A Goodman’s Guide to Ghana

ImageSo I just got back from a wonderful trip to Ghana. Here is what you need to know if you are living in the BF and want to go there.

To get a visa you need

  • 17,700 FCFA
  • Letter of Residency – From PC Office
  • Letter of Invitation (Hotel Reservation email printout)
  • 4 Passport Pictures
  • In terms of references list the PC office in Accra and the US embassy in Accra
  • 3 days for processing

Helpful Hints

Transport:

  • Go to the bus station the day before you want to leave. I was going to go with Company A, because their website said that they left Ouaga for Kumasi on Sundays, but when I got there they said that was no longer the case. I told them that their website was misleading and I wrote them a complaint in their suggestion box
  • The Gare Routiere in Patte D’Oie in Ouaga has many different bus companies and most of them leave every day except for Saturday
  • Get your tickets in advance.  It would be very unfortunate if you showed up to leave for Ghana and there were no seats left on the bus
  • The trip from Ouaga to Kumasi is about 12 hours. The trip from Ouaga to Accra is about 25.  (the road from Kumasi to Accra is not paved all the way and is quite dreadful)

General Planning

  • We went during rainy season. It’s nice to go during rainy season because there are fewer tourists; however, it can make transport very difficult. “The climate of Ghana is tropical, but temperatures vary with season and elevation. Except in the north two rainy seasons occur, from April to July and from September to November. In the north the rainy season begins in April and lasts until September” (http://www.theviproom.com/visions/ghana.htm).
  • Many of the recommendations from my guidebook were either outdated or wrong. Buy a local guide book or ask around. Many restaurants or shops that were supposed to be open were closed.
  • Contact Ghanaians and ask them for travel advice. In Kumasi we got local contacts from a Ghanaian friend from home. They showed us around and gave us a place to stay.
  • Buy a Ghanaian sim card. It was only 2500 FCFA with GH 5 cedi credit. It was really great when we got stuck on the way to Dixcove in the rain.
  • Plan a day for travel on either end. We went for 9 days total spending 1 or 2 days in each place.
  • DO NOT EXCHANGE YOUR MONEY AT THE BORDER. YOU WILL GET RIPPED OFF. There are ATMs all over the place in larger cities.

Our Itinerary

  • Kumasi – 2 nights (including arrival)
  • Busua – 2 nights
  • Cape Coast – 2 nights
  • Kakum National Park – 1 nights (in the rainforest lodge in the park)
  • Accra – 2 nights

Attractions

  • Worth it
    • Cape Coast Castle – Cape Coast
    • The Beach – Cape Coast
    • Elmina Castle and Fort St. Jago – Elmina
    • Manhiya Palace Museum – Kumasi
    • Prempeh II Jubilee Museum – Kumasi
    • National Cultural Center – Kumasi
    • Nourish Lab Smoothies – Accra
    • Oxford Street –Accra
    • W.E.B. DeBois House – Accra
    • Kakum National Park Canopy Walkway – it’s worth it to pay extra and go early at 5:30am to beat the crowds. The place is crawling with school groups during visiting hours
    • Baobab Moringa House Vegetarian  Restaurant – Cape Coast
    • Global Mamas Fair Trade Shop – Accra
  • Skip it
    • Busua Beach – when we went it was relatively cold and rainy. We were supposed to stay at a resort in Dixcove but the rain made the roads impassable. The beach was also really dirty and neither I nor my travel companion wanted to swim. It’s also very far away.
    • Kakum National Park Night Hike – we ended up going with a very rambunctious group that ended up scaring away all of the animals. We also got attacked by fire ants
    • Kakum National Park Tree House – if you’re a PCV, sleeping outside is not as novel as it may be for other tourists.

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