Throw a quick glance at the map of West Africa, one cannot help but notice that Ghana stands almost half way on the stretch of coast from Dakar in Senegal to the southern parts of Cameroon. The climate here is tropical. It is warm and comparatively dry along the southeast coast. The southwest is hot and humid whilst in the north, it is hot and dry.
PASSPORT AND VISA:
A passport and a visa are required. All visitors to Ghana must possess valid passports issued by their home governments, except nationals of selected member country of the ECOWAS who may produce travel certificates in lieu of passports. All non-ECOWAS citizens require visas at a fee before entry. Ghana Missions and Embassies are authorized to issue visas or entry permits to all classes of visitors destined to Ghana. Where no Ghanaian mission has been established, the visitors may apply directly or through his/her Ghanaian associate by fax, at least two weeks before the visit. Visas or entry permits cannot be acquired on arrival at the airport or border.
NOTE: Visa requirement can change at any time. Local representatives must be contacted for latest requirements.
Health insurance is vital and must cover for accidents and emergency evacuations. Medical facilities are available in all regional capitals and certain towns and villages.
WHO guidelines states that a cholera vaccination certificate is no longer a condition for entry to Ghana. However, precautions are seasonal outbreaks during rainy seasons ( May to July and September to October). Visitors must seek up-to date advice.
Malaria risk is predominantly in the malignant (P. falciparum) form and exists throughout the year in the whole country.
Airport & Transport:
Kotoka International Airport is located 7 miles (12km) from the Accra city centre. Car rental facilities are available at the airport. Metred taxis and shared taxis as well as shared minibuses (tro-tro) are available. Other facilities include duty free shops, snack bars, ATMs, information desks, post offices and foreign exchange bureaus.
The official currency is the cedi (GHC). The cedi comes in denominations of GHC1, GHC2, GHC5, GHC10, GHC20, GHC50 bills and 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p and 1p coins (p= pesewa). There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency you may bring into Ghana. This must, however, be stated on the currency declaration form.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE BUREAU
Foreign currency can be freely exchanged at any forex bureau in the country. There are several foreign exchange bureaus (Forex) in all the major towns and cities, but many outside Accra may not accept traveler's cheques except the banks. Forex bureaus tend to give better rates for large-denomination bills than banks normally do. The best exchange rates are for US Dollars, French Francs, Deutsche Marks and British Pounds. Most travelers' cheques can be exchanged. Private foreign-exchange (Forex) offices have better rates and hours.
Many places take major international credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Banks open from 8.30am to 3pm (4pm on Fridays) on weekdays .A few bank branches open on saturdays. Most banks operate Automatic Teller Machines (ATM).
Castles and Forts
Ghana's coasts are famous for their fine white sandy beaches perfect for long walks and jogging, with shallow turquoise waters and coconut trees. Some also have secluded coves, conducive for lovers who wish to be isolated. Ghana's coasts are characterized not just by these but by castles and forts that constitute the basis for the political, economic, social and cultural heritage of Ghana. Although built on Ghanaian soil, the architects were of European descent.
They are an invaluable treasure. They hold a mystery and history relevant not only to modern Ghana but Africa and the rest of the world. The early growth of cape coast, Takoradi and other areas along the coast was due to its function as major ports and trading centres to a number of traders including slave traders. These castles and forts served as places of abode and work for both European masters and their native African servants. Gold and ivory ready for export were stored here as well as slaves ready for auction in the new world.
Wildlife protected areas and national parks
Ghana supports ecotourism. It boasts of many places that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of the people in the locality. They include nature parks and animal preservation areas.
The Kakum National Park is the most popular and accessible park in Ghana. It is an evergreen undisturbed rainforest which offers both a walk through the forest and a canopy walk suspended between trees. Its sun bird trail allows visitors observe three ecosystems; the rainforest, secondary forest and pond environment for visitors to watch birds. It has 40 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, large number of reptiles and amphibians and 400 species of butterflies. It's the best place to appreciate nature. Other sites include; Bui National Park, Aburi Botanical Gardens, Mole National Park, Paga crocodile ponds, Boabeng- FiemaÂ monkey sanctuary.
Museums in Ghana serve historical, religious and educative purposes. Those to visit include the National Museum , the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the Dubois Centre in Accra, The Army and Prempeh II Museum and the National Culture Centre in Kumasi.
Natural features (water bodies and highlands)
Water bodies also serve as attractions. Some also serve as shrines, fishing grounds as well as prayer grounds.Â Some like the Akosombo dam and Volta Lake serve economic and industrial purposes. The features as well as the activities undertaken at these locations make them worth seeing. The Boti, Wli and Fuller waterfalls, the Lake Bosomtwi, Yeji port and Mount Afadjato are all very interesting places to visit.