Ghana - Abbey Travel, Ireland


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Welcome to Ghana


Formerly a British colony known as the Gold Coast, Ghana was the first black African nation to achieve independence in 1957. It is a relatively small country on the West coast of Africa situated between Togo and Côte d'Ivoire and remains a somewhat unexplored tropical gem, an untapped destination that abounds in history, culture, wildlife and scenery with a wide variety of tourist attractions. Throughout its 10 regions visitors will be greeted with the warm-hearted smiles of its welcoming people.

Nature has been extremely generous to Ghana with its national parks and reserves providing a sanctuary for the native flora and fauna; the grasslands of Mole National Park in the north are home to a variety of large animals, while birds and butterflies are particularly numerous in Ghana's forests. Rainforests such as that of Kakum National Park in the southern central region, with its canopy walkway and nature trails, provide a haven for eco-tourists. Miles of unspoilt beaches, waterfalls, rolling forested hills, rivers and lakes complete the portrait of a country that is a nature lover's delight.

The diverse ethnic groups of Ghana and the ancient traditions of its people have shaped one of the richest cultural environments in Africa that boasts festivals, dance and music as well as a colourful dress and a wide variety of arts and crafts. The traditional and cultural heartland of the country is the Ashanti region, home to the nation's dominant tribe, the Ashanti, who are most famous today for their craftwork and ancient artistry in fabrics, particularly the colourful kentecloth.

Ghana's vibrant capital city, Accra, is the gateway to the country and is located in the smallest, yet most populated region on the Gulf of Guinea. The modern city has excellent accommodation, restaurants and nightlife, colourful markets, and is a good base from which to explore the Atlantic coast west of Accra, which boasts many fine palm-fringed beaches, resorts, ancient forts, castles, and fascinating fishing villages. The forts and castles along the coastline date back to the 15th century and have an intriguing history of European occupation, fierce battles and slavery. The Cape Coast Castle, Fort St Jago and Elim Castle are recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Monuments.

Information & Facts


Ghana is a very relaxed and friendly country, however in business, a formal dress code is expected, and punctuality is essential at all meetings. The exchange of business cards is common. It is important in all meetings to greet and shake hands with each person and acknowledge their presence. The person is to be addressed as Mr. Mrs., or Ms., followed by their surnames, unless otherwise specified. Gifts are unnecessary though greatly appreciated. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.


Ghana is a tropical country lying just north of the equator. The rainy season lasts from April to October in northern Ghana and from April to June and again from September to October in the south. Temperatures range from about 70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C) and the humidity is relatively high. The rest of the year is hot and dry with temperatures reaching up to 100°F (38°C). In most areas the temperatures are highest in March and lowest in August, after the rains. Variations between day and night temperatures are small.


The international dialling code for Ghana is +233. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). Accra's city code is 21. The telephone system is relatively reliable, but most people use mobile phones. Telephone, fax and telex services are available in all main towns, and hotels. Most major hotels also have business centres, which provide secretarial and courier services. Internet cafes are on the increase throughout the country, but connection speeds are usually slow. There are several GSM cell phone operations across Ghana that have roaming agreements with most international networks, and phones can be rented in Accra.


Ghanaians are generally a conservative people and visitors should respect local customs, traditional courtesies and dress codes, particularly in the villages. Ghanaians do most things with their right hand; eating, touching food, taking and receiving things, waving, shaking hands etc. The left hand is used for 'dirty things' and it is regarded as rude to use the left hand for the aforementioned things. If in doubt, use the right hand. Homosexuality is illegal. Greeting is an important social function and handshakes are common. No civilian may wear camouflage clothing as it is reserved for the military. Visitors to remote villages, shrines or palaces should visit the local elder or priest and take a small gift such as a bottle of local schnapps, gin or money. Always seek permission before taking photographs of people; it is not permitted to take photographs of military institutions or the airport.

Duty Free

Travellers to Ghana over 16 years do not have to pay customs duty on 400 cigarettes, or 100 cigars, or 454g of tobacco, or a proportionate mix of these items; 1 litre of wine and 1 litre of spirits; and 237ml of perfume and eau de toilette. Gift items are dutiable.

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50 Hz. Both round and flat three-pronged plugs are most commonly used.

Health regulations in Ghana require that visitors be in possession of a current medical vaccination certificate for yellow fever. Prophylactics against malaria are recommended and waterborne diseases are prevalent, including outbreaks of cholera during the rainy season. Visitors are advised to buy bottled drinking water, which is widely available. Bird flu has been confirmed in Ghana, but the risk to visitors is considered to be very low; as a precaution it is advisable to avoid close contact with live birds and ensure all poultry products are well cooked. Good medical facilities are found in all the cities and major towns, but facilities outside urban areas are poor and emergency services are limited. Medical insurance is advised and should cover medical evacuation.

English is the official language, but many other African languages are spoken including Twi, Fante, Ga, Ewe, Hausa and Dagbani.

The official currency is the Cedi (GHC), which is divided into 100 pesewas. Foreign currency can be exchanged at any forex bureaux as well as at some commercial banks; banks and foreign exchange facilities are available at the airport and in all major towns. It is advisable to keep currency exchange receipts in order to be able to re-exchange when departing. Banking hours are usually from 8.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday, and most large commercial banks have ATMs located outside, although only limited amounts of Cedis can be drawn at a time. Travellers cheques are accepted at banks and forex bureaux in the capital Accra, but the rate of exchange may be lower than for cash transactions. The most widely accepted credit cards are American Express, Diners and Visa, and cards can be used for payment at major hotels and shops, although this can be risky as credit card fraud is very common. The best currencies to bring are US dollars, British pounds or Euros as other currencies exchange at poor rates.

Passport Visa

Foreign visitors to Ghana must hold a return or onward ticket, as well as the necessary travel documentation for their next destination; OR a letter from their employer guaranteeing repatriation. If passengers do not have these documents, then they are required to make a deposit, with the Immigration Office, equal to the amount of a return fare. Visas can be obtained on arrival, provided passengers have applied for prior consent from the Director of Immigration, a minimum of 48 hours before arrival in the country. The visa fee is USD 100, and travellers must ensure that their visa-on-arrival approval document contains their passport and visa numbers, as well a copy of the bio data and photo page from their passport. Applications can be made by the visitor's host, business or sponsor; or directly by fax (+233 21 258249), or email ( The host or applicant will require copy of the fax or email in order to pay for the visa. Visa exemptions apply to holders of Dual Nationality Cards issued by Ghana. Note that a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Ghana. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Safety in Ghana is generally not too much of a concern but it is wise to be vigilant in public areas, particularly in and around Accra, and to avoid travelling in taxis alone after dark if possible. Visitors should avoid carrying large sums of cash or valuables on them and to be vigilant when drawing money from ATMs in central Accra. Theft of luggage and travel documents has occurred at Kotoka International Airport. Visitors should also be vigilant in and around Tamale and Kumasi where there has been an increase in crime including muggings and attacks on foreigners. There is a potential for outbreaks of violence between rival political factions, fighting between inter-ethnic groups and civil unrest; travellers are advised to stay up to date with daily developments. Visitors to the Northern Region should be alert to the possibility of renewed outbreaks of inter-ethnic fighting. When travelling along the Ghanaian coastline, please exercise caution given the occurrence of strong tidal waves striking the coast.


Service charge is rarely added to restaurant bills and tipping for quality service is only expected in restaurants (usually about 10%). For other services tipping is discretionary.

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