Life can be pretty wonderful for a 50+ empty-nester—more time to spend doing things you enjoy, more freedom to take life at your own pace, more money to spend on things that matter to you.
That’s probably why so many people in this group make bucket-list travel a priority. Paris, London, Berlin…the world is truly your oyster.
But why not break out of the everyone-else-is-going-there-so-I-should-too rut and consider something completely new and unique? A place where travel is more than just leisure and pampering yourself (although you can do that, too)?
A place where you can expand your horizons, explore new cultures, and come away with a worldview changed for the better?
I’m talking about Ghana — and if it isn’t on your travel bucket list, I think it should be, especially for 50+ travelers who want to do more than just have a good time on vacation. Ghana is “Africa for Beginners,” the perfect place to start your exploration of this magnificent continent.
Did you know?
- English is the official language! Sure, the accent may be a little different, but you’ll be able to converse with—and get to know—the people you meet on your trip.
- Ghana is a politically stable democracy, one of the most rapidly developing countries on the continent. The energy is all around you when you visit.
- Ghana is Africa’s “Golden Child,” a country of incredible history and diversity—you’ll come away with a different outlook on the world.
If you’re a 50+ traveler making plans for your next great adventure, let me show you why Ghana is the perfect destination for you right now.
Ghana’s History is Significant — and Impressive
Ghana is the first African country to achieve independence from colonial rule, way back in 1957. That fact alone separates it from its peers on the continent.
Ghanaians are a freedom-loving people with a history extending back to 12,000 BC—the name “Ghana” first appeared in historical literature back in the 9th century.
From the early trans-Saharan Arab traders to the Portuguese, Dutch, and British who came to Ghana’s Gold Coast in search of treasure, Ghana’s landscape bears testimony to them all.
The Colonial-era forts along our coast are the most significant in all of Africa, especially in Cape Coast, where Elmina Castle, the earliest European trading post (and one of Ghana’s nine UNESCO World Heritage sites), pays tribute to our history and culture. You can see the terrible remnants of the West African slave trade, which flourished in Ghana.
The relics of Ghana’s European colonial past mix seamlessly with its traditional cultural heritage. Near Kumasi, you can see Ghana as it was under the Ashanti Kingdom, a 17th century tribal empire with a rich history of festivals and pageantry, many of which continue to this day.
Around 7 million Ashanti people live in Ghana today. It’s a matrilineal society known for its incredibly skillful artwork and craftsmanship. Beautifully colored Kente cloth, an Ashanti specialty, is prized by collectors around the world.
When you book a cultural tour of Ghana, you can visit all of these places and come away with a deeper appreciation of West Africa’s role in the cultural history of the world.
Ghana Is Extraordinarily Welcoming and Friendly to Visitors
There are some popular travel destinations around the world where the local people view tourists as a necessary evil—barely tolerable except for their contribution to the economy.
Nothing could be further from the truth in Ghana. Ghanaians love our guests and greet them with hearty cries of “Akwaaba,” the Akan word for “welcome.”
In fact, Ghana has the highest opinion of America of any country in Africa and is second globally only to the Philippines when it comes to positive feelings about the U.S.A. Nearly 90% of Ghanaians view Americans favorably. Compare that to France (74%) or Germany (50%).
While the country blends many different cultures, the people share a sense of pride in their country and traditions—and it shows. They are glad to let visitors participate in their customs and way of life.
About 70% of Ghanaians belong to the Christian faith. They emphasize communal values of family, honoring the elderly, and respect for authority, as well as personal values of dignity, good conduct, and social responsibility.
Crime is virtually nonexistent in Ghana, especially compared to other countries in Africa.
Ghana Is a Place for Authentic Interactions, Not Staged Tourist Shows
When you reach your 50s, you’ve got over half a lifetime of experience with the world. You know a staged tourist act when you see one—and it probably doesn’t affect you in the same way it did when you were in your 20s or 30s. At this stage, authenticity is more important when it comes to travel.
Ghana has those authentic, real-life experiences you crave in abundance. Visit the craft markets in Ashanti on an educational tour of Ghana, for example, and you will see actual craftsmen and women going about their work—not putting on a show for visitors.
Shop in the bustling, colorful Makola market in Accra, Ghana’s capital, and you will meet friendly Ghanaians happy to talk to you—and bargain over their wares.
Attend one of the unique festivals such as Akwasidae, held on Sundays every 42 days in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region. This is an authentic experience focussed on the Ashanti group which has recently become popular with visitors as it has been with Ghanaians for centuries.
As you travel the country, perhaps visiting the Nzulezo stilt village or the carving village of Ahwiaa, you will see and interact with real people as they really live, giving you new insights into the customs and traditions of the people of Ghana. It’s a more meaningful way to experience the world.
Ghana’s cultural and geographical diversity is unmatched.
People don’t often think of Ghana as a country with lush rainforests, world-class beaches, and stunning landscapes—but it is. There is game and rare wildlife in abundance, including at our 15 national parks and game reserves.
Don’t miss Mole National Park with its elephants, hippos, warthogs, and striking colobus monkeys. Kakum National Park in Cape Coast, another favorite, has the only rainforest canopy walkway in all of Africa—a stunning 130 meters in the sky!
There are nine different major tribes and ethnic groups in Ghana, each with its own language, dialects, and customs. It’s an abundant and diverse country with something for everyone.
Ghanaian music culture has unique appeal, whether you’re interested in traditional tribal rhythms and instruments or dynamic, modern Ghanaian pop. Visit during PANAFEST for a celebration of Ghana’s performing arts that you’ll never forget.
When it comes to cuisine, it’s difficult to beat Ghana’s food culture. Ghanaian cuisine uses the country’s abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, local chiles and spices, as well as delicious seafood from the coastal regions. Even the street food is amazing.
Try chichinga, spicy sausage kebabs, or red red, a mouthwatering bean curry often with seafood. Of course, no trip to Ghana would be complete without banku, the fermented corn dumpling-like food that accompanies meat and fish dishes. For a real showstopper, however, try akotonshi, an amazing stuffed crab dish with tomatoes and peppers.
You Make a Positive Impact on Ghana’s Growth and Development Just by Visiting the Country
There are few places in the world where your tourism dollars have such a positive impact on the country’s people and economy as Ghana. It is a place where you do good and help grow the economy just by being here.
Ghana is a developing country, but it’s making incredible strides growing its economy and providing opportunities for a thriving middle class. The World Bank ranks Ghana third among its African peers in freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and economic freedom. The country’s economy grew by nearly 5% during the first half of 2016 and is on track to grow GDP by 7.5% in 2018.
That kind of economic growth directly benefits the standard of living for Ghana’s citizens in terms of health care, education, and general wellbeing. It provides the cash necessary for building a modern communication and transportation infrastructure more in line with other developed countries.
Tourism dollars are a direct economic boost not only to the government’s efforts to improve living standards throughout the country, but also for the burgeoning class of craftsmen, tradesmen, and service workers who depend on foreign visitors to earn a living. You really do promote the health and wellbeing of Ghanaians when you travel here.
And one more thing…
Ghana Is a Lovely, Relaxing Place to Enjoy a Well-earned Vacation
Sometimes, a vacation really should be a vacation—with time to just relax, enjoy your surroundings, and spend time with people you love. Ghana is the perfect place to do just that.
The beach resorts around Busua (in Ghana’s western region near the border with Ivory Coast) are calm and beautiful, a great place to enjoy the sun and sand. The Atlantic resorts in Cape Coast make an excellent vacation retreat.
If hiking and adventure are more your style, you’ll find plenty of that in Ghana, too. The stunning Wli waterfalls and adjacent Agumatsa Wildlife Sanctuary make an exhilarating excursion for visitors who love the outdoors.
If you’re a 50+ traveler, step out of your comfort zone and put Ghana at the top of your travel list—you’ll come away inspired and even changed by your experience.
Why not start planning your cultural tour of Ghana today with Continent Tours?