Ghana is a West African country between latitudes of 4 ̊ N and 12 ̊ N and longitudes of 4 ̊ W and 2 ̊ E bordered to the north by Burkina Faso, to the east by Togo, to the west by Cote D’voire and to the south by the Gulf of Guinea, a tropical region of the Atlantic Ocean. Ghana has 540km stretch of sandy coast with about 50 lagoons. Ghana is bisected by the Greenwich Meridian or 0 ̊ longitude, which runs through the port city of Tema, 25km east of capital Accra. Cape Three Points, the most southerly point in Ghana is well-known by being the closest land to the ocean intersection of the Greenwich Meridian and the Equator. Ghana covers a land surface area of 239,460km2 with a population of approximately 31 million as at 2021. Ghana gained independence from the British rule on 6th of March, 1957 with Kwame Nkrumah as the Prime Minister and later became a Republic Country on 1st of July, 1960 making Kwame Nkrumah become the first President. Ghana has a unitary system of government with the central government led by the president being the supreme authority. Accra is the capital city of Ghana with an urban estimated population of about 2.5 million as at 2021 and a land surface area of 225.67km2. The (GHS) Ghana Cedi is Ghana’s official currency.
English is the official national language however, there are at least a total of 46 languages and 76 dialects spoken. These indigenous languages are majorly divided into Akan, Ewe, Ga-Adangbe & Mole-Dagbani with Twi being the most popular and widely spoken especially in the central & southern part of the country.
Ghana has a typical tropical climate. The temperatures are generally between 21℃‒32℃ (70℉‒90℉) in the southern part and 24℃‒40℃ (75℉‒100℉) in the northern part. There are two rainy seasons in the southern sector with the major rainfall from April to June and the minor rainfall from September to October separated by a short cool dry period in August and a relatively long dry season from mid-October to March. The northern sector has only one wet season from May to August. The north is dry and falls partly within the Sahelian zone. Annual rainfall in the south averages 2,030mm but varies greatly throughout the country with the heaviest rainfall in the south-western part.
Visas and Entry Permits
All foreign nationals except those from ECOWAS countries, entering Ghana requires an entry visas. Entry Visas must be obtained before arrival in Ghana from a Ghana Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in the visitor’s home country or current residence. Also, a visa on arrival can be obtain at the point of entry to Ghana by nationals of countries where Ghana has no Embassy or Consulate. However, a visa on arrival is only granted by the immigration officer at the point of entry when he or she seemed satisfied with the visitor’s documents according to the immigration laws of Ghana. Make sure your passport is not due expiry within six months of your intended departure date so that you don’t get refused at the point of entry to Ghana.
It is very important to secure a traveler’s insurance on your visit to Ghana for your own and travel party’s safety. Make sure to get a short or medium to long term (depending on duration of your visit or stay) travel insurance policy to cover yourself, travel parties, luggage lose, accidents, travel cancellations and medical emergencies.
Yellow Fever vaccination is the only compulsory required vaccination for entry to Ghana. You will be ask to show a proof of them at the point of entry.
Malaria is a prevalent disease in most parts of tropical Africa including Ghana so you are advised to plan your malaria protection properly before you depart to Ghana. There are some suggested antimalarial medicines such as Mefloquine (Lariam), Malarone or Doxycycline that are historically proven to work well for visitors to malaria infected countries but please seek an advice from a medical doctor before you take them.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases including HIV/AIDS are common and widely spread in Ghana. In case you may indulge in any sexual intimacy whether with a fellow traveler or a local do not forget to protect yourself with a condom or femidoms. You may find variety of condoms available in every pharmacy or license chemist shops, malls, some supermarkets and fuel stations. It is advisable to bring your own trusted brands from home. However, the best prevention option is abstinence to save yourself from any doubts.
You may be slightly at risk of developing a traveler’s diarrhea at a point of your holiday or stay in Ghana if you eat contaminated food or drink contaminated water due to an unsanitary condition of the eating place. To reduce your risk of traveler’s diarrhea, be careful about what you eat and drink at all times while in Ghana. It is a good idea to have an approved medications from a doctor with you as first aid should in case you are infected from eating or drinking contaminated food or water. It is important to wash your hands properly and make sure your foods are served hot before you eat them. Wash all fruits purchased from either the streets or fruit shops well before you eat them. Raw vegetables, cold or lukewarm foods may all be at risk so do not eat them. A decent and a hygienic restaurant, hotel or a place that is regularly visited by expatriates is likely to be safe for eating and drinking.
Visit the Ghana Health Service website below for latest updates on Covid-19 status in Ghana.
There are different types of insects in Ghana and a bite from some of them especially the mosquitoe can be harmful to your health, so it is important to take precautionary measures against such insect bites. Wear a long loose cotton clothes to cover most part of your body and apply a repellent to any exposed part of your body including the ankle even if you are wearing socks. Bring along a DEET based repellent to use mostly in the evenings.
Electricity power runs on 220V AC at 50 cycles in Ghana. Visitors from countries with power voltage of 110V may bring along an adapter or stabilizers to use for all their electrical devices.
Telephone and Internet
Depending on the length of your stay in Ghana, it is very easy to make telephone calls back home or to any part of the world. There are various local prepaid mobile network operators available in Ghana. These network operators are mainly Vodafone Ghana (which is Ghana’s main landline service provider), AirtelTigo, MTN and Glo. It is cheap to buy a local SIM card from one of these local network operators to use in your phone than to still be on roaming on your home number which can be very expensive. All these network operators provides prepaid internet services in a form of data bundle packages (from daily limited packages to monthly unlimited packages) to buy from depending on your choice or preference. There are also other private internet providers such as Surf Line who sells portable modems and MiFi’s with internet data packages. There are public internet café’s available in the major towns and cities also. Free Wi-Fi services can be found in a lot of mid-range to upscale hotels and restaurants mostly in the cities and big towns. Just ask for the password from the reception or attendants.
There are several means of transportation in Ghana. These are either by air, road, water or rail.
Road travel in Ghana has been a major means of transportation for decades. Vehicles used ranges from commercial air-conditioned coaches, buses and vans that runs long journey trips from Accra to other major towns and cities across the country. There are also some commercial vans or mini vans (locally known as TroTro) that commonly runs within the cities and big towns on short distance travels. TroTro’s are a cheap way of commuting and most of the locals preferred means of transportation. Taxis are also very common in the cities and big towns. Some of these taxis mainly offer dropping services where you will privately charter to your destination at a fee sometimes negotiable. There are other taxis which offer shared services with a maximum of four passengers on-board at a time that runs from specific station to passengers destination or vice versa. However, there are some locations in Ghana where passengers on-board a taxi maybe six or more (two at front seat and the rest at back seat) at a time due to scarcity of commercial vehicles within such areas. Also, there are instances where you may find children siting on the laps of their parents or wards purposely to minimize cost. All commercial vehicles has a yellow plated vehicle numbers including taxis which has a detailed yellow paints at all four corners with a cap boldly written TAXI on top. Motorcycles including tricycles were commonly used for personal travels in the northern parts of Ghana but are now widely used for commercial transportation in the cities and big towns. They are considered by the locals to be relatively cheap and easy to manage traffic.
There are some domestic airline carriers that runs an affordable one or round-way trip flight services from capital Accra to Kumasi, Tamale, Takoradi and Ho. These domestic carriers includes Africa World Airlines, Passion Air Ghana, Starbow and Antrak Air. Most of these operators fly twice in a day so it is possible to travel on any of their scheduled flying times during the day.
The Volta Lake Transport Company offers a weekly ferry service on the Lake Volta from Akosombo to Yeji and vice versa with stops at Keti Krachi and sometimes Kpandu depending on the level of water.
The triangular railway lines that used to connect Accra through Kumasi to Takoradi is no more in operation. But there are few renovated railway lines such Accra, Tema and Nsawam networks which is usually used to transport mainly food items. In a nutshell travelling with a train is not a usual thing in Ghana.
The Ghanaian people love and respect their norms and ethical values. In these manner, there is a high respect for the elderly throughout the country. Greetings are important parts of the Ghanaian culture. Children are taught to greet any person who is older than them in the community. Whenever you visit a place where there are people, it is important to greet. Greetings are done by shaking hands mainly the right hands. Note that, hand shaking may not be possible at mass gatherings so just wave your right hand to show your respect and presence. Whenever you visit a village or a town to conduct any activity that may or not involve the people, you should first visit the chief or head of that community to discuss your motive for visiting their community. When in the presence of the chief, remove your hat, keep your hands out of your pockets and do not cross your legs. When invited to greet the chief, approach just short of where they are seated and bow slightly. Do not offer your hand unless the chief invites you for a handshake. Always be sure to bring an appreciable gift as donation to the chief and his elders, it may either be a bottle of schnapps or cash.
Clothing is one of the easiest and common products to find in Ghana. There is a large scale of brand-new and second hand clothes including African fabrics and textiles that travelers may find replaceable with a worn items while in Ghana.
Male travelers should come along with a few pair of long trousers, shorts, shirts or T-shirts, one light sweater, a good pair of walking shoes, sandals, enough socks and underwear to last their stay. Jeans may not be recommended because they may be heavy to carry, hot to wear and slow to dry. Preferably, light cotton clothes may be much help due to the sunny and hot temperatures at times.
Female travelers should come along with light cotton shirts, skirts, shorts, a good pair of walking shoes, sandals, enough socks and underwear to cover their entire stay. Women should make sure to keep their shoulders covered and wear a skirt that goes below the knees especially when staying in Muslim communities. Whenever you plan on longer stay, you may want to bring a lot of heavy-duty, leave-in conditioner to minimize sun damage to your hairs. Also, carry enough tampons or sanitary pads when you are staying outside Accra or Kumasi since they may be difficult to find in smalls towns or villages. Bear in mind that basic toiletries such as bathing soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, basic razors, shampoo and conditioner are very easy to find so you should not worry about bringing a whole luggage of them.
Kindly be advised to seek the consent of people before you take a photograph of them. Ask your tour guide to find out whether it is okay to take photographs at where you are. Photographs are not permitted in Security Forces Zones and Governmental Residences. Whiles you can freely take pictures at museums and historical sites, you may be required at some of these sites to pay a small fee for the use of a video camera.
Greater part of the Ghanaian shopping life dwells on a bargaining rule. These generally either includes chartering a drop off taxi or buying from the local open air markets since there are no specific price tags on a lot of these products or services. Be advised to find out prices of similar products at few different vendors before you go ahead to buy from the vendor with the fair price. As a tourist, you may sometimes be offered a high price on some products or services by some aggressive vendors while buying but do not forget to exercise patience to bargain the price to suit your budget and if you still find the price high, please walk away to a different vendor.
Ghana is not a country where tipping is customary but you may give something appreciable to your tour guide or service attendant for an excellent service offered to you.