and largest city.
  • Cape Coast — the first capital of Gold Coast (the former name of Ghana), Cape Coast is home to a slave castle that is a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Koforidua — regional capital of the Eastern Region
  • Kumasi — traditional centre of the Ashanti Kingdom on the UNESCO World Heritage List for Ashanti traditional buildings, and Ghana's second-largest city.
  • Obuasi — mining town.
  • Sekondi-Takoradi Also known as twin city or oil city
  • Sunyani — the capital of Brong Ahafo Region
  • Tamale — largest city in the north, fastest-growing metropolis in Ghana and gateway to Mole National Park
  • Tema — industrial and port city on the Greenwich Meridian

Other destinations

  • Boti Falls - Situated in a village called Boti in the Manya Krobo district in the Eastern Region. This spectacular waterfalls is situated in the Eastern Region of Ghana
  • Eco Village Sognaayilli (Meet Africa) — a holiday with the local people in a traditional village in the Northern part of Ghana.
  • Kakum National Park — rainforest area with a long canopy walk, delightful to be above the treetops, but rare to see any wildlife except birds. Monkeys as well as elephants and antelope are said to live in the region. There is a good little museum and a café at the park entrance.
  • Mole National Park — savannah with buffalo, monkeys, antelope, and reintroduced lions & elephants; both driving and walking safaris are popular, you can even camp for the night on the savannah.
  • Paga — a town in the north home to "sacred crocodiles" which are tame and live in several pools.
  • Shai Hills Reserve — a great day trip near Accra home to baboons, parrots, & antelope; you can tour the reserve on horseback.
  • Wli Falls — in the lush Agumatsa Wildlife Sanctuary near the Togo border.

In addition, the forts and castles of ElminaCape Coast, Butri, Apam, Abandze, Komenda, Axim, Dixcove, Shama and Senya Bereku are collectively listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Understand

History

Early times

There is archaeological evidence which shows that humans have lived in what is present day Ghana from about 1500 BC. Nonetheless, there is no proof that those early dwellers are related to the current inhabitants of the area. Oral tradition has it that many of Ghana's current ethnic groups such as the multi-ethnic Akan, the Ga and the Ewe arrived around the 13th Century AD. However, the Dagombas are believed to be the first settlers, having been fully established by 1210 AD, before the arrival of other ethnic groups. Modern Ghanaian territory includes what was the Empire of Ashanti, one of the most influential states in sub-Saharan Africa before colonial rule.

Colonial era

Early European contact by the Portuguese, who came to Ghana in the 15th century, focused on the extensive availability of gold. By 1548, the Dutch had joined them, and built forts at Komenda and Kormantsi. Other European traders joined in by the mid 17th century, largely English, Danes and Swedes. British merchants, impressed with the gold resources in the area, named it the Gold Coast, while French merchants, impressed with the trinkets worn by the coastal people, named the area to the west "Côte d'Ivoire", or Ivory Coast. The Gold Coast was known for centuries as 'The White Man's Grave' because many of the Europeans who went there died of malaria and other tropical diseases.

After the Dutch withdrew in 1874, Britain made the Gold Coast a protectorate. Following conquest by the British in 1896, until independence in March 1957, the territory of modern Ghana excluding the Volta Region (British Togoland), was known as the Gold Coast.

Many wars occurred between the colonial powers and the various nation-states in the area and even under colonial rule the chiefs and people often resisted the policies of the British. Moves toward de-colonisation intensified after World War II and after an intense struggle, on March 6th 1957 elected parliamentary leader Kwame Nkrumah declared Ghana as "free forever". The nation thus became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence.

Modern era

Kwame Nkrumah was a champion of pan-Africanism and his popularity was a major concern for the West. Nkrumah was overthrown by the military while he was abroad in February 1966. A series of coups from 1966 to 1981 ended with the ascension to power of the flamboyant Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings in 1981. These changes resulted in the suspension of the constitution in 1981 and the banning of political parties. The economy suffered a severe decline soon after, and many Ghanaians migrated to other countries.

Rawlings changed many old economic policies and the economy soon began to recover. A new constitution restoring multi-party politics was instigated in 1992, and Rawlings was elected as president then and again in 1996. In 2009, John Atta Mills took office as president marking the second time that power had been transferred from one legitimately elected leader to another, and securing Ghana's status as a stable democracy.

Climate

There are two main seasons in Ghana, the wet and the dry seasons. Northern Ghana experiences its rainy season from March to November while the south, including the capital Accra, experiences the season from April to Mid-November.

People

The largest ethnic group in Ghana is the Akan, but there are many others, including the Ashanti.

Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Independence Day (March 6)
  • Easter (Good Friday and Easter Monday)
  • Republic Day (July 1)
  • Founder's Day (September 21)
  • Eid al-Adha (various)-Islamic religious observances
  • December 25 (Christmas)
  • December 26 (Boxing Day)

Get in

Visa requirements

Foreign nationals of the following countries can enter Ghana for a Maximum of 30?Days and for a Maximum of 90?Days:

ECOWAS countries, plus Botswana, Egypt, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Singapore, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Zimbabwe

Otherwise, unless in direct airside transit through a Ghanaian airport, all other foreign nationals require a visa to enter Ghana. For information about obtaining visas for Ghana, visit the official website of the Ghana Immigration Service .

There is no such thing as a visa on arrival for Western countries. It's thus best to play it safe and get a visa in advance. The Ghanaian government's online Ghana list of embassies is out of date, but this list is fairly reliable. A three-month single-entry visa costs US$60; a one-year, multiple entry visa costs US$100. You must have a yellow fever vaccination certificate which will be presented to customs when entering. Malaria course essential.

If you require a visa to enter Ghana, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no Ghanaian embassy or consulate. For example, the British embassies/consulates in [1], Bogotá Amman, Helsinki [2], Hong Kong [3] and Tripoli [4] accept Ghanaian visa applications (this list is not exhaustive). British diplomatic posts charge UK£50 to process a Ghanaian visa application and an extra £70 if the authorities in Ghana require the visa application to be referred to them. The authorities in Ghana can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.

Travellers who are staying longer than their entry visa (a maximum of 30 or 60 days are usually granted for tourists) are advised to bring their passport for visa extension to Immigration Service early and expect delays in getting their passports back. Two weeks are provided as the guideline for processing time, but this can often take much longer. Be careful about what dates are stamped in your passport. Sometimes Immigration puts a 60 day stamp on a visa for 3 months- the stamps is what counts. If you don't want to go through the hassle of Immigration Service, you may consider going to Togo and back to get a visa stamp at the border.

By plane

All International flights are through Kotoka International airport at Accra (ACC) [5] . Also, Kotoka International airport at Accra (ACC) is very central and there are always Airport Shuttles and lots of taxis available to connect you to other parts of the City. The refurbished airport is small, with a departure lounge that can become cramped when multiple flights are due for take off. Almost 29 international airlines fly to Kotoka International Airport with annual air traffic of over 4 million

Delta Air Lines serves Accra from New York City (JFK) and Atlanta with four flights per week. British Airways (daily) and Virgin Atlantic (5x weekly) fly from London Heathrow. KLM flies daily from Schiphol, Amsterdam. Lufthansa and Alitalia maintain daily direct flights from Frankfurt and Milan respectively, with a short stop in Lagos, Nigeria. Emirates flies daily non-stop from Dubai in the Middle East and Middle East Airlines (with connections to Asia and the Far East). Ethiopian Airlines flies four weekly non-stops from Addis Ababa (with stopover, you can visit another African country). Also, Egypt Air flies non-stop to Accra. South African Airways flies four times a week non-stop from Johannesburg. If coming from Brazil or nearby, the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Luanda, Angola on Angola Airlines would be the shortest. From there, you can go non-stop to Accra. Turkish Airlines flies from ?stanbul to Accra with four flights per week, non-stop.

Royal Air Maroc also has several flights a week to Accra out of Casablanca. Arik Air and Air Nigeria operate flights to Nigeria.

The lowest fares to Ghana outside of Africa are usually from London, but that doesn't necessarily mean British Airways is the cheapest (i.e. a transfer inside continental Europe may be required). TAP from Portugal flies 4 times a week to Accra. Those living in North America might be able to save by getting a cheap ticket to London from their home country. (Beware that there are two separate London international airports, Gatwick and Heathrow, and allow lots of connection time.)

There are also local carriers namely, Starbow, Antrak, Fly 540, Citylink and African world airlines that operate within the country and sometimes to other countries within the sub region. There are regional or domestic airports in Kumasi, Takoradi, SunyaniTamale which is soon to be upgraded into an international airport and recently one was constructed in Obuasi by Anglogold Photos of the small but well run airport [6]

By train

No international rail connections exist. However some major mining towns and villages are linked by the rail.

By car

The border at Aflao with Togo is an entertaining scene. It appears very disorderly and human traffic seems to flow freely. However it is unlikely that a white person can pass through without all the formalities. The border guards are professional enough where you will not be asked for bribes—although some women may get marriage proposals! A visa into Ghana can be bought at the border at double the normal cost (because of the speedy delivery) for some GH?110. The Togolese 7-day transit visa is a lovely cheap 5,000 CFA francs (2011). Change your money before crossing, if you need to buy a visa. Ideally, change your money at a bank in Aflao (even better to do it in advance at a ForEx in Accra) or Lomé.

While at the border crossings, keep your cameras stowed in your packs; both Ghanaian and Togolese border guards are sure to take your camera if they spot you snapping a photo, or at the least give you a good chiding.

The border with Cote d'Ivoire at Elubo takes less time to cross but Ivorian guards seem much more keen on the rules.

By bus

Ghana's national bus company, State Transport Corporation, runs an inter-city bus service within Ghana and to some major West African cities. A recent public-private partnership produced Metro Mass Company, which runs services within the capital city, Accra, and within other regions in Ghana.

ABC Transport [7], based in Nigeria has a daily air conditioned bus from Lagos to Accra for about GH?45.

Coming in from Burkina Faso, the main route is a bus from Ouagadougou to Bolgatonga/Tamale/Accra. Alternatively you can cross the border at Hamile (or Hamale, as it is called on the BF-side of the border). Take a bus from Bobo-Dioulasso. You have to cross the border by foot (after leaving Burkina Faso, you walk some 300 m through no-man's-land before reaching Ghana customs. Locals will be lingering around and will be looking to change money at fairly reasonable rates). Then take a Metro Mass bus to Wa (alternatively hop on a tro-tro and do the trip in stages). Be sure to take an early bus from Bobo: if the bus has a delay, you may end up having to spend the night in Hamile. There is a place where you can get a room (GHS10); the custom officers can help you find it.

By boat

There are no authorised boat services to Ghana. There are however pantos and ferries that work on the Volta lake linking the eastern region to the Volta region and other areas

Get around

By plane

There over five domestic airlines with scheduled domestic flights 2 - 3 times a day from Accra to Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale. So far Starbow, 540, Ankrak Air and Africa World are the domestic flights in the country. http://www.flycitylink.com Starbow flystarbow.com. They mainly plyAccra- KumasiAccra - Tamale Accra - Takoradi and Accra Sunyani routes. Fly 540 www.fly540africa.com/ Africa world airlines www.flyafricaworld.com

By train

There are rail links between Accra, Takoradi and Kumasi however, as of October 2010, all railways have been suspended except those travelling from Accra to Nsawam (four times a day, Monday through Saturday) and from Accra to Tema (twice a day, Monday through Saturday). These are mostly used as commuter trains for residents. The railway system is being renovated, so the other routes are expected to reopen to passengers when everything is complete.

By car

Roads are variable. In Accra most are fairly good. Significant improvements are being made on the main road between Accra and Kumasi. Most of the roads outside Accra apart from the major ones are dirt tracks. The road between Techiman and Bole is particularly bad and should be avoided if possible. For travel on most roads in the North of the country a 4x4 is required, a saloon car will cope with some of them in the dry season but is not recommended.

Cars with foreign registration are not allowed to circulate at night 18:00-06:00. Only Ghanaian registered vehicles are allowed on the road at this time. Non compliance can result in fines and the impounding of the vehicle for the night.

By bus

With the collapse of the state owned transport company (STC), many private own companies are springing up and providing better service to passengers. Companies such as VIP Bus, O.A. Travel and Tours, M Plaza, Diplomatic Transport etc ply the major cities and towns of the country. The VIP bus company is now the major carrier between AccraKumasiSunyani, Takoradi etc. Fare depends on preferred company and destination of travel. Most of these buses are a/c coaches, there are no advance tickets and there are meal and wash-room stops when aboard.

However these private buses don't travel to rural areas of the country. Metro bus which is a state company is by far the cheapest means of travel to consider when travelling between towns.

By tro-tro

A 'tro-tro' ismalmost any sort of vehicle that has been adapted to fit in as many people, possessions, and occasionally livestock, as possible. Tro-tros are typically old, 12-passenger VW or Mercedes-Benz vans. Similarly to 'shared' taxis, tro-tros will run along fixed routes and have fixed fares, and will rarely run with less than capacity [so be prepared to wait]. They are inexpensive (cheaper than shared taxis and STC buses) and fares should reflect distance travelled, however they have a questionable safety record and frequently breakdown. Breakdowns however are usually not too much of a problem since they will break down in a route where other tro-tros run, so you can just grab another one. Although they generally run point to point they will usually pick and drop on route if required. They make runs within the city (i.e. Circle to Osu for GH?0.20) as well as intercity routes. They are often the only option between remote towns but are not recommended for long journeys. Tro-tros are an excellent way to meet Ghanaians, and are always great for a cultural adventure. Sometimes they will make you pay extra for luggage, and occasionally they will try to overcharge (very rarely).

If you feel like being an elite tro-tro rider, ask around for City Express, a newish service sporting the usual minivan, but with working breaks, non-stop travel, half the seats, and impressive air conditioning. It mostly runs between the larger cities along the coast, e.g., Takoradi, Accra, Aflao, et al.

By taxi

Taxis are prevalent, easy to spot, safe, and as a tourist you will find they find you quick enough if you need one. To charter a taxi is more expensive than to share one, but prices are negotiable and almost always need to be bargained over. Always settle on a fare before getting in. A taxi for a very short route should be no more than GH?1.00, longer GH?2.50-5.00 and GH?8.00 should be enough for most places in the city. As of December 2011, you can use a rough rate of GH?1.00 for every 1.5 km travelled (check Google Maps for the distance between places). Fares continue to fluctuate with the fuel prices on the international market. Almost every taxi driver will start with a high price that is 1.5x-3x the local price if you're a foreigner and then you'll have to bargain them down. You'll get the best price when you start to walk away from the taxi. In Accra and the major cities most taxis that will stop for you assume you require a charter taxi and unless you are on a very strict budget it's usually easiest to do this. In more remote areas, shared taxis are most common.

Talk

English is both the official language and the lingua franca between Ghana's many peoples. English speakers will have no trouble communicating their needs anywhere in the country; Ghanaians usually speak English quite fluently, albeit with a strong accent and some quirks. Official government documents are in English, but there over 40 distinct languages spoken in Ghana including Twi/Fante in the Ashanti and Fante regions, Ga in Greater Accra, Ewe east of Lake Volta, Dagbani, and so on. "Obruni", the Akan word for foreigner literally means "white man", is generally shouted at any tourist in the more heavily trafficked areas, black or white, male or female. This gets tiresome.

In the northern regions and among Ghanaian Muslims in general, the Hausa language is also used as a lingua franca.

See

Historic and UNESCO World Heritage sites

For many visitors the history of Ghana starts with the slave trade, and interaction with Europeans, but there was a long and rich history before that. Remnants of thriving civilisations can be seen in the Northern region, at both the Larabanga mosque which dates from the 15th century and the 16th century Nalerigu Defence Wall.

With the growth in power and prestige of the Ashanti Kingdom in the 17th and 19th centuries, the capital Kumasi also grew and now contains a number of historic sights.

However the slave trade did leave its mark on Ghana, with forts built by the British, Dutch, Danish, Germans, Portuguese and Swedish dotted all along the coast. Excellent examples of these can be seen at both Cape Coast and Elmina, these forts give a glimpse of the time of slavery and a view of the last sight of Africa for thousands of people, as well as being UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Another World Heritage site is the village of Nzulezo, which is built on stilts.

Nature

Ghana is blessed with an abundance of natural treasures, from beautiful beaches such as those at Kokrobite and Winneba, where you can relax with a cocktail, enjoy a stay at a beach front hotel or watch the fishermen at work. Alternatively you could take the waters inland instead, Volta Lake created by the damming of the River Volta at Akosombo in the mid-1960s to provide a source of electricity to Ghana now also provides a wonderful viewing point from the dam itself or trips out onto the lake itself or you can take a trip on the River Volta instead at Ada.

In the Ashanti region not far from Kumasi is Lake Bosumtwi, a 10.5km diameter meteor impact crater lake, which was created by a meteor strike approximately 1 million years ago, as well a being extremely picturesque the lake holds a spiritual significance to the Ashanti, whose traditional belief asserts that souls of the dead meet the god Twi at the lake.

Also inland, are two more national treasures in the form of two world renowned national parks. Kakum National Park to walk of the elevated rope bridges within the forest, with the opportunity for bird watching and butterfly and other nature spotting or to Mole National Park to enjoy a safari experience, with the chance to see Elephants, big cats and other animals on the savannah.

There is also the mountaintop village of Wli Todzi, in the rain forest near Wli Falls, which is known for its dramatic scenery and is popular for its ecotourism offerings.

Urban

The 1st and 2nd cities of Ghana offer plenty to see and to do. Accra offers history at the historic sites, such as Independence Square, the Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum and the WB Dubois Centre. Shopping in a number of markets, including Makola market in the centre of the city. Cultural treats include a number of museums and the national theatre. Outside of the city at Aburi are the extensive botantical gardens.

Kumasi offers the sights based around the history of the Ashanti, including the Manhiya Palace, the Asantehene's Palace and Okomfo Anokye Sword. There are also more to discover in terms of artifacts which are deeply rooted in the culture of the Asante people like wood cvarvings from Ahwiaa, Adinkra designs and clothes from Ntonso and Aboaso,Kente weaving in some part of Kwabre Bonwire, Adanwomasi and Wonoo.

Do

Buy

Money

The new Ghana cedi, denoted by the symbol "GH?" (ISO currency code: GHS) was introduced on 1 July 2007 at a rate equal to 10,000 old cedis. When it was introduced, it was the highest-valued currency unit issued by a sovereign African country.

You will encounter a variety of currency notations locally. Banknotes are issued in 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 new Ghana cedi denominations.

One new Ghana cedi is divided into one hundred new Ghana pesewas (Gp). Coins of GH?1, 0.50 0.20, 0.10, 0.05 and 0.01 circulate. The one pesewa coins are rare in the system since you hardly find items that can be bought for less than 5 pesewas.

Many Ghanaians still think in old currency. This can be very confusing (and costly). Ten thousand old cedis are habitually referred to as ten (or twenty, or thirty). This would, today, be one, two, or three "new" Ghana cedis. So always think whether the quoted price makes sense before buying or agreeing on a taxi fare. If in doubt ask whether this is new cedis.

US dollars are accepted by some of the major tourist hotels, but you shouldn't rely on this. As in all West African countries, older US dollar bills will be rejected by banks and Forex bureaus. If you intend to take dollar notes make sure that they are all from the 2009 series or above.

Euros, dollars and pounds sterling in cash are the most useful currencies to take with you and are easily and safely changed at numerous air con booths open to 21:00.

There are many Forex Bureaus in Accra, and a few in the other major cities. It is very difficult to change travellers cheques and certainly almost impossible outside Accra and Kumasi, unless you change them at a major bank. Barclays has branches in AccraKumasiCape Coast, and even Tamale where you can change travelers cheques. Expect lines.

ATMs

there are Ecobank, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered bank, Stanbic bank, GT bank ATMs all over Ghana. which accept Master card/Visa card. At the main branch of Barclays Bank in Accra you can get a cash advance on your Visa or MasterCard provided you have your passport with you. you can use Master card and visa cards in hotels and some shopping malls and airlines offices.

Shopping

Bargaining is very much expected in the markets. Large cities such as Accra have markets open every day, but travellers get the true flavour of the country if they have the opportunity to visit a village market on the day of the week that it is open. Most goods will be staple goods, but cloth, beads, musical instruments, bags, and even CDs are usually available.

Kente cloth, drums and wooden designs, such as masks and "sacred stools" can be found on almost any street in any tourist area in Ghana.

The Accra Mall is a shopping centre situated on the spintex road of the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.(www.accramall.com).

Adinkrah symbols and sacred stools

The sacred stools have traditional Adinkrah "motif" designs in them that can mean many things having to do with God, love, strength, community, and much more. Finding a guidebook which will tell you what each symbol means is advisable to prevent the possibility of buying a stool that doesn't mean what you think it is.

Gye Nyame is by far the most popular Adinkrah symbol. It means "Only God". Other popular stools are the "Wisdom Knot" and the one with the character holding many sticks together, which cannot be broken, to symbolize the strength of community.

Eat

Traditional food is fun to try and easy to enjoy. Fufu, the most widely served traditional dish, consists of pounded balls of yam, plantain, or cassava served with a variety of soups and meat or fish stews. Soups are typically made of groundnuts, palm nut, okra and other vegetables. Banku is a fermented corn version of the dish typically eaten with grilled tilapia fish or okra soup.

Rice dishes are also typical, but not considered a "real" meal by many Ghanaians, males especially. Jollof rice is a dish as varied as its chef, but generally consists of white rice cooked with vegetables, meat pieces, spices in a tomato based sauce. Waakye is a mix of beans and rice, typically served with gari, a powder of ground cassava. Often rice dishes are served with shredded lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes on the side with a dollop of Heinz salad cream or mayonnaise. Such meals are extremely cheap from street vendors and cost GH?1.50-2.50.

Plantains, yams, and sweet potatoes are prepared in various ways and serve as small snacks. Kelewele, a spiced fried plantain snack, is especially delicious. Fresh fruits such as pineapple, mango, papaya, coconut, oranges, and bananas are delightful when in season and come when applicable by the bag for as little as 10 cents.

A great African meal in a restaurant can cost GH?3-7. For instance, a lobster and shrimp dinner can cost GH?6. There are also a number of Western and Chinese style restaurants available especially in Osu, a trendy suburb of Accra.

There is also banku and tilapia.The price of the tilapia varies based on the size as well as where you buy it from. There are other local traditional meals that are not so common example are the Aprapransa, mpotompoto etc

Drink

Drinking water from the tap is not generally considered to be safe, so choices include plastic bottled water (e.g. Voltic, 1.5 L, c. GH?1.00), boiled or filtered tap water, and "pure water" sachets. These sachets are filtered and come in 500 mL. portions. Many foreigners prefer bottled water.

At least one study[8] has suggested bottled water to be the safest choice. Although "pure water" sachets are more easily accessible, 2.3% of sachets tested were found to contain faecal bacteria. If you want to play it safe, stick with carbonated beverages or bottled water.

In Accra's expat visited bars, a beer will cost GH?2-4. Fruit juices GHS1.50, water GH?1.00-1.50. Star and Club are two of the more popular beers served. For a more interesting and rewarding experience, visit a "spot," a bar signified by the blue and white stripes on the outside of the building. They are cheaper and you will undoubtedly be able to meet some local Ghanaians as well as hear the newest hip-life songs.

A soft drink such as Coke, Alvaro, Fanta, 7UP (called "minerals" by locals) are widely available for GH?0.70.

Be aware that the bottles that minerals or beer is served to you in are owned by the bottling company-if you do not return it to the seller, they stand to lose GHS0.50 -- more than you most likely paid for the drink. If you are not going to consume the drink at the "spot" or at the roadside stand, make sure you let the seller know. Often, you will be asked for a deposit which will be returned upon the return of the bottle.There also traditional drinks like "pito", asaana,burkina,bisarrp drink (sobolo)

Sleep

There are many wonderful places to stay in Ghana. There are many options including lavish hotels or more rustic places to stay. Cheap, decent hotel rooms can run as low as GH?12.00. A better room can go as low as GH?20.00. (From the perspective of a different person, one who visited Ghana in the fall of 2010, prices are higher than a comparable hotel in the USA.)

For longer stays (a few months) it is possible to rent a house. Houses for rent are advertised in local newspapers and also in those places frequented by expats - Koala supermarket, Ryan's Irish pub, etc.

Learn

Ghana has three major public universities. The largest of these is the University of Ghana, located in Legon, a suburb of the capital, Accra. Other universities are located at Cape Coast (University of Cape Coast), and Kumasi (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, or "Tech"). Smaller public universities include the University of Education at Winneba, the University of Development Studies with a main campus at Tamale and several other campuses around the north, and the University of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa, Western Region. There are also several private universities and colleges, both religious and non-religious.

There are some good schools while others aren't that great. Teachers are usually very strict and respect from the students is very important.

Work

A popular method of travelling around Ghana is to volunteer with the many organizations that Ghana boasts.

  • Africa Calling
  • AIESEC University students
  • Disaster Volunteers of Ghana
  • Global-Cultural Solution (GCS)
  • Ikando Volunteers
  • Light for Children
  • Meet Africa
  • Operation Groundswell (OG). Nonprofit offers affordable "backpacktivist" volunteer programs which fund only local, community-requested projects.
  • Thrive Africa UK
  • Volunteering Solutions
  • Ultimate Voluntary Organization. Offers opportunities for teaching, football coaching and/or medical volunteering. This grassroots organization is near the Volta and provides volunteers with a real sense of what Ghana is all about.
  • Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa
  • The Humanity Exchange - Funded program provides low cost volunteering with excellent provisions and support in Esiama, Western Ghana.

Stay safe

Ghana is a very safe, stable country with relatively low crime levels compared to other West African countries. Take sensible precautions but be assured it is quite safe.

Bywel's bar in Osu is a frequent hangout of expats on Thursday nights meaning that it is target for muggings. Be sure to leave in a large group and enter a taxi immediately upon exiting the bar.

While female homosexuality is legal, male homosexuality is illegal.

Cases have also been reported of people snatching mobile phones in the streets. Avoid using your mobile phone out in the open if you do not absolutely need to. You may run the risk of having someone snatch it from you.

Stay healthy

Be aware that chloroquine-resistant malaria is widespread and you must take sufficient malaria protection including mosquito avoidance, mosquito repellants, and chemical prophylaxis. Yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into the country.

It is strongly urged that a traveller request vaccinations against Hepatitis A & B, Cholera and Typhoid fever if they are planning to travel within the country.

There is a very high risk of meningitis in the northern third of Ghana which is a part of the Meningitis belt of Africa. This applies especially during the dry windy periods from December to June. A polysaccharide vaccine is available for Meningitis types A, C, Y and W135.

Although the AIDS/HIV rate is lower than other sub-Saharan African countries, do not have unprotected sex! Also you should avoid contact with still freshwater as there is a risk of schistosomiasis.

Some restaurants will approach European health standards, but be prepared to pay for this. Smaller restaurants, often called "chop bars," will likely not meet these standards.

Because of the tropical climate near the coast, travellers will need to stay hydrated. Bottled water is available everywhere. Voltic Water has been a reliable brand over the years, but do check to make sure the seal has not been broken.

For the latest traveler's health information pertaining to Ghana, including advisories and recommendations, visit the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention destination Ghana website [9].

Respect

Do try and pick up on respectful practice (such as not eating or offering with your left hand), but in general Ghanaians are quite accepting of tourists getting it wrong. Greetings are very important. Ghanaians are not forgiving of people who do not take time to greet others. Sometimes greetings come in the form of a salute accompanied by a "good morning" or "good afternoon". The expected response is the same (a salute with a "good morning or afternoon"). Inquiring how the person is doing is also a good idea.

The Ghanaian hand shake is a typical handshake, quickly followed by the snapping of thumb and middle finger. The technique will be introduced to you the first time you shake hands - it will take you by surprise as it involves sliding your hand down the other persons hand, taking their middle finger between your thumb and middle finger as they take your middle finger between their thumb and middle finger, then snapping your finger together as they do likewise. It is unique. Smile, make new friends, and give them a Ghanaian handshake - they will smile and nod!

Connect

Telephone and postal services can be unreliable within Ghana itself but international post, at least to and from Accra is reasonably reliable (approx a week either way to the UK for example). Ghana Telecom (now majority owned by and re-branded Vodafone) is the most widespread phone company, but is not yet entirely reliable or widespread. There are six (6) mobile phone networks operating in the country. All six networks have 3G/HSPA/EVDO coverage in the regional capitals and other major cities, and there has been a corresponding boom in internet access via USB sticks (expect to pay around GH?60 for a stick with a 2GB allowance). Coverage is good in the urban areas, and is increasing in the rural areas and along major highways.

With a recent ICT boom in the country's urban areas, you're never too far away from an internet cafe where one hour of internet access should cost GH?0.50-1.00. Many hotels also boast broadband access via wireless hotspots.

The Amateur Traveler talks to Lillie Marshall of AroundTheWorldL.com about the 3 months she volunteered in Ghana in sub-Saharan West Africa on her round the world trip. She worked for the program Youth Creating Change. Lillie talks about some of the tourist spots in Ghana like the the slavery castle at Cape Coast and Mole National Park. Then she talks about what it is like to live and volunteer in a 3rd world country where the people are wonderful and some of the cultural differences can be striking (don’t ask why she didn’t like the beaches). She extols the wonders of food like fufu and how to buy a $10 hand made dress. She also talks briefly about the capital of Accra that Lonely Planet thinks is their second least favorite city on the planet.NewsGun Taken From Suicidal JetBlue Pilot in Crew LoungePushy fliers may show up on TSA’s radarShow NotesAround the World L – Lilly Marshall’s blogGhana@WorldLillie – Lilly on twitterCouchsurfing.comYouth Creating ChangeCape Coast Slave CastleHostels in GhanaAhh!!! A White Person!!!How to Get a Custom-Made Dress for $15What the Heck is Fufu?Ghana Student Life Stories ProjectCommunityAllan disagrees with Ralph in Travel to Montenegro – Episode 232, says “rent a car”Sean says Travel to Kerala, India – Episode 147 missed catholic historyKathy and John, Yemen warningsAmateur Traveler Egypt Photo tour slots available - http://AmateurTraveler.com/toursiTunes reviews of the Amateur Traveler neededNo Maimi Meetup in June 2010NYC meetup June 23 2010save 10% off Globus Tours - http://AmateurTraveler.com/globussponsored by Auidble - http://AmateurTraveler.com/freebook

TURKEY CARVES KATE

This is a hard recap to write. This was a hard month in a hard year. I finally feel like joining everyone in declaring that 2016 was THE WORST, THE WORST, THE ABSOLUTE WORST.

That and I took almost no photographs this month. Oh, and the fact that this is a week late, when I am usually ON IT with the monthly recaps.

But as bad as this month was, there was a lot of good, too. Perhaps even some life-changing good. We shall see how it all pans out.

I’m going to be brief this month so we can put this nightmare behind us.

Iced Coffee Broome

Destinations Visited

Broome and Perth, Australia

Reading and Lynn, Massachusetts

New York, New York

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Stamford, Connecticut

Favorite Destinations

Perth is a really cool city — and getting time to wander on my own made it better.

Kate and Beth Canvasing in Allentown

Highlights

Honestly, I had a hard time finding joy this month. But there were a few moments that I really enjoyed: going to Parks and Rec trivia at Videology in Williamsburg (my team came in fourth, no thanks to me who was THE WOOOOOOOOOOORST), going out in Chinatown with my buds Jessie and Anna, and experiencing early voting in Massachusetts (where I’m still registered but won’t be for much longer) for the first time ever.

From a travel perspective, I enjoyed my last days in Broome and Perth before embarking on a very long economy class journey home (Broome-Perth-Singapore-London-Boston — and I do not recommend flying for that long!). And I had three seats in a row free from London to Boston, so I actually got to lie flat and slept FIVE AND A HALF HOURS on a flight!

I was home for my first Thanksgiving since 2009! I spent 2010 in Koh Lanta, 2011 in Istanbul, 2012 in Glasgow and London, 2013 in Chiang Mai, 2014 in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka, and 2015 in Koh Lanta again. Turns out I actually do like Thanksgiving food after all.

Pretty much every conversation I had at home this month somehow came back to the topic of newly legalized marijuana in my home state of Massachusetts, which goes into effect December 15. I’m about to know a LOT of newbie pot farmers.

I Voted

Challenges

The election. I went into it with such high hopes. I worked so hard for Hillary — donating and calling and volunteering, even more than I did for Obama in 2008. My friend Beth and I went canvassing in Allentown on the day of the election and we ended up working with the local community mostly in Spanish (a huge thrill and one I’m happy to say we pulled off!).

Jet lag from Australia hit me on a severe delay, so I had slept from 5:30-11:30 PM the night before the election and just stayed up all night into morning, then went out to canvas. We had tickets to Hillary’s event at the Javits Center, but the crowds were so crazy we left and went to a bar decked out in Hillary signs in Hell’s Kitchen.

And Hell’s Kitchen quickly turned into Hell on Earth.

I couldn’t take it. Feeling like a zombie, I went home and fell into bed at 11, missing the worst of it. Then woke up at 4:30. I didn’t leave my bed for the next ten hours. Later that day, my heart raced for several minutes and I panicked, gulping air as hard as I could and feeling like I was drowning. I’m fairly certain this was the first panic attack I’ve ever experienced. Another followed a day later.

I didn’t eat anything for three days. Then spent the next three days eating nothing but junk: Easy Mac topped with crushed tortilla chips and Frank’s Red Hot. Triple chocolate donuts from Dunkin Donuts. Those so-bad-for-you soft sugar cookies with pink frosting and sprinkles from C-Town.

Then the recovery began. I wrote this post. I donated money to the ACLU and NAACP (I donate monthly to Planned Parenthood). I joined an anti-racism group in my neighborhood. I started following my local politicians, made call after call to Congress, and planned for political action privately.

For the record — my reaction was not just because my candidate lost. My reaction was borne out of genuine fear for our country’s most vulnerable: for blacks, for Muslims, for Latinos, for LGBT individuals, for women, for immigrants. For the wave of hate crimes that has hit our country. For our environment. For having a reckless president who doesn’t understand the job requirements and has already put our safety and security at risk.

I watched Bush get reelected in 2004 while studying in Florence, a pit in my stomach. Four more years of frustration and anger. But I didn’t feel a fraction of the fear I feel today.

This election was not normal.

Kate Wardrobe Text

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The Best Gifts for Travelers (Awesome AND Affordable!) — My first-ever gift guide and I am DELIGHTED at how much you guys enjoyed it!

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Leaving is Easy. Fighting is Harder. — On choosing to stay and fight for my country.

On the Shores of a Pink Lake in Australia — SO PINK!

The Conversation We Would Be Having — All the burning questions people have for me, answered, so I can just send them this and not have to have this conversation a million times a week.

My Favorite Experiences in Western Australia — The best of WA, distilled into one monster post.

Rottnest Island

Most Popular Photo on Instagram

Look at that amazing beach on Rottnest Island in Western Australia! Even more amazing? That was taken through a window. (Don’t take the bus tour on Rottnest Island like I did. It killed me that we had to take almost all of our photos through glass.)

Reading in the Fall

What I Read This Month

Narrative of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass — I haven’t read about Frederick Douglass since I was a kid, and today I live in a neighborhood where one of the main streets bears his name. It was time to dive into this memoir. To my surprise, this memoir is solely about his years in slavery; he didn’t write about his post-freedom life until much later.

And the accounts are heartbreaking. This is probably the single best account of enslavement, not least because Douglass lived slavery in so many different forms and different environments, all of them evil. From the mistress who taught him how to read then disowned him to him getting caught building a plan for escape as an adult, I found this to be one of the most difficult to read yet important accounts of this year.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson — I love Mark Manson’s writing (my favorite essay of his: Love is Not Enough), so I was looking forward to his book. This collection of essays is like an anti-self-help book, going against much conventional advice. The contrarian in me enjoyed that and much of the book had me thinking differently.

That said, like a lot of books I’ve read by celebrities and internet personalities this year, I found the book to be quite uneven. (As an internet personality myself, this is something that scares me about my own writing.) Some chapters were very good, especially the one about accepting death; others fell flat and the book took a long time to find its rhythm. I loved the vivid stories about actual people that illustrated some chapters; I wish there were more of them. Overall? Not life-changing, but thought-provoking and definitely worth the read.

Palm Trees in Broome

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance — This was my first book from the “trying to understand Trump voters” collection. Vance grew up a self-described hillbilly (a term he uses with pride) in Ohio with family roots in Kentucky. This memoir is a searing account of growing up in poverty amid substance abuse, physical abuse, and a rotating series of father figures, set in a mostly white working class town in decline. Vance escaped and went on to the Marines, Ohio State, and Yale Law, an anomaly to his peers.

I knew nothing about this segment of Americans, who are too often ignored, and reading about them gave me so much empathy for their struggles. That alone made it worth a read, and I’m grateful I understand more. It’s not a hardcore political read, so don’t go in expecting to read what explicitly drove people to vote for Trump.

Vance himself is a Republican. His conclusion is that the government can’t do much of anything to help people like his family because so much of their problems originate in the family structure. I don’t completely agree with him. I’ve heard of Family Intervention Projects in the UK where case workers regularly visit a family on a long-term basis, teaching everything from from how to cook simple meals to getting kids bathed, to bed, and to school on time. Years later, kids in this program had lower rates of anti-social behavior, truancy and substance abuse. There aren’t enough resources to provide this to every needy family in America, but I think a program like this would be worth exploring.

Hillbilly Elegy is a good companion to Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle, one of my all-time favorite memoirs, which also tells the story of growing up poor in America. It’s becoming a movie soon.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi — Even though this book got so much buzz, I admit I had subdued expectations for another slavery read, thinking it couldn’t compare to Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. Was I ever wrong. Homegoing is one of the most epic novels I’ve read in quite some time, and I can’t believe something this rich was written by a first-time author in her twenties.

Two half-sisters in what is now Ghana are torn apart: one is captured and sold into slavery, and the other is married to a British slaver, remaining in Africa. Seven generations on each side of the family have their stories told in vignettes, one side in Africa and one side in America, bringing in topics from British colonialism and mental illness to living as an escaped slave and heroin addiction. The stories end in the present day.

More than any other novel I’ve read, Homegoing encapsulates how slavery may have technically ended but whites have found different ways to keep African-Americans enslaved in various horrifying forms ever since. Sadly, the people who need to realize this are the ones who won’t pick this book up in the first place.

What I Listened To This Month

Back in 2008, I went on my first solo trip ever — to Buenos Aires. While there, I hung out with an American guy named Louis. And while I always knew he was into music, Louis now is Kind Of A Big Deal in the music world — he’s part of the band Autograf. (Oh, and fun fact, loyal readers, he’s in one of those ten stories you loved so much…)

I hadn’t checked out his music until this month, but I watched the above video and fell in love with that song “Dream.” I kept listening — and now I seriously love all of their music. What a find!

Nuremberg Christmas Markets

Image: charley1965

Coming Up in December 2016

German Christmas markets, here I come! I’ve visited Germany around ten times or so, but I’ve actually never been during the Christmas season!

I’ll be spending just over a week in the Bavaria region, visiting Munich, Nuremberg, Regensburg, and Passau. (I’m now in Munich as this is being published.)

That’s it for travel this month. I still feel exhausted from my six-week adventure this fall and I need to seriously stick to my goal of cutting travel down to 25% of the time! I’ll be spending Christmas with my family in Massachusetts and I hope to spend New Year’s in New York.

What are your plans for December? Share away!

The Ghana Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The World Readers)

Kwasi Konadu, Clifford C. Campbell

Covering 500 years of Ghana's history, The Ghana Reader provides a multitude of historical, political, and cultural perspectives on this iconic African nation. Whether discussing the Asante kingdom and the Gold Coast's importance to European commerce and transatlantic slaving, Ghana's brief period under British colonial rule, or the emergence of its modern democracy, the volume's eighty selections emphasize Ghana's enormous symbolic and pragmatic value to global relations. They also demonstrate that the path to fully understanding Ghana requires acknowledging its ethnic and cultural diversity and listening to its population's varied voices. Readers will encounter selections written by everyone from farmers, traders, and the clergy to intellectuals, politicians, musicians, and foreign travelers. With sources including historical documents, poems, treaties, articles, and fiction, The Ghana Reader conveys the multiple and intersecting histories of Ghana's development as a nation, its key contribution to the formation of the African diaspora, and its increasingly important role in the economy and politics of the twenty-first century.  

Ghana - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Ian Utley

The “Gateway to Africa,” Ghana welcomes around a million tourists, aid workers, and business travelers a year—visitors who invariably come away with glowing reports of a fertile land, tropical scenic beauty, rich culture and traditions, and many first-rate tourist attractions. It is, however, the Ghanaians themselves who make the biggest impression. It is through their hospitality and love of peace that Ghana has a claim to be the safest and friendliest country in Africa. Ghanaians are welcoming to foreign guests, respectful to each other, strong followers of tradition, and have deep familial and communal values. For most visitors, Ghana comes as a wonderfully refreshing change, with valuable lessons to teach the outside world. Ghanaians like to do things their own way, and Ghana is a proud country that does not cater exclusively to tourists but rather expects them to fit in with the Ghanaian pace and way of life. Thus a visit to Ghana is not without its downsides, and visitors can experience frustrations and barriers. This revised and updated edition of Culture Smart! Ghana explains the complexities and nuances of Ghanaian society with clarity and humor. Visitors are expected to be sympathetic to their customs and beliefs, and their hosts will have no hesitation in saying, “We don’t do that here,” should a faux pas be made or a taboo broken. It is important to Ghanaians that they, and their guests, follow certain rules and codes of conduct. Culture Smart! Ghana describes these rules, explains where they come from, helps to disperse the frustrations and barriers, and offers the reader an opportunity to enjoy more fully all that this beautiful country has to offer.

Ghana (Bradt Travel Guide)

Philip Briggs

Friendly, safe and inexpensive, Ghana is an ideal destination for first-time visitors to Africa. It is rich in little-visited national parks, forest reserves, cultural sites and scenic waterfalls and blessed with bleached white beaches and the lush rainforest of the Atlantic coastline. Updated throughout, this only established standalone guidebook to Ghana includes authoritative history and wildlife sections, updated accommodation and restaurant recommendations and a wealth of background and practical information. Africa expert Philip Briggs has overhauled the structure, maps and content to reflect broader changes in the Ghana travel scene over the past six years or so.

Ghana (Bradt Travel Guide Ghana)

Philip Briggs

Bradt's Ghana is the only dedicated guidebook on the market and the most comprehensive source of travel information on the country, written by Philip Briggs, the leading writer of guidebooks to Africa. Catering for all types of visitors, from bar-hoppers to birdwatchers, and covering everything from Ghana's 550km of Atlantic coastline to its remote and sparsely populated northern border, Bradt's Ghana is the most detailed resource for those who want to explore the country's wealth of tropical beaches, national parks, forest reserves, cultural sites and scenic waterfalls. It also includes more than 60 maps and is accompanied by a dedicated updated website run by the author himself.Friendly, safe and inexpensive, Ghana is an ideal destination for first-time visitors to Africa. It is rich in little-visited national parks, forest reserves, cultural sites and scenic waterfalls and blessed with bleached white beaches and the lush rainforest of the Atlantic coastline. Updated throughout, this revised guide includes authoritative history and wildlife sections, accommodation and restaurant recommendations and a wealth of background and practical information. Written by Africa expert Philip Briggs, it provides unrivalled detail and knowledge of this little-visited nation. This edition has been updated by Sean Connolly, author of Bradt's Senegal and a contributor to several of Bradt's African titles, who has been visiting the continent regularly since 2008. It has been thoroughly updated and carefully tailored to any changes in the Ghana travel scene since the last edition.

GHANA Country Studies: A brief, comprehensive study of Ghana

State Department

A brief yet detailed report on the country of Ghana with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.

Ghana Travel Map Reference

ITMB Publishing

This title is like the Eveready Bunny, it just keeps selling and is now entering its seventh edition. This one has a change of ISBN, though not price, as we move into our new ITMB prefix for recording titles. Apart from that, we have changed anything that has been drawn to our attention since the last printing and have added new data for both the Accra and the Kumasi inset maps, but essentially, this is our new and improved map of Ghana for the next couple of years.

Confessions of a Sex Tourist--Motorcycling in Ghana, Africa--Part 1

Lawrence Scott

Senior American, divorced, man purchases cheap Chinese Motorcycle, Royal 150cc and as part of his bucket list tours Ghana for 4 months. Follow the misadventures of Lawrence Scott as he drives the countryside searching for romance among the young women of Ghana. Experience the dangers of seeking sex in a third world country.The author is a seasoned sex tourist of Thailand, Philippines, Cuba and many other fleshpots of the world. See how his perilous adventures in Ghana nearly costs him his life.

The Ghana Fact and Picture Book: Fun Facts for Kids About Ghana (Turn and Learn)

Gina McIntyre

Turn & Learn presents: The Ghana Fact and Picture Book The Ghana Fact & Picture Book will allow your child to learn more about this world we live in, with a fun and exciting approach that will trigger their imagination.

We're raising our children in an era where attention spans are continuously decreasing. Turn & Learn provides a fun, and interactive way of keep your children engaged and looking forward to learn, with beautiful pictures, coupled with the amazing, fun facts.

Get your kids learning today! Pick up your copy of Turn & Learn's Ghana Fact and Picture book now!

Exercise a high degree of caution; see also regional advisories.

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

You should exercise a high degree of caution in Ghana and maintain a high level of security awareness at all times.

There have been recent closures of land and sea borders with Côte d'Ivoire. Check before entering the region to receive the latest update.

Northern and Upper East regions

Regional ethnic tensions remain a concern in the Northern and Upper East regions of Ghana. You should evaluate your need to travel to these areas given previous outbreaks of violence, which caused deaths and injuries in many areas, including in or near Tamale (the capital of the Northern Region), Gushegu (Northern Region), and Bawku (Upper East Region). When regional violence breaks out, local authorities often respond by imposing curfews. Consult local authorities before entering any of these regions to get the latest information.

Crime

Pick-pocketing, purse snatching and attacks by individuals on motorbikes are increasing in Accra and its surroundings, including areas around the High Commission of Canada. Violent crimes have also increased, including armed robbery. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone or displaying signs of wealth. Home invasions are on the rise. Affluent areas in Accra where foreigners live are targeted and some thieves carry firearms.

When possible, carry photocopies of your travel documents and keep the originals in a secure place.

Be very careful when driving in Ghana. People may try to get you to stop your vehicle. Pedestrians may bang on your car, making it appear as if they have been hit, and drivers may attempt to cause minor vehicle collisions. Crowds gathering as a result of these types of incidents can become dangerous. Drive with your doors locked and proceed immediately to the nearest police station to make a report if you are involved in any traffic incident.

An increase in crime has also affected Tema, Kumasi, and the Upper East and West regions. Armed robberies of vehicles are a growing concern in areas such as Takoradi, Kumasi and other parts of the Ashanti region. People working in the mining industry should be particularly cautious. Armed attacks have also been reported along the Accra-Tema and Accra-Kumasi-Tamale highways. You should remain vigilant at all times.

Thefts occur at Kotoka International Airport in Accra and in hotels across the country. Be wary of unsolicited assistance from uniformed porters or officials appearing to work at Kotoka International Airport. Official airport employees wear identification cards bearing both their name and photograph. If you are being met at the airport, you should confirm the identity of your driver.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occasionally occur in Accra and other major cities. You are advised to be prudent and avoid large crowds and public gatherings, as some have turned violent in the past. Monitor local news reports, follow the advice of authorities, and respect any curfews or roadblocks.

Fraud

Canadians are frequently the victims of Internet scams originating in Ghana, which is a base for commercial and Internet fraud schemes in the region. Scammers will offer enticing business or financial opportunities, often related to the gold industry. Be wary of unsolicited emails. Ensure that any business opportunity is legitimate before travelling to Ghana.

Other scams involve online friendships or romances. There are many variations, all with the intent of scamming money from people abroad, and some Canadians have lost thousands of dollars and in some cases, have been arrested as a result of such situation.

Credit card fraud is also a considerable problem. Limit your use of credit cards whenever possible.

See our Overseas Fraud page for more information on scams abroad.

Road travel

Road conditions are generally good in cities, but poor in rural areas. Inadequate lighting, pedestrians and roaming livestock pose risks. Traffic accidents are common on the road from Accra to Cape Coast and Kumasi. Travel outside urban areas should be restricted to daylight hours. In the event of an accident, you should stay in your car and contact help with a mobile phone or proceed to the nearest police station and contact the High Commission of Canada in Accra if necessary.

Police roadblocks are routine. At checkpoints, vehicles and passengers may be subject to inspections, and armed security forces may demand money, either directly or indirectly. You should always carry copies of identification documents, such as your passport and valid visa, and your International Driving Permit (IDP). Vehicles with temporary licence plates (DVLA) are prohibited from traveling anywhere in Ghana between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Vehicles may be seized for the night and fines imposed for non-compliance. Furthermore, as border closures are frequent, seek the advice of the High Commission of Canada in Accra prior to departure if you are planning on leaving Ghana by road.

Public transportation

Buses are unreliable and inconvenient. Car rentals are available but expensive. Taxis are also available, but taxi fares should be agreed before departure. Domestic air travel may be subject to disruptions.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Reserves, safaris and the beach

There are inherent risks associated with viewing wildlife (both marine and on land), particularly on foot or at close range. You should always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife and avoid exiting vehicles unless professional guides or wardens say it is safe. Use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice.

Avoid isolated picnic areas and beaches. Coastal waters have unpredictable wave and tide patterns and can be dangerous. On many beaches, there are serious and strong undertows and riptides that can sweep swimmers out to sea. Follow the advice and warnings of local authorities.

Piracy

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.

General safety information

Contact local police in the event of an emergency. Emergencies: 191 (country-wide) or (0302) 77-36-95, 77-39-06, or 78-73-73. Ambulance: 192 (country-wide).

Periodic shortages of electricity and city water can occur, especially in the dry season from November to March.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Meningitis

This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is a serious and sometimes fatal infection of the tissue around the brain and the spinal cord. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers), those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings, or those travelling for a longer period of time.

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers from all countries.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in West Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in West Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Cholera

There have been cases of cholera reported in this country in the last year. Cholera is a bacterial disease that typically causes diarrhea. In severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.

Most travellers are generally at low risk. Humanitarian workers and those visiting areas with limited access to safe food and water are at higher risk. Practise safe food and water precautions. Travellers at high risk should get vaccinated.

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in West Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley feverWest Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in West Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are inadequate outside urban areas. Emergency medical attention and serious illnesses require medical evacuation. Medical services usually require immediate cash payment.

 

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Ghanaian family law is different than in Canada and particular caution is required when dealing with child custody issues. Consult our publication International Child Abductions: A Manual for Parents for more information.

Restricted or illegal activities

Gold, diamonds and other precious natural resources are subject to strict import and export regulations. Only agents licensed by the Precious Metals and Mining Commission are authorized to handle import-export transactions of these natural resources. Individuals who commit offences may face prosecution, and penalties include imprisonment.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Possession of pornographic material is illegal.

Homosexual activity is illegal and same-sex marriages are not recognized.

Photography of sensitive installations, including military sites, government buildings, bridges and Accra's international airport, is prohibited. Seek permission before taking photos of official buildings and individuals.

An International Driving Permit is required.

Dress and behaviour

Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.

Money

Ghana's currency was redenominated in 2007. The new Ghanaian currency, the Ghana cedi (GHS), has progressively replaced the old cedi and, since January 2008, the old cedi can only be converted at the Bank of Ghana.

The export of cedis is prohibited. There are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign currencies provided that they are declared upon arrival and exchanged for local currency only through banks and foreign exchange bureaus. Visitors may receive an Exchange Control Form T-5 on arrival; if not, travellers may request it. Foreign currency and all transactions made while in the country must be recorded on this form. This form should be safely stored; its loss can result in problems. Unused cedis must be spent or reconverted into foreign currency before departure. The T-5 declaration form must show that the monies obtained while in Ghana were from an authorized dealer in foreign exchange. Currency transactions with private citizens are illegal.

Climate

The rainy seasons extend from March to November. Flooding across the country can occur during this season, causing widespread damage, including the possibility of fatalities and significant loss of infrastructure and property.

During the hot and dry season, temperatures can reach 38 degrees Celsius. However, sporadic and heavy rains may still occur. You should keep informed and plan accordingly.