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Ghana Travel Guide

INTRODUCTION: 

Ghana was ruled by aboriginal ethnicities until the 1600s. It was not until then that Europeans came to this land for gold and slave trade. The Portuguese, the Danes, the Dutch and British had fights to win control over Ghana when the land finally fell in the hand of the British.

It was in 1957 that after years of misery and being sidelined, Ghanaians gained independence from the British. Hence it became the first African country to gain independence.

Owing to its topography, Ghana has a varied landscaping which attracts millions of visitors to the country. In addition, Ghana has many spectacular cities and sites that draw tourists to cash flights to Ghana.

MAJOR CITIES:

Accra is the capital city of Ghana and one of the most developed cities of the African continent. It is a modern cosmopolitan city and has a widely acclaimed nightlife.

Kumasi is the hub of the Ashanti population of Ghana and is popular for Ashanti culture and festivities.

Elmina is one of the larger coastal areas and has archeological sites to visit.

Tamale is one of the cleanest Ghanaian cities and majority of its population are Muslims. The city is famous for its tranquility and traditional constructions.  

Axim is a coastal town with many historical sites to visit. It comprises of arable land that helps vegetation and provides scenic locations. Rubber plantations and beaches of Axim are popular amongst tourists.

Tema grew from a small fishing harbor into Ghana’s largest sea port. It is important for oil refinery and manufacturing businesses.

GET IN:

Visa:

Visa is one of the major most requirements to enter Ghana. Although, according to law, only those tourists were to get visa beforehand whose native countries did not have Ghanaian embassy or consulate, many others have faced problems on airport for not having a visa. Thus to be on the safer side, getting the visa earlier is advised.

For tourists, the visa lasts no more than 30 or 60 days; hence passports must be brought along if stay needs to be extended. Immigration Services take 2 weeks or longer to process the appeal. An easier way for visa extension is to go to Togo and get a stamp at the border.

Other important requirements include; a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate, Malaria Course and other important vaccinations.

Flying:

All the Ghana flights land at Kotoka International Airport in Accra. Airlines from around the world offer very frequent and cheap flights to Ghana. Especially from the UK, a number of airports connect to the airport at Accra, however the lowest airfares are mostly found from London. From the UK, flights to Ghana can be found from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Aberdeen, Belfast, Glasgow, Cardiff and New Castle.  

From America, Delta Airlines fly to Accra from New York three times a week and American Airlines offer direct flights from the same airport once a week. In Europe, apart from British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines fly to Ghana from Amsterdam. Lufthansa connects Accra to Frankfurt and Alitalia connects the Ghanaian capital with Milan through Lagos, Nigeria. Emirates and South African Airways schedule flights to Accra non-stop while Ethiopian Airlines has indirect flights, four times a week. From Brazil or nearby countries, Angola Airlines offers the shortest flight to Luanda, Angola. From Angola, direct flights to Accra are available.

GET AROUND:

Flying:

Antrak Air connects the Ghanaian capital, Accra with other airports of the country like Kumasi and Tamale. For Kumasi, CiTylinK (CTK) is another airline while Sekondi is only served by Air Shuttle Ghana.

Car:

Most roads in the city of Accra are up to the mark and face uplift is being given to the highway between Accra and Kumasi. Most other roads in the country are inbuilt dirt tracks. Hence a 4x4 is advised for road travel in Ghana as saloon luxury cars will not be able to cope with most Ghanaian roads.          

Bus:

There are a number of bus companies running in Ghana but the most reliable one is considered to be the STC. They not only operate inside Ghana but have international services as well. As fro Ghanaian cities, STC have frequent services in between Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale and Cape Coast along with some other cities. Air Conditioned (Express) services are more comfortable than the usual ones and also faster, breakdowns are common though. Ticket need to be arranged well before departure date as these buses fill up within no time.

OSA, MPlaza and Kingdom Travel are also some of the better ones with MPLaza havng their own separate terminals.

Taxi:

It is advised to charter a taxi rather than sharing one with others. The fares range from 1 Ghanaian Cedi to 9 Ghanaian Cedis. Chartering may be more expensive than sharing but a safe and comfortable trip has to be kept a priority.

Tro-Tro:

These are old Volks Wagon buses that can seat around 12 people. A travel in Tro-Tro is not even close to European standards but still, a good choice to interact with the locals and experience traditional Ghanaian form of travel. Tro-Tros are not only usually over-fulled with people but, at times, also with their possessions and livestock.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

Elmina Castle:

It is situated in the coastal city of Elmina. It was originally built by the Portuguese in 1458 for trading purposes and is now the oldest European construction in the Sahara region. It is a popular tourist destination and is being largely renovated. The renovation work is due to be complete in 2015.

Larabanga Mosque:

It’s the oldest Ghanaian mosque that was built in 1421 and is ranked amongst the oldest mosques of Western Africa.

Mount Afadjato and Tagbo Falls:

This is the perfect picnic spot. Mount Afadjato is the highest peak in Ghana, while the picturesque Togbo Falls add to the charm of the area.

Makola Market:

It is one of the largest traditional style markets in Africa. It is situated in Accra and sells almost everything from daily use goods to grocery to clothing. However it is more popular for African craftwork.

Aburi Botanical Gardens:

These are the lush green gardens in Accra housing many species of local flora. The cool and comfortable weather of the botanical gardens provides a fine experience. 

There are many other sights and sounds in the country to be explored. Ghanaian coastline offers fishing and a glimpse of traditional lifestyle while the country’s exotic beaches are a must visit.

LANGUAGE:

Due to the British colonial rule back in the past, English is the official language of the country. Most people in urban areas, especially Christians, are able to communicate in this language.

The country actually enjoys over 40 different languages, the most common ones being Twi, Ga, Ewe and Dagbani. In the Akan language, the word “Obruni” is referred to as “white man” and this is shouted at a foreigner to greet. Ghanaian Muslims use Hausa as the bridging language with each other.          

WEATHER:

1st Quarter:

January, February and March are characterized by sunny skies in Ghana when the highest temperatures are 87oF in January and 88oF in the other two months. The lowest average temperatures are 77oF in the first months of the year and 79oF in the rest two of the first quarter. At a record, temperatures have reached up to 102oF in March and dropped to a lowest of 64oF in January. Humidity is high and ranged between 71% and 75% while precipitation is highest in March at 2.2 inches and lowest in January at 0.6 inches.

2nd Quarter:

The second quarter of the year drops the temperatures when 87oF is the highest and seen in April while May and June enjoy 86oF and 83oF respectively.  Temperatures can fall at an average of 79oF in April and 64oF in June. The highest temperatures in the second quarter in Ghana, ever to have been recorded, are 102oF in June and 97oF in April and the lowest records in the two months are of 64oF and 68oF respectively. Dew point, as per percentage, remains in early 70s while precipitation is highest in June compared all other 11 months at 7.8inches. It is a good option to find a Ghana flight around this time.

3rd Quarter:

A change in average high temperatures is seen in July and August which fall to 81oF and 80oF respectively while September experiences an average of 82oF. The lowest temperatures at this point range between 74oF and 75oF. To a record, September has seen a highest of 102oF and August has seen a lowest of 64oF. Humidity level goes no higher than 72% in July and September and 71% in August. 2 inches of rainfall is seen in July, 0.7 inches in August and 1.7 inches in September.

4th Quarter:

4th quarter of the year sees high daytime temperatures and relatively normal evening temperatures as per Ghanaian weather conditions. 84oF in October, 87oF in November and 86oF in December are a norm. However these temperatures can fall up to 76oF in October and 77oF in the other ending two months of the year. November and December have set a record for 70oF as their lowest temperature but compared to records of other months, this is higher. The highest temperature of 102oF, ever to have been recorded in Ghana has been seen by November only in the final quarter. Humidity remains high at 73% in October and December and 74% in November. Downpours have been measured up to 2.5 inches in October, 1.3 inches in November and 0.8 inches in December.