Travel

Traveling to Ghana – Africa’s Hidden Gem

Authored BY: Expert Tour Guide Derrick Koney  Follow on IG @ ni_ghana

Ghana is a country colonized by the British but later gained independence in the 1957 and  ever since then the country has become a beckon to other African Countries. Initially the country used to be called “Gold Coast” because of its mineral wealth the name was then changed to Ghana which means  ‘’ The Warrior King”. Ghana has a reputation as a peaceful and one of the friendliest countries in Africa. As a tour guide I think Ghana is blessed with a collection of tourist sites worldwide, Ghana is blessed with tropical beaches like in Hawaii, fascinating historical heritage like Rome, Rich cultural variety as India, friendly people just like Finland and interesting wildlife in the national park just as its in the Eastern, Southern part of Africa and Delicious intercontinental cuisines and incredible Night life just like in the USA. The southern part of Ghana doesn’t tarnish the fact West Africa has vast beautiful green vegetation with all lush Jungle, Banana and plantain among other plantations, and perfect beaches escapes, albeit with breath taking architectural dark abode of the Europeans including the string of forts and castles used in the slave trade.

Not leaving out the northern part of Ghana which always never fails to capture the hearts of tourists with the game rich savannah of mole national park- as setting that evokes east Africa or the deeply Muslim Burkina Faso border region, where both mood and architecture have unexpected overtones of north Africa.

LANGUAGE

English is the official language and its widely spoken as a result of the country being colonized by the British. Due to the diversity of the about 56 ethnic groups in Ghana over 76 different dialects are spoken in Ghana- generally divided into Ga-Adangbe, Akan, Mole-Dagbani, Ewe language groups.

RELIGION

Freedom of religion is a constitutional right in Ghana with about 65 percent of Ghanaians being Christians,25 percent of the population Muslims and the rest shared among Traditionalists, Hinduist, Buddhist and etc.

PLANNING AND PREPARATION

WHEN TO VISIT

Ghana is a tropical country and it has two main weather seasons namely the dry season(harmattan) and the rainy season. Although both seasons have their advantages and disadvantages. I would like to talk about only the disadvantages, the harmattan comes with less sun so the hotness in Ghana is reduced but it causes plants to shred this leafs in order to maintain the little water (just like fall in the US) causing the “greens”-vegetation’s and other water bodies drying up to lose its beauty thus making people who plan on hiking  miss the beautiful mountain scenery and some water bodies like the waterfalls. The rainy season also comes with its advantages and disadvantages just imagine touring in Ghana and its suddenly begins to rain. I think the best time to visit Ghana should be February, April, June, August, October, September, October and the first two weeks in December.

RED TAPE

You may be refused entry on a passport that’s due to expire within the next six months of your intended departure dates so I advise you check in advance that your passport hasn’t expired and will not do so for a while.

You require a visa to enter Ghana thus you’d have to apply for visa in advance at a Ghanaian embassy or high commission .Most embassies require applicants to fill in the applications in quadruplicates and send it in along with four passport size photos, air ticket ,your passport and a fee of 60– 200 USD depending on how fast you want it and whether you want a single entry visa(valid for one stay of up to 60 days from date of entry) or a multiple entry  visa (VALID FOR ANY amount of visit of up to 60 days in duration within 6 or 12 months of the date issue)Visas typically take three days to issue if you hand it in and collect the application personally but will take around ten days by post. You can also apply for extensions if you want to stay more than 60 days in Ghana and pay 10 dollars for every additional 30 days regardless of whether you paid for single or multi entry visa. And also add a copy of round trip tickets or detailed itinerary for the duration of the trip (Applicant’s name must be on itinerary)

HEALTH PREPARATIONS

Only a Yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into Ghana. You’ll be asked to show proof of immunization. And be sure to bring a DEET-based mosquito repellant. Or to be on the safest side personally go to any health clinic near you for expert advice and medication.

GETTING HERE

Its always advisable to travel to Ghana on a two-way ticket because for starters, you may hit serious problems with airport immigration officials if you don’t arrive on a return ticket and secondly flights out of Ghana are very expensive, so you’ll almost certainly end up paying double of what you would for a cheap return.

WHAT TO TAKE

One thing I always tell people planning a trip to Ghana is “always think of Ghana as a summer vacation” and that always gives them an idea of that kind of clothes to bring. And you can add jackets and probably a hoodie just in case it rains or its gets cold at night. Not forgetting some gadgets  you would need. And hiking boots and other hiking materials  if you would like  to go for a hike in Ghana.

Most importantly you should carry a small medical kit.

MEDICAL KIT

It’s always advisable to carry a medical kit with you anytime you travel just in case of emergencies and pharmacies are out of reach, these may include any prescription medicine and also some basic medical supplies, such as;

  • Aspirin/pain killers
  • Hand sanitizer(spray/gel)
  • Antibiotic for gastrointestinal(GI) infections
  • Nasal decongestant
  • Anti fungal spray or cream

ARRIVAL

MONEY

For converting each dollar to Ghana cedis, the best option will be to use the forex bureaus-These are small legal foreign exchange trading shops. Rates may have slight variations from bureau to bureau. And the average current exchange rate is about 1 USD to 4.9 Ghana Cedis. Other options is to use travelers cheque’s to pay bills as well as the possibility of withdrawing from ATM machine. And it is necessary to inform your bankers about your travel just in case you want to use your cards.

 PASSPORTS

We advise that you make photocopies of your passport and keep them separately from the passport booklet. You do not need your passport to travel through Ghana except for cashing travel checks and for leaving the borders of Ghana. We recommend that you put your passport together and deposit it in a safe deposit box in the Hotel. You could contact the hotel manager or the reception for assistance.

COMMUNICATION

Cell phone use if your cell phone is Malt original you can purchase any Ghanaian chip so that you could be in touch with your family but you could also get small disposable phones and use within the country at relatively inexpensive rate.

CULTURAL NORMS

The left hand is considered as unclean since it is only used when touching unclean stuff,cleaning your ass,and  picking your nose amongst a few, Due to this, Ghanaians find it disrespectful or rude whenever you Greet, point, shake or Collect/Take from them with your left hand.

And also, you can’t cross your legs whiles talking to a King(chief) or an elderly person with your legs crossed it undermines His/her authority

SHOPPING

Things are done quite differently in this part of the world like bargaining for anything you buy. In the open market it is the norm to bargain for what you buy. You’re not expected to make your purchases at the initial quoted price. You may be asked to state your own price at which you want to purchase the item. Usually we recommend that your initial quote would be as low as possible but your guide will give you an idea as to how it prevails in whichever market you go next so no one takes undue advantage of you in the bargaining process. Except the malls, mini marts amongst others where you have a fixed quoted price, you can bargain for anything in Ghana.

THE PEOPLE

Ghana is one of the most peaceful and stable countries in Africa and it is nicknamed the “Gateway to Africa” and “The Africa for beginners”. Over the years Ghana has been on the list of every tourist as far as Africa is concerned simply because it’s extremely safe and the people are friendly and prioritize the interest of every tourist-(safety, health and your life)which many Africa countries do not believe in. Tourist walk freely on the streets of Ghana without an aorta of fear. Children especially would like to touch you and even ask for your name and adults may ask you a few questions like your purpose in Ghana and your name just to build a conversation

HOTELS

Ghana boast of a lot of classy international renowned well establish hotels from 5 stars to 1 star based on the facilities in the hotel for you to choose from depending on your budget. Here is a list of hotels ranging from 5 to 1 star;

5 stars 4 stars 3 stars 2 stars 1 star
Accra Marriot Hotel Accra City Hotel Blue royal Hotel SwissGha Hotel Christians Retreat& Hospitality Centre Harbed House Hotel
Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City Holiday Inn Accra Raybow International Hotel Gussy Hotel Ltd. Big Foot Safari Lodge
Movernpick Ambassador Hotel Zaina lodge Ibis Style Accra Accra Airport Eden Vale Hotel & Executive Training Center Green  Oak Hotel
Labadi Beach Hotel Tang palace Hotel Ridge Royale Hotel Mahogany Lodge Coconut Grove Bridge House
My World Hotel Swiss spirit Hotel &Suites Alisa Kingstel Hotel The Highbridge Guest Lodge Sharp Guesthouse
The royal senchi Resort Hotel Urbano Hotel Perriman Guest House Comme Ci Comme Ca Hotel
Protea Hotel by Marriot Roots Apartment Hotel Tap Hotel Okera Inn
La Palm Royal Beach Hotel Oak Plaza Hotel Hotel Zoisimah Safari Beach Lodge
African Regent Hotel Bojo Beach Resort Ankobra Beach Beach  Resort Jenos Hotel
Fiesta Royale Hotel G.S Plaza Hotel Royal Beaulah Greenfield Hotel
Golden Tulip Accra Mensvic Grand Hotel Mendiata Hotel Hans Cottage Botel
Golden Tulip Kumasi Airport West Hotel Kegali Hotel Annex Plaza Hotel
Golden Bean Hotels Lavender Lodge Hotel Paradise Resort Lake Bosomtwe Crystal Rock Hotel
Volta Serene Hotel Coconut Grove Beach Resort Paloma Hotel Ring Road Airport Side Hotel
Royal Nick Hotel Charleston Hotel Ltd Frankies’s Foods and rooms Gye Nyame Hotel
Alisa Hotel Best West Plus Accra Beach Hotel Stellar Lodge Gloriaka Hotel
Tyco City Volta Hotel M Suites Hotel Aylos Bay
The Aknac Hotel Quest Lodge Ampoma Hotel Yiri Lodge
Tadomah Hotel Airport View Hotel Elmina Bay Resort Rogo Hotel
Alisa Hotel Labone Takoradi Standard Hotel Multi Hotel
Coconut Pointe Villa &Beach Resort Sam’s Cottage Rising Phoenix
Hotel Georgia Anomabo beach resort La Bonita Hotel
Midindi  Hotel Palma Hotel Spintex Aduana Cultural Palace Hotel
AH Hotel& Conference Okubi Hotel Phimprev Hotel
Modern City Hotel Oak Plaza Hotel East Legon Jatt Base Hote
Luxe Suites Hotel Monarch Hotel
Pink Hotel Crismon Hotel
Triple Hill Hotel Global Summer Hotel
Marrets International Hotel The Congress Hotel
Tenack Beach Resort Tribeca Hotel Ghana
Sikaso Beach Hotel Apartmento Hotel
M plaza Hotel Prestige suites
Hansonic Hotels Hotel
Justa Hotel Hotel Loreto
Franbec  Hotel Nass Lodge
Palm Hotel Hotel  Mountain Guest Limited
Calabash Green Executive Apartment Prescious Guest Lodge
Glamossay Hotel Golden Gate Hotel
Maglab Hotel Kwasi Affum Apartments
Lilyval Hotel Byblos Hotel
Funko Beach Hotel Forest Gate Hotel
Golden Horse Hotel Pemicsa Hotel Accra
Short Stay Accomodation Jobyco Hotel
Ceeta-Kel Hotel
Pekan Hotel
Sir Max Hotel
Hill view Hotel McCarthy Hills
Samartime Hotel
Oscarpak Royal Hotel
Telecentre Hotel
Tema Cental Hotel
Hotel de Jews
Hotel De Texis
Ridma Hospitality
Restel Hotel
Mawuli hotel
Nii Dentis Hotel
Accra Lodge
Lane Residence
Beauty Hotel
Niagara Plus
Exotic palace Hotel
Osenpon Hotel
Sandabbi Luxury Guest House