As one of the most popular tourist destinations in West Africa, Ghana has something for every kind of traveler. From its cosmopolitan capital to historic cities steeped in Ashanti culture, the country is known for its urban flair; while its parks and game reserves are filled with exotic wildlife. On the coast, secluded beaches are interspersed with forts that serve as a reminder of Ghana’s tragic role in the slave trade. This is one of the region’s wealthiest, most stable countries – making it a great starting point for first-time visitors to Africa.
Ghana is located on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. It shares land borders with Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo.
With a total area of 92,098 miles/ 238,533 square kilometers, Ghana is similar in size to the United Kingdom.
The capital of Ghana is Accra, located on the country’s southern shore.
According to July 2016 estimates by the CIA World Factbook, Ghana has a population of almost 27 million people. Akan is the largest ethnic group, accounting for approximately half of the total population.
English is the official language and the lingua franca in Ghana. However, around 80 indigenous languages are also spoken – of these, Akan dialects like Ashanti and Fante are the most widely used.
Christianity is the most popular religion in Ghana, accounting for 71% of the population. Just over 17% of Ghanaians identify as Muslim.
Thanks to its equatorial location, Ghana has a tropical climate with hot weather all year round. Although temperatures vary slightly according to geographical region, you can expect daily averages of around 85°F/ 30°C. The wet season generally lasts from May to September (although in the south of the country there are two rainy seasons – March to June, and September to November).
When to Go:
The best time to visit Ghana is during the dry season (October to April), when precipitation is limited and humidity is at its lowest. This is also the time of year with the least mosquitoes, while unpaved roads are usually in good condition.
The whitewashed castles at Cape Coast and Elmina are the most impressive of Ghana’s remaining slave forts. Built in the 17th and 15th centuries respectively, both served as holding stations for African slaves en route to Europe and the Americas. Today, castle tours and museum exhibits offer an emotional insight into one of the darkest periods of human history.
With a reputation as one of the safest capital cities in West Africa, Accra is a bustling metropolis known as much for its traditional culture as it is for its music scene, restaurants and nightclubs. Top attractions include colorful Makola Market (a great place to shop for souvenirs); and the National Museum, home of Ashanti, Ghanaian and slave trade artifacts.
Located in southern Ghana, Kakum National Park offers visitors the chance to explore a tract of unspoiled tropical rainforest filled with fascinating animals – including rare forest elephants and buffalo. Over 250 different bird species have been recorded within the park, and there’s an excellent canopy walkway measuring some 1150 feet/350 meters.
As Ghana’s largest national park, Mole is the top safari destination for visiting wildlife lovers. It is home to elephant, buffalo, leopard and the rare roan antelope. If you’re lucky, you may spot one of the park’s recently re-introduced lions, while the birdlife here is also fantastic. There are options for vehicle and walking safaris under the supervision of a local guide.
Located in Accra, Kotoka International Airport (ACC) is Ghana’s main gateway for overseas travelers. Major airlines that fly to Kotoka International Airport include Delta Airlines, British Airways, Emirates and South African Airways. Visitors from most countries (including those in North America and Europe) will need a visa to enter the country – check this website or consult with your nearest embassy for further details on requirements and processing times.
As well as ensuring that your routine vaccines are up-to-date, you will need to be vaccinated against yellow fever before traveling to Ghana. Anti-malaria prophylactics are strongly recommended, as are vaccines for Hepatitis A and typhoid. Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should be aware that Zika virus is a risk in Ghana, too. For a full list of medical requirements, check the CDC website. WAS THIS PAGE HELPFUL?
By Lydia Kukua Asamoah, GNA
Accra, Dec 19, GNA – Dr Eric Oduro Osae, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has urged Ghanaians to change their attitudes towards local government elections.
“Because everybody lives in a local government area and it is the local government that determines the kinds of structures that should be put in the communities. It is the local governments that works on roads, and works on your security and so you must show interest in the system”, he said.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra, Dr Osae said:
“If you are not interested in your local government and are interested in only the national government you are doing a great disservice to yourself”.
Expressing his disappointment over the low turnout at the just ended district level elections, he explained that there were four people who are very important when it comes to democracy and development; which are the Unit Committee member, the assembly member, the Member of Parliament and the President.
“If you are not interested in getting good leaders to represent you in these four categories, development will delay, so people must be interested”, he advised.
He said it was not just enough to vote for members of the Unit Committee and Assembly Members, but “after you have voted, hold them accountable and make sure that they deliver.
“Let them appreciate the fact that you have voted for them and you will be watching their activities closely and ensure that they will bring development to the people.
Dr Osae said people should also be interested in what the assemblies do, because they collect their moneys in the form of taxes meant for developing their areas.
“Be an active citizens and not a passive citizen”, he said.
Explaining the work of the Assembly member, Dr Osae said the assembly member is like a local Parliamentarian who represent the entire electoral area at the District Assembly level.
“He is a facilitator of development, who listens to people and under the law, he is expected to consult his people before attending to assembly meetings so that he will know their needs.
“He puts the needs of his people on the table at the Assembly meeting
“The Assembly member is expected to make by-laws for the proper management of the assembly’s areas of jurisdictions as well as to help in working with the people to increase revenue for the development of the areas”.
He said once elected, if any assembly member was seen not to perform to the satisfaction of his or her people, the people could recall him or her, through the petitioning of the Electoral Commissioner who would arrange for a new assembly member.
He said the Unit Committee members and Assembly members live within the electoral areas in the communities and operate at the Unit Committee’s office in the same area.
The Unit Committee members and Unit members are the first points of call when there were developmental issues, he said, adding, “they are “our messengers and the people who carry our messages to the assembly on our behalf.
He said technically, assembly members do not have common funds to carry out developmental projects, but they lobby and facilitate development so people should not have a higher expectations that an assembly member is coming to construct a school.
He said all assembly members are resourced with motor bikes to serve their communities and to attend meetings while sitting and transport allowances are given to them when they attend assembly meetings.