Travel tips for Ghana

Etiquette

Ghana has a reputation for friendliness and hospitality. Manners and etiquette are important, and correct honorifics and respectful greetings in business meetings are expected. Shaking hands is customary, and it is polite to spend a few moments engaged in casual conversation about family, health and travel.

Dress

Ghana has a tropical climate, so light clothing is recommended, especially during the hot and humid months from November to March. Formal business wear is de rigueur in office environments. On Fridays many workplaces permit employees to wear more colourful, traditional outfits such as those made of kente.

Language

English is widely spoken in Ghana and is frequently used in formal business settings. Ghanaians do appreciate when visitors try to use basic words in Twi such as Akwabaa (Welcome), Wo ho te sen? (How are you?), or Me da ase (Thank you).

Currency

The national currency is the cedi, with one cedi equal to 100 pesewas. Notes come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. ATMs are easy to find in cities; however, some ATMs only dispense a limited number of cedis, usually between GHS800 ($173) and GHS2000 ($432), perhaps might not accept Visa or Mastercard, and may charge a withdrawal fee of GHS20 ($4.32). Foreign currencies should be exchanged at licensed exchange offices at ports of entry, but the best rates are available at hotels. All notes must be in mint condition. It is wise to have enough local currency to cover various transactions.

Transport

The primary means of travel in Ghana is road. Taxis abound in urban areas, but operate without meters. Fares are negotiable but generally cost GHS10-20 ($2.16-4.32). Expect to pay more from the airport, during rush hour and late at night. Drivers with private vehicles and air conditioning can also be easily hired for flat or hourly rates. Since mid-2016 Uber has become common in Accra. Stop-and-go traffic and heavy congestion is the norm in the capital during commuter rush hour, particularly near the airport and Tema Port.

Entry Visas

It is advisable to obtain a visa prior to arrival, although some nationalities can apply for a visa at the point of entry with the appropriate documentation. Citizens of ECOWAS, as well as Kenya, Rwanda, Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago are exempt from visa requirements, and citizens from African Union countries can receive visas upon arrival. US citizens can obtain a single-entry visa for around $60 and a multiple-entry, three-month visa for $100. EU residents can secure single-entry visas for €75 and three-month, multiple-entry visas for €160.

Health

As with most West African countries, a yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for entrance. Other recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies and meningococcal meningitis. Malaria risk is low in cities, but short-term visitors are recommended to use mosquito repellents. Ghana has numerous private and public health facilities in urban areas; examples of quality private health care providers in Accra include Nyaho Medical Centre and Lister Hospital.

Communications

The country code is +233. Landlines are becoming exceedingly rare, but mobile phones are extremely common. A prepaid SIM card can be purchased – after showing a valid passport – at the airport or at licensed shops from one of the major nationwide cellular carriers such as MTN, AirtelTigo and Vodafone. Top-ups are widely available at convenience stores and street vendors. Surfline and Busy Internet also have 4G coverage for remote hotspot internet, and data-only 3G coverage is common.

Electricity

Power supply is better than in many other West African countries, with power cuts greatly reduced throughout 2018. Nonetheless, businesses and homes often rely on back up generators, especially in the hot months. Ghana has a 220- to 240-V network.

Business Hours

For workers in both the public and private sectors, the average working week typically runs from Monday to Friday. The majority of businesses in the country are open between 8.00am and 5.00pm.

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