Situated on the west coast of Africa, Ghana is a land of extraordinary sights and unique experiences. Gaze upon the lush beauty of its unspoiled rainforests, or explore the bustling streets of Accra. Join Odyssey Traveller as we take you on a journey through this fascinating country.
Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. Bus services operate throughout the country, and are a relatively efficient and convenient way of getting around. Local minibuses (“trotros”) are also available, though can be rather crowded and don’t generally operate to a set timetable. The railway network is somewhat limited however, so it might be best to avoid relying on trains to get around.
In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.
Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.
Geography environment and weather
Ghana covers an area of approximately 238,533 square kilometres. Ghana’s coast and immediate interior are relatively flat, with plains and low plateaus dotted by numerous lagoons, streams and rivers. Further inland, a thick tropical rain forest belt stretches across the centre and east of the country. Ghana is home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake on the planet, while the surface area of water in Ghana covers a total of 11,000 square kilometres.
The climate of Ghana is tropical, with high humidity and warm temperatures. Many areas of Ghana experience high amounts of precipitation, especially during the mid-year rainy season, so depending on when you intend to travel, check the weather reports and dress accordingly
World Heritage sites
Ghana has 2 properties listed on the World Heritage List, with a further 6 listed on the Tentative List. You can view the listed properties here: (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/gh). The listed properties include:
Asante Traditional Buildings – the last physical remnants of the Astante civilisation
Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions – the numerous European fortifications and settlements built along Ghana’s coastline which stand as a physical legacy of the former European presence in Ghana.
Festivals and events
Ghana’s local culture and traditions are celebrated in the many festivals and events held across the year in Ghana. Many regions within Ghana have their own cultural practices and festive occasions; for example, the Dzawuwu Festival (a harvest festival marked by religious rituals and traditional dancing) is celebrated in the Agave region, while the Bugum Festival (the “Fire” Festival featuring dancing and lively processions) is primarily observed in Muslim-majority northern Ghana. One of the most colourful events on the calendar is the Fancy Dress Festival, a masquerade event. Held every January, the Fancy Dress Festival is marked by exuberant brass bands and vivid costumes. An event of national significance is Panafest, which aims to promote communication and cross-cultural exchange between African nations, and features performances of music, drama, dance and poetry.
The History of Ghana (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations), by Roger S. Gocking
The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay : Life in Medieval Africa, by Patricia McKissack and Fredrick McKissack
My First Coup D’etat, by John Dramani Mahama
Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism, by Ato Quayson
Eating and Drinking
Ghanian cuisine centres around a variety of crops common to the region, including maize, rice, yam, beans, plantains and cassava. Rice and beans feature particularly prominently, and are used in dishes such as waakye (rice and bean served with fried fish or chicken) and red red (a curry made from black eyed peas, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and sometimes fish or meat). Numerous recipes for soups and stews feature in Ghanian cuisine, including shoko (beef and spinach stew) and kontomire stew (spinach or cocoyam soup cooked with spices and either fish or meat).
Traditional beverages in Ghana include sobolo (a sharp tasting drink made from hibiscus leaves and fruit juice) and pito (an alcoholic drink made from fermented millet or sorghum).
Health and safety
Generally speaking, Ghana is safe to travel in, though always exercise common sense while travelling. However, it is advised to exercise a high degree of caution aroun Bawku, Tamale municipality, Yendi district and the Bimbilla area in northern Ghana due to possible outbreaks of violence in that area. Also be advised that flooding may occur during the rainy season between May and October.
Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. Ghana’s electricity supply runs at 230V and 50Hz. Ghana uses Type D and Type G electric plugs, so make sure you have the right travel adaptor with you.
Kakum National Park
Cape Coast Castle
Ghana has a single time zone, Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0). Daylight savings are not observed in Ghana.
If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you tip an appropriate amount for services.
Wifi should be freely available in most hotels, cafes and restaurants.
Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Ghana. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.
It is advised to stick to bottled water while in Ghana, due to problems with the quality of the local tap water.
Responsible travel tips for Ghana
- Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although some locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
- Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
- Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
- When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Museums and galleries are often closed on Mondays. Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
- Consider contacting your bank to inform them that you may be making purchases overseas. Otherwise, they may flag any activity on your account as suspicious. Also, check which ATMs and banks are compatible with your cards, to ensure you can withdraw cash with minimal fees.
- Before departing, make sure you have a number of cedi in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.