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Climate- Tropical climate; The hottest months are March & April, temperature 23-31 degrees Celsius. Coldest month is August, temperature 22-27 degrees Celsius. There are two rainy seasons; from March to July and from September to October. Dry season from mid October to early March, during this season you may experience the northerly winds called “Harmattan” which brings along dirt from the Sahara desert thus reducing visibility considerably.
People- Africa’s friendliest people will often receive you with a popular Akan welcome greeting, Akwaaba! A right handshake, usually with a click of your finger afterwards is key to everything. Don’t be surprised to hear the word Oburuni if you are white, it is a description of your color no offense. The principal ethnic groups of estimated 20 million people are the Akan ( Twi and Fante speaking)- 45% million Ewe- 16%, Ga-Adangba 9% and Hausa- 16%.
Language- English is the official language spoken and Pidgin (English spoken without regard for grammar) the unofficial language. English is widely spoken in those parts of the country likely to be visited by travelers. There is little need for short-stay travelers to try and familiarize themselves with any local tongues, even though knowing a few words or greetings in a local language will often help open doors and break through barriers, particularly in the rural areas. There are several dialects spoken in Ghana, but the principal languages are the Akan (Twi and Fante-speaking),Ewe,Ga, and Hausa.
Business Hours-Time s GMT. On the average, business hours are international. During weekdays 8am to 6:30 pm with one hour break from 12pm to 2pm, Saturdays 8am to 1pm, for shopping and some banks, On Sundays most commercial shops are closed. Government instuitions close 5pm and do not function before 9am. Banking hours are 8:30am to 3pm.
Traveler’s Tips- Ghana is a very safe country to in. There are many single women and men visitors that travel alone within cities and in between. However, like anywhere in the world you have to take precautions to stay safe and aware of your surroundings. To stay safe whilst traveling, try traveling in your groups, avoid city centers and hotspots after late hours, stay within well-lit populated areas, be aware of where your things are at all times (bags, wallets etc) mix your daily routines up so as to not be predictable. ( See more under security)
Currency/ Changing Money- The currency is the cedi, which is divided into 100 Pesewas, it is pegged to other foreign currencies determined by the bank of Ghana and exchanged mostly at the Forex Bureaus. It is a serious offence to deface or knowingly damage the cedi. Visitors are strongly advised to transact all currency dealings through the banks, be mindful of changing money from an unapproved sources, and avoid street dealers. There are several private Forex bureaus dotted all over Accra and the major cities and perfectly safe to deal with them. They give higher rates than the banks. NB. Always check for rates, All banks accept Traveler’s Cheque although the rate of exchange may be slightly lower than for cash transactions.
Credit Cards- Credit Cardsmay also be used for payment at nearly all airlines, leading hotels and major supermarkets. The most widely accepted credit cards are American Express, Dinners and Visa. Some banks have debit service, which offers customer the opportunity yo put money into an electronic card in order to avoid carrying large sums. ATM services are also offered by major banks to enable customers withdraw cash 24 hours a day.
Immigration- For entry into Ghana by foreign nationals, a valid Passport and visa are required. Ecowas citizens however are exempted from the laborious process of acquiring a visa into the country. Some identification may nonetheless be required at the various entry points. Immediately upon arrival, register with your embassy or consulate. For details contact the Ghana Immigration Service (PMB Ministries post office, Accra, Ghana. Telephone:233-21-221667224445/ fax: 233-21-226996, or any of Ghana’s high commissions, embassies and other diplomatic missions.
What to wear- Appropriate tropical lightweight clothing for warm weather, good quality sunglasses and hats are absolutely necessary, when you stay in Ghana. There are aren’t a lot of real sidewalks on dirt paths and busy streets requires sturdy sandals and other shoes that ventilate the feet and protect them from heat and dirt. In Ghana it is respectful to dress decently for social functions especially for visits to the palaces. It will be disrespectful to attend such functions in crumpled, untidy and dirty clothes, T-shirts, unkept hair. (See details under etiquette)
Where to stay- There are some very good hotels in Ghana and you will find a wide range that will meet your budget. Log onto www.ghanahotels.com or www.yellowpages.gh. Try the Novotel, Angie, The Rest INN, The Guest Hotel, Akwaaba.
Health/Medical Facilities- A yellow fever vaccination is required. Malaria is predominant and precaution is advised. Visitors should begin taking their anti-malaria prophylactics before arriving and a minimum of three weeks after leaving [Please seek medical advice]. Most places in Ghana have safe clean and hygienic water however it is better to avoid drinking tap water and drink mineral water, which is cheap and widely available. For health reasons, be careful not to bath in some rivers and lakes [Safer to ask the local folks]. There are some excellent medical facilities, private clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies in most of the urban areas and all regional capitals but emergency facilities are limited in the event of and accident. Health insurance is advised. For all your specialist, general and consultations. Nyaho clinic offers excellent services.
Electricity- For your electrical appliance and traveling gadgets, talk note of the voltage- 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Electrical plugs in Ghana are British style: the three square-prong type.
Security- Important documents should be kept in a safe e.g. Passports. If possible make copies of these documents. Only a few shops accept the major credit cards [See credit cards), although more accept debit cards, which can be acquired at a local bank. It is a good idea to use this as it saves you carrying cash which is often bulky carrying around.