Akwaaba!! For those of you who are considering traveling to Ghana, here is some tourist advice one can get to explore the beautiful city. This guide may be useful for easing into Ghanaian life and culture for both first-time tourists and Ghanaians who have been away for a while. If you want to remain longer than the validity of your visa, think about registering with your embassy for the duration of your trip. Also, give yourself plenty of time to extend if necessary.
Best Time to Visit Ghana
The best time to visit Ghana depends on your preferences and the experiences you seek. Ghana has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons, so it’s important to consider weather patterns and some other things when planning your trip.
Spring (March to May): Spring is often an excellent time to visit many destinations as the weather tends to be mild, and flowers and trees are in bloom.
Summer (June to August): Summer is ideal for beach destinations and outdoor activities but can be very hot in some places.
Fall (September to November): Fall offers pleasant weather and beautiful foliage in many regions.
Winter (December to February): Winter is great for skiing and winter sports in colder regions or for enjoying a mild winter in more temperate areas.
Peak Season vs. Off-Peak Season
When prices are typically lower and there are fewer tourists, it is best to prefer to travel off-peak. You can tour well-known places without being overwhelmed by crowds, making for a more genuine and peaceful experience. In addition, lodging and travel are frequently less expensive, which enables me to stretch my dollars further, stay longer, or treat myself to novel experiences.
The calmer setting also encourages a stronger bond with the location, facilitating easier immersion in the local way of life and interactions with residents. In general, the off-peak season provides a more laid-back and affordable travel experience, which is in line with my preferences.
Visa and Entry Requirements
To ensure a simple and hassle-free vacation, it is essential to comprehend the visa and entry procedures before beginning your adventure in Ghana. Getting a visa is typically a requirement for admission into Ghana. However, your nationality and the reason for your stay will determine the precise sort of visa you require. Here is a thorough breakdown of Ghana’s entry and visa requirements.
Visa Types: Ghana offers various types of visas, including tourist visas, business visas, student visas, and transit visas. The type you need will depend on your travel purpose.
Tourist Visas: Tourist visas are typically valid for 30 days but can be extended if needed. These visas are suitable for those planning to explore Ghana’s rich culture, wildlife, and natural beauty.
Application Process: To apply for a Ghanaian visa, you should contact the Ghanaian embassy or consulate in your home country well in advance of your travel date. The application process usually involves submitting a completed visa application form, a valid passport with at least six months of validity, passport-sized photos, and a visa fee.
Visa Extensions: If your travel plans require a longer stay in Ghana, you can extend your tourist visa for an additional fee. It’s advisable to start the extension process before your initial visa expires to avoid any immigration issues.
Yellow Fever Vaccination: Ghana may require proof of yellow fever vaccination for entry. Ensure you check the current vaccination requirements and have the necessary documentation.
Entry Restrictions: Some nationalities may enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to Ghana for short stays. However, these policies can change, so it’s essential to verify the most up-to-date information with the Ghanaian embassy.
Entry Points: Ghana has multiple international airports, including Kotoka International Airport in Accra. Ensure you arrive at an authorized entry point.
Malaria medications are highly recommended. During my initial trip to Ghana, I opted for mosquito bite prevention, treating my clothing with Permethrin and consistently using DEET mosquito repellent, which proved effective. However, on my second visit, I erred on the side of caution and took antimalarial pills.
My healthcare provider prescribed Atovaquone-proguanil (MALARONE), which I tolerated well. It’s essential to consult your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable malaria medication for your needs.
Ghana Travel Packing List
What To Wear In Ghana: It’s important to take the intense heat into account when getting ready for a trip to Ghana. To stay cool and comfortable, use lightweight clothing made of natural fibers like cotton and linen. For everyday wear, loose-fitting, breathable blouses, dresses, and shorts are best. To protect yourself from the harsh sun, don’t forget to take a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
Even though it might get hot throughout the day, the evenings may get chilly, so a light sweater or long-sleeved shirt can be useful. It’s also advised to wear cozy, closed-toe shoes for touring and walking. The best clothing for Ghana is light, airy clothing because it will keep you from perspiring while you’re there.
You will require a power plug adapter or voltage converter since the power plugs used in Ghana are different from those used in the United States. In comparison to the United States of America, where the standard voltage is 120 V, Ghana’s standard voltage is 230 V. If you are visiting Ghana from the United States, you should use a voltage converter to prevent significant damage to your electronic devices.
Power bank: When you’re out exploring and there isn’t any energy nearby, a power bank is essential.
Portable fan: Having a portable fan will be useful when touring in Ghana’s heat.
Ghana’s official currency is the Ghanaian Cedi (GHS), method of payment and at the time of this publication, the exchange rate stood at 1 USD to 11.00 GHS. When embarking on a trip to Ghana, exchanged $100 at the airport to kickstart of any financial preparations. Later on, you will find it advantageous to exchange more currency at your hotel.
Cash plays a vital role in Ghana’s financial landscape, as not all restaurants and vendors accept debit and credit cards. Having sufficient local currency on hand ensures seamless transactions and avoids any inconvenience. Even though plastic payments are becoming more common, it’s advisable to carry cash as a backup for places that still rely on traditional currency.
Fortunately, Accra, Ghana’s capital, provides easy access to ATMs, offering the convenience of withdrawing local currency if needed. These ATMs are typically widely available throughout the city, making it convenient for travelers to access cash when required.
Method of Payment
When visiting Ghana, you’ll find several methods of payment widely accepted for various transactions. Here are the primary payment methods you can use in Ghana:
- Cash: Cash is the most common and widely accepted form of payment in Ghana. The official currency is the Ghanaian Cedi (GHS). It’s essential to carry some cash with you for small purchases, transportation, and in areas where card payments may not be accepted.
- Credit and Debit Cards: Major credit and debit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, are accepted at many hotels, restaurants, and larger retail establishments in urban areas like Accra and Kumasi. However, it’s advisable to inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid card authorization issues.
- ATMs: Ghana has a network of ATMs, especially in urban areas, where you can withdraw cash using your debit or credit card. Make sure to check with your bank about international ATM fees and inform them of your travel plans.
- Mobile Money: Mobile money services like MTN Mobile Money, Vodafone Cash, and AirtelTigo Money are prevalent in Ghana. You can use these services to send and receive money, pay bills, and even make purchases at some retailers.
- Foreign Currency Exchange: You can exchange foreign currencies, such as US Dollars or Euros, at banks, exchange bureaus, and some hotels. However, it’s often more convenient to use local currency for everyday transactions.
- Online Payment: For booking accommodations, flights, or certain services online, you can use online payment methods, including credit cards or digital wallets if the option is available.
Ghana offers a wide variety of lodging options that are catered to suit a wide range of preferences and budgets. Ghana’s lodging alternatives are sure to satisfy your lodging demands, whether you yearn for the extravagance of luxury hotels, the beauty of boutique lodges, the authenticity of guesthouses, or the affordability of hostels.
For those who seek lavish comfort and top-notch amenities, the country offers a selection of luxury hotels renowned for their exceptional service and upscale facilities. These establishments provide a luxurious retreat after a day of exploration.
Travelers with a penchant for unique and intimate experiences will find boutique lodges and charming guesthouses scattered across the country. These accommodations often exude character and offer a more personalized touch, allowing guests to immerse themselves in Ghana’s culture and hospitality.
If budget-consciousness is your priority, hostels are a fantastic choice. They provide affordable lodging options without compromising on quality or safety. Hostels are popular among backpackers and budget travelers, fostering a communal atmosphere for social interaction and shared adventures.
Language And Culture In Ghana
English is the official language of Ghana, making communication easier for English-speaking visitors. However, the rich diversity of Ghana includes a variety of ethnic groups, each with its own languages and cultures. Akan is a common language in the area, so learning a few basic phrases in it will help you connect with the people there in a real way.
It serves as a gateway to greater comprehension, enabling visitors to explore below the surface and interact openly. Your trip to Ghana will be more interesting and memorable if you make an effort to learn and utilize the local language because it frequently results in warm smiles and opens doors to immersive cultural experiences.
What To Do During Your First Time in Ghana
Ghana has a huge amount to offer. But if this is your first time traveling, you can schedule your trip around these occasions.
Take a trip to gorgeous beaches.
Ghana’s coastline offers fantastic surfing opportunities, particularly at Kokrobite in Accra and Busua in the west. These destinations not only deliver enticing waves but also rank among Ghana’s cherished beaches. With their warm waves and the backdrop of swaying palm trees, they create a captivating tropical atmosphere.
For a vibrant beach experience close to downtown Accra, consider a short journey to Labadi Beach. It’s a popular choice for both locals and visitors, known for its warm and inviting ambiance. Here, you can bask in the sun, take a dip in the refreshing waters of the Gulf of Guinea, and indulge in a lively atmosphere with music, food stalls, and cultural performances. Labadi Beach offers a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement, making it an ideal destination to soak in Ghana’s coastal beauty.
Visit the historic castles
Your first priority should surely be to visit the ancient castles and forts strewn along Ghana’s coastline. These magnificent works of architecture act as potent reminders of Ghana’s turbulent past, particularly its participation in the transatlantic slave trade.
One iconic site is Cape Coast Castle, a hauntingly evocative fortress where countless Africans were held in brutal conditions before being shipped into slavery. Elmina Castle, another poignant site, bears witness to the suffering endured by countless individuals during this dark chapter of history.
Exploring these castles isn’t just a historical journey; it’s a deeply emotional and educational experience. It fosters a profound understanding of Ghana’s cultural and historical roots. Furthermore, the coastal settings offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, making your visit even more memorable.
Including a castle visit in your Ghana travel plans is not just about ticking off a tourist attraction; it’s about paying tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and gaining a deeper appreciation for the country’s heritage. It’s a transformative and essential aspect of any trip to Ghana.
Float above water
Embark on an adventurous journey to Nzulezo, a unique village on stilts nestled in Ghana’s Western Region. This captivating settlement is perched entirely on Lake Tadane, with its roots tracing back to the ancient Ghana Empire. The friendly community extends a warm welcome to visitors, offering opportunities for short stays on the water. Delight in the flavors of local cuisine and embark on a serene canoe ride through the picturesque surroundings.
Ghana’s tropical climate provides the perfect excuse to indulge in water escapades, and the country boasts stunning waterfalls that promise relaxation and fun for both friends and family. Wli Falls, the tallest in West Africa, is hidden within a nature reserve in Hohoe in the east, inviting you to explore its pristine beauty. Kintampo Falls takes center stage in the heart of Ghana, offering a refreshing retreat, while Boti Falls in the Yilo Krobo District presents a unique two-for-one waterfall experience. These natural wonders are not only breathtaking but also a testament to Ghana’s diverse and captivating landscape.
Put on your favorite walking shoes and join the Shai Resource Center trail. For some relaxation, ride a horse at the Burma Camp Military Horse Camp or take in a polo match at the Accra Polo Club.
Join a thrilling mountain journey to reach Afadjato’s summit. Amedzofe’s Mount Gemi is not far distant, and the northern Mole National Park offers the possibility to go hunting. The Kwahu Plateau offers thrilling paragliding options if you find yourself farther in, provided you have the heart for it.
Celebrate colorful festivals
Festivals in Ghana are a moment to contemplate the divine. Every month, there are often one or more festivals held around the nation. Ghana is usually in a festive spirit, from the Damba Festival in the north to the Homowo celebrations in Accra. First-time visitors to Ghana will have an experience that they will never forget thanks to the vibrant pageantry and availability of native cuisine.
Investigate Special Ghanaian Music and Art
The global Afrobeats phenomenon finds its origins in the vibrant rhythms of Ghanaian Highlife music. To truly immerse yourself in this musical heritage, a night out in Ghana, the former Gold Coast is a must. Experience the enthralling drum tempos, soul-stirring narratives, and spirited horn sections that breathe life into this genre.
For art enthusiasts, Ghana offers a treasure trove of traditional and contemporary artwork. Explore galleries in Osu and along La Beach Road, where you can marvel at the rich tapestry of Ghanaian creativity. The Artists Alliance Gallery, boasting the largest art collection in West Africa, and the Nubuke Foundation, showcasing local artists, are must-visit destinations.
Furthermore, Ghana hosts a multitude of music festivals throughout the country. From intimate gatherings to grand spectacles at venues like the International Conference Centre and Bukom Arena, these festivals provide a thrilling experience, celebrating the diverse and infectious rhythms that define Ghana’s cultural heartbeat.
Consider The Coast Of Food.
It’s crucial to take the cost of food and lodging into account when making travel plans to Ghana. The type of food, the location of the restaurant, and the degree of formality or luxury can all have a significant impact on the prices. So let’s get right to the tasty details!
In Ghana, food options span a wide range of tastes and budgets. From delectable street food to convenient fast-food joints, casual dining spots, and upscale luxury restaurants, Ghana offers a diverse culinary landscape to explore.
To provide a general idea of food costs in US dollars per meal, here’s a rough breakdown:
- Street Food and Local Eateries: $2 – $5
- Fast Food Chains: $5 – $10
- Casual Dining Restaurants: $10 – $30
- Fine Dining or High-End Restaurants: $50 and above
Please bear in mind that these price ranges are approximate and may vary depending on the specific restaurant or location. Nonetheless, they provide a useful starting point for budgeting your food expenses during your Ghana trip.
For budget-conscious travelers, Ghana also provides the option of convenience stores and supermarkets. These establishments offer a range of food items at reasonable prices, making it ideal for those who prefer cooking their meals or grabbing quick snacks on the go.
As for tipping etiquette, it’s essential to know that while tipping isn’t as customary in Ghana as in some other nations, it is still a welcomed gesture for exceptional service. If you’ve received outstanding service and wish to express your appreciation, a small tip will be gratefully received.
In Ghana, whether you’re a thrifty food explorer or looking to indulge in upscale dining, you’ll find options to suit every taste and budget. So, take pleasure in discovering the vibrant culinary landscape and relish the diverse flavors that this captivating country has to offer.
How much would it cost to explore the sights in Ghana?
The cost of sightseeing in Ghana can vary widely depending on the specific attractions you plan to visit, your mode of transportation, and your personal preferences. Here are some general cost estimates for popular sightseeing activities in Ghana:
- Cape Coast Castle: $5 – $10
- Kakum National Park: $10 – $20
- Mole National Park: $10 – $30
- Wli Waterfalls: $5 – $10
- Elmina Castle: $5 – $10
- Aburi Botanical Gardens: $2 – $5
- Bojo Beach: $5 – $10
- Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum: $2 – $5
These are but a few examples; Ghana is home to many more breathtaking scenery. You might be concerned that visiting Ghana might be pricey, but have no worries! There are also a ton of inexpensive or free sightseeing choices in Ghana that won’t break the bank.
Along the coast, there are many lovely beaches where you can unwind and enjoy the sun without spending any money. Additionally, you may go to neighborhood markets like Makola Market in Accra or Kejetia Market in Kumasi, where you can take in the lively ambiance and sample some of the local culture without spending a lot of money.