Frequently asked questions... Ghana
Do you have burning questions about travelling to Ghana? Here, we provide the answers.
What are the top reasons to visit Ghana?
Cox & Kings' Louise Stanion identifies three main reasons to visit Ghana: culture, history and wildlife. Ghana has a real mix of attractions, which makes it possible to have a really varied holiday here.
The opportunity to discover the local culture is often the strongaest impetus to visit Ghana. The entire country has a rare authenticity that means there are very few, if any, attractions or activities set up purely for the entertainment of tourists. Life here rolls on the same way whether there are visitors or not.
Among the finest places to visit to soak up a little culture is the Ashanti Kingdom, which is around the town of Kumasi. It is known for its wonderful drumming, making it a particular must-visit for lovers of African music. A visit to the Ashanti Kingdom also gives you the remarkable possibility of meeting the local king and asking him questions about how he governs.
It's also possible to delve into the culture here further by attending local events. The colourful Akwasidae Festival, for example, occurs every 42 days and is celebrated with singing and dancing. And while it may sound a little strange, Ashanti funerals are also well worth experiencing. In the Ashanti culture, funerals are seen as a celebration – particularly as the deceased is considered to remain living in spirit among the family – which makes them lively, fascinating events.
Another excellent place to visit in terms of culture is Nzulezo. Situated just off Ghana's Gold Coast, this remarkable stilt village is surrounded by a lagoon, and is only visitable by boat. Offering yet another totally different experience is Accra, the capital city, where you can take a walk through the vibrant Jamestown area to see fisherman at their trade, colourful boats and an overall throng of activity.
If you're interested in getting off the beaten track, take a trip to the Wa region in the north of the country. This is one of its remotest areas, packed full of history and culture and, as it's somewhat uncharted territory, is perfect for the more adventurous traveller.
The chance to get to grips with Ghana's history is another key reason to come here. The sites associated with the slave trade are particularly worth visiting, having made such a stark mark on world history, though of course very sombre and sobering.
The Gold Coast is the best destination to visit in this regard. It's here, on this historical section of the slave trade route, that you can visit the vast castles built by the Europeans, including the British, Dutch, Portuguese and French. Buildings such as the Elmina Castle, which is the oldest European building in Africa, essentially became prisons for slaves.
Venturing inside these castles will help give you an insight into what life was really like at the time. Your guide will be instrumental in bringing the realities of life during the slave trade, and being a slave, home.
While Ghana's main attractions arguably lie in its history and culture, there are still excellent opportunities for wildlife spotting. At Kakum National Park, for example, you can embark on a forest canopy walk some 40 metres about the rainforest floor.
In the north is Mole National Park. Whereas Kakum National Park is ideal for admiring the local fauna and butterflies, Mole offers a more classic safari experience. The country's biggest national park, it is best known for its wild elephant population, with you can see on a walking or 4x4 tour. Monkeys, baboons and warthogs are just a few of the other creatures to have encounters with here.
How long does it take to get there?
Approximately six and half hours by plane. Ghana is one hour behind GMT.
What is the local currency, and what do I need to know about it?
The local currency is the Ghana Cedi. You can exchange your currency at the forex bureaux at the airport, or at some commercial banks. Keep your receipt, and remember to convert any remaining currency back before travelling home.
Is it easy to travel around Ghana, and what are the best transport options?
Ghana has an excellent infrastructure, with one of the best road networks in western Africa. As such, the best way to travel is by road. If you're going on one of our private tours, you will be driven around by 4x4 Land Cruiser, while groups will be chauffeured in a Toyota mini bus.
What's the climate like?
Ghana's climate is hot and humid throughout the year, though certainly less humid during the dry season of November to April. The rest of the year is classed as the wet season, and for those sensitive to humidity can be more difficult to travel in.
However, when travelling in the dry months, you need to be aware of the Harmattan – a hot Saharan wind that can make the atmosphere and terrain rather dusty.
When is the best time to visit Ghana?
The dry months between November and April are generally considered the best time to visit, largely because of the lower humidity and fewer mosquitoes. For those heading to Ghana's north, it also means that the roads there will be in a better condition. November to April is also the best time to visit Ghana's beaches.
If you are planning to visit the Mole National Park to see the elephants, travel between January and March. These months falls in the middle of the dry season, when the waterholes are drying up the elephants are drawn out in search of a drink, making them very easy to see.
Do you need a visa to visit Ghana?
Yes, and your passport needs to be valid for six months from the date of your visa application.
Do you need any vaccinations to visit Ghana?
Yes. Always speak to your doctor to find out the most up-to-date information on what you need, as well as any boosters that you might personally require. Malarial medicine and inoculations against yellow fever, cholera, typhoid and diphtheria are among those you are likely to need, as is the case with the majority of African destinations.
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