This friendly and stable multi-party democratic Republic on Africa’s west coast enjoys an expanding and vibrant economy built on gold and other precious minerals, cocoa, timber and tourism. Ghana is also rapidly developing an economy and infrastructure that should see her join the newly-industrialized economies shortly. Ghana has a liberalised economy with a floating currency and a wide use of foreign exchange bureaux. Ghana is now an oil-producing and exporting country.
Ghana has attractive investment incentives and guarantees for local and foreign investors. What makes Ghana unique is its history and heritage portraying its coastal castles, grim relics of the slave trade and its many regional festivals. All these are becoming a focus for eco-tourism.
Ghana has hundreds of kilometres of unspoilt beaches, over ten thousand (10,000) hotel rooms in about seven hundred and three (703) hotels, including 3, 4 and 5 star hotels. There are top class restaurants, wildlife parks and safe streets. The country’s political stability and low crime rate make it one of the safest destinations in Africa. Undisputedly, Ghana’s greatest asset is its people who are renowned the world over for their warmth, cheerfulness, and hospitality. Ghana’s tourist Development Plan has produced far-reaching consequences.
Ghana has modern telecommunication facilities as well as first class seaports and a modernized international airport in Accra. The recent development of modern hotels, convention facilities and theatres has made Ghana Africa’s newest tourist and convention destination with Europe and the United States as the biggest markets. Kotoka Airport in Accra seems set to become a significant hub linking flights between these areas with much of West, East and Southern Africa.
Several international airlines operate regular scheduled flights to Ghana from major cities in North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Apart from the international airports, Ghana has domestic airports in Kumasi, Sunyani and Tamale. There are harbours in Tema and Takoradi and an inland port in Fumesua in the Ashanti Region.
Notable Tourist Destinations
- Wli Waterfalls and Mount Afadjato in the Volta Region.
- Kakum National Park in Ankasa Forest, Central Region.
- Buabeng – Flema Monkey Sanctuary, Brong Ahafo Region.
- The Paga Crocodile Ponds, Bolgatanga.
- The new National Cultural Centre at The Manhyia Palace Museum in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
- The Cape Coast Castle, Elmina and other coastal forts and castles.
- The Mole and the Bui Game Reserves in the Northern Region.
Throughout Ghana, practically every town and village becomes animated with excitement at festival time. Visitors are often welcomed into homes to share drinks and meals and are given traditional clothes to wear so they can join in the street celebrations. Each festival commemorates an event, a war, puberty rites or harvest. Adherents of whatever religion participate without inhibition in these festivals. Filming and photography are allowed.
Many festivals are celebrated in Ghana. In fact, every tribe or clan has a festival it celebrates. The following are some of the festivals celebrated in Ghana:
January – The Apafram of the Akwamu, Eastern Region, the Rice Festival of Akpafu, Volta Region, and the Begum of Walewale, Tamale and Yendi.
February – The Papa Festival in Kumawu, Ashanti Region.
March – The Asikoe Festival in Anfoega, Volta Rgion, Volo in the Akuse area, Damba of Dagbon in the Northern Region, Dipo at Manya and Yilo Krobo, Eastern Region.
April – Most villages and towns in the Volta and Eastern Regions celebrate festivals during Easter.
May – The first Saturday is reserved for the famous Aboakyir Festival in Winneba. There is also The Donkyi Festival at Mamase, Brong Ahafo Region, the Don Festival at Bolgatanga, Upper East Region and Beng Festival at Sonyo Kipo near Bole, Northern Region.
June – The Ohumkan Festival of Kyebi, Asafua feast at Sekondi, Ahukan of the Akim Kibi, the Gyenpren at Tafo, the Ahobaa at Enyan-Kakraba, and the Apiba at Senya Beraku, Central Region.
July – The Bakatue Festival in Elmina, Central Region, the Bombei, Ekyem Kofi and the Kundum Festivals in the Western Region.
August – The Asafotu-Fiam at Ada in the Eastern Region, the Homowo in and around Accra, Greater Accra Region, the Eguado To and Ahobaa Kese at Abura, Central Region, the Edim Kese at Sekondi, and the Apatwa at Dixcove in the Western Region.
September – The Fetu Afahye Festival, Cape Coast, Central Region, the Odwira Festival in Akropong, Amanokrom and Aburi, Eastern Region, the Akyempem at Agona, Ashanti Region.
October – The Kundum Festival at Esiama, Western Region.
November – The Hogbetsotso, Volta Region, the Adae Kese, the grandest of all Ashanti festivals in Kumasi Fae, the Harvest Feast at Paga, Upper East Region and the Kafie Festival in Dormaa, Brong-Ahafo.
December – The Yam Festival at Anfoega, Volta Region.
Centuries of tradition of the people of Ghana and the diversity of the distinct ethnic groups have created a rich culture that is the splendid legacy of modern Ghana.
To the people of Ghana, the traditions of their ancestors are still an important part of their daily lives. Traditional chiefs have historical authority over tribal and family matters. They are also custodians of land belonging to their respective clans or groups. Important events such as child-naming, puberty initiations, marriage and death are marked by rites and rituals at family gatherings, while seasonal festivals bring whole peoples or clans together.
The nation’s diverse culture is depicted through the many exciting festivals mentioned earlier which are held throughout the year. These reflect the rich history and culture of tribal life in the regions.
Ghana offers a wide range of hotel accommodation for her growing economy and tourist industry: cosmopolitan, metropolitan, town and country hotels and park lodges of varying comfort, elegance and convenience abound. Ghana’s hotels are classified according to the international star-rating system. In addition, there are local budget hotels and motels.
Travellers’ Cheques and Credit Cards
All Banks and Forex Bureaux accept travellers’ cheques although the rate of exchange may be slightly lower than in cash transactions. The most widely accepted credit cards are American Express, Diners Club and Visa. Cards may be used for payment at nearly all airlines, leading hotels and major supermarkets.
Ghana’s currency is the Ghana Cedi (¢) and Pesewas. The Cedi comes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. The one (1) and two (2) Cedi denominations also come in coins as do all the other lower denominations. Foreign currency can be freely exchanged at any Forex Bureaux in the country. Apart from Forex Bureaux, some Commercial Banks also exchange foreign currency. Banks are normally open from 8:30am to 3:00pm, Monday through Thursday and until 4:00pm on Friday.
Ghana is a tropical country bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by La Cote d`Ivoire, the east by Togo and the north by Burkina Faso. Its south-western part is located within the warm wet forest zone similar to the Amazon. Accra, the capital, is located in the dry equatorial zone. Kumasi is in the wet semi-equatorial region while further north is the tropical continental savannah. It lies between 4° and 11° North of the equator and has a coastline of 540 km. Northern Ghana has a rainy season from about April to October. The rest of the year is hot and dry, with temperatures up to about 38°C. In Southern Ghana, the rains last from April to June and again from September to October. Generally, temperatures are between 21° and 32°C.
Travellers are advised to consult their doctors well in advance of a visit to Ghana to begin the usual anti-malarial treatment.