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15 Things To Keep In Mind Before You Travel To Ghana
Editorial note: This article was originally published on November 4, 2021.
Ghana just feels like home, according to many Black travelers. And while the country has increased in popularity since 2019’s Year of Return, there are still tons of Diasporans who long to visit the West African nation.
As we recently reported, the popular Afrochella event has been confirmed to return in late December, so the country will be on everyone’s radar as we prepare to close out 2021.
If you do have plans to travel to the country, you want to make sure you are fully prepared and up-to-date on what’s needed before you go and once on the ground. Of course, we’ve got you covered!
From 80 different languages, beaches, and visa requirements, here’s a list of 15 things to know before visiting Ghana.
You need a visa to enter Ghana
According to the State Department, a visa is required for U.S. citizens.
You can find out more information about the visa requirement and apply by clicking here.
And you also need a vaccination against yellow fever.
A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required on arrival into Ghana from all travelers 9 months of age and older.
The vaccination requirement is for protection against Yellow Fever since the principal mosquito vector Aedes aegypti is present in its territory.
You could be denied entry without it.
Know Your Conversion Rates
$1 UDS is 6 GH₵ Ghanaian Cedis.
Download a currency converter to your mobile device to keep up with the latest conversion rates.
Bring Mosquito Repellant With Deet
The mosquitos can be very dangerous in Ghana, so it’s important to be prepared and take proper precautions against mosquitoes and malaria that some may be carrying.
Be sure to pack some DEET-based mosquito repellant, as these are difficult to find in Ghana.
Be ready to apply and reapply every few hours.
Clothing To Protect Against Mosquitoes
Clothing matters also when it comes to protection from virus-carrying mosquitoes. Medical experts recommend staying in open, sunny, breezy areas and wear light-colored, loose-fitting long pants and long-sleeve shirts, and shoes when out.
There Are More Than 80 Languages
Ghana has more than seventy ethnic groups and is considered a multilingual country in which about eighty languages are spoken.
English is the official language of Ghana, thanks to its colonial history.
The languages in Ghana are categorized into two groups: government-sponsored and non-government-sponsored.
Government-sponsored languages are Akan languages (Twi languages), Dagaare, Dangbe, Dagbane, Ga, Kasem, Ewe, and Nzema
Languages not sponsored by the government reportedly include Bimoba, Bassari, Anufo, Adele, and Sisaala among others
The Power Randomly Goes Out
In Ghana, dumsor is a persistent, irregular, and unpredictable electric power outage that happens frequently, especially in large cities like Accra.
The frequent blackouts are caused by a power supply shortage.
Timing is a little relaxed in Ghana, so pack some patience and always add a few minutes to time.
If you’re at a restaurant and someone says your food will be right out, give it about 20 minutes.
Yes, There Are Beaches in Ghana
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Ghana has a spectacular stretch of coastline extending more than 300 miles on the Atlantic.
Some of the best beaches include Bojo Beach, Labadi Beach, Kokrobite Beach, Coco Beach, and Cape Three Points Beach.
Going For New Year's? Bring Your All White
No one celebrates the holidays like Ghanaians. For Christmas and New Year’s, it’s typical to see fireworks and a lot of celebrations.
One thing that stands out though, during this time, everyone wears white to bring in the New Year, no matter if they’re heading to church or the club.
It’s a color that represents a fresh start.
Be Ready To Negotiate
If you’re heading to the market, keep in mind that everything is up for negotiation. Get comfortable with negotiating.
The general rule is to pay half of the original price. It’s also better to go to the markets with a local you trust for better prices.
Use WhatsApp For Communication
Download WhatsApp and thank us later.
It’s one of the easiest ways to communicate in the country and back home.
Purchase An Internet Plan
It’s best to have your very own mobile internet plan when traveling in Ghana because many places you go will have a cap on the Wi-Fi.
One easy way to ensure a connection is by purchasing what locals call a “bundle plan” with MTN or Vodaphone.
Set aside about $40 for a hotspot-like device and to start your mobile plan. If you already have a device, it should cost you anywhere between $5 and $20 for a monthly data plan. It depends on how much you use, of course.
Know Your Greetings
Greetings go a long way in Ghana and show a sign of both respect and appreciation for the culture.
Check out a few videos online to learn some quick phrases like “thank you” (me da ase) and “how are you?” (wo ho te sen) in Twi.
Ghana Is Welcoming and Friendly
What you will love about Ghana is the people are warm and friendly. Ghana has its challenges like so many countries but people are generally respectful and excited to have you embrace their culture.