Ghana is a pleasant, tropical state
on the western coast of Africa, neighboring Ivory Coast to the west and Togo to
the east. Our northern borders are met by Burkina Faso and the southern
borders by the Atlantic Ocean. Its land mass covers approximately 238,000 km and
the overall population is approximately 23 million people, with 3 million of its
inhabitants in little, old Accra.
Seasons change. Beginning in April we enjoy the
onset of the rainy season, with its intensity climaxing in May and June.
This means showers daily, especially if you are situated in the more lush
eastern region where the trees still outnumber the people. However, even
in the north, where we border the desert, they can count on rains to water the
crops. The rains usually come intensely for about 30-45 minutes, abating
and making way for a tremendous calm after. In some places it can rain 2-3
times in a day. Once we get into July and August, the rains taper off and
make for the most perfect tourist season. Warm, but not dry and
unbearable. September and are October are my favorite times, as they are
down right cool, mild months, whence air conditioners nor fans are necessary,
rather a warm blanket and good company soothes. Beginning in November,
just after harvest, the seasons change again, becoming dry and brisk. By January
and February rains are a distant memory and temperatures peak their highest,
with A.C.s blaring and the beach teaming with people in their designer
underwear, seeking relief from the blazing sun. In March, the prayers
begin for the changing of seasons, welcoming, once again, the rains.
Changes to these patterns are taking place largely because of deforestation, air
pollution and other such practices that get no attention unless mandated as a
condition to qualifying for some loan, donation or other hand out. That is
to say, Ghana's governors have yet to take any initiative to protect its future
interests or environment, as a result of the consequences endured from
Ghana is on GMT and for those that visit Ghana, it
is soon learned that in this hemisphere that means Ghana Man Time.
Contrary to the meticulous nature of our European counterparts, Ghanaians
operate in much more laid back mode. This can take some getting used to
and may be the cause of much frustration, especially if your mission is to
complete an agenda with very limited time. As a rule, it generally
takes 2-3x as much time to get anything done here, especially if it requires any
level of collaboration from our civil workers.
Our main airport is Kotoka International Airport,
located in the heart of town. Nicely remodeled in the past 3 years and
rapidly growing to accommodate the increasing influx of visitors to Ghana.
You may also catch flights to sub-airports in Kumasi and Tamale. If
arriving for the first time, the experience will not overwhelm you as it did I,
13 years ago. Then the airport was no more than a busy bus station with a
required for all visitors who do not hold Ghanaian passports. Visas must
be secured from the nearest Ghanaian Embassy to your port of departure, in
advance of your departure. You will also be expected to provide proof of
vaccination against Yellow Fever & Malaria. No one is denied entrance
without such proof, but it is part of protocol and you should be prepared with
written explanation as to your reasons for refusing to be injected.
Customs aren't too bad at the airport. If you know you are bringing in an
item that you know will attract duties, prepare an envelope with $20 for our
kind customs officer and put it in with your passport.
is the Cedi. Currency rates fluctuate frequently. For today's rate please refer to
In Ghana their are more than ten local dialects, but once
you have a good command of English then you will do just fine. Most people
living in the cities speak fluent English.
Ghanaians are generally either "Christian"
(including the catholics) or Muslim. A small percentage of Ghanaians are
bold enough to champion their traditional belief systems, but the rest stake
their salvation on the gods of former conquerors, whether Arab or European.
That being said, it lends to explain why Ghanaians are generally most compliant
with western practices and perceptions. Needless to say, Ghana is a
bastion of democracy and generally considered a favorite of its former colonial
Communications in Ghana are rapidly improving with an onslaught of
telecommunication service providers. In the last 7 years we have had
numerous new providers enter the market. Within the last couple of years, each of those providers have
also extended their service to include internet options. The leading
companies are Expresso, Vodafone, MTN, Tigo, Airtel and Glo. (F.Y.I.
Expresso offers the best internet service via modem, but Vodafone's broadband
service tops it, only it isn't available everywhere in Ghana.)
Last, but not least, you have read
everywhere that Ghanaians are the most hospitable beings on the face of the
earth. Quite possibly so, they are generally humble in demeanor and
pleasant by nature. This possibly stems from living in such a pristine
tropical environment where food and smiles abound. However, the world is
changing and with exposure to western clothes, music, videos, movies and above
all, culture, there has been an emergence of a new breed, with new
greed. This Ghanaian is still modest in appearance and meek to the
point of disarming, but craftier than a fox. Bask, if you will, in the
splendor and enjoy the love, but don't be lulled to sleep otherwise you will
awaken from the nightmare, naked and disappointed.