Travel and Lifestyle

Ghana Year of Return: 15 Things To Know Before You Go!




After receiving my Ancestry DNA results, 


I decided to plan a Solo Trip to the Motherland. West Africa was in my sights, but I didn't know what Country I wanted to visit. After extensive research and connecting with other fellow solo travelers on Facebook Travel Groups, I decided to book a Trip to Ghana with Ghana Dipci Tours. 

I’ve put together some traveler tips for those planning a trip to Ghana for the "Year of Return," the 400th to commensurate  the arrival of captured Africans to the U.S. In remembrance of this monumental date, Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo declared and formally launched the "Year of Return, Ghana 2019" for Africans in the Diaspora. 

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Getting There
Travelers can fly to Ghana via Kotoka International Airport (ACC), which is located in the country's capital, Accra.
Kotoka International Airport is the main airport for the country and has two terminals connected by a walkway. Those who fly to Ghana internationally will land at Terminal 2. There are duty-free shops, a currency exchange kiosk, restaurants, and VIP lounges. Wi-Fi is available for a small charge. There are car rental kiosks located outside the Arrivals hall. Taxi fare from the airport to Accra will cost around $2 for the 7-mile journey. Privately owned minivans called Tro-Tros can be hired as well. 
Washington Dulles (IAD) offer non-stop flights to Accra and flights as cheap as $785 round trip.

Book Your Flight Today!



Getting around
Accra has many taxis available including Uber. Use your good judgment when hailing a taxi and negotiate the price before you get in. Most places in Accra are not far but there is a lot of traffic. Nonetheless the cost of a taxi/uber ride is still reasonable. Keep in mind that if a taxi driver believes you are a tourist, he’ll automatically assume you are rich. Whatever price he quotes, offer half of that and then find a happy medium. 

Where To Stay Accra
There's a wide selection of Hotels and Airbnb to choose from while in Accra. 
Afia Beach Hotel offers waterside comfort, a great central location, and your choice of room or bungalow. 

Popular Neighborhoods in Accra

Festivals

Every six weeks, the Akwasidae Festival is celebrated by members of the Ashanti tribe. It commemorates their ancestors with singing, food, and dancing. The Homowo Festival is dedicated to planting and is celebrated in May just before the rainy season begins. 

In late August The Chale Wote Street Festival comes to life! The Festival is an alternative platform that brings art, music, dance and performance out into the streets of Jamestown Ghana. I had the pleasure to attend in 2018 and If your thinking about visiting Ghana in August, You're in for a treat!


 Touring Ghana provides a more detailed year-round timeline of when to attend and the importance of Festivals in Ghana.


Things to do

Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum: In Memory of Osagyefo (the Messiah)

Independence Square

Aburi Botanical Garden: A Taste of Rural Ghana

Labadi Beach: La Pleasure Beach

Makola Market: A One-Stop Shopping Experience

Dubois Centre for Panafrican Culture: Insight into Panafricanism

If you have additional time, add Kumasi and Cape Coast to your itinerary. You will not be disappointed.

Cash and Foreign Exchange
 Ghanaian Cedis – Currently, the exchange rate for $1 is about 5.62 Ghanaian cedis. It can be exchanged at the airport or ATM. Most of the big banks have ATMs which give only local currency. Bring cash or traveler’s checks to exchange into cedis. There are forex bureaus everywhere, and many of the big hotels have forex bureaus in them. Before you leave home, contact your bank or credit card company, regarding your ATM card to be sure it will work overseas and in case you need a special PIN number. 



Major Credit Cards
Visa and Master Cards are Accepted in some places. But I would limit use mostly for backup or emergencies situations.
Weather
Ghana's tropical climate consists of a wet and a dry season. It rains steadily from May to November with temperatures in the mid-70s. During the dry season, temperatures rise to the 80s. 


Voltage
Ghana uses 220V power, higher than US so you need a step down transformer like this one


Visa and Passport
For U.S. citizens a passport and Visa is required for entry into Ghana. Online visa application can be found at

You must submit passport with application. I applied for multiple entry and received my Passport and 4yr Visa in two weeks. An expedited option is available for an additional fee. Plan ahead.
Single entry $60 
Multiple $100

Tours
Ghana Dipci Tours


Travel Shots 
Yellow Fever
The only immunization you are required to have is for Yellow Fever. All the others are optional, and at your discretion, so talk to your doctor or travel medicine clinician about it. The vaccine is short supply but I was able to get my shot at:
Yellow Fever Vaccine Passport Health
Malaria (Optional)
But there is no getting around the fact that malaria exists in Sub-Saharan Africa. From the States you will likely be prescribed Lariam, which you start taking in advance of your trip, then during your trip and then for a few weeks after your trip. You’ll have to do your research to decide if Lariam is right for you, given the side effects and other issues. For sure, do bring a good mosquito repellent.

Language
More than 250 languages and dialects are spoken in Ghana. English is the country's official language and predominates government and business affairs. Of the languages indigenous to Ghana, Akan is the most widely spoken (Twi). Here are a few popular words and phrases you are sure to hear during your visit:

Akwaaba-Welcomje
Agoo-Hello
εte sεn? - How are you
εyε- Reply to How are you
Aane-Yes
Daabi-NO
Medaase- Thank You

Cell Phones 
Check with your cellular carrier to see if you can roam while in Ghana. Alternatively, you can get a SIM card and you can buy scratch-off phone cards for about $7. You can also purchase GT cards to use in payphones or from land line phones. Phone cards are sold pretty much everywhere, including gas station shops, chemists, and at kiosks on the roadside.

Food 
Ghanaian cuisine includes a number of starchy side dishes. Cassava root, sweet potato, corn, rice, or beans can be found at almost any meal. Often, meat in gravy is paired with Fufu, which are soft, dough-like balls eaten with the hands. Soups made from peanuts, tomatoes, or taro leaves are popular. Desserts often include fresh fruit or fried cakes made out of sweetened peanut paste called Kuli-kuli. 


Ghanaian foods are typically spicy, so most everything you buy will be hot. Delicious food to try are light soup with fufu, which is a tomato based soup, typically served with some sort of meat like goat meat, or fish such as red fish or cassava fish (both nice) or sometimes tilapia (which is an expensive fish). Groundnut soup is also very good, and is served in the same manner. If you are into gumbo, consider trying okro (okra) stew. An alternative to soups and stews is red-red (my favorite), which is fried sweet plantains with red beans, over which is poured a bit of palm oil (hence the red). Other interesting foods to try are fried crispy plantain chips (sold 0n the streets in plastic bags), kenkey (fermented corn dough) with fried fish and served with shitor (hot pepper, ginger and dried shrimps fried in tomato paste with additional spices), keta school boys or one man thousand, which are small (and smaller) fried fish, grilled tilapia and banku. Be brave, try it all!



Are You Interested In Going? Let me know in the comments Below!




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