Formerly a British colony known as the Gold Coast, Ghana was the first black African nation to achieve independence in 1957. It is a relatively small country on the West coast of Africa situated between Togo and Côte d'Ivoire and remains a somewhat unexplored tropical gem, an untapped destination that abounds in history, culture, wildlife and scenery with a wide variety of tourist attractions. Throughout its 10 regions visitors will be greeted with the warm-hearted smiles of its welcoming people.
Nature has been extremely generous to Ghana with its national parks and reserves providing a sanctuary for the native flora and fauna; the grasslands of Mole National Park in the north are home to a variety of large animals, while birds and butterflies are particularly numerous in Ghana's forests. Rainforests such as that of Kakum National Park in the southern central region, with its canopy walkway and nature trails, provide a haven for eco-tourists. Miles of unspoilt beaches, waterfalls, rolling forested hills, rivers and lakes complete the portrait of a country that is a nature lover's delight.
The diverse ethnic groups of Ghana and the ancient traditions of its people have shaped one of the richest cultural environments in Africa that boasts festivals, dance and music as well as a colourful dress and a wide variety of arts and crafts. The traditional and cultural heartland of the country is the Ashanti region, home to the nation's dominant tribe, the Ashanti, who are most famous today for their craftwork and ancient artistry in fabrics, particularly the colourful kentecloth.
Ghana's vibrant capital city, Accra, is the gateway to the country and is located in the smallest, yet most populated region on the Gulf of Guinea. The modern city has excellent accommodation, restaurants and nightlife, colourful markets, and is a good base from which to explore the Atlantic coast west of Accra, which boasts many fine palm-fringed beaches, resorts, ancient forts, castles, and fascinating fishing villages. The forts and castles along the coastline date back to the 15th century and have an intriguing history of European occupation, fierce battles and slavery. The Cape Coast Castle, Fort St Jago and Elim Castle are recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Monuments.
The official currency is the Cedi (GHC), which is divided into
100 pesewas. Foreign currency can be exchanged at any forex bureaux
as well as at some commercial banks; banks and foreign exchange
facilities are available at the airport and in all major towns. It
is advisable to keep currency exchange receipts in order to be able
to re-exchange when departing. Banking hours are usually from
8.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday, and most large commercial banks
have ATMs located outside, although only limited amounts of Cedis
can be drawn at a time. Travellers cheques are accepted at banks
and forex bureaux in the capital Accra, but the rate of exchange
may be lower than for cash transactions. The most widely accepted
credit cards are American Express, Diners and Visa, and cards can
be used for payment at major hotels and shops, although this can be
risky as credit card fraud is very common. The best currencies to
bring are US dollars, British pounds or Euros as other currencies
exchange at poor rates.
|GHS 1 =||US$ 0.58||Â£ 0.38||C$ 0.59||A$ 0.56||R 4.87||EUR 0.45||NZ$ 0.73|
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.
Health regulations in Ghana require that visitors be in possession of a current medical vaccination certificate for yellow fever. Prophylactics against malaria are recommended and waterborne diseases are prevalent, including outbreaks of cholera during the rainy season. Visitors are advised to buy bottled drinking water, which is widely available. Bird flu has been confirmed in Ghana, but the risk to visitors is considered to be very low; as a precaution it is advisable to avoid close contact with live birds and ensure all poultry products are well cooked. Good medical facilities are found in all the cities and major towns, but facilities outside urban areas are poor and emergency services are limited. Medical insurance is advised and should cover medical evacuation.
Foreign visitors to Ghana must hold a return or onward ticket, as well as the necessary travel documentation for their next destination; OR a letter from their employer guaranteeing repatriation. If passengers do not have these documents, then they are required to make a deposit, with the Immigration Office, equal to the amount of a return fare. Visas can be obtained on arrival, provided passengers have applied for prior consent from the Director of Immigration, a minimum of 48 hours before arrival in the country. The visa fee is USD 100, and travellers must ensure that their visa-on-arrival approval document contains their passport and visa numbers, as well a copy of the bio data and photo page from their passport. Applications can be made by the visitor's host, business or sponsor; or directly by fax (+233 21 258249), or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The host or applicant will require copy of the fax or email in order to pay for the visa. Visa exemptions apply to holders of Dual Nationality Cards issued by Ghana. Note that a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Ghana. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
Ghana Tourist Board, Accra: +233 21 682 601 or www.ghanatourism.gov.gh
Foreign Embassies in Ghana
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