Difference between revisions of "Ghana"
Revision as of 14:50, 1 July 2013
Ghana is a very friendly country, ideal for first time travellers to Africa, the people are generally very helpful and welcoming. While their laidback attitude and lack of organized tourist sights/trips can be a little annoying to begin with, before you have been there for very long you realize that it is one of the delights of this country.
Tourism in Ghana is growing very quickly, and more tour operators are seeing increased requests for Ghana as a travel destination. Ghana is also rich in gold. This is a stable country with great potential for growth.
There is archaeological evidence which shows that humans have lived in what is present day Ghana from about 1500 BC. Nonetheless, there is no proof that those early dwellers are related to the current inhabitants of the area. Oral tradition has it that many of Ghana's current ethnic groups such as the multi-ethnic Akan, the Ga and the Ewe arrived around the 13th Century AD. However, the Dagombas are believed to be the first settlers, having been fully established by 1210 AD, before the arrival of other ethnic groups. Modern Ghanaian territory includes what was the Empire of Ashanti, one of the most influential states in sub-Saharan Africa before colonial rule.
Early European contact by the Portuguese, who came to Ghana in the 15th century, focused on the extensive availability of gold. By 1548, the Dutch had joined them, and built forts at Komenda and Kormantsi. Other European traders joined in by the mid 17th century, largely English, Danes and Swedes. British merchants, impressed with the gold resources in the area, named it the Gold Coast, while French merchants, impressed with the trinkets worn by the coastal people, named the area to the west "Côte d'Ivoire", or Ivory Coast. The Gold Coast was known for centuries as 'The White Man's Grave' because many of the Europeans who went there died of malaria and other tropical diseases.
After the Dutch withdrew in 1874, Britain made the Gold Coast a protectorate. Following conquest by the British in 1896, until independence in March 1957, the territory of modern Ghana excluding the Volta Region (British Togoland), was known as the Gold Coast.
Many wars occurred between the colonial powers and the various nation-states in the area and even under colonial rule the chiefs and people often resisted the policies of the British. Moves toward de-colonization intensified after World War II and after an intense struggle, on March 6th 1957 elected parliamentry leader Kwame Nkrumah declared Ghana as "free forever". The nation thus became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence.
Kwame Nkrumah was a champion of pan-Africanism and his popularity was a major concern for the West. It was no surprise that Nkrumah was subsequently overthrown by the military while he was abroad in February 1966. A series of subsequent coups from 1966 to 1981 ended with the ascension to power of the flamboyant Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings in 1981. These changes resulted in the suspension of the constitution in 1981 and the banning of political parties. The economy suffered a severe decline soon after, and many Ghanaians migrated to other countries.
Rawlings changed many old economic policies and the economy soon began to recover. A new constitution restoring multi-party politics was instigated in 1992, and Rawlings was elected as president then and again in 1996. In 2009, John Atta Mills took office as president marking the second time that power had been transferred from one legitimately elected leader to another, and securing Ghana's status as a stable democracy.
There are two main seasons in Ghana, the wet and the dry seasons. Northern Ghana experiences its rainy season from March to November while the south, including the capital Accra, experiences the season from April to Mid-November.
Foreign nationals of the following countries can enter Ghana visa-free:
Otherwise, unless in direct airside transit through a Ghanaian airport, all other foreign nationals require a visa to enter Ghana. For information about obtaining visas for Ghana, visit the official website of the Ghana Immigration Service.
There is no such thing as a visa on arrival for Western countries. It's thus best to play it safe and get a visa in advance. The Ghanaian government's online Ghana list of embassies is out of date, but this list  is fairly reliable. A three-month single-entry visa costs US$60; a one-year, multiple entry visa costs $100. You must have a yellow fever vaccination certificate which will be presented to customs when entering. Malaria course essential.
If you require a visa to enter Ghana, you might be able to apply for one at a British embassy, high commission or consulate in the country where you legally reside if there is no Ghanaian embassy or consulate. For example, the British embassies/consulates in Amman , Bogotá , Helsinki , Hong Kong  and Tripoli  accept Ghanaian visa applications (this list is not exhaustive). British diplomatic posts charge £50 to process a Ghanaian visa application and an extra £70 if the authorities in Ghana require the visa application to be referred to them. The authorities in Ghana can also decide to charge an additional fee if they correspond with you directly.
Travellers who are staying longer than their entry visa (a maximum of 30 or 60 days are usually granted for tourists) are advised to bring their passport for visa extension to Immigration Service early and expect delays in getting their passports back. Two weeks are provided as the guideline for processing time, but this can often take much longer. Be careful about what dates are stamped in your passport. Sometimes Immigration puts a 60 day stamp on a visa for 3 months- the stamps is what counts. If you don't want to go through the hassle of Immigration Service, you may consider going to Togo and back to get a visa stamp at the border.
All International flights are through Kotoka International airport at Accra (ACC) . Also, Kotoka International airport at Accra (ACC) is very central and there are always Airport Shuttles and lots of taxis available to connect you to other parts of the City. The recently refurbished airport is small, with a departure lounge that can become cramped when multiple flights are due for take off.
Delta Airlines serves Accra from New York City (JFK)with DAILY, i.e., everyday. This flight continues on to Liberia four times per week. Delta discontinued its nonstop service from Atlanta to Accra. British Airways (daily) and Virgin Atlantic (5x weekly) fly from London Heathrow. KLM flies daily from Schiphol, Amsterdam. Lufthansa and Alitalia maintain daily direct flights from Frankfurt and Milan respectively, with a short stop in Lagos, Nigeria. Emirates flies daily non-stop from Dubai in the Middle East (with connections to Asia and the Far East). Ethiopian Airlines flies four weekly non-stops from Addis Ababa (with stopover, you can visit another African country).Also Egypt Air flies non-stop to Accra. Also, South African Airways flies four times a week non-stop from Johannesburg. If coming from Brazil or nearby, the flight from Rio to Luanda, Angola on Angola Airlines would be the shortest. From there, you can go non-stop to Accra. Turkish Airlines flies from İstanbul to Accra with four flights per week,since january 2012 non-stop. Royal Air Maroc also has several flights a week to Accra out of Casablanca.
The lowest fares to Ghana outside of Africa are usually from London, but that doesn't necessarily mean British Airways is the cheapest (i.e. a transfer inside continental Europe may be required). Afriqiyah Airways was one of the cheapest airlines maintaining flights to Accra, from London Gatwick via Tripoli, but flights were halted in february 2011 and have not yet resumed.Brussels Airlines with 2 weekly flights out of Brussels will aso stop flying from March 25 , 2012. TAP from Portugal also flies 4 times a week to Accra and will add an additional flight soon. Those living in North America might be able to save by getting a cheap ticket to London from their home country. (Beware that there are two separate London international airports, Gatwick and Heathrow, and allow lots of connection time.)
Photos of the small but well run airport 
No international rail connections exist.
The border at Aflao with Togo is an entertaining scene. It appears very disorderly and human traffic seems to flow freely. However it is unlikely that a white person can pass through without all the formalities. The border guards are professional enough where you will not be asked for bribes—although some women may get marriage proposals! A visa into Ghana can be bought at the border at double the normal cost (because of the speedy delivery) for some GH₵110. The Togolese 7-day transit visa is a lovely cheap 5,000 CFA (2011). Change your money before crossing, if you need to buy a visa. Ideally, change your money at a bank in Aflao (even better to do it in advance at a ForEx in Accra) or Lomé.
One thing to keep in mind while at the border crossings is to keep your cameras stowed in your packs; both Ghanian and Togolese border guards are sure to take your camera if they spot you snapping a photo, or at the least give you a good chiding.
Ghana's national bus company, State Transport Corporation, runs an inter-city bus service within Ghana and to some major West African cities. A recent public-private partnership produced Metro Mass Company, which runs services within the capital city, Accra, and within other regions in Ghana.
Comingin from Burkina Faso, the main route is a bus from Ouaga to Bolgatonga/Tamale/Accra. Alternatively you can cross the border at Hamile (or Hamale, as it is called on the BF-side of the border). Take a bus from Bobo-Dioulasso. You have to cross the border by foot (after leaving BF, you walk some 300 meters through no-men's-land before reaching Ghana customs. Locals will be lingering around and will be looking to change money at fairly reasonable rates). Then take a Metro Mass bus to Wa (alternatively hop on a tro-tro and do the trip in stages). Be sure to taken an early bus from Bobo: if the bus has a delay, you may end up having to spend the night in Hamile. There is a place where you can get a room (10 Gh¢), the custom offficers can help you find it. It is the only option in town, but is not a very nice place to say the least: It is filthy and you probably don't want to use the bathroom facilities.
Tamale to Accra can cost only Gh¢20
There are scheduled domestic flights 2 - 3 times a day between Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi and Tamale in the north including flights by Antrak Air. There are also filghts to destinations outside the country.
CityLink also flies between Accra and Kumasi, etc. http://www.flycitylink.com Starbow also has a daily service to Kumasi and Tamale in HS146's The 7.30 am flight to Tamale is ghc 150 and takes 1 hour
There are rail links between Accra, Takoradi and Kumasi however, as of October 2010, all railways have been suspended except those traveling from Accra to Nsawam (four times a day, Monday through Saturday) and from Accra to Tema (twice a day, Monday through Saturday). These are mostly used as commuter trains for residents. The railway system is being renovated, so the other routes are expected to reopen to passengers when everything is complete.
Roads are variable. In Accra most are fairly good. Significant improvements are being made on the main road between Accra and Kumasi. Most of the roads outside Accra apart from the major ones are dirt tracks. The road between Techiman and Bole is particularly bad and should be avoided if possible. For travel on most roads in the North of the country a 4x4 is required, a saloon car will cope with some of them in the dry season but is not recommended.
Also it should be noted that cars with foreign registration are not allowed to circulate between 6PM and 6AM. Only Ghanaian registered vehicles are allowed on the road at this time. Non compliance can result in fines and the impounding of the vehicle for the night.
STC is the main coach company. They operate long distance domestic and international services. Probably the safest way to travel long distance, and are also pretty quick compared to other options, although even on these services breakdowns are reasonably frequent. STC operate between Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale, Cape Coast and other main cities. 'Express' or 'Air-conditioned' services are quicker and a lot more comfortable than the ordinary services and are now available on the Accra-Kumasi, Accra-Tamale, Accra-Bolgatanga routes. Buy your tickets a day in advance though, often times they will be full if you wait until the day of travel. Also, expect to pay for your luggage based upon its weight. It should rarely be over 1/3 the price of the ticket.
Several other companies also operate bus services between the major towns, these include OSA, Metrobus and Kingdom Travel, their service is marginally more reliable than tro-tros but there isn't much in it. Metrobus is by far the cheapest and best option going between Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast but not recommended for tamale due to the hassle of obtaining a ticket amongst the massive crowds seeking this destination.
The VIP bus company is now the major carrier between Accra, Kumasi, etc. Its 25ghc each way in new a/c Yutong coaches ,6 hrs with a meal stop at the excellent 'Linda Dor'. No advance tickets ,turn up and go,every 15 to 30 mins departures.
A 'Tro-tro' is a term that covers almost any sort of vehicle that has been adapted to fit in as many people, possessions, and occasionally livestock, as possible. Tro-tros are typically old, 12-passenger VW or Mercedes-Benz vans. Similarly to 'shared' taxis, tro-tros will run along fixed routes and have fixed fares, and will rarely run with less than capacity [so be prepared to wait]. They are inexpensive (cheaper than shared taxis and STC buses) and fares should reflect distance traveled, however they have a questionable safety record and frequently breakdown. Breakdowns however are usually not too much of a problem since they will break down in a route where other tro-tro's run, so you can just grab another one. Although they generally run point to point they will usually pick and drop on route if required. They make runs within the city (i.e. Circle to Osu for GH₵.20) as well as intercity routes. They are often the only option between remote towns but are not recommended for long journeys. Tro-tros are an excellent way to meet Ghanaians, and are always great for a cultural adventure. Sometimes they will make you pay extra for luggage, and occasionally they will try to overcharge (very rarely).
If you feel like being an elite tro-tro rider, ask around for City Express, a newish service sporting the usual minivan, but with working breaks, non-stop travel, half the seats, and impressive air conditioning. It mostly runs between the larger cities along the coast, e.g., Takoradi, Accra, Aflao, et al.
Taxis are prevalent, easy to spot,as a tourist just stand at the curb and make a small slowing down gesture with palm and arm straight down. To charter a taxi [take a drop] is more expensive than to share one [line taxi]. Prices are negotiable and almost always need to be bargained over. Always settle on a fare BEFORE getting in. Drivers often try to quote 2-3 times higher than the typical price, so don't be shy about bargaining. In Accra, Drop Taxi fares start at 2ghc up to ghc 20 for airport, allow 3ghc to 6 ghc around town.
Also be aware that drivers NEVER know actual addresses, but instead navigate by landmarks, i.e. 1st traffic light after market, or Freddies corner by Circle. Essential to have mobile, call your destination, pass phone to driver so he can be given the right directions.
Line taxis follow specific routes and stop at the same places as trotros. Local people will be pleased to make sure you get the right one. Like trotros, they always run full, sometimes squeezing 4 or 5 into the back seat before taking off, but they are about 10% the cost of private taxis.
If this is your first visit to West Africa, be prepared for very different standards of vehicle condition.
English is both the official language and the lingua franca between Ghana's many peoples. English speakers will have no trouble communicating their needs anywhere in the country; Ghanaians usually speak English quite fluently, albeit with some quirks. Official government documents are in English, but there over 40 distinct languages spoken in Ghana including Twi/Fante in the Ashanti and Fante regions, Ga in Greater Accra, Ewe east of Lake Volta, Dagbani, and so on. "Obruni", the Akan word for foreigner, which literally means "white man", is generally shouted at any tourist in the more heavily trafficked areas, black or white, male or female. This gets tiresome.
In the northern regions and among Ghanaian Muslims in general, the Hausa language is also used as a lingua franca.
For many visitors the history of Ghana starts with the slave trade, and interaction with Europeans, but there was a long and rich history before that. Remnants of thriving civilisations can be seen in the Northern region, at both the Larabanga mosque which dates from the 15th century and the 16th century Nalerigu Defence Wall.
With the growth in power and prestige of the Ashanti Kingdom in the 17th and 19th Centuries, the capital Kumasi also grew and now contains a number of historic sights.
However the slave trade did leave its mark on Ghana, with forts built by the British, Dutch, Danish, Germans, Portuguese and Swedish dotted all along the coast. Excellent examples of these can be seen at both Cape Coast and Elmina, these forts give a glimpse of the time of slavery and a view of the last sight of Africa for thousands of people, as well as being Unesco World Heritage sites.
Ghana is blessed with an abundance of natural treasures, from beautiful beaches such as those at Kokrobite and Winneba, where you can relax with a cocktail, enjoy a stay at a beach front hotel or watch the fishermen at work. Alternatively you could take the waters inland instead, Volta Lake created by the damming of the River Volta at Akosombo in the mid 1960’s to provide a source of electricity to Ghana now also provides a wonderful viewing point from the dam itself or trips out onto the lake itself or you can take a trip on the River Volta instead at Ada.
In the Ashanti region not far from Kumasi is Lake Bosumtwi, a 10.5km diameter meteor impact crater lake, which was created by a meteor strike approximately 1 million years ago, as well a being extremely picturesque the lake holds a spiritual significance to the Ashanti, whose traditional belief asserts that souls of the dead meet the god Twi at the lake.
Also inland, are two more national treasures in the form of two world renowned national parks. Kakum National Park to walk of the elevated rope bridges within the forest, with the opportunity for bird watching and butterfly and other nature spotting or to Mole National Park to enjoy a safari experience, with the chance to see Elephants, big cats and other animals on the savannah.
Both the 1st and 2nd cities of Ghana offer plenty to see and to do. Accra offers history at the historic sites, such as Independence square, the Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum and the WB Dubois Centre. Shopping in a number of markets, including Makola market in the centre of the city. Cultural treats include a number of museums and the national theatre. Outside of the city at Aburi are the extensive botantical gardens.
Kumasi offers the sights based around the history of the Ashanti, including the Manhiya Palace, the Asantehene's Palace and Okomfo Anokye Sword.
Ghana Cedi was redenominated in July of 2007. The new "Ghana Cedi" (GH₵) equals 10,000 old cedis. During the transition period of six months, the old cedi is known as "cedi", and the new cedi is known as "Ghana Cedi". Be aware that most Ghanaians still think in old currency. This can be very confusing (and costly). Ten thousand old cedis are habitually referred to as ten (or twenty, or thirty). This would, today, be one, two, or three "new" Ghana cedis. So always think whether the quoted price makes sense before buying or agreeing on a taxi fare. If in doubt ask whether this is new cedis.
US Dollars are accepted by some of the major tourist hotels, but you shouldn't rely on this. As in all West African countries, older dollar bills will be rejected by banks and Forex bureaus. If you intend to take dollar notes make sure that they are all from the 2007 series or above. Euros ,dollars and UK pounds in cash are the most useful currencies to take with you and are easily and safely changed at numerous a/c booths open to 9pm. Approximate exchange rates as of Feb 12., 2012, are:
There are many Forex Bureaus in Accra, and a few in the other major cities. It is very difficult to change travelers cheques and certainly almost impossible outside Accra and Kumasi, unless you change them at a major bank. Barclays has branches in Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast, and even Tamale where you can change travelers cheques. Expect lines. VISA cards are accepted at major hotels and there are ATMs in Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast which accept VISA. Be aware that the Cape Coast cash machine is frequently empty. At the main branch of Barclays Bank in Accra you can get a cash advance on your VISA or MasterCard provided you have your passport with you.
Bargaining is very much expected in the markets. Large cities such as Accra have markets open every day, but travelers get the true flavor of the country if they have the opportunity to visit a village market on the day of the week that it is open. Most goods will be staple goods, but cloth, beads, musical instruments, bags, and even CD's are usually available.
Kente cloth, drums and wooden designs, such as masks and "sacred stools" can be found on almost any street in any tourist area in Ghana.
The accra mall is a first class and commercial shopping centre situated on the spintex road of the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.(www.accramall.com).
Adinkrah Symbols & Sacred Stools
The sacred stools have tradional Adinkrah "motif" designs in them that can mean many things having to do with God, love, strength, community, and much more. Finding a guidebook which will tell you what each symbol means is advisable to prevent the possibility of buying a stool that doesn't mean what you think it is.
Gye Nyame is by far the most popular Adinkrah symbol. It means "Only God". Other popular stools are the "Wisdom Knot" and the one with the character holding many sticks together, which cannot be broken, to symbolize the strength of community.
Traditional food is fun to try and easy to enjoy. Fufu, the most widely served traditional dish, consists of pounded balls of yam, plantain, or cassava served with soup, and a side of goat meat or fish. Soups are typically made of groundnuts, palm nut, okra and other vegetables. "Light soup" is a tomato-based soup. Banku is a fermented corn version of the dish typically eaten with grilled tilapia fish or okra soup. Omo tuo is a version made from pounded rice, although it is only served on Sundays in many restaurants. These dishes are eaten with your hand by dipping the dough into the soup, and you are given a bowl of water with dishsoap to wash before eating (note that Ghanaians eat only with their right hands). A delicious alternative to the starch-and-soup combination is red-red, a bean stew served with a side of fried plantains.
Rice dishes are also common, but not considered a "real" meal by many Ghanaians, males especially. Jollof rice is a dish as varied as its chef, but generally consists of white rice cooked with vegetables, meat pieces, spices in a tomato based sauce. Waakye (pronounced "WA-chay") is a mix of beans and rice, typically served with gari, a powder of ground cassava. Often rice dishes are served with shredded lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes on the side with a dollop of Heinz salad cream or mayonnaise.
Plantains, yams, and sweet potatoes are prepared in various ways and serve as small snacks. Kelewele, a spiced fried plantain snack, is especially delicious. Fresh fruits such as pineapple, mango, papaya, coconut, oranges, and bananas are delightful when in season and come when applicable by the bag for as little as 10 pesawas.
A great African meal in a restaurant can cost as little as GH₵3.00 to GH₵7.00. For instance, a lobster and shrimp dinner can cost a mere GH₵6. Many of the above dishes can also be found very cheaply at "chop stands" and from street vendors (as little as GH₵1.50 to GH₵2.50), although short-term travelers who are wary about possible contamination may prefer to eat at restaurants.
There are also a number of Western and Chinese style restaurants available especially in Osu, a trendy suburb of Accra.
Drinking water from the tap is not generally considered to be safe, so choices include plastic bottled water (eg. Voltic, 1.5 liter, appx. GH₵1.00), boiled or filtered tap water, and "pure water" sachets. These sachets are filtered and come in 500 ml. portions. At least one study has suggested bottled water to be the safest choice. Although "pure water" sachets are more easily accessible and very cheaper (10 pesawas each), 2.3% of sachets tested were found to contain fecal bacteria. If you want to play it safe, stick with carbonated beverages or bottled water.
In Accra's expat visited bars, a beer will usually cost between GH₵4.00 and GH₵8.00. Fruit juices GH₵1.50, water GH₵1.00 to GH₵1.50. Star and Club are two of the more popular beers served. For a more interesting and rewarding experience, visit a "spot," a bar signified by the blue and white stripes on the outside of the building. These spots are prevalent in every city and even smaller towns. They are cheaper (beer often between GH₵2.00 and GH₵4.00) and you will undoubtedly be able to meet some local Ghanaians as well as hear the newest hip-life songs.
Soft drinks such as Coke, Fanta, 7UP (called "minerals" by locals) are widely available for GH₵0.80.
Be aware that the bottles that minerals or beer is served to you in are owned by the bottling company-if you do not return it to the seller, they stand to lose GH₵0.50 -- more than you most likely paid for the drink. If you are not going to consume the drink at the "spot" or at the roadside stand, make sure you let the seller know. Often, you will be asked for a deposit which will be returned upon the return of the bottle.
Palm wine is a drink common in various parts of Africa, and is made from the sap of palm trees. It is best if you can find it somewhere where it has been freshly tapped.
There are many wonderful places to stay in Ghana. There are many options including lavish hotels or more rustic places to stay. Cheap, decent hotel rooms can run as low as GH₵12.00. A better room can go as low as GH₵20.00 (From the perspective of a different person, one who visited Ghana in the fall of 2010, prices are higher than a comparable hotel in the USA.)
Some hotels will collect you from the airport but expect to share a mini-bus with other arrivals.
For longer stays (a few months) it is possible to rent a house. Houses for rent are advertised in local newspapers and also in those places frequented by expats - Koala supermarket, Ryan's Irish pub etc.
Ghana has three major public universities. The largest of these is the University of Ghana, located in Legon, a suburb of the capital, Accra. Other universities are located at Cape Coast (University of Cape Coast) and Kumasi (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, or "Tech"). Smaller public universities include the University of Education at Winneba, the University of Development Studies with a main campus at Tamale and several other campuses around the north, and the University of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa, Western Region. There are also several private universities and colleges, both religious and non-religious.
There are some good schools while others aren't that great. Teachers are usually very strict and respect from the students is very important.
Some travelers may consider participating in a short term formal study abroad program in Ghana (http://www.gooverseas.com/study-abroad/ghana) - topics range from the local language to familiarizing yourself with Ghana's history or economic policies. Travelers can benefit from these types of opportunities to deepen their understandings of and increasing their interaction with the Ghanaian culture and people.
A popular method of travelling around Ghana is to volunteer with the many organizations that Ghana boasts.
Ghana is currently a very safe, stable country with relatively low crime levels compared to other West African countries. Take sensible precautions but be assured it is quite safe.
Bywel's bar in Osu is a frequent hangout of expats on Thursday nights meaning that it is target for muggings. Be sure to leave in a large group and enter a taxi immediately upon exiting the bar.
Do be aware that both female and male homosexuality is illegal.
Cases have also been reported of people snatching mobile phones in the streets. Avoid using your mobile phone out in the open if you do not absolutely need to. You may run the risk of having someone snatch it from you.
Be aware that chloroquine-resistant malaria is widespread and you must take sufficient malaria protection including mosquito avoidance, mosquito repellants, and chemical prophylaxis. Yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into the country.
It is strongly urged that a traveler request vaccinations against Hepatitis A & B, Cholera and Typhoid fever if they are planning to travel within the country.
There is a very high risk of meningitis in the northern third of Ghana which is a part of the Meningitis belt of Africa. This applies especially during the dry windy periods from December to June. A polysaccharide vaccine is available for Meningitis types A, C, Y and W135.
Although the AIDS/HIV rate is lower than other sub-Saharan African countries, do not have unprotected sex! Also you should avoid contact with still freshwater as there is a risk of schistosomiasis.
Some restaurants will approach European health standards, but be prepared to pay for this. Smaller restaurants, often called "chop bars," will likely not meet these standards.
Because of the tropical climate near the coast, travelers will need to stay hydrated. Bottled water is available everywhere. Voltic Water has been a reliable brand over the years, but do check to make sure the seal has not been broken.
For the latest traveler's health information pertaining to Ghana, including advisories and recommendations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention destination Ghana website .
If you have a medical emergency this site has some resources to assist you with your emergency. .
Do try and pick up on respectful practice (such as not eating or offering with your left hand), but in general Ghanaians are quite accepting of tourists getting it wrong. Greetings are very important. Ghanaians are not forgiving of people who do not take time to greet others. Sometimes greetings come in the form of a salute accompanied by a "good morning" or "good afternoon". The expected response is the same (a salute with a "good morning or afternoon"). Inquiring how the person is doing is also a good idea.
The Ghanian hand shake is a typical handshake, quickly followed by the snapping of thumb and middle finger. The technique will be introduced to you the first time you shake hands - it will take you by surprise as it involves sliding your hand down the other persons hand, taking their middle finger between your thumb and middle finger as they take your middle finger between their thumb and middle finger, then snapping your finger together as they do likewise. It is unique. Smile, make new friends, and give them a Ghanian handshake - they will smile and nod!
Postal services can be unreliable within Ghana itself but international post, at least to and from Accra is reasonably reliable (approx 2 weeks either way to the UK for example).Mobile phone penetration is very good with over 25 million registered numbers and has good coverage even in remote areas.Essential for visitors to obtain a [cheap]new phone[from such as Freddies Corner ,5 locations incl. Tema,from ghc30] and a local SIM card from any of the 6 providers [MTN,GLO,Vodaphone,Zain,Airtel and Tigo].Phone credit sellers are everywhere and will top up for you.For laptops use USB sticks[ pay around 50 cedis for a stick with a 2GB allowance). With a recent ICT boom in the country's urban areas, you're never too far away from an internet cafe where one hour of internet access should cost GH₵0.50 to GH₵1.00. Many hotels also boast broadband access via wireless hotspots.