Accra, Ghana: Nominated by the NEW YORK TIMES as one of the Top 4 Places to Visit in 2013
Karen Leigh, New York Times, January 13, 2013
A buzzing metropolis ready for business and pleasure.
Accra, the capital of Ghana, has welcomed business travelers for years. Now tourists are streaming in, a byproduct of the fact that the country has Africa’s fastest-growing economy and is also one of its safest destinations.
On Accra’s packed beaches, you’ll see everything from snake handlers to plantain peddlers.
About Your Tour of Ghana Ghana is well known for its friendly people. You will receive a warm greeting of “Akwaaba” (welcome) from locals when you arrive and throughout your visit. A vacation in Ghana has much to offer, from relaxing on the beach, to visiting a traditional fishing village, to shopping for handmade crafts or attending an elaborate festival. You may also choose to have your hair braided in a beautiful style, or have intricately embroidered clothing custom made.
Accra In the heart of Ghana, Accra offers an exciting nightlife, museums, historic monuments, busy markets, splendid beaches, and restaurants that reflect the many cultures of Ghana. Accra is the modern gateway to one of Africa’s ancient lands, and the hub for a perfect vacation.
Kumasi Your vacation in Ghana is not complete without a tour of the Ashanti region, including the ancient capital, Kumasi. Kumasi was founded in 1695 by the Asantehene (King) Osei Tutu. Palaces, forts, museums, and churches provide a distinct backdrop for important festivals and ceremonies which are still of high importance to the people of Ashanti. Kumasi is also home to one of the largest markets in West Africa, where you can buy textiles, food, herbs, or beauty products. Ashanti, home to Ghana’s most important gold mines, cloth making including the ancient weaving methods of the kente cloth, and the celebratory Saturday funerals make for historical and international significance.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites Discover the historic links between West Africa, Europe, and the Americas through tours of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle.
Accommodation in Ghana range from small, modest hotels, to five star beach side hotels, including restaurants, swimming pools, health clubs, beauty salons, conference rooms and equipment and more. In Ghana, a land of numerous cultures, ethnic groups and languages you will always feel welcome.
Passport & Visa Requirements Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a valid passport and visa. Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK nationals must have a valid passport and visa. Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must have a valid passport and visa. Entry requirements for Australians: Australians must have a valid passport and visa. Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans must have a valid passport and visa. Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals must have a valid passport and visa. Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must have a valid passport and visa.
Passport/Visa Note: All visitors require a valid passport and a visa. Visitors must also hold a return or onward ticket as well as all documents needed for their next destination. On arrival, all non-Ghanaian passengers must obtain a registration card. Two passport photos are required.
Money The official currency of Ghana 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 all 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 bureau 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.
Health Visitors must be in possession of a current medical vaccination certificate for yellow fever. Prophylactics against malaria are recommended. Visitors are advised to buy bottled drinking water, which is widely available. 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.
Tipping Service charge is rarely added to restaurant bills and tipping for quality service is only expected in up-market establishments (usually about 10%). For other services tipping is discretionary.
Safety Most visits to Ghana are trouble-free, but it is wise to be vigilant in public areas 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.
Customs Ghanaians are a conservative people and visitors should respect local customs, traditional courtesies and dress codes. Greeting is an important social function and handshakes with the right hand are common. Beachwear should be confined to the beaches and women are advised not to wear shorts or trousers. Avoid receiving or giving things, pointing, waving and gesticulating with the left hand. 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.
Business 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.
Communications 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 centers, which provide secretarial and courier services. Internet cafes are on the increase throughout the country. There are several GSM cell phone operations across Ghana that have roaming agreements with most international networks, and phones can be rented in Accra.
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.
Ghana Facts Full country name: Republic of Ghana Area: 238,540 sq km (93,030 sq mi) Population: 24.4 million Capital city: Accra (pop 1.3 million) People: Akan (44%), Mole-Dagbane (16%), Ewé (13%), Ga (8%), Guan, Gurma, Gonja, Dagomba Language: English (official language), Ewé, Ga, Twi Religion: Christian (60%), Muslim (15%), traditional African religions (25%) Government: Parliamentary democracy President: John Evans Atta MILLS Visas: All visitors are required to have a visa, except for citizens of countries belonging to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Electricity: 220V/240V, 50Hz Weights & measures:
Metric Map of Ghana