19 September 2019
Ghana lies on the western shores of Africa between Togo and the Ivory Coast. This African nation might not have an iconic tourist attraction such as Victoria Falls or Mount Kilimanjaro, but Ghana boasts beautiful beaches in the south as well as sprawling nature reserves in the north. Relatively stable compared to most of Africa, Ghana offers tourists numerous opportunities for cultural immersion and sightseeing.
Ghana has 47 ethnic languages, but English is its official language. Most government, educational and business proceedings are handled in English, and the majority of locals speak the language to some degree. This makes it fairly easy for tourists to get around and ask for help or directions.
Ghana features a tropical equatorial climate with hot temperatures year-round and seasonal rainfall. The southern coast has humid weather and the rainys season last from April to June and from September to October, according to the Lonely Planet Travel Guide. Lonely Planet recommends visiting this part of Ghana during the dry months of November to March or July through August to avoid torrential downpours. Central Ghana has similar precipitation periods, while the hot and arid north has just one rainy season between April and October. Temperatures throughout the country typically average between 85 and 95 degrees F, so be prepared for sweltering conditions.
Accra is the capital of Ghana, situated on the Atlantic Coast in the south. Accra functions as the country's financial and cultural hub and is home to the National Museum, a top-notch collection of Ghanaian art. Slightly east of the chaotic bustle in Accra sits the resort town of Ada. Ada lies along the River Volta and offers a slew of upscale hotels and facilities for water sports. Central Ghana features the city of Kumasi, home of the Ashanti civilization. This region has earned a reputation for its traditional crafts and the famous ruins of the Manhyia Palace. To the east you'll find Volta Lake, which ranks as the largest man-made lake on the planet, according to the iExplore Travel Guide. Northern Ghana features some of the country's most diverse and exotic wildlife. Visitors flock to Mole National Park, where you have the option of touring the park on foot or in 4x4 vehicles; either way, you must be accompanied by a guide. Keep your eyes open for antelope, buffalo, lions, elephants, monkeys and other rare creatures.
Decent highways link Ghana to major cities in neighboring countries such as Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, Lagos in Nigeria, Cotonou in Benin, Abidjan in the Ivory Coast and Lomé in Togo. Buses and long-distance taxis run along these routes, taking travelers in and out of the country. Lonely Planet recommends the Vanef STC bus service for these trips. Tourists also can fly into Ghana via the Kotaka International Airport in Accra. This is the only international airport in the country, so all travelers must pass through this port of entry when flying.
Tourists have the option of traveling by bus, airplane, train or steamer. The Intercity STC bus company provides connections between most cities and towns. There are also domestic flights between Accra, Kumasi and Tamale. The main rail network runs between Accra and Kumasi, as well as Tema and Takoradi. Trains run several times per day on these routes. In addition, the Yapei Queen ferry runs twice per week across Lake Volta, connecting several ports, including Akosombo and Yeji.
The Ghana cedi is the national currency. As of April 2010, the exchange rate is roughly $1 to Ghs 5.57, according to the XE.com currency converter. The World Travel Guide recommends carrying traveler's checks to exchange for local currency in banks and hotels. Major credit cards such as American Express and Visa are accepted in modern establishments, but you will not find many places that accept anything besides cash outside of the bigger cities. Credit card fraud and theft is also a problem in Ghana, according to the World Travel Guide, so you're safest option might be traveler's checks.