Traveling can be daunting and stressful but it can also be made fund as well as educative. Traveling, local or beyond the boarders of Ghana is fun. By traveling you can see, learn, explore and relax. However, these things don’t just happen because because you have embarked on a journey. To make the best out of your travels, you must be intentional about what you wish to achieve with every trips.
Traveling and working across Ghana has opened me up to the country in so many ways. This opportunity has given me a new perspective of the Ghana we have and that perspective is that there is a whole lot of beautiful things beyond Accra. To be frank seeing Ghana the more makes me more a proud Ghanaian.
Ghana is bigger than Accra so to really know Ghana, one must see and experience Ghana beyond Accra. So for people who intend to explore Ghana, they must look at traveling beyond Accra. So to make your Ghana beyond Accra trip memorable let me share with you 7 practical tips that will help you enjoy your travels across Ghana.
1 Leave your perception behind.
Once you intend to take trip to another part of the country try and leave the perception about the people and places you are going to visit. Keep an open mind because the perception you carry can hinder you from enjoying your experiences as you journey across Ghana. Forget about your perception about customer care as you travel around.
The customer experience outside Accra is different. If you stay in low budget hotels, reduce your expectations of being served as the customer is the king. What you will have is what they have and mostly the customer service is influenced by the culture of the people. Don’t worry because for the classic hotels, you will get a treatment as a king or queen.
2. Drop your taste
Yes, you will have to drop the taste of foods that you know behind if you want to enjoy others places and the food available. The food culture is so different and there is every likelihood that you will not find in some of the location food tasting like your home or local foods. Be willing to explore new ways of eating and enjoying food in your new place. If you fail to adjust your taste buds on your trips you may not give you much experience and you will miss out on some adventure. I tell people that food is part of the experience so enjoy thy experience.
One thing I try to do when I travel around is that I don’t carry my favorite food even when I am to travel beyond the boarders of Ghana. When you go to Nzema, taste the akyeke, the TZ, the fried yam, akple, etc. Akomfem(Guinea fowl). Truth is the taste of grilled Guinea fowl in Accra is very different from that of Zebilla. Ga kenkey in Accra is not the same as GA in Kumasi. Fanti Kenkey from Cape Coast is not the same as Fanti Kenkey in Tamale. Stop tasting foods by using the tastes you already have as a standard. There is more to explore with foods. Explore.
3. Have a conversation
Don’t be on a Ghana Beyond Accra trip and keep to yourself in your hotels or behind your windscreens acting like a VVIP. Pick up healthy conversations with hotels workers or people who you buy from, taxi drivers and you can better have a good understanding of the area you may find yourself. You can ask of the security and safety issues or best food or pub joints or any relevant information to enable you make very informed decision.
4. See the city in the evening
No matter what you do during the day, like attending to business meetings, shopping, visiting museums, tourist sites, etc you have not seen much if you don’t take time to see how the city appears or looks like in the evenings. I will agree with the thought that the beauty of a city is seen and experienced in the evenings. Well, I just think it is so because most people are less serious about life after the long day. At least spend some time out and enjoy the city in the evening.
There are many ‘joints’ that can fit your status and style, if you ask around well. Most of the hotels have nice places to hangout in safety. The little draw back about evening life in most parts of Ghana even including Accra is that most parts of Ghana are not like some parts of East Africa where evening life can be felt from Sunday to Sunday. In Ghana, evening life picks up from Thursdays with much fun on Fridays and Saturdays and then it slows down on Sundays.
This is something my Ugandan and Zambian friends have found boring about night life in Ghana. So if your traveling is only for fun or touring try and schedule it around the weekends, because that will help you feel a blubbering city if only you are a night life person.
5. Learn a local word and use it
Language is a powerful relationship builder. Don’t travel around without trying to pick or learn a word or two in the local dialect. Be careful to learn the right or appropriate word and use it to connect with the locals. It gets you to receive a little more hospitality than sticking to only your own or known language.
6. Visit the local market
No matter how you travel, rich or budgeted, the local markets have something to offer you. Don’t limit your experiences to the high street restaurants or shopping malls. Pick up simple local foods from the local markets and enjoy.
Shop in the local markets for some local items that can serve as memorable items for your travels because every trip or journey is so different. Keep a great memory of your travels with the things you buy on your trips. Anyway, my best picks on my travels are books for my girls and I make sure I write in them where those books were purchased.
7.Keep your camera Close.
Thankfully, because of technology, we don’t need to carry huge cameras on us as we travel. Sometimes I travel with my Canon EOS 100D camera but the phone is a best substitute so whichever way, carry a camera. However, ensure you follow the public rule for photographing. If the inscription boldly prohibits photography, just obey it.
The worst experience on a trip is to find yourself on the bad side of the law so just avoid anything controversial on your travels. You have an ultimate aim to positively enjoy your time on your trip so just do it and make sure you focus your camera on safe objects and click as much you find the scenes beautiful.
You owe yourself a memorable trip so fix yourself a positive memory of your next Ghana Beyond Accra trip.
Author: Roderick Okoampah Ayeh
Ghana Beyond Accra advocate