GHANA TRAVEL GUIDE
Nicknamed the "Gold Coast" of Africa, Ghana lies on the western shoreline of Africa. Once the seat of the great Ashanti Empire and an important centre for sourcing slaves, this country has undergone a turbulent history under British rule and in recent times has been the stage for many a coup. Today, Ghana seems to have come into its own. The country is stable and the indomitable spirit of the people intact.
Come to tourist-friendly Ghana and be charmed by some of the world’s most hospitable people. No matter where you go, you will be greeted with warmth. Music, drama and dance are expressions of the people’s emotional experience, and you will be included in all ceremonies, no matter where you come from! Add to these the birds, butterflies and beautiful beaches – you have the perfect tourist destination!
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.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO VISIT
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GHANA QUICK FACTS
Currency: Ghana cedi (GHS)
Population: 29,77 million (2018)
Electricity: 240V/50Hz (UK plug)
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GHANA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 6 March, Independence Day
- 1 May, Labour Day
- 25 May, Africa Unity Day
- 1 July, Republic Day
- 21 September, Founder’s Day
- 1st Friday in December, Farmers’ Day
- 31 December, Revolution Day
Also, Good Friday to Easter Monday, Eid al-Adha, and Eid al-Fitr.
FESTIVALS IN GHANA
BEST TIME TO VISIT GHANA
The best time to visit Ghana depends on your preferences and travel plans. Ghana experiences two main seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.
The rainy season in Ghana runs from April to October, with peak rainfall occurring in June and July. During this time, temperatures are slightly cooler, and the landscape is lush and green. However, heavy rainfall can cause flooding, and some roads may become difficult to navigate.
The dry season in Ghana runs from November to March. During this time, temperatures are hotter, and the landscape is drier, making it easier to explore the country. The harmattan winds, which blow from the Sahara desert, also occur during this period, and they can bring dry, dusty air, which can affect visibility.
If you're interested in cultural festivals, the best time to visit Ghana is during the dry season. Many festivals, such as the Homowo festival and the Kwahu Easter festival, take place during this time.
Overall, the best time to visit Ghana is between November and March when the weather is dry, and the temperatures are relatively cooler. However, if you want to experience the country's natural beauty and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and bird watching, you may prefer to visit during the rainy season when the landscape is greener.
GHANA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Ghana has three hydro-climatic zones. The South-Western system is the most humid part of the country, with mean annual rainfall between 1500 mm and 2000 mm. The Volta basin system, covering the northern part of the country, has mean annual rainfall of about 1000 mm in the savanna area and about 1500 mm to 2000 mm in the forest area. The Coastal basin system is the driest, with mean annual rainfall of about 900 mm. Ghana’s climate is tropical and strongly influenced by the West African monsoon. Seasonal variations in temperature in Ghana are greatest in the north, with highest temperatures in the hot, dry season (April, May, and June) at 27‐30°C; further south, temperatures are lower (June, August, September) at 22‐25°C.
GHANA TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN GHANA
HIKING & CYCLING IN GHANA
BEACH OPTIONS IN GHANA
SURFING IN GHANA
KITESURF IN GHANA
Kitesurfing spot details and weather
HEALTH RISKS IN GHANA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.
GHANA TRAVEL COSTS
The cost of traveling to Ghana depends on various factors, such as your travel style, duration of stay, type of accommodation, and activities you want to participate in. Here are some estimated costs for a trip to Ghana:
- Flights: The cost of flights to Ghana varies depending on where you're departing from, the time of year, and the airline you choose. A round-trip ticket from the United States to Ghana can range from $500 to $1,500.
- Accommodation: Ghana offers a range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels. A budget-friendly hostel or guesthouse can cost around $10 to $30 per night, while mid-range hotels can cost around $50 to $100 per night. Luxury hotels can cost upwards of $150 per night.
- Food and drinks: Local food in Ghana is affordable, and you can enjoy delicious meals for as low as $3 to $5 per meal. However, if you choose to eat at international restaurants or hotels, prices can be higher. A bottle of water or a soft drink can cost around $0.50 to $1, while a local beer can cost $1 to $2.
- Transportation: Taxis and buses are the primary mode of transportation in Ghana. A taxi ride within the city can cost around $2 to $5, while a bus ride can cost around $1 to $2. If you plan to travel between cities, the cost of a bus ticket can range from $10 to $30.
- Activities: The cost of activities varies depending on what you want to do. Entrance fees to tourist sites can cost around $5 to $10, while tours and excursions can range from $20 to $100 per person.
Overall, a budget-conscious traveler can expect to spend around $40 to $60 per day in Ghana, while a mid-range traveler can expect to spend around $100 to $150 per day. However, these estimates can vary depending on your travel style and preferences.
GHANA TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some travel tips to help you make the most of your trip to Ghana:
- Plan ahead: Research and plan your trip ahead of time. Check visa requirements, book accommodations and flights in advance, and research local customs and culture.
- Get vaccinated: Get vaccinated before traveling to Ghana. Consult with your doctor about necessary vaccines and medications for your trip, such as yellow fever and malaria prophylaxis.
- Stay safe: Ghana is generally a safe country, but it's always best to take precautions to ensure your safety. Avoid walking alone at night, keep your valuables safe, and be aware of your surroundings.
- Dress appropriately: Ghana is a conservative country, and it's essential to dress appropriately, especially when visiting religious or traditional sites. Avoid wearing revealing clothing or shorts, and cover your shoulders and legs.
- Try local food: Ghana is known for its delicious cuisine, and it's an essential part of the country's culture. Don't be afraid to try local dishes, such as jollof rice, banku, and fufu.
- Be respectful: Ghanaians are friendly and hospitable people, and it's important to be respectful of their customs and culture. Greet people with a handshake, avoid pointing with your fingers, and ask for permission before taking pictures.
- Bargain when shopping: Bargaining is a common practice in Ghana, especially when shopping in markets. Don't be afraid to negotiate prices, but remember to be respectful and friendly.
- Learn some local phrases: Learning a few local phrases can go a long way in making connections with locals and showing respect for their culture. Some common phrases to learn include "akwaaba" (welcome), "medaase" (thank you), and "ase" (okay).
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF GHANA
Ghana is divided into 16 regions, each with its unique attractions and highlights. Here is a brief overview of the main regions and some of their highlights:
- Greater Accra Region: This region is home to Ghana's capital city, Accra, which is known for its vibrant nightlife, beaches, and cultural attractions such as the National Museum of Ghana.
- Ashanti Region: This region is known for its rich cultural heritage, and it's home to the historic city of Kumasi, which is famous for its Ashanti culture, traditional markets, and crafts.
- Western Region: This region is known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and the historic slave forts and castles along the coast, such as Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle.
- Central Region: This region is known for its beautiful beaches, cultural attractions, and historic sites such as the Kakum National Park and the Cape Coast Castle.
- Eastern Region: This region is known for its natural beauty, including waterfalls, mountains, and wildlife reserves such as the Atewa Range Forest Reserve and the Boti Falls.
- Volta Region: This region is known for its scenic beauty, including the Wli Waterfalls, Lake Volta, and the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary.
- Northern Region: This region is known for its rich cultural heritage and scenic beauty, including the Larabanga Mosque, the Mole National Park, and the traditional mud and stick houses in the village of Larabanga.
- Upper East Region: This region is known for its traditional villages, cultural festivals, and natural attractions such as the Paga Crocodile Pond.
- Upper West Region: This region is known for its rugged terrain, wildlife reserves such as the Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary, and traditional villages such as the village of Sirigu, which is famous for its traditional mud and stick houses and handicrafts.
These are just a few of the many highlights that Ghana's various regions have to offer. Each region has its unique attractions, cultural heritage, and natural beauty, making Ghana a fascinating and diverse country to explore.
There are many things to see and do when visiting Ghana, and here are some of the best:
- Visit Accra: Ghana's capital city is a vibrant and bustling metropolis with a lot to offer, including the Independence Square, National Museum of Ghana, Labadi Beach, and the Osu Castle.
- Explore the Cape Coast: This coastal city is home to several historic slave forts and castles, including Cape Coast Castle, Elmina Castle, and Fort Amsterdam.
- Take a tour of the Ashanti Kingdom: Visit the historic city of Kumasi, the cultural capital of Ghana, and explore the Ashanti culture and traditions, including the Manhyia Palace Museum and the Kejetia Market.
- Visit the Mole National Park: Go on a safari and see wildlife such as elephants, baboons, antelopes, and warthogs in their natural habitat.
- Go hiking in the Aburi Botanical Gardens: This beautiful garden is located in the Eastern Region of Ghana and features scenic hiking trails, exotic flora, and fauna.
- Explore the Kakum National Park: This park is home to one of Africa's famous canopy walkways, and you can experience breathtaking views of the rainforest.
- Visit the Wli Waterfalls: This stunning waterfall is located in the Volta Region and is one of the highest in West Africa, offering beautiful views and a refreshing swimming experience.
- Try local food: Ghanaian cuisine is delicious and unique, with dishes such as jollof rice, banku, and fufu. Be sure to try local street food such as grilled meat, kebabs, and roasted plantains.
- Attend a cultural festival: Ghana is home to several cultural festivals throughout the year, including the colorful and vibrant Ashanti Yam Festival and the Homowo Festival.
These are just a few of the many things to see and do when visiting Ghana. Whether you're interested in history, culture, wildlife, or nature, Ghana has something to offer for everyone.
WHAT TO EAT IN GHANA
When visiting Ghana, there are several delicious dishes you should try. Here are some of the most popular and traditional Ghanaian dishes:
- Jollof Rice: This dish is a West African favorite and is made with rice, tomatoes, onions, and a variety of spices, including chili powder, ginger, and garlic.
- Waakye: This is a popular breakfast or lunch dish made with rice and beans, cooked together in a special way and served with a variety of accompaniments such as stew, fried plantains, and gari (cassava flakes).
- Banku and Tilapia: Banku is a fermented corn and cassava dough, while tilapia is a popular local fish. The two are often served together with a spicy tomato-based stew and fresh vegetables.
- Fufu and Soup/Stew: Fufu is a staple food made by pounding cassava, yams, or plantains until they form a smooth, dough-like consistency. It's often served with soup or stew made from vegetables, meat, or fish.
- Kelewele: This is a popular street food made with ripe plantains, cut into small cubes and fried with ginger, chili, and other spices.
- Red Red: This is a popular vegetarian dish made with black-eyed beans, palm oil, and spices, served with fried plantains.
- Kenkey and Fish: Kenkey is a fermented corn dough, similar to banku, and it's often served with grilled or fried fish and a spicy tomato-based stew.
- Groundnut Soup: This soup is made with groundnuts (peanuts), vegetables, and spices, and it's often served with rice, fufu, or banku.
These are just a few of the many delicious and traditional dishes you should try when visiting Ghana. The food in Ghana is rich in flavor and spices and reflects the country's diverse cultural influences, making it a must-try for any food lover.
LGBTQ IN GHANA
WHERE TO STAY IN GHANA
When visiting Ghana for the first time, it's important to choose accommodations that are safe, comfortable, and convenient. Here are some of the best options for accommodation in Ghana:
- Hotels: There are several international chain hotels in Ghana, including Marriott, Hilton, and Kempinski, as well as many locally-owned and operated hotels. These hotels offer comfortable and convenient accommodations, often with amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and restaurants.
- Guesthouses: Guesthouses are smaller, more intimate accommodations often run by local families or individuals. They offer a more personal and authentic experience and are often more affordable than hotels.
- Hostels: Hostels are a great option for budget-conscious travelers or backpackers. They offer shared dormitory-style rooms as well as private rooms, and they're a great way to meet other travelers.
- Airbnb: Airbnb is becoming more popular in Ghana, and it's a great option for those looking for a home away from home. You can rent an entire apartment or house, or just a room in someone's home.
- Homestays: Homestays offer an immersive cultural experience, allowing you to live with a local family and experience daily life in Ghana. It's a great way to learn about Ghanaian culture and traditions and get an authentic experience.
When choosing accommodations in Ghana, it's important to consider factors such as location, safety, and amenities. Be sure to read reviews from other travelers and do your research to find the best option for your needs and budget.
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