San Francisco, United States
Hi Natasha. I have spend a considerable time in Ghana, and an confident that you will find it to be a very safe country. Obviously, all general travel safety considerations still apply. That being said, you should have no problems walking around alone, etc. However, there are a few cultural tips I think will prove useful: 1). When you pass someone on the street and you make eye contact, say hello! If you are caucasian, and it feels like people are always "looking at you," it is merely out of curiousity. When you say "good morning" or "good afternoon" to someone you encounter, it is not only an important ice breaker, but will always be returned with an enthusiastic greeting and smile. 2). When you meet and speak with people, they will often ask you for your phone number. Nearly everyone in the city has a cell phone, but it is still somewhat of a novelty, and people that you don't even know will request your number. Or course, if you don't have a phone, the problem is solved. But phones are inexpensive, and if you'll be there for a while, it will prove useful to have. Instead, just tell people that "it isn't your phone," if you don't feel like having half of Ghana calling you up. 3). Tema is actually quite close, if not a suburb of Accra. It is a harbor town, and I will be honest- it's not the most exciting or beautiful place. I presume you are going to Tema for some kind of work or project, which is fine. But I think that you will find it rewarding to take a weekend trip to other parts of the country as well, because its only when you get out of the city do you experience the true beauty for Ghana. 4). Accra can be a bit overwhelming at first, as is any capital city. Hang in there! Let yourself get acclimated for a few days and learn the lay of the land, before you form too many opinions. Ghana is a great country- friendly, and safe. I hope that you have a wonderful time!!! -Lauren San Francisco, California almost 8 years ago
Hi Elinor, I spent three months traveling through Ghana by myself, and I'm a tiny little blonde girl, yet, I found it to be very safe. While Phil offers some very good suggestions, let me share a specific Ghanain trick I learned on the road. When people where rude to me in any way, I spoke up for myself. I'm not suggesting that you will encounter this often. But should you find someone bothering you, or being unkind to you, I find it most effective to be firm. One time I was in a public fish market on the Cape Coast taking photos, and for some reason people started yelling at me. So you know what I did? I yelled back! I said: "Don't you yell at me!! I am a visitor in your country, and you are being rude!!!" And when another man looked at me and told me to go away I said "Hey- you're not the chief of this fishing village! You can't tell me what to do!!" And, believe it or not, I earned myself a great deal of respect for myself at that fishing harbor. Not only did no one bother me again, but some of the ladies I yelled at invited me to sit with them, and they became my pals. This reminds me of an interesting aspect of Ghanain culture. In Ghana, people debate a lot. They have elaborate discussions with eachother, often disagreeing with one another, and they can become animated and even loud when they talk. But they almost never resort to violence!! In fact, they are very lovely people. In fact, I didn't have a single "real" problem, and was never once in danger. But it's important to remember to stick up for yourself, and not feel intimidated. I'm a very polite person, so this took a little practice! But once I got the hang of it, man... it was awesome! :) I hope that you enjoy Ghana! Feel free to email me if I can be of help. about 8 years ago
looking to visit west africa in december. Not sure which country is best location. looking at Ghana as a possibility. any advice?
Hi Kieran, I'm a big fan of Ghana, having spent three months there. However, soley as a travel destination, I think it leaves a little to be desired. The infastructure for tourism is a little... um... so-so, and the number of things to specifically see can be limited. HOWEVER, that being said, I still encourage you to go, but suggest that you consider finding yourself a short term volunteer project in Ghana-- there are many! I feel that if you can carve out for yourself an "experience within an experience," you use that opportunity as an "in" to Ghanaian culture that you might not achieve otherwise. And then go do some sightseeing!! I hope that you go regardless. Ghana is very charming. :) -LL about 8 years ago