Getting to Ghana
Several international airlines, including British Airways and Delta Airlines, operate regular scheduled flights from Ghana to major cities in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Kotoka International Airport
Kotoka International Airport (KIA) is located in Accra. It is the major entry point to the country and is accessible from any part of the globe.
Required by all and must be valid for at least 6 months.
Obtaining a visa from the embassy is a fairly straightforward process. We can assist in this process. We strongly suggest travelers to submit their application and passports for Visa’s at least one month prior to your intended date of departure.
Yellow fever vaccinations are required by all except infants under one year old. Please do not forget to bring your health Certificate which shows that you have a yellow fever vaccination. You are also advised to consult your doctor well in advance of your visit so that you may begin the usual anti-malaria treatment if you require.
*This can be done at your local clinic or Passport Health Office. You will need to retain the yellow fever vaccination certificate.
Ghana is a tropical country. The South-Western part is located within the warm wet forest zone similar to the Amazon. Accra, the capital, is located in the dry equatorial cones. Kumasi is in the wet savanna. Northern Ghana has a range season from about April to October. The rest, of the year is hot and dry, with temperatures up to about 38°C (100° F). In Southern Ghana, the rains last from April to June and again from September to October. Generally, temperatures are between 21 – 31°C (70° – 88°F). The rains are usually restricted to specific times each day during the rainy season and they are not continuous throughout the day.
Packing the Right Clothing
Since the climate is warm and tropical year round be sure to pack light, washable, cotton clothing and casual wear. Most visitors will find that a long-sleeve shirt or light sweater is sufficient in the coolest times. Do not forget sunglasses and comfortable walking shoes.
Dress is conservative in Ghana and long pants are generally worn. Shorts are acceptable only if they are at least knee length. Revealing clothing or items with suggestive slogans are considered inappropriate.
Frequent power outages and lack of streetlights in most locations mean that a flashlight or headlamp is a must. Most of Ghana is subject to malaria, so mosquito repellent is an important precaution and you may wish to take medication for malaria prevention.
Towels are generally not provided, so bring your own. Toilet paper is not always supplied in public restrooms along your journey, so it is a good idea to bring your own backup supply.
If you are bringing along any electrical appliances, they should operate on or be adaptable to 220 / 240 volts. Electric outlets in Ghana accept either 3pronged, or sometimes 2-pronged. British or Continental European type plus or converters.
Ghana’s currency is the cedi which comes in denominations of GHC 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Coins come in denominations of 1 GHC and also 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p & 1 pesewas. Foreign currency can be freely exchanged at any Forex Bureau in the country.
Apart from Forex Bureau, some commercial banks also exchange foreign currency. Banks are normally open from 8:30 am to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some banks also operate on Saturdays from 09:00 – 14:00 GMT. Most large commercial banks will also have automatic teller machines located outside and available during and after hours. Most will take VISA and a few other check cards.
All banks and Forex Bureau accept Traveler’s Checks although the rate of exchange may be slightly lower than for cash transaction.
The most widely accepted credit cards are Visa and MasterCard. These cards are accepted in major hotels, restaurants, banks and businesses. Your card may be used for payment at most all airlines, leading hotels and major supermarkets. However, be cautious when using your credit to avoid fraud.
Tipping is permitted in hotels, restaurants, etc. It is rarely added to the bill. Whenever it is not added, the quality of service should dictate your generosity to the waiter, taxi driver, porter, tour guide, etc.
Most major hotels also have business centers which provide secretarial and courier services. Ghana has six Telecommunications companies which provides voice and data services. with a valid Identity card/passport, one can acquire a sim from any of the telecoms. You can make long distance telephone calls within the country. Collect calls to the USA, Europe and Asia are also available. USA direct dial is 019900 and UK is 0194.
Drinking water in Ghana is relatively safe, however, it is advised that visitors drink bottled drinking water.
Restricted Areas for Photography and Filming
The Christiansburg Castle, Osu Flagstaff House(i.e seat of Government), High Commissions / Embassies and Military installations.
Our chiefs enjoy receiving foreigners and interacting with them. There are etiquettes that you need to observe. When you are invited to greet a chief or the king, for example, move up towards him and stop short a point from where he is seated, stop and bow. He may graciously invite you to come for a handshake.
On formal occasions, we do not speak directly to the king, or chief, for that matter communication at the royal court is a three-way affair through a spokesman (linguist) called “Okyeame” who replicates the conversation. The visitor faces the Okyeame and delivers his message to the chief. The chief gives his reply or response to the Okyeame who renders it to the visitor. It is that simple and interesting. This has been our practice from time immemorial.
N.B. Normally, visitors to our palaces have to make customary offerings of friendship to their royal hosts. This consists entirely of drinks: Aromatic Schnapps, Gin and or money, the amount and quantities depending on the size or enthusiasm of the group.
Greeting is an important social function that marks an open heart and mind. It also expresses one’s concern for the other. Refusing or failing to greet another person may indicate that you do not care for the other’s welfare.
Do not forget that the smile is also a form of greeting. Please make an effort to pick up some of our simple vernacular greeting forms and win our hearts over.
Use of Left Hand in Ghanaian Culture
The left hand has limited functions in Ghana. In fact, the use of the left hand for certain activities is considered an anathema. That is one reason why, when our men wear traditional cloth, we throw the fabric over the left hand. In particular avoid receiving or giving, gesticulating in speech, waving at a person or pointing things out with the left hands.
If you are naturally left handed, it is not your fault, and it is no offence. But you can avoid public embarrassment of complications by giving something (e.g. your guide book, camera, souvenir etc.) with the left hand.
A handshake is a popular way of greeting in Ghana, especially among males. When you shake hands, please apply the same hand pressure as is offered.