GHANA

 

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POPULATION

22,019,000

 

CAPITAL

Accra; 1,847,000

 

AREA

238,537 sq. kilometers

 

GOVERNMENT

Multiparty Democracy

 

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga) are spoken as well.

 

MAJOR RELIGION(S)

 Christian 63%, Muslim 16%, indigenous beliefs 21%.

 

CURRENCY

Cedi

 

MAJOR ETHNIC GROUPS

Akan 44%, Moshi-Dagomba 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga 8%, Gurma 3%,

 

 

Before March 1957, Ghana gained it’s independence under it’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, on 6th March, 1957, Ghana was called the Gold Coast. The Portuguese who came to Ghana in the 15th Century found so much gold between the rivers Ankobra and the Volta that they named the place Mina - meaning Mine. The Gold Coast was later adopted to by the English colonisers.

 

OVERVIEW

 

Known for its gold in colonial times, Ghana remains one of the world’s top gold producers and is also noted for their timber, diamonds, cocoa, pineapple, bauxite and manganese production. The economy continues to rely heavily on agriculture which accounts for 35% of GDP and provides employment for 60% of the work force.

 

Ghana is a conservative and deeply religious country.  Although modern attitudes prevail, respect is shown for traditional values and morals.  However, the pace of life is not conservative.  Ghanaian culture is characterised by a bustle and vibe of social gatherings, which is always colourful and often musical.  The celebration of festivals is an essential part of life, whether for child-birth, rites of passage, puberty, marriage or death.

 

Textiles are significant to Ghanaian culture, with locally woven cloths used to make traditional and modern attire. The Kente is the most famous of all the Ghanaian cloths, while formally the privilege of kings and chiefs, is now largely available to everyone, yet remains expensive to produce.

 

Football is the most popular sport in the country. The national team, the Black Stars,  are the only African team which made it into the Quarter Finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

 

National culinary delicacies such as char grilled guinea-fowl and the delicious fish, Tilapia are regular items on the local ‘chop-house’ menu, typically accompanied by ‘fufu’ – crushed cassava or yam.  Kenkey or Banku (fermented maize meal) served with fried fish and hot peppers are specialities of Accra.  Tipping is not necessarily expected, so judge the quality of service you receive.

 

 In joining the world of tourist nations, Ghana offers beaches, wildlife, distinctive craftwork and a proud and colourful culture unique to this part of west Africa.

 

 

VISAS

 

Visit the Ghana Embassy’s website to download a visa application, required for tourists, students and business travelers.

 

The government of Ghana recommends that you allow at least seven days for visa processing. Visa applications for journalists can take two weeks or longer. The tourist visa gives you a stamp valid for six months.

 

You must submit your passport, four passport-sized photos and a copy of your round-trip itinerary with your visa application and fees. Use a secure traceable delivery service when sending your passport and documents.

 

 

HEALTH

 

Ghana requires that visitors present proof of yellow fever inoculation upon arrival at any entry port. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you allow at least four weeks for Ghana pre-travel vaccinations. The routine vaccinations and boosters that you need include measles, mumps, rubella, polio, DPT, chickenpox and flu. Usually available at travel clinics.

 

You will also need an anti-malarial prescription. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the most popular ones with your personal physician.

 

Don’t worry too much about water purifiers, there were people selling 500ml satchets of purified water everywhere, it tastes a little funny but is perfectly fine to drink and at only 5 peshwas a time it’s probably cheaper than tablets or purifiers. Saying that it might be a good idea to take a small supply just incase since you don’t want to get stuck with the choice of dehydration or cholera.

 

 

WHAT TO PACK

 

Ghana is located a few degrees north of the equator and has warm to hot humid weather all year long so packing the right clothes is essential.

 

Be forewarned that you will most likely have to HAND WASH all of your clothes when you are in Ghana.

 

In general avoid shorts or short skirts as they are not worn by local people - go for light trousers and skirts instead. Cotton clothes are the most durable, practical and comfortable.

 

Many Ghanaians will make assumptions about visitors based on how they dress, particularly if the visitor is in Ghana for work or business. The better you dress, the more seriously you will be taken.

 

FYI tailors are everywhere in Ghana and you can have almost anything made for a reasonable price and Ghanaians really appreciate seeing foreigners wearing Ghanaian-tailored clothes, traditional or modern. In addition, the cloth that is available here is strong enough to endure hand-washing, and is also breathable.

 

A quick paking list:

T-shirts (inexpensive and easy to find in Ghana)

1 Pair of sturdy pants or zip-off hiking pants: something comfy that you don’t mind getting dirty

1 Pair of jeans

1 Business casual outfit and shoes

1 Pair of shorts (for home/sleeping)

socks

cotton underwear

workout/exercise outfit or clothes

Hat for the sun

Lightweight waterproof jacket

1 Long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt or fleece (it can get cold at night)

1-2 Bandannas/Handkerchiefs (You will sweat a lot, trust me!)

 

For longer stays:

Men:

slacks/pants  (if you are in Ghana for business your are going to live

   in these. Also if you’re a bit on the heavier side now, you’ll probably

   lose weight, so consider bringing one pair that is slightly smaller)

collar short sleeve dress shirts (you will definitely need these if you

   are in Ghana for business)

Undershirts

board shorts (for swimming)

 

women:

1-2 Pairs of knee-length shorts or capris

2-3 Cami-tanks

1-2 Dresses (fyi, they are easy to have made here)

2+ Blouses

2-3 Lightweight knee-length skirts

Conservative swimsuit

sport bra

bras (Definitely bring bras, you can buy them here, but it’s awkward, so bring enough to last. Also if you can get away without using an under-wire do so, since it’s really hard to hand wash with it)

 

Note: Showing one’s mid-rift is considered taboo, so short tops or low sitting hipster trousers are best left at home.

Eventhough Certain areas of Ghana such as the Northern Region and parts of the Upper East and Upper West are home to larger-than-average Muslim populations. In terms of dress, there is no need to wear body-covering outfits in these areas, Ghanaian women in these areas wear jeans and tank tops and tightly fitting traditional dresses but it is respectful not to reveal too much flesh in dressing. Ensure skirts are at the knee and tops are not too revealing, but shoulders are acceptable.

 

Shoes:

1 Pair of hiking boots (especially if you’re interested in experiencing the wildlife)

1 Pair of flip flops (for the shower and just walking around; can easily be purchased here)

Running shoes (these are available in Ghana but are expensive)

flats (for women)

 

 

Transportation

 

Domestic Air:

 

Antrak Air: A wholly Ghanaian owned limited liability company incorporated in December 2001 has flights to Kumasi, Takoradi, Sunyani, Tamle and Wa.

The tickets can be reservated at their website or at their offices in all the cities they fly to in Ghana. In Accra they have one at the Kotoka Airport and one at Danquah Circle in the north of the city.

Tel: (233) (0) 302 765377, 765378

antrakair.com

 

Citylink: Operates for the public as well as charter flights for corporate clients within Ghana between the major economic centres of Kumasi, Tamale, Sunyani, Takoradi and Accra.

Tel: (233) (0) 24 431-001/2/3/4

flycitylink.com

 

Fly 540: Offers internal flights to several locations around Ghana. They fly from Accra to Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale and Sunyani. All flights are at a low cost and the company is already known to offer good service and to have a good safety record.

Tel: (233) (0) 202 250 208

fly540africa.com

 

Buses:

 

STC: The main, government owned and operated, intercity coaches. Buses from Accra to Tamale leave daily at 7am and 3pm, with the 9am bus continuing on to Bolgatanga. The bus from Accra to Ouaga. leaves at 11am, not 10am. Buses from Tamale to Accra run daily at 6.30am and 4pm, and to Kumasi at 7am (10am weekends). A service from Tamale to Takoradi runs twice a week, at 8am on Tuesdays and 3pm on Saturday.

Tel: (233-21) 221-912 or 252-835 or 221-314

 

VIP: Air conditioned clean buses to Kumasi. There are two levels of bus – one with larger seats and more leg room for marginally more money. Buses run frequently all day and night. A very good alternative to the long drive.

CIRCLE-ACCRA.opposite AFRICA MOTORS, 233 Accra, Ghana

Tel: 0544357030, 0544357038

vipjeoun@yahoo.com

 

OA Travel and Tours: Much like the STC and is located 200m from STC station in Accra. OA offers newer busses for cheaper, in better condition (not once broke down) and has multiple drivers for longer trips with an armed guard for security. The other main attraction of this bus system is the scheduled times it travels. Leaving at 3pm daily (promptly!) from Bolgatanga to Accra (just outside the metro station), costing only GHc30.00. It leaves Tamale to Accra (across the street from metro station) daily at 5pm, costing GHC25.00. You are also able to book tickets in advance! Insist on it a day or two ahead, sometimes you get the odd clerk who doesn’t want to sell advance, but ask for a manager if this occurs.

OA: 0243-3177620

OA Tamale: 0242-767694 / 0208-083644

OA Kumasi: 03220-41925

 

Car Rentals:

 

ghana-car-rentals.com

A one-stop-shop for online car hire in Ghana. With a wide selection of vehicles for personal as well as business car rental needs.

Rental options range from saloon cars, to luxury cars, 4 wheel driven off-road cars, minivans and -buses with competitive rates and unlimited mileage.

ghana-car-rentals.com

 

 

Language Courses

 

Learn Twi

These courses are focused on communication – within a short period of time you can listen to radio programmes and discuss with your Ghanaian colleagues, neighbours and friends in Twi.

Time & Date

Beginner: 17 January - 30 May 2013, 5.30 - 7pm (Thursdays)

Continuation: 15 January - 28 May 2013, 5.30 – 7pm (Tuesdays)

Price

200 GHS for 30 teaching units

(+20 GHS registration fee for new course participants)

Registration

Payment to be made in cash at our registration office.

Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 9am – 12pm and 1 – 6pm

(Please note this years break due to Christmas holidays.)

Goethe-Institut Ghana

30, Kakramadu Road, P.M.B.52, Cantonments

tel: (+233) (0) 302 776 764, 779 769

www.goethe.de/ghana