Issues to know earlier than going to Ghana – Lonely Planet


Vacationers have a lot to sit up for on their journey to culturally wealthy Ghana. The nation’s compelling historical past, vibrant clothes prints and flavorful dishes are enticing to first-time guests and hold folks coming again for extra. Ghana’s warm-hearted residents make the nation one of many friendliest spots in West Africa.

Life in Ghana typically strikes at a sluggish, relaxed tempo, but it surely will also be chaotic and quick in several settings. Embrace the cultural variations, mass visitors and intense bargaining, and you might fall in love with the place.

Whether or not it is your first time visiting otherwise you’re returning, navigating the methods of Ghana will be difficult. Here is what you should know to organize on your journey to Ghana.

You should definitely verify visa and vaccine necessities earlier than visiting Ghana © Elio Stamm / Lonely Planet

Collect the mandatory paperwork for entry

Getting the paperwork collectively to go to Ghana is a course of by itself and will be expensive. All guests to Ghana should have a sound visa, they usually vary in value relying on whether or not you apply for a single-entry or multiple-entry visa. Your visa for Ghana can take almost three weeks to reach except you shell out additional for an expedited service.

A yellow fever vaccine can be required for entry into Ghana. Verify together with your native well being division or medical clinics to get vaccinated. Malaria drugs are additionally strongly really helpful for guests and will be prescribed by your physician. If you cannot get your fingers on them earlier than coming, pharmacies in Ghana have a lot in inventory, they usually are usually loads cheaper.

Carry a replica of your passport

In the event you plan to go to completely different cities exterior of Accra, you’ll want to print a replica of your passport to maintain in your bag as you journey across the nation. Police stops are frequent, and officers are recognized to ask for passport data.

Neglect you may have a left hand

In Ghana, actions like consuming, waving and handing an merchandise to somebody are to be executed together with your proper hand solely (sorry, left-handers!). From an early age, many Ghanaians are taught that their left hand is for use for cleansing themselves within the toilet. Due to this fact, your left hand is taken into account filthy and shouldn’t be used for consuming and different actions. Utilizing your left hand for gestures and fundamental duties is taken into account extremely disrespectful.

Consuming together with your fingers is a cultural observe

Soup-based meals are paired with a starch staple meals like fufu or banku and eaten together with your fingers (bear in mind the right-hand rule!). Be observant of how these round you might be consuming, embrace the tradition and dig in.

Hold your thumbs down

Whereas the thumbs-up gesture in lots of locations signifies approval, in Ghana, it reveals disrespect.

Saying hiya if you see others out and about is an indication of respect in Ghana © AWL Pictures RM / Getty Pictures

All the time greet others

Greetings in Ghana are a giant deal, and it’s thought of impolite to not greet others. Whenever you enter a room, it is best to say hiya, good morning, good afternoon or good night. Whenever you meet a gaggle of adults and greet them with a handshake, begin with the individual on the farthest proper.

Respect your elders

Respect for elders is immense in Ghana. You shouldn’t greet elders with a hat in your head. In case you are carrying a hat, take it off utterly or carry it midway whereas extending your greeting. Surrender your seat on the bus for these older than you. Crossing your legs and having your fingers in your pockets within the presence of elders are gestures which are frowned upon.

In Accra, you are more likely to see folks carrying shorts, however elsewhere, folks are inclined to cowl up extra © Elio Stamm / Lonely Planet

Be conscious of clothes cultures from metropolis to metropolis

Ghanaian clothes tradition tends to lean extra in the direction of the conservative aspect. Accra is extra relaxed, and also you’re more likely to see extra shorts and crop tops. Nevertheless, folks elsewhere are inclined to cowl up, so carry clothes that covers your chest and shoulders and reaches or goes previous your knees.

Study frequent phrases in Twi and different languages

English is broadly spoken in Ghana, however the nation is house to many alternative languages and ethnic teams. Twi, Ewe, Ga and Krobo are a number of of many languages spoken relying on the area. English is broadly spoken, but it surely’s necessary to keep in mind that not everybody speaks it, particularly as soon as you might be out of Accra and into rural elements of Ghana. Studying a number of phrases within the native language is at all times appreciated and embraced by Ghanaians.

Watch your belongings

Pickpocketing and situations of petty theft are sometimes the most important concern you should have in Ghana. Pickpocketing will be prevalent in crowded areas like Osu, Madina and Makola Market. All the time hold your bag in entrance of you and away from the roadside to keep away from snatching incidents. Do not carry a considerable amount of money on you.

Your telephone ought to at all times be in sight and accounted for. Motorcyclists in Accra are recognized to grab telephones out of the fingers of individuals as they’re passing by each in vehicles and when strolling. It’s clever to by no means stick your telephone out of a automotive window for photos and movies.

Count on police stops on a regular basis

Police stops in Ghana happen often, primarily at night time however they will occur all through the day. Your car will be randomly searched by officers, they might ask for ID and search your bag. These searches often final for about 5 minutes, and it’s best to conform.

Bribery is frequent in Ghana, and you might be requested to “sprint” officers, which suggests tip. You possibly can select to provide it or not because it’s typically solely C10 to C20 (US$1.66 to US$3.33), however it might make the distinction between a five-minute cease and a 40-minute one.

Police encounters in Ghana are typically nothing to fret about. The officers are often pleasant. They might have a “robust man” perspective, however as you discuss to them extra, the guard comes down.

Be cautious of those that wish to get near you quick

It’s straightforward to satisfy new folks in Ghana, and conversations are at all times flowing. Individuals are open to new connections and have a tendency to get shut rapidly at occasions, however watch out of fast-moving romantic approaches and people who instantly ask for favors or cash. Scams are frequent in Ghana and may happen in romantic encounters.

Not each institution in Ghana takes bank cards, so be sure to hold money if you’re out consuming or buying © Elio Stamm / Lonely Planet

Money is king

Whenever you’re in Ghana, at all times have some money on you, or you might end up caught. Not each institution accepts card funds, and in the event that they do, the POS techniques are sometimes down. ATMs are all over the place in Ghana, so getting money is at all times an possibility. You possibly can nonetheless carry each credit score and debit playing cards, and plenty of institutions in Ghana solely have debit card machines.

Foreign exchange Bureau change outlets will change your money to Ghanaian cedis. A tip is to carry large payments (100s) for a better change price. The smaller your payments, the much less cash you’ll get for them.

Keep away from consuming the water

Consuming faucet water in Ghana shouldn’t be one of the best concept as a result of there’s no assure to know whether or not the water has gone by the right measures to make sure it’s protected. Boil your water or use a water filter earlier than you drink it.

Count on weak wi-fi in most areas

Ask your lodging about wi-fi speeds earlier than your arrival if you happen to plan to make use of it. Even when web speeds aren’t one of the best the place you’re staying, you will discover dependable spots corresponding to Vida e Caffè and Basecamp Initiative.

Use money for Uber and Bolt

Obtain Uber and Bolt earlier than you arrive. Whereas paying by card is an possibility on each apps, don’t plan on utilizing it. Many drivers choose money and can cancel your experience in the event that they discover out you might be paying utilizing your card, or it might be a difficulty when you arrive at your vacation spot. You possibly can at all times ask the motive force to cease at an ATM earlier than the ultimate drop-off level.

Get an area telephone quantity

You may get a SIM card at Vodafone, a telephone service at A&C Mall in Accra in an effort to have a Ghana quantity. Ghana is a spot the place verbal conversations are most popular over texting and on-line communication. Drivers typically name their passengers to seek out out precisely the place they’re and transfer sooner.

By no means underestimate Accra visitors

Accra visitors is nothing to be performed with. You may even see an attraction that you just wish to take a look at that’s solely quarter-hour away out of your lodging and get there in an hour and a half due to visitors. It is best to not set reservations for a spot if you do not have to. Whereas visitors and delays will be extraordinarily irritating, you’ll need to study to drift.

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