A-Z of planning a trip to Ghana

After 10 years, I finally revisited my second hometown, Ghana. The last time I visited I was in secondary school and there was a lot of development going on at the time. To then visit 10 years later, I was met with quite a few changes.

I stayed in Accra at my dad’s house for 2 weeks, swimming and relaxing trying to bear the sweltering heat.

On my last day I watched the inauguration of the 5th President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, before taking a late flight back to cold rainy London!

Similar to my trip to India, I had to make sure a few things were in order before I travelled, so I thought I’d put together another A-Z  (minus a few letters again) of useful advice and information to get you started.

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A colourful Presidential Elect supporter ahead of the inauguration
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Boat trip in Akosombo

A – AIRPORT
If you’re flying in from London, you will land in Kotoka International Airport. Whilst a pretty basic airport (with no WIFI!), a new terminal with state of the art facilities is currently being built, that is due to be completed in mid-2017.

B – BOOKING
Just like India, I used Skyscanner to find my flights.  I didn’t need a hotel, as I was staying with my dad. Read on to find out how to get to Ghana.

C – CLUBBING
Twist Twist and Twist again! There are a few clubs in the Accra region, but somehow everyone always ends up at the same club, which is “Twist”.  For me, I don’t really like repetition and seeing the same people constantly, so I only visited here 3 times out of my two week stay. The club itself is really lively and the atmosphere is comparable to partying in Miami. What I love about this place however, was the ability to get food in the club. They had a roof terrace where you could eat pizza etc and then just outside the club you could order burgers (which were some great tasting burgers I must say).
I came to find that there is no official closing time, the party just goes on until the last person leaves. This means that we were in the club until 6/7am in the morning when the sun had come up!

F – FOOD
Tilapia (pictured below) is a popular dish in Ghana. Philipo’s Tilapia Joint was a popular place I kept hearing about over the course of my stay from my cousin and friend. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go there, but I went two other places and ate some Tilapia.
If you’re looking for authentic Ghanaian cuisine, I’d recommend you try out Azmera Restaurant. Here you’ll find all kinds of Ghanaian dishes.
Some of my favourite African dishes include: fufu and groundnut soup and jollof rice.

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Fresh Tilapia and Jollof Rice – Afrikiko River Front Resort
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Tilapia – Chez Clarisse
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Traditional layout at Afrikiko River Front Resort

G – GETTING THERE
So as mentioned in “booking”, I used Skyscanner to find my flights. There is only ONE airline that flies directly to Ghana and that is British Airways. I recommend you book your flights WAY in advance to save yourself paying over a grand for just the flight! There are quite a few indirect airlines, but I advise you to try book with KLM. Depending on who you fly with, you can get flights from Gatwick and Heathrow.

H – HEALTH
Malaria is a serious health issue in Ghana and you are strongly advised to get malaria tablets before travelling. I suggest you get them prescribed from your GP, so you don’t have to pay the retail price.
You are required to have had a yellow fever vaccination before travelling into Ghana. This will cost you around £60, but once you get this, you will receive a certificate and never have to do it again if you plan on revisiting.

I – INSURANCE
It is important to take out travel insurance before you set off on your travels. This will protect you against loss of baggage, airline cancellations and more. You can use comparison sites such as money supermarket to find out the best options and for a breakdown of what’s included.

L – LANGUAGE
Although English is widely spoken across the country, there are more than 250 different dialects and languages spoken. I’d say the most commonly spoken ones are: Twi, Ga and Ewe.
You can get by on just speaking English though.

M– MONEY
5GH¢ = £1

R – ROYAL SENCHI
If you have a long stay in Ghana, I’d recommend spending the weekend at the Royal Senchi. It is about a two hour drive out of Accra and located near the Akosombo Dam. Here you can escape city life in the most tranquil settings whilst being right on the waterfront.

S – SHOPPING
For a smaller shopping outlet, I’d say A&C mall is your go-to place. Here you can get your nails done, change up money, buy groceries and get a bite to eat. If you’re looking for more global brands such as, Panasonic, Levi’s, Puma to name a few, then a visit to Accra Mall is a more suitable choice.

V – VISA 
You’ll need to apply for a visa from Ghana High Commission. You can do this by visiting the embassy or sending the form off along with your passport. The visa will cost you £60 and if you’re sending it off as opposed to going into the embassy, you will pay an extra £7. Ghanaian passport holders do not need to apply for a visa.
Processing time is quite quick and you’ll be sent back your passport with the visa inside, if it has successfully been processed.

W – WEATHER
The weather in Ghana is tropical and consists of two main seasons – wet and dry.
The last time I visited Ghana was in April, which is probably the hottest period. My latest visit was in December and the harmattan season had began.
Harmattan is characterised by dusty, dry winds that blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa. The Harmattan also brings a haze comparable to fog. Harmattan can affect people’s health and produce cold-like symptoms.

Z – (TIME) ZONE
Same as GMT (BST is one hour ahead of Ghana).

For more information on what to do, where to eat etc, please leave your comments down below…

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