Favorite thing: Cape Coast was the capital of the British Gold Coast possessions until the 1870s, when the capital was transferred to Accra. At the port in Cape Coast, they export products of the district, such as frozen fish, cacao, coconuts, citrus fruits, corn, and cassava. Cape coast is also known for its qualitative university.
Favorite thing: After many hours at a shady terrace of Akuma Village, looking at the blue ocean at a lazy sunday afternoon, Louis, a local boy, invited me to his shop nearby. at the Arts Centre. After he showed me the newly made djembes in his workshop, his friends came in and started to play at the djembes for a long long time. It was real fun.
Gonja is the name of a Kingdom in Northern Ghana, but the name is also used to describe the people of this kingdom. The Gonja kingdom was established in 1675, ruled by the Ngbanya dybasty. The kingdom is also known as Ghanjawiyyu. The Gonja language is spoken by approximately 230,000 and is part of the Kwa group of languages.
Traditionally, the Gonja society is divided into a caste system, with a ruling class, a Muslim trader class, the animist commoner class and the slave class. In the old days, the main economy was the export of slaves and cola nuts.
The Dagomba people, although they live in close proximity to the Gonja people, sometimes in the same village, they speak a totally different language: the Dagbani language, which belongs to the More-Dagbani sub-group of Gur languages. The main group of Dagomba people live in Burkina Faso, with subgroups such as this group of about 650,000 Dagbamba in Ghana, who live in an area of around 8,000 square miles.
The Dagbamba culture is a very sophisticated oral culture alhtough lacking in written culture), which centres around the drum and other musical instruments. Their culture is heavily influenced by Islam.
We visited a Dagarti village on the way to Mole National Park. The village was small and very primitive by western standards. There was no electricity, nor a well in the village, and the women would walk two miles or more to fecth water, carrying it back in a large container on their head.
The huts are built around a small courtyard, with the village chief having his own hut and each of his wives (he may have up to four wives) a hut each with their young children. There is no kitchen as such in their houses – during the dry season they would cook outside, when it rains they would take the fire inside. There is no chimney in the hut, so the smoke would linger inside.
Ghana is one of the coastal countries in westafrica. In contrast to its neighbours, it was once a british colony what explains why many people there are english speaking.
For tourists, it is more or less a easy-going place, as transport seems to be not a big problem, and some places are quite touristy. I've met there more backpackers than in other west african countries.
The people are very friendly and relaxed. This causes a good atmosphere in the villages and even in the big cities like Accra
Fondest memory: The peaceful atmosphere everywhere in the country
About one hour by bush taxi from Cape Coast, there is the Kakum National park.
It is in an area of rain forest. The main attraction of the park are for sure the swinging bridges up to 40 meters above ground. Ther you can explore the animals living in the higher parts of the immense trees.
On ground, you will see, of corse, a lot of different plants. It seems like it si not very often that you are able to see bigger animals during the day. For this you should come in the early morning or late evening.
One good thing about Ghana is the fact that English is widely spoken. Not by everyone, but wherever you come, there will always be someone around who speaks English. BUT: there is a big different in pronounciation between "normal" English and Ghanaian/African English. And it can take a while before you are completely used to it. A few examples of typical things for this Ghanaian accent:
- You will never hear the word "ask" in Ghana. Everybody in the country uses "AKS" instead. With a Brittish "a", not the American version.
- All other words with "sk" are wrongly pronounced too: "deks" instead of "desk", "moks" instead of "mosque" and "taks" instead of "task".
- All word ending on "er" in Ghana end on "a". "Water" becomes "wotta" and "Peter" becomes "Peetta".
- "Three" is pronounced as "tri" by everybody, and "thousand" as "tousand".
- Small, little, few, and everything indicating something like it, is called "small small" in Ghana. "I talk English small small..."
- Other words that are funnily pronounced are "flim" instead of "film" or "tessi" instead of "taxi".
The local currency in Ghana is the Cedi. One Cedi is close to nothing, so there are no Cedi-cents or something. At the time of writing (begin 2007) the rate was very easy compared to the US Dollar: 10.000 Cedis is about 1 US Dollar. That is why in all my tips, I used this rate to indicate prices.
In Ghana, you hardly use coins to pay with, simply because they are hardly worth anything. The bills that you will are 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, 10.000 and 20.000 Cedis. A quick calculation tells that the highest banknote is only worth 2 Dollars, so when you want to pay something quite expensive, you will need a whole lot of banknote. For example, an average lunch will cost you about 35.000 Cedis, a busticket from Accra to Tamale costs 120.000 Cedis, but when you want to buy a planeticket, it will cost you at least 5 minutes to count the 1.200.000 Cedis you need to pay for that!
Most of the banknotes are very dirty and smelly, especially the 1.000, 2.000 and 5.000, because they are used to most and are the oldest. Besides the banknote there are coins of 500, 200, 100 and even 50 Cedis, of which the last one is worth $ 0,005!!!
Favorite thing: Savannah Kids Education Project is a young project, founded with the aim to give underprivileged children in the north of Ghana the possibility to follow primary and secondary education. Unfortunately there are many families in Ghana with the lack of financial means to send their children to school. Because of that many children end up at the streets, where they try to earn some money as hawker or a shoe shine boy. S.K.E.P. wants to see these children back at school, where they belong. By giving these children the possibility to follow education now, they will have hope for a better future.
In ancient times Ghana was called, Gold Coast and in Obuasi you see why.
Large mining elevators, gold dealers, statues and so on.
More info: Obuasi
Favorite thing: Cape Coast is the capital of the Central Region. The area was settled by the Portuguese in 1610. The Swedes built in 1652 the fort of Carolusberg, which passed to the Dutch in 1659 and to the British in 1667.
You have to get the visa in the country of your origin or of your residence. In case there is no Ghana embassy in that country you have to find out witch embassy is relevant for you (for Austrians it is Bern, Switzerland, for Irish it is London....).
In Bern (quite friendly embassy) it takes 3 working day's (if you call them and explain why you might get it the same day) and 80 Swiss francs for a 30 day tourist visa valid for 1 entry within 90 day's
You need also a ticket out (but if you drive there they might accept that) and 2 references witch are not suposed to have a POBox adress (most cheap hotels have that, but if you have a reservation it is enough), you need also to fill out 4 application forms (you have to download them) with 4 photos.
In Berlin (rather unfrieny) it is € 50, and similar conditions to Bern.
In London you can appearently also apply online.
These regulations are quite new, at least in Vienna travel agencies and visa services where full of wrong informations (all this can change of course any moment)
Visa is available also in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 3 working day's, 17700 CFA and a good reason why you couldn't get it in your home country.
Favorite thing: Ghana is a great country to visit..especially if you've never been anywhere in Africa. Most people can understand and/or speak English, friendly, and safe. You will feel welcome alsmot everywhere you go. There are many places to go and things to do. From going to the villages (attending festivals), going to the different parks (kakum, mole), major towns (kumasi, accra etc), some beaches, going to the art center, and just walking around the different places. One must definitely buy a travel guide -- I used Brandt & it was good enough. Great country!!!
Favorite thing: A Forex is where you change money. It is kind of intimidating as we are used to going to a bank or ATM. There aren't many ATM's and I would advise against them. Too many horror stories. Forex places have the cash, decent rates and you're out in a flash.
More Regions in Ghana