Ghana is a very safe country to travel in. There are many single women and men visitors that travel alone within cities and in between. However, like anywhere in the world you have to take precautions to stay safe and aware of your surroundings. To stay safe whilst traveling, try traveling in your groups, avoid city centers and hotspots after late hours, stay within well-lit populated areas, be aware of where your things are at all times (bags, wallets etc) mix your daily routines up so as to not be predictable.
This region is very centrally located and very well connected by air, rail and road transport systems to the regional capital, Kumasi By rail and there is the Accra-Kumasi railway lines, The overnight 225km Takoradit-Sekondi via Tarkwa and Obuasi railway lines, By road there is the main Accra-Kumasi road which can be done in jus four hours[270km], the main Kumasi-Yamoransa –Cape Coast road, the Kumasi- Techiman-Tamale road and the Kumasi-Sunyani-wa road. All these make going to kumasi very accessible from whichever part of the country you may find yourself.
Business Hour-Time is GMT
On the average, business hours are international. During weekdays 8am to 6:30 pm with one hour break from 12pm to 2pm, Saturdays 8am to 1pm, for shopping and some banks, On Sundays most commercial shops are closed. Government instuitions close 5pm and do not function before 9am. Banking hours are 8:30am to 3pm.
Ghanaians are very particular about the dos and don’ts in their culture, so when not sure and in order not to offend anyone, you may have a chat with some of the people, who are mostly friendly, helpful and an invaluable source of information. These days some of these previously strong cultural views are changing. For e.g. In the past, older folks were not very happy to see woman dressed in shorts or trousers (slacks), these days however, trousers are worn by older women themselves. But there are still some views that remain strong. For e.g. when sitting in the presence of eminent people or elders, it is considered rude to sit cross-legged. Below are a few of the things that you should be aware of.
Dressing: Visitors are held in very high esteem in our society and it is expected that they exhibit an acceptable standard of dressing and decorum. You are expected, if wearing a hat or cap, to remove it when speaking with an elderly person. That shows your outward respect for our traditions.
Handshaking: When entering a group of people, shake hands with those present beginning with the person on the right moving towards the left. It is also customary if you eat with your fingers, to do so only with your right hand. For those of who are naturally left-handed it will require constant effort to always remember to offer or give things especially money with the right hand.
Meeting Kings or Chiefs: There are other etiquettes that you need to observe, when you are invited to greet a chief or the king. They enjoy receiving foreigners and interacting with them for example if you visit a chief and want to greet him, move upwards at him and stop short of a from where he is seated and bow. He may graciously invite you to come for a handshake.
On formal occasions, speaking to the king, or chief, at the royal court is a three-way affair through a spokesman (linguist) called “Okyeame” who replicates the conversation. The visitor faces the Okyeame and delivers his message to the chief. The chief gives his reply or response to the Okyeame who renders it to the visitor. N.B. Normally, visitors to our palaces have to make customary offerings of friendship to their royal hosts. This consist entirely of drinks: Aromatic Schnapps, Gin and or money, the amount and quantities depending on the size or enthusiasm of the group. Kola is also accepted in some places.
Taking Photographs: Before taking pictures of people always ask permission from them before doing so, especially in the Muslim parts of the country. Apart from the fact that some people do not like being photographed., in some places you might even be asked to pay money.
Take note that there are some sensitive places where you are not allowed to photograph. To be on the safe side just from the people around if it is ok to take pictures
There are some very good hotels in Ghana and you will find a wide range that will meet your budget. Log onto www.ghanahotels.com or www.yellowpages.gh. Try the Novotel, Angie, The Rest INN, The Guest Hotel. Akwaaba.
What to wear
Appropriate tropical lightweight clothing for warm weather, good quality sunglasses and hats are absolutely necessary, when you stay in Ghana. There are aren’t a lot of real sidewalks on dirt paths and busy streets requires sturdy sandals and other shoes that ventilate the feet and protect them from heat and dirt. In Ghana it is respectful to dress decently for social functions especially for visits to the palaces. It will be disrespectful to attend such functions in crumpled, untidy and dirty clothes, T-shirts, unkept hair.
If you have a shipment or container coming to Accra after your arrival, you will need to complete an “unaccompanied baggage declaration” form (with the help of a customs officer) when you enter the country. It is better to overestimate than declare less than you ship.