Ghana is the West African nation that the paternal west most loves to love. It was the first of a long line of British African territories to achieve independence, and in a region with a tendency to horrific political implosion, it has managed to ride above the swell. Despite occasional bouts of democratic misbehaviour, Ghana has never stooped to the level of anarchy, warlordism and violence that gripped most of her neighbours during the chaotic early years of this decade. Touted as one of the friendliest nations in Africa, it is also one of the most appealing, with all the elements necessary for a quintessential African experience under one roof.
Travel To & Within Ghana
Why Travel to Ghana
Currently among the best governed and most economically and politically stable of African countries, Ghana is an everyman’s African travel destination, with the likelihood of encountering any major problems to spoil your holiday almost zero.
While the official literature of Ghana tourism will have you believe that the country is an ecological Eden, in fact most of the rainforest that at one time carpeted the country has been felled, leaving just remnants, the important parts of which are protected, and are easily accessible through a well run and ordered network of conservancies and national parks. Some are specific to certain species, while others are general, and on the whole a more than adequate glimpse into the varied ecologies of west Africa is possible in both coastal and inland Ghana.
For the beach disciple Ghana is one of the worlds principal destinations. Once again the tropical quintessence is there for the taking, with the usual backdrop of sandy beaches filled in here and there with a mix of the traditional and modern, and depending where you go, varying degrees of Africa style cosmopolitan groove.
The capital city of Accra is a noisy, bustling and piquant African coastal city, and cannot be mistaken for anything else, but notably absent is the visible weight of poverty and squalor of such places as Lagos, Freetown or Kinshasa. The official language is English, which is widely spoken in a variety of patois, supported by some 250 local languages and dialects.
Ghana was one of the main entrepót for the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and a number of important historical sites related to that phenomenon exists as a reminder. Ghana is a common point of contact for African Americans seeking communion with that aspect of history, as well as others with an interest in the study of African slavery.
In recent years Ghana has been gaining popularity as a dive and big game fishing destination.
When to Visit Ghana
The U.S. and European summer holidays are a busy time in Ghana, this being among the more popular destinations, besides South Africa, for citizens of the U.S. visiting Africa. Besides this there is no particular time of the year to visit the country since the heat, rain and humidity tend to be perennial. Between September and December tourist traffic is minimal, while during the summer months rainfall is heavier and more frequent.
Conditions become more arid the deeper inland you travel, with the northern extremity of the country, although still within the coastal region, tending to the hot and dry conditions of the Sahel.
Ghana does not suffer a reputation for either crime, violence or political unrest, although all of these have and do occur. Although an excess of caution is unnecessary in most place, Ghana is in the developing world where most of the population live on or close to the poverty datum line, so no caution at all is likely to lead to tears.
Drugs are fairly widespread in Ghana, with marijuana being the most common, but with many other western favourites being sold and trafficked here, and throughout west Africa. There have recently been some very unpleasant incidences of young tourists being persuaded to carry drugs across borders, and being caught, which is never a pleasant prospect, and which must at all times be resisted.
Be on the look out for local scam artists who are not always Ghanaian but quite often Nigerian, and who will part you from you money with extraordinary cunning. Check out West African advance fee Fraud Alert
Malaria and other waterborne diseases are common in Ghana. A course of anti-malarial prophylactics in essential before leaving home. For more information.