Ghana, a country on the West Coast of Africa, is one of the most thriving democracies on the continent. It shares boundaries with Togo to the east, la Cote d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north and the Gulf of Guinea, to the south. A recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea could make Ghana an important oil producer and exporter in the next few years.
Ghana has an estimated population of 25 million, drawn from more than one hundred ethnic groups- each with its own unique language. English, however, is the official language, a legacy of British colonial rule.
In 1957, Ghana (formerly known as the Gold Coast) became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence. After leading the country for nine years, the nation's founding president, Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in a coup d’état in 1966. After Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana was ruled by a series of military despots with intermittent experiments with democratic rule, most of which were curtailed by military takeovers. The latest and most enduring democratic experiment started in 1992 and it is what has gained recognition for Ghana as a leading democracy in Africa.
Travel documents and visas: A passport and a visa are required. Visas are required by most non-residents except ECOWAS nationals. Ghana Missions and Embassies abroad will assist in issuing individual as well as group visas.
Visitors entering Ghana with more than $10,000 U.S. in cash are required to declare the amount upon entry into Ghana.
Yellow fever vaccination required by all except infants under one year. Please do not forget to bring your health Certificate which shows that you have a yellow fever vaccination. You are also advised to consult your doctor well in advance of your visit so that you may begin the usual anti-malaria treatment.
Modern private and public hospitals and clinics are available in all cities and big towns. Tourist should contact travelers' medical insurance companies to cover any medical contingencies while away from their home countries.
Ghana's currency is the Cedi which comes in denominations of GHC 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins come in denominations of 1 GHC and also 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p & 1 pesewa. Foreign currency can be freely exchanged at any Forex Bureau in the country. Apart from Forex Bureau some commercial banks also exchange foreign currency. Most large commercial banks have automated teller machines located outside and available during and after working hours.
All banks and Forex Bureau accept Traveller"s Cheques although the rate of exchange may be slightly lower than for cash transaction.
The most widely accepted credit cards are Visa and MasterCard. These cards are accepted in major hotels, restaurants, banks and businesses. Your card may be used for payment at most hotels and major supermarkets. However be cautious when using your credit to avoid fraud.
Ghana is a tropical country. The South Western part is located within the warm wet forest zone similar to the Amazon. It lies between 4° and 11 ° North at the equator and has a coastline of 540 km. Northern Ghana has a range season from about April to October. The rest, of the year is hot and dry, with temperatures up to about 38°C. In Southern Ghana the rains last from April to June and again from September to October. Generally temperatures are between 21 - 31°C. The rains are usually restricted to specific times each day during the rainy season; they are not continuous throughout the day.
Packing the right clothing since the climate is warm and tropical all year round. Be sure to pack light washable cotton clothing and casual wear. Do not forget your sunglasses and comfortable walking shoes. There are no restrictions on what men and women may wear. Slacks and shorts for both sexes are permissible.
Ghana, offers a wide range of hotel accommodation for her growing economy and tourist industry; cosmopolitan, metropolitan, district town and country hotels and park lodges of varying comfort, elegance and convenience. Ghana’s hotels are classified according to the international star-system with 5-star as the highest and one-star being the minimum international acceptable quality. In addition, there are local budget hotels with minimum standards of sanitation and comfort. Hotel License is issued by the Ghana Tourist Board and displayed at the hotel reception.
Most major hotels also have business centers which provide secretarial and courier services. You can make long distance telephone calls within the country. The country has a vibrant telecommunications sector, with five cellular phone operators and several internet service providers.
Most cities and towns have facilities for night life such as cultural centers to theaters, cinema houses, discotheques, pubs, street cafes and casinos. Consult your hotel reception for what is on and where to go.
Tipping is permitted in hotels, restaurants, etc. It is rarely added to the bill. The quality of service should dictate your generosity to the waiter, taxi driver, porter, tour guide, etc.
If you are bringing along any electrical appliances, they should operate on or be adaptable to 220 / 240 volts. Electric outlets in Ghana accept either 3pronged, or sometimes 2-pronged. British or Continental European type plus or converters.
Although most people travel to the airport in their private cars, taxis and hiring cars are available at the airport for travellers’ convenience. There are other taxi services from point to point at fixed charges per individual passenger. This allows other passengers to join in the same vehicle. You can also charter taxis at negotiated rate.
There are car rentals companies registered by the Ghana Tourist Board which offer car hiring services. For inter-regional travel, there is the VIP and STC bus; they are more comfortable and a lot safer.
Safe but it is advisable for visitors to use bottled drinking water which is available for sale in hotels and super markets.
The Christianborg Castle, Osu (i.e. seat of Government), High Commissions / Embassies and Military installations.
Akan greetings and their meanings: