If you’ve been considering an overseas vacation recently, West Africa probably hasn’t come to mind. After all, just a handful of Africa’s countries have given most of the continent the reputation of being unsafe.
However, this isn’t all true. Enter Ghana, one of Africa’s most affluent, stable and welcoming countries. “Akwaaba” (the Akan word for “welcome”) is a word that your ears will frequently encounter when visiting West Africa’s “golden child.” Because it’s not a popular vacation destination — yet — you won’t find this region to be overrun by tourists. You’ll be able to authentically experience the rich culture of Ghana as if it’s your little secret gem.
Pre-plan for Your Vacation
As with any foreign travel, there are some medical requirements you must meet before visiting Ghana, including a yellow fever vaccination. It’s also strongly recommended that you’re vaccinated against typhoid and Hepatitis A, and provided with anti-malaria medication. The anti-malaria pills are typically administered a couple of weeks before you arrive, followed by daily dosages while you’re there, and continued for a few weeks after you depart. Visit the CDC website for information on all medical requirements.
Ghana requires a tourist visa, so you’ll need to apply for it as soon as you decide Ghana is your preferred destination. The turnaround can sometimes take a while.
The national currency of Ghana is the Cedi. One U.S. dollar will get you approximately 5.5 Cedis.
Pack for Your Vacation
Ghana is located on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Accra, the capital of Ghana is less than 400 miles from the equator. So, if you dislike cold weather this is the place for you; it’s a tropical region that never gets cold. The average temperature of Ghana is around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Southern Ghana has two rainy seasons (March to June and September to November), but the rest of the country’s wet season is May to September. The optimal time for visiting Ghana is October to April when the humidity is at its lowest levels. This means fewer mosquitos and, since many of the roads are unpaved, easier travel.
Arrive in Ghana
More than likely, your visit to Ghana will begin with your arrival in Accra via Kotoka International Airport. From hotels to Airbnb, there’s a wide array of accommodations to meet every desire, need and budget in Accra and throughout Ghana. Travel agents can assist in finding exactly what you’re looking for.
While in Accra, spend at least a day or two exploring the area. It offers many markets for necessities, as well as souvenirs and handicrafts. Ghana’s beautiful white sandy beaches are great for relaxing after a long day of exploring the city. The National Museum of Ghana is also a must; ancient Ghanaian artifacts are exhibited, showing off the country’s extensive history and culture.
Learn About the Culture
Ghana gained independence from the British in 1957 and became the first country on the continent of Africa to self-govern. English is considered Ghana’s official language, but also very widely spoken are Akan (the most widely spoken indigenous language) and lingua franca. About half of the Ghanaian population speak English. Christianity is the chosen religion of about 71% of the population.
Ghana, to this day, bears the weight of its dark past. It was a hub for the British slave trade for nearly 150 years. However, today, despite — and perhaps, in view of — their country’s sordid history, the people of Ghana believe that a united country is a key to happiness. They love the peacefulness that this shared understanding creates. In fact, Ghana is one of the safest countries in the world. Ghanaians are extremely friendly and hospitable. They relish sharing their culture with visitors from around the world. You’ll find that they are also curious to learn about your way of life.
During your travels, make sure you take the time to stop and socialize with the locals. You’ll be sure to enjoy all that Ghana has to offer and you’ll make some friends in the process.