Ghana Travel Guide and Safety Tips

Capital City: Accra (population 2,300,000 approx)

Population: 24,500,000 (approx)

Currency: Cedi (GH₵)

Country Area: 239,000 km2

Language: English is the official language, and ten major local languages are widely spoken

International Dialing Code: +233

Religion: 68.8% Christian, 15.9% Muslim, 15.3% Traditional, Other & None

Visa: To visit Ghana you will need a valid passport, and also apply for a tourist visa prior to arrival

Weather & Best Time to Visit: Wet season is late April to October. Dry season is November to late March. There is no best time to plan a trip here

Accommodation: There are lots of hotels and hostels throughout the country with options for all budgets

Food & Drink: Food is different to what you might be used to but also very healthy and tasty – breakfast can involve a loaf of sugary white bread and for lunch or dinner you might be eating rice, a sticky meal of fufu (a play dough-like carbohydrate) and salty peanut soup. We recommend only drinking bottled water.

Interesting Fact: Ghana was the first African nation to gain independence form colonial powers

Introduction to Ghana

Present day Ghana has been inhabited since approximately 4000BC. Many tribes co-existed with none showing real dominance until the 1600’s, when the Ashanti Kingdom rose up as the most powerful in the land. Much of their wealth was derived from gold. At this time, Kumasi, the center of the kingdom had amenities comparable to those in Europe. Portuguese, French, British, Swedish, and Danish explorers all arrived on Ghanaian shores. Colonial powers built forts or castles, which were a transit point for commodity trading, the most notable commodity being slaves. Some of these castles are still standing today (Cape Coast and Elmina castles have been preserved, and you can visit the museum and old slave holding rooms in each). The Ashanti played a major role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the abolition of slavery in 1821 finally ended the Ashanti dominance. Ghana later became a British colony. Then, led by a charismatic leader Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana became the first African country to gain independence in 1957. Nkrumah’s popularity declined before long, and he was removed by a military in coup in 1966. Government struggles remained until 1992 when democracy was officially introduced. Today Ghana is a peaceful West African country making considerable inroads to development.

Ghana Holidays

Looking for an incredible authentic holiday destination where you can escape the tourist crowds? Choose Ghana. This country is an off the beaten track holiday destination and less popular than other countries in Africa but this doesn’t make it any worse, if anything the lesser the tourists the more ideal a destination it is. If you join one of our holidays you can expect a beautiful country full of natural beauty with some of the friendliest people in the world. You might want to coincide a holiday with the Asafotufiam festival which is a full of color and life. Become a real traveller – not a tourist in Ghana with Project Africa

Top Things to Do & Places to Visit in Ghana

There are countless places to visit including Lake Volta (the biggest man-made lake in Africa), the historical slave castles of Cape Coast and Elmina, see elephants at the Mole National Park or spot tropical birds in the rainforest canopy at Kakum National Park. The Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, The Bui National Park, the Kakum National Park, Accra’s Handicraft market, Cocoloco Beach and the UNESCO World heritage castles – Elmina castle, St Jago castle and Cape coast castle are also recommended. There is also no doubt that local people love visitors and you will find that they are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet; their culture is a fascinating blend of traditional and modern. We would be surprised if you didn’t make many friends during your time here and find it hard to say goodbye at the end of your stay! You will really enjoy the experience even though it will be totally different to probably any destination you have ever been to before.

  • Explore Accra, visiting the National Museum, Center of national Culture, the National Theater and Independence Square
  • Kakum and Mole National Parks
  • Visit craft markets to see and buy some of the weavings, wood carvings, ceramic and metals works that are on offer
  • Spend time on one of Ghana’s beaches; maybe La Pleasure or Kokrobite which are only 25 km west of Accra
  • Visit Cocoloco Beach and observe the numerous birds and sea turtles
  • Take a safari in one of Ghana’s 16 national parks

Passport/Visa/Money

Is a visa required?   Yes

Allocation of Tourist Visa: Before Departure

Duration of Tourist visa: 1 to 3 months

Cost of Tourist Visa: Varies, but you can expect to pay 60USD

Tourist Visa Extension: Possible up to two years

Cost of Tourist Visa Extension: Variable

Passport validation: 6 months required before expiry

Return/onward flight ticket: Required

Confirmation of Funds: May be required

Money/Currency: Ghana New Cedi (GHS)

Inform Banks: Give the dates of travel and destinations to prevent security blocks on your bank and credit cards.

Cash: Always take enough cash to cover your expenses for the first week in case there is a problem with your bank cards or access to ATM’s is limited.

Credit Options:  Good idea to have at least two different credit/debit card options i.e. MasterCard, Visa, Maestro, or Cirrus.

Traveler’s Cheques: Not recommended as they will be difficult to cash.

Western Union: If at any time you have any problems in accessing money you can use Western Union transfer. Money can be sent from your home country and received in Ghana the same day.

Health & Safety

Ghana has a stable government but please check latest travel advice before departing. Malaria can be an issue in this country and please check available vaccinations / medication. Walking out of the Kotoka airport in Accra, you might be accosted by several bulky men, demanding money for ‘protection’ on the walk across the eerily lit car park to our taxi. Usually these people are friendly, but nevertheless unknown faces so keep your wits about you. Also it is advised to ‘ignore anyone who asks for your cedis’ (Ghanaian currency). Even though this is a developing country Ghanaian people are very friendly in nature and you shouldn’t encounter any problems, people are likely to greet you with smies and occasionally children might utter a high pitched shout – ‘Obruni!’ (Akan for ‘white man’).  You might want to check for vaccinations a few months prior to departure.

5 Useful Local Tips to for Visiting Ghana

If you are planning a holiday to Ghana, or researching what the country is like we have put together some useful information on what to expect…

  1. GMT – ‘Ghana Man Time’

In Ghana, there is a term affectionately known as ‘Ghana Man Time’. This refers to the fact that if you make arrangements with a Ghanaian for a certain time, it is likely that they will show up anytime from the time you agreed upon to up to two hours, maybe even longer, after this. While it can be frustrating at times, it is part of the culture and you will likely have to plan a way to work around this.

  1. Taxi Prices

Taxis in Ghana are incredibly cheap as you just pay from junction to junction, rather than a direct fee for how far you have travelled. You shouldn’t be paying more than 2-2.50 Ghana cedi at the maximum for a taxi, but be aware that taxi drivers will sometimes attempt to charge you more as you aren’t local to the area. You also only pay for your seat in a taxi, not the taxi itself, so you can expect the driver to pick other people up on the way, or if you are at a taxi station, you will usually have to wait until all the seats are full which can take up to 10-15 minutes.

Note: Taxi prices may differ depending on where you are in Ghana.

  1. ‘Obroni!’

If you are white and in Ghana, the chances are that people will refer to you as ‘obroni’, which simply means ‘white person’. In certain places, children will even shout it to you in the street to get your attention. Don’t be alarmed though; it isn’t meant in an aggressive way. The children are usually only shouting after you to wave at you. A simple smile and a wave back will often see their little faces light up. By the end of your trip, you’ll likely find the term ‘obroni’ to be more endearing than anything else.

  1. Cultural Differences

It would be impossible to list all the cultural differences you will encounter whilst travelling in Ghana, and I wouldn’t want to, as finding these out is a big part of your experience. However, here are just a couple of differences to get you started. Although nobody will say anything to you, it is seen as strange if you eat food whilst walking down the street, so it is probably best to save it until you sit down somewhere. It is frowned upon and not seen as acceptable for women to smoke, especially in public places. This is because as an adult, you are seen as a role model to children and should set a good example of how to behave and act within the community.  It isn’t common to see men smoking in public either.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Barter

Like many other countries around the world, bartering is common in Ghana. While larger shops, such as supermarkets, will stick to a fixed price, market stalls selling everything from fruit to clothes to souvenirs will be open to negotiating a fair price for you to pay, so don’t be afraid to try it!