Ghana Backpacking | Tours and Travel Reviews
Its amazing how many languages are spoken by the 24 million people in the West African country of Ghana. Seventy-nine to be exact, although English is the offical one. Must be because of its days as an English colony--and explains why its judicial system is based on the British.
Where In The World Is Ghana?
Hopefully you won't have a need for Ghana's court system. Wouldn't you rather go see its Elmina Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the first of its kind in Africa?
Elmina isn't the only castle in Ghana, some 29 others were constructed by the Brits, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spaniards during its colonial heyday. Today Ghana is its own republic--although these throwbacks to the age are still around to see.
Great Britain isn't the only Kingdom to have ruled over the area. Ghana was once part of the Ashanti Kingdom. In the city of Kumasi you can visit the Ashanti Culture Centre to learn more about it by its exhibits.
Getting To Ghana
However, the capital of Ghana is Accra. It's a vibrant city with two marketplaces that serve up the best street food, and where you can buy all sorts of creative gifts to bring back home--like Kente Cloth with its bright colors and striking patterns. The Arts Centre is one of the largest craft markets, where artists bring their beadwork and carving wares. Accra is also a beach resort destination, filled with bars and nightclubs. Getting to Accra, or Ghana for that matter, is easy enough via the national airline, Ghana Airways, or other European and US carriers to its international airport.
Getting Around Ghana
Getting around in Ghana can be a little more difficult, as its train system is small--going around on a 1000km circle loop. Too bad neither class on the trains offer air-conditioning. And it gets quite hot here, since Ghana lies just to the north of the Equator. If you're looking for luxury, you'll find deluxe hotels in Accra only. You'll have to scale it down a bit outside the captial city. A mid-range hotel in Ghana can cost about $15-$30 a night, but generally if you want hot water you'll have to pay more for it. There are a few things to remember if you're traveling around anywhere in Ghana. One is to make sure you've gotten a Yellow Fever vaccination; and be aware there is a risk of Cholera, Typhoid, and Malaria.
Secondly, pay attention to what you eat. Avoid dairy products, and make sure all meat is cooked to well-done. And please peel or cook all fresh fruit and veg. Lastly, don't drink tap water outside any major city. Don't let any of this stop you from eating--street food tastes delicious--and there isn't a fast food burger joint in these parts. ATMs are only available in major towns, so carry travelers cheques for when you need to change money. You also need to remember that busesgenerally run on schedule, and the internet is widely available in most urban places. It isn't, however, in the Mole National Park, Ghana's largest wildlife refuge. You'll see hippos and elephants, monkeys and crocs, even eagles. The biggest threat to the park isn't tourism, its poaching.
All you need to see the 92,000 square miles of Ghana is a passport and visa, which you have to get before arriving. A small price to pay to listen to local music with instruments like the koloko lute or talking drums. Listen to it while enjoying a local beer, much of which is quite inexpensive. Drinking too much isn't a good idea for anyone, but women traveling alone shouldn't have too much of an issue. Just be assertive and stand up for yourself if anyone gets too friendly. Wait, isn't Ghana a friendly nation to begin with? Yes, it is--they're some of the most friendly in the entire region. It seems that Ghanaians don't let the rainy season get them down, which runs from March to November in the north and April to November in the south. Don't you let a few raindrops stop you from coming to this remarkably friendly African nation.