Ghana is not just an up and comer in terms of tourism but it’s also shockingly beautiful with jungles, mountains and coastline that are all tough to beat. Due to the lack of tourist infrastructure though, it can be difficult for tourists to get around and find accommodation. In truth, the less infrastructure there is means that sometimes prices for what is available can be inflated. Don’t let this put you off Ghana though, because paying a bit more for a seaside hotel you have essentially to yourself a lot is well worth it! On the same side of this is the fact that you can sometimes get extremely luscious resort style rooms for significantly less than you’d pay if there were more around, so it can work in your benefit as well.
Given that Ghanas’s tourist economy is still growing and developing, this means a lot of beaches, jungles and mountains will be quiet with few travellers than if it had been well established. The downside to a lack of tourist infrastructure is the difficulty you may experience when trying to organise tours, transport or get clear answers on where things are or what there is to do and see. That in itself though adds to the charm of the country and with the people as friendly as those in Ghana, you will come to find this to be a charming side adventure. Add to this a number of fantastic colonial forts and a rich history of colonialism and unfortunate slave trading and this makes Ghana a fantastic place to learn about the history of the region as well as to experience a truly unique and rich culture and heritage.
Don’t miss a safari. An absolute must so while you’re in Africa and probably for much less in Ghana than in the more famous Kenya or Tanzania.
Ghana, like many other African and tropical countries experiences the wet and dry seasons, however in Ghana the north and south parts of the country experience slightly different seasons. The north part of the country has its rainy season from March to November while the southern part experiences them from April to mid-November. In this sense, unless you like a lot of rain and unpredictable weather it can be advisable to travel between November/December to March. As with many African countries there is no real discernible winter season in Ghana and the average temperatures throughout the year hover around 22-28 for daytime lows and highs respectively making Ghana temperate year round for travelling (apart from the rain). The driest months are December and January, which makes these perfect for travellers from the northern hemisphere’s more northern parts to escape the cold winters to sunny, mild and beautiful Ghana.
The Ghanian currency is the Cedi. As of April 2017 $1USD is equal to about 4 Ghanian Cedi, however as with many other African nations, travelers may find the US Dollar widely used and accepted with change provided in either Cedi or Dollar.
Visas on arrival are not available for western countries and therefore it’s best to play it safe and get a Ghanian visa in advance. Luckily in terms of visas, Ghana’s is pretty straightforward and affordable – 3 months costing $60 for a single entry and a year costing $100 for multi-entry which is excellent value, especially if you plan to come back within a year or if you want to travel around to the neighbouring countries of Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire or Togo during your visit.
Ghana is fantastically connected internationally and within Africa with a number of non stop flights being available from many major international cities like Istanbul, Casablanca, Rio de Janiero and Addis Ababa.
Buses are frequent throughout Ghana and usually fairly cheap. International connections to many of the surrounding countries are available, some with more lax customs rules than others, so be prepared. If staying in Ghana for several weeks or even a month it could be a great opportunity to check out neighbouring countries.
If you’re heading to Ghana in most of the months except December or January, packing some form of wet weather gear would be advisable just in case you get caught up in a sudden heavy downpour. The rest of the time the usual sunscreen and warm weather clothes are the best, with little to no need for sweaters, trousers or jackets.
Ghana has been inhabited by man since around 1500BC but oral traditions suggest that some of the ethnic groups such as the Akan, Ga and Ewe have been in the area since around the 13th century AD. The Dagomba ethnic group however has been established in the region since around 1210AD. The modern region of Ghana includes regions which were under the Empire of Ashanti, which was considered to be one of the most influential states in sub-Saharan Africa before the colonial ages.
Colonial powers started arriving in the area around the 15th century, beginning with the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch and then other Europeans in the 17th century, namely the British, Danes and Swedes. The British first coined the name “Gold Coast” with reference to the rich gold reserves in the area and the French nicknamed the region “Ivory Coast” with reference to the jewellery and trinkets made and worn by local tribes. The region was known as “The White Man’s Grave” for numerous years as the Europeans who came to this area were plagued by malaria and other tropical illnesses.
Modern Ghana is blessed to have a stable government and democracy initiated in the 80’s by Jerry Rawlings who was elected to the presidency of Ghana twice in 1992 and 1996. In 2009 John Atta Mills took the presidency in the vote which solidified the effective transition to democracy for the country.