It is very important to know about places before you visit for your safety sake. Maybe learn a few things about the place so you can blend in no matter your race. These are things to know before traveling to Ghana. Either you are visiting for a business trip or just coming to explore the beautiful country.
Ghana is a beautiful country located in West Africa, known for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and friendly people. If you’re planning a trip to Ghana, it’s important to know a few things to make your experience more enjoyable and hassle-free. From visa requirements to health and safety precautions, there are several factors to consider before embarking on your journey to this vibrant country.
In this post, Mrpocu.com explore some of the essential things you need to know before traveling to Ghana, so you can make the most of your trip and have an unforgettable experience.
Things To Know Before Traveling To Ghana
Know The Currency
To minimize confusion and potential fraud, it is crucial to become familiar with the local currency before visiting a new country. The Ghanaian cedi (GHS), which is divisible into 90 pesewas, is the country’s official unit of exchange. Along with coins at 10 pesewas, 20 pesewas, 50 pesewas, and more. The currency is also available in banknotes worth Ghc1, Ghc2, Ghc5, Ghc10, Ghc20, Ghc50, Ghc100 and Ghc200
Upon arrival in Ghana, it is essential to exchange your money for GHS at a reputable bank or foreign exchange office. Major cities and towns also have ATMs, but it’s vital to verify with your bank about any fees or limits on overseas withdrawals. Although some hotels, restaurants, and stores take credit cards, it’s best to have cash on hand for smaller transactions.
Keep in mind that some vendors may try to take advantage of tourists by offering to exchange money at unfair rates or giving counterfeit notes. Always count your money carefully and ensure that you receive the correct change before leaving. By staying informed and vigilant, you can avoid any currency-related issues and enjoy a stress-free trip to Ghana.
Know The Language
Ghana’s official language is English, which is widely used and understood across the entire nation. In addition to being used in official government communication and corporate transactions, it is the language that is taught in schools and colleges.
With over 80 distinct ethnic groups, each with its own language and dialect, Ghana is also a cosmopolitan and multilingual nation. Twi, Ga, Ewe, and Fante are a few of the indigenous tongues that are most frequently used in Ghana.
Although learning the native tongue before visiting Ghana is not required, doing so can help you connect with the population and enhance your experience. Making an attempt to speak in their language can greatly increase mutual understanding and rapport with Ghanaians, who are in general friendly and accepting.
Understanding Ghana’s linguistic diversity and the significance of language in Ghanaian culture will make it easier for you to get around and communicate with locals.
Avoid Drinking Tap Water
In Ghana, it is typically advised against drinking tap water because it can sometimes be polluted with hazardous germs, viruses, and other pollutants. It is advised to drink bottled water or other commercially packaged beverages instead, which are extensively offered in supermarkets, lodging facilities, and dining establishments across the nation.
Make sure the seal is intact and the water is from a reliable source before buying any bottled water. Using bottled water to brush your teeth and wash your product is also a smart option.
You can take additional safety measures to make sure that you keep hydrated and healthy throughout your vacation to Ghana in addition to drinking bottled water. You can go to Ghana safely and without incident if you exercise caution and take the appropriate safety measures.
Expect Weak Internet In Most Areas
It’s crucial to be aware that, especially outside of major cities and metropolitan centers, internet service in Ghana might occasionally be spotty or unpredictable. Even though internet access and speeds have increased recently, many small towns and rural areas still only have sporadic or unreliable access to the internet.
It is advised to obtain a local SIM card and data plan from one of the main mobile network providers, such as MTN, Vodafone, or AirtelTigo if you need to stay connected while visiting Ghana. On smartphones, tablets, and other devices, these providers provide a variety of data bundles.
In addition to mobile data, numerous hotels, cafes, and restaurants in popular tourist locations provide free Wi-Fi to patrons. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan and be ready for slower or inconsistent internet access because the quality and speed of these connections can vary greatly.
Even in places with spotty internet service, you may stay connected and productive while visiting Ghana if you prepare ahead and set reasonable expectations.
Use Cash For Online Taxis (Uber And Bolt)
It’s customary to pay using cash while using a ride-hailing app like Uber or Bolt. Although credit and debit cards are accepted as forms of payment for these services, many customers prefer to use cash because it is more practical and accessible.
Simply use the “Cash” option when scheduling your ride on the app to pay with cash. When you get there, you can give the driver payment.
It’s crucial to remember that Uber and Bolt prices in Ghana are typically lower than those in other nations, making them an accessible and practical means of transportation. Even so, it’s a good idea to double-check the rate with the driver before setting off on your journey and to be aware of any surge pricing or extra charges that might be levied during busy times.
You can enjoy a simple and practical method of transportation in Ghana without the use of a credit or debit card by paying for Uber and Bolt journeys with cash.
Get A Local Phone Number
If you’re going to Ghana, it’s highly advised that you get a local phone number. Having a local number can make it simpler to communicate with locals, book reservations, and use essential services when traveling.
You can buy a prepaid SIM card from one of the major mobile networks service providers, such as MTN, Vodafone, or AirtelTigo, to receive a local phone number in Ghana. These SIM cards are freely accessible around the nation at airports, cell phone stores, and other retail locations.
You must register your information with the network operator and present identification, such as a passport or national ID card, to activate your SIM card. After activating your SIM card, you can add airtime and data whenever you want using scratch cards, mobile money, or online payment methods.
You may reduce your international roaming costs and make it simpler to stay in touch with friends and family back home by getting a local phone number in Ghana. You can make use of all the advantages of mobile communication in Ghana and keep connected on the go by purchasing a local SIM card and phone number.
Never Underestimate Accra Traffic
Never underestimate how congested Accra, Ghana’s metropolis, maybe. Accra experiences significant traffic congestion, especially during rush hour and peak hours.
With heavy traffic, frequent checkpoints, and a lack of clearly visible traffic signals or signs, Accra’s roadways can be chaotic and crowded. Due to this, navigating the city by automobile or public transportation can be difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.
It’s recommended to carefully plan your journey times and routes, as well as to allow extra time for delays and unforeseen detours, to prevent becoming stuck in traffic. Using ride-hailing services like Uber or Bolt can help you escape the headache of navigating traffic and finding a parking spot.
If you must drive in Accra, you should exercise patience, remain vigilant, and always be aware of your surroundings. Always buckle up, abide by the laws of the road and traffic signals, and be ready for sudden stops or changes in course.
You can traverse Accra securely and effectively and take advantage of everything this vibrant and diverse city has to offer by being aware of the traffic situation there and adopting the required safety measures.
Expect The Police To Stop You
In Ghana, police stops happen often, usually at night but can also occur during the day. Officers may do a random search of your car, request identification, and/or conduct a bag search. It is advisable to cooperate with these searches, which typically take five minutes.
In Ghana, it’s typical to be asked to “dash” officers, which is code for giving them a tip. Given that it is frequently only Ghc10 to Ghc 20 (US$0.95 to US$1.90), you have the option of giving it or not, but doing so could mean the difference between a five-minute stop and a 40-minute one.
In Ghana, running into the police is typically nothing to be concerned about. When you chat with an officer more, their “tough guy” demeanor usually drops, and they become amiable.
Watch Your Belongings
The biggest worry you’ll have in Ghana might be pickpocketing and other small-time stealing incidents which are normal in any country. In popular districts like Osu, Madina, and Makola Market, pickpocketing can be common. To prevent occurrences of bag stealing, keep your bag in front of you and away from the roadside at all times. Avoid carrying a lot of cash with you.
Always keep an eye on and account for your phone. People walking or driving by on motorcycles in Accra have reported having their phones stolen from their hands. Never take pictures or movies on your phone when it is hanging out of a car window.
Respect The Elders
An essential component of Ghanaian culture that is highly regarded and treasured across the nation is respect for your elders. In Ghana, seniors are frequently respected as providers of experience, wisdom, and direction as well as being held in high regard as role models and community leaders.
It’s crucial to respect elders and observe regional traditions and customs when visiting Ghana. This can involve calling elderly people with formal titles and greetings, such as “Aunty” or “Uncle” for women and males, respectively, and demonstrating deference and respect in your speech and deeds.
As a demonstration of respect and thanks, it’s also crucial to be aware of rituals and practices that are exclusive to seniors, such as the pouring of libations and the sharing of kola nuts. These traditions are strongly ingrained in Ghanaian culture and are frequently regarded as significant methods of paying respect to and appreciating the contributions and experiences of elders.
You may enhance your awareness and enjoyment of Ghanaian culture and forge enduring bonds with the individuals you encounter by exhibiting respect for elders and abiding by regional customs and traditions.
Always Greet Others
Extending a greeting to others is a significant component of social contact and is regarded as a mark of respect and courtesy. When meeting someone new or dealing with locals when traveling, it’s always a good idea to be polite and respectful in your greetings.
According to the time of day, Ghanaians frequently say “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” and “Good evening.” In addition, a handshake and a head nod are standard ways to welcome someone. Until you obtain permission to use their first name, it’s important to address persons you have just met using formal titles like “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
It’s important to remember that it’s deemed disrespectful in Ghana to ignore or fail to acknowledge someone’s presence. Even if you’re pressed for time or distracted with something else, making an effort to smile and say hello to people can go a long way toward developing goodwill, fostering relationships, and cultivating a sense of belonging.
You may express your respect for Ghanaian culture and customs and leave a good impression on the people you meet while traveling by making an effort to welcome them and treat them with respect.
Eating With Your Hands Is A Cultural Practice And Normal
Eating with your hands is a popular cultural custom, especially among some ethnic groups and in rural areas. Eating with your hands is considered in Ghanaian culture a natural and intuitive method to enjoy food and is frequently perceived as a means to establish a connection with the food and the people you are sharing it with.
If you visit Ghana, you might be able to consume traditional meals like fufu, banku, or kenkey, which are frequently eaten with the hands. In Ghana, you normally use your right hand to scoop up a quantity of food, roll it into a small ball or morsel with your fingers, and then pop it into your mouth.
Even though eating with your hands is common in Ghanaian culture, it’s vital to be aware of certain traditions and conventions. For instance, it’s considered rude to lick your fingers or handle food with your left hand, which is customarily used for hygienic activities like going to the bathroom.
You can gain a deeper understanding and respect for Ghanaian culture and traditions by adopting the cultural practice of eating with your hands. You’ll also get to appreciate traditional Ghanaian food in a distinctive and real way.
Locals Are Generally Friendly
When visiting Ghana, you can expect to encounter friendly and hospitable locals. Ghanaians are known for their warmth and kindness towards visitors, and you’ll often be greeted with a smile and a welcoming attitude.
Whether you’re exploring the bustling markets, visiting historical sites, or simply walking down the street, you’ll find that people are generally eager to engage with you and make you feel at home. You may even be invited to share a meal or attend a local event, giving you the opportunity to experience Ghanaian culture firsthand.
Of course, like in any country, there may be exceptions to this generalization, but for the most part, Ghanaians are welcoming and friendly people who are happy to share their country with visitors. So, come to Ghana with an open heart and a willingness to connect with locals, and you’re sure to have a memorable and rewarding experience.
People Will Randomly Speak In Twi To You
It’s common for people in Ghana to speak Twi, one of the most widely spoken languages in the country, to visitors, especially if they notice that you are a foreigner. This is not meant to be rude or exclusionary, but rather a way for Ghanaians to show their hospitality and connect with you on a more personal level.
If you’re not familiar with Twi, don’t worry – most Ghanaians also speak English, which is the country’s official language. You can politely explain that you don’t understand Twi and ask them to speak in English instead.
However, learning a few words of Twi can also be a great way to show your respect for Ghanaian culture and make connections with locals. Ghanaians will appreciate your effort and may even teach you more phrases.
So, don’t be surprised if someone speaks to you in Twi during your visit to Ghana, and embrace the opportunity to learn more about this vibrant and diverse culture.
Forget You Have A Left Hand
The left hand is historically seen as dirty in Ghanaian culture since it is used for activities like using the restroom and other hygiene-related activities. As a result, using your left hand to handle meals or shake hands is considered rude.
Travelers to Ghana should be aware of this cultural custom and refrain from handling food or conversing with others with their left hand. Instead, use your right hand to handle food and utensils and for all handshakes and pleasantries in social situations.
It’s also important to keep in mind that certain traditions and customs, like exchanging kola nuts or pouring libations, are traditionally carried out with the right hand as a mark of respect and tradition. You can respect and appreciate Ghanaian culture and foster good relationships with the people you meet while traveling by being aware of these cultural rituals and customs.
Overall, the most important lesson is to try to utilize your right hand for all social interactions and food preparation while being aware of the traditional significance of the left hand in Ghanaian culture. Making a good impression on the people you encounter while traveling is possible by demonstrating your respect and enthusiasm for regional cultures and traditions.
Gather The Necessary Travel Documents For Entry
Putting together the necessary travel documents is a process in and of itself, and it can be expensive. A valid visa is required for all travelers to Ghana, and the fee varies depending on whether you apply for a single-entry or multiple-entry visa. If you don’t pay extra for an expedited service, it can take your visa for Ghana close to three weeks to arrive.
Additionally, a yellow fever vaccination is necessary for admission into Ghana. To get immunized, check with your neighborhood clinic or health agency. Visitors are also strongly advised to take malaria medications, which your doctor can write a prescription for. If you are unable to obtain them before traveling, Ghanaian pharmacies have a large supply on hand and are often much more affordable.
Carry A Copy Of Your Passport
When going to Ghana or any other foreign country, it’s a good idea to keep a copy of your passport with you. In a number of circumstances, such as if your passport is lost or stolen, having a replica of it on you can be useful.
Having a duplicate of your passport can make it simpler for you to get a replacement or to verify your identity to local authorities in the event that you lose or have your passport stolen. Furthermore, having a copy of your passport on hand can be useful when booking hotel rooms or doing other activities that call for identification.
It’s crucial to have a copy of your passport in a safe place when you’re carrying it, like a money belt, a secured bag, or luggage. Additionally, make sure to preserve your actual passport in a safe place, such as a hotel safe or another secure storage space.
While possessing a replica of your passport can be useful in some circumstances, it’s also crucial to use caution and take precautions to protect your identity and personal information. This can entail using a virtual private network (VPN) to access the internet, refraining from disclosing confidential information to strangers, and always being aware of your surroundings.
Be Wary Of Swift Romantic Encounters
It’s crucial to be aware that you can meet people who are eager to start romantic relationships when visiting Ghana. This can apply to locals as well as tourists and foreign nationals.
While developing relationships while traveling is not intrinsically improper, it is vital to be cautious and take precautions to keep oneself safe from scammers and other potentially dangerous circumstances. This is especially crucial when it comes to romantic interactions since people could try to use your emotions or manipulate you in order to obtain something.
Some warning signs to watch out for include individuals who are overly persistent or who try to rush a relationship, as well as those who ask for money or financial support. It’s also important to be wary of individuals who ask for personal information or who seem too good to be true.
To protect yourself, it’s important to take things slowly and to get to know individuals over time before becoming too emotionally invested. It’s also a good idea to avoid sharing personal information, such as your home address or financial information, until you have developed a deeper level of trust.
Be Sure To Carry Cash
Always have some cash on you when you’re in Ghana; else, you might get lost. Even when a business does accept credit cards, the POS systems are frequently down. Ghana has a large number of ATMs, making it simple to obtain cash. Credit and debit cards are still permitted, but be aware that not all locations in Ghana will accept them.
You can exchange your cash for Ghanaian cedis at Forex Bureau exchange counters. You’ll get a better exchange rate if you have large notes (100s).
Ghana Is Hot, Pack Your Sunscreens And Portable Fan
If you’re planning a trip to Ghana, it’s important to be prepared for the heat. Ghana is a tropical country located in West Africa and experiences high temperatures all year round. The temperature can reach as high as 35°C (95°F) during the day, especially in the coastal regions.
To stay comfortable and avoid heat exhaustion, it’s essential to pack sunscreen and a portable fan. Sunscreen will protect your skin from the harmful UV rays that can cause sunburn, while a portable fan can provide you with some relief from the scorching heat. It’s also advisable to wear light, loose-fitting clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton or linen.
In addition to sunscreen and a portable fan, you should also drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. It’s easy to become dehydrated in the heat, so carry a water bottle with you at all times and refill it regularly.
By being prepared and taking the necessary precautions, you can enjoy your trip to Ghana without being overwhelmed by the heat. So, pack your sunscreen, portable fan, and other essential items, and get ready to explore all that this beautiful country has to offer.
Pick TroTro For Budget Reasons
The “tro tro,” or shared minibus or van, is a preferred means of transportation for both locals and tourists in Ghana. Particularly for short distances or inside cities, tro tro are an affordable and practical mode of transportation across the nation.
Simply wait at a specified stop or signal a passing car to halt for you to take a tro tro. The conductor of a tro tro typically collects fares and assists riders with their baggage or luggage.
Trotro may not always be the most comfortable form of transportation, and they can get quite crowded. While riding a tro tro, it’s also crucial to be alert of your surroundings and watch out for your things.
Despite these potential drawbacks, taking a trotro can be a great way to experience Ghanaian culture and to interact with locals during your travels. By choosing this mode of transportation, you can save money, see more of the country, and gain a deeper appreciation for the local way of life.
Know The Food
When traveling to Ghana, it’s a good idea to try a variety of dishes to fully experience the country’s rich culinary traditions. Be sure to ask locals for recommendations and to try street food from vendors, as these can often be some of the most delicious and authentic dishes available. It’s also important to be aware of potential food safety issues, such as eating undercooked meat or drinking tap water, and to take necessary precautions to protect your health while enjoying the local cuisine.
Don’t Book Accommodation Online If You Are On Budget
While booking accommodation online can be convenient, it may not always be the best option if you are on a budget. In Ghana, there are plenty of affordable and budget-friendly hotels that are not available online. These guest houses and hotels often offer very cheap rates, with some places even charging as low as $6 a day.
One advantage of these budget-friendly options is that you do not need a reservation to secure a room. You can simply show up and find a room that suits your needs and budget. This is particularly helpful for travelers who are flexible with their plans and do not want to be tied down to a specific location or schedule.
Additionally, by staying in these budget-friendly accommodations, you can experience a more authentic local experience. These guest houses and hotels are often run by locals and can offer a glimpse into the local culture and way of life.
Overall, if you are on a tight budget, it may be worth considering skipping online booking and looking for affordable guest houses and hotels once you arrive in Ghana. With a little bit of research and flexibility, you can find great deals and have an authentic and memorable experience.