Ghana holiday advice

GHANA HOLIDAY ADVICE


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN GHANA

Itinerary advice


Marian Thompson from our Accra-based supplier, M and J Travel, on why she recommends visiting the north of Ghana:
“In the north the landscapes are very special and very open – my favourite moment is in the evening when the sun is setting and you can see the big wide landscapes with the baobabs. The landscape is very beautiful up there, there are a lot of rocks. The buildings in the north are also very unique – they are made of mud, they have paintings, they are very beautiful. You can go to the villages and meet a chief.”

Cultural tip


Jim O’Brien is the founder of our West Africa specialist supplier, Native Eye Travel. He shares his Ghana travel advice: “They have an interesting little community tourism project in a place called Wechiau in the north. You can go out with members of the local community onto the Black Volta River and look for hippopotamus. You can explore the village in the company of a local guide and go and meet the king of the village, you can look at the Lobi houses, which are the fortress style houses. It’s quite low key, but it’s an example of a community there empowering themselves and dictating tourism on their own terms rather than having it imposed on them. That I thought was nice to see.”

Foodie advice


Marian Thompson from our Accra-based supplier, M and J Travel:
“Red red is very good, it’s made with beans and palm oil. And the fried fish and peanut sauce. Fufu we eat a lot but I think it is a bit strange for visitors to get used to! The hot sauce is very, very hot. You must be careful! Waakye is a very good option for vegetarians – it is rice and beans.”

Cultural tips


Vicki Brown, Responsible Travel’s own travel writer and editor, shares her Ghana travel tips:
“Everything you hear about Ghanaians being friendly is true, and the more open you are towards them, the more you will get out of it. Learn how to greet people in the local language (this may mean learning several different words as you travel around!) – you’ll cause smiles and laughter and spark up conversations. Outside of the big cities, you won’t receive any hassle or pushiness in the markets. Instead they’re a good place to chat to stallholders about their produce and handcrafts – they might even invite you to take a photograph of them. Shopping on the markets is such an enjoyable social experience.”

HEALTH & SAFETY IN GHANA


TRAVEL SAFELY IN GHANA

Health


Visit your GP or travel clinic 6-8 weeks before departure to ensure you are up to date with any necessary vaccinations. A Yellow fever certificate is required to enter Ghana, and malaria is present throughout the country.

Dial 193 for an ambulance, 191 for the police.

Take our comprehensive travel insurance including emergency repatriation.

There are reasonable hospitals in Accra, but medical facilities are very poor in the rest of the country.

Tap water is not safe to drink in Ghana, which unfortunately means you are reliant on bottles or sachets of water, both of which cause huge problems with plastic waste. If possible, purchase large bottles and decant into smaller, reusable bottles to create less waste.

Being close to the equator, the sun is very strong in Ghana and you will burn fast. Bring high factor sunscreen, but avoid spending too long in the direct sun if possible. Bring long sleeved, loose clothing and a wide brimmed hat.

The harmattan wind blows down from the Sahara from around mid November to March. It’s unpleasantly dry, and you may experience a tickly throat, dry, itchy eyes and very dry skin and lips. If you wear contact lenses, you might want to carry eye drops or consider using glasses. A nice tip is to buy some locally made shea butter – all natural, and the best defence for skin and lips against the dryness!

Safety


Ghana is generally very safe; the biggest threat is pickpocketing and petty theft, mainly in the large cities. Take the usual precautions – locking valuables in your hotel, not flashing expensive jewellery and carrying only the cash you need. Ghana is incredibly cheap, so you won’t need much.

Avoid walking round the cities alone at night, or on quiet beaches.

Tro-tros are local minibuses – you’ll see them rattling around town, packed to the brim. They can be a fun way of getting up (very) close to Ghanaian life, but safety standards for the vehicles and drivers are poor, so if you want to use one, make a short city journey rather than taking an intercity route.

Tourists generally won’t experience much hassle in Ghana outside of the main cities – but women in particular can reduce the amount of attention they get by wearing modest clothing, covering shoulders and knees, at least. The more rural the community, the more conservative – so cover up as much as possible, even though it is hot. Loose scarves around the shoulders or sarongs are a good idea.

The beaches may be beautiful, but the ocean along Ghana’s coastline has strong currents, undertows and dangerous riptides as well as powerful waves. Always check if it is safe to swim before going in, and be extremely cautious with children. Better still, stick to the tranquil lagoons behind the beaches.

If you are caught in a riptide, knowing what to do can save your life. Never try and swim against the current (towards shore). Instead, swim parallel to the shore and you will eventually end up outside the riptide; then you can swim back to shore. Most deaths occur when people exhaust themselves by trying to swim against the current.

Homosexuality is illegal in Ghana; same sex couples should act discretely.
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If you'd like to chat about Ghana or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team

01273 823 700

TIPS FROM OUR TRAVELLERS IN GHANA


TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL!

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Ghana travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday - and the space inside your suitcase.
“Take every opportunity to engage with the locals that is offered and you will return a richer person for it… go with the flow and Ghanaian time… There is no running water, electricity or mobile phone connection, but I wouldn’t swap it for any 5* star hotel. If I close my eyes I’m back there!” –Julie Winning

“Ghana is the safest place in Africa I've ever been to and I recommend to people especially who thinks Africa is dangerous to travel and involves lots of hassle to go around. There is not much sightseeing type of tourist attractions… and not as many animals... And yet, instead of being introduced to only tourist-y places, anyone who likes to stay off the beaten path and experience the 'real' Africa in a stress-free environment, it's the perfect destination. I was impressed that many local children in rural villages never begged from tourists… and I was able to feel that people were genuinely welcoming us.” – Amy Sakai

“You ain’t seen nothin’ ‘til you’ve seen the huge, smiling king of the Ashantis dance for his rapturous subjects – His Majesty’s still got that swing!” – Richard and Holly Pierce

“If you are expecting a 5 star hotel where you are detached from the local community, wanting to sip cocktails by the pool, then this is definitely not the holiday for you… You feel immersed in all aspects of the Community from the minute you get there... If you are asked to drink a shot of 50% percent proof spirits at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon with the locals then go for it. Likewise visit the staff's families if you get the chance and experience the thrill of seeing a Shamanic ceremony in full flow on a Friday afternoon… It is a crazily brilliant culture shock!” – Beth Macnab, staying at a Ghana ecolodge with village tour

“If you are a woman bring longer skirts and loose shorts to wear when not at the lodge, because it's considered rude to show above your knees. And every visitor should bring lots of mosquito repellent, sunscreen, and a torch.” – Amy Walter

Photo credits: [Itinerary advice: FreeRadicals] [Cultural tip: TREEAID] [Food advice: Antoshananarivo] [helpdesk: Stig Nygaard] [review 1 - Freddy Davis: Nora Morgan] [review 2 - Astrid Seidel: Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn)]
Written by Vicki Brown
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