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YELLOW FEVER CERTIFICATE !
Boarding the plane in Lisbon, I had to show this to board! Please plan ahead!
The vaccination lasts 10 years and is cheaper and easier than death. Please get vaccinated at least 10 days prior to travel.
Odds and ends
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: T-shirts rather than tank tops: the equatorial sun is fierce...Also I found T-shirts better than Indian kurtas, which are more suited to a dry climate (I may try them again in Mali if I get there next year).
Avoid shorts or short skirts as they are not worn by local people - go for light trousers and skirts.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Malaria pills (prophylaxis) are essential. In most cities it's easy to find malaria cures, and it may be worth buying a course of pills in case you get ill in an out-of-the-way place. Falciparum malaria can be fatal!
For the same reason, bring mosquito coils DEET-based or Autan repellent and a net, though a net may be hard to position in most hotel rooms. Also bring a thermometer: a temperature of over 38C is a possible sign of malaria, so go to the nearest hospital immediately.
Bring iodine, gauze and bandaid as even a small cut can easily be infected in a tropical climate.
Miscellaneous: I wish I'd brought a flashlight. There are no street lights in the cities, so a quiet streets can be difficult to navigate (especially as there's usually an open gutter on the side of the street).
A travel clothesline can be useful if you want to wash your clothes in budget hotels (and there's no laundry service).
Luggage and bags: Ghana is very hot so dress to the weather
Miscellaneous: Well let me be the first to welcome u to my motherland be forwarned ghanaians we are good but not all of us are so if u come get someone u know who lives or have been to ghana before to help u and be careful of the boys cus before relies you will have give all ur life saving to a boy so please be careful and dnt forget to eat fufu and palmnut soup you wil love it
Luggage and bags: I would say one carry on size backpack/rucksack. It will get you thru customs quick on both ends and they will fit on your lap or under a seat on a bus if you pack them right. I hate having to lug around suit cases..take only what you need and nothing you cannot afford to loose. I will throw in a zip lock bag for documents so they don't get wet and a plastic grocery bag for keeping your dirty laundry separate.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It's hot here so a good pair of walking shoes (I prefer hiking boots) and some basic flip flops/slaps or whatever you want to call them for walking around the small coastal towns/beaches
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: You can get just about everything here so unless you are attached to a particular brand..try and take what will fit in a 1 quart bag. I like qtips so I can clean the water out of my ears after sa swim..others have their must haves... Don't forget your anti malarials and I now take probiotics with me as I have had the runs a few too many times and this stuff when taken daily seems to help.
Photo Equipment: I am all digital and like my Nikon Coolpix since it fits in my front pocket. Don't forget an clean SD card and your charger. If you use film you should be able to buy it here but I did not check
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I brought one of those quick dry camping towels this time. It worked great and if it was still damp when we were ready to head out it would dry on the outside of my pack. They also make a decent pillow if you get stranded some where.
Miscellaneous: Bring a small torch..you never know when the power will go out...had to use mine to read one night.Related to:
obvious things but also . . .
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: a long sleeved top and/or thin jumper because occasionally it does get less hot. closed toed shoes, fire ants aren't fun.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: mosquito repellent, sun screen, etc plenty of pain killers just in case as the ones you find over there aren't as good.
I found shampoo hard to find outside of cities.
unless you'll be completely in the middle of nowhere don't worry too much about water purifiers, everywhere i went there were people selling 500ml satchets of purified water, it tastes a bit funny but is perfectly fine to drink and at only 5 peshwas a time it's probably cheaper than tablets or purifiers. Saying that it might be an idea to take a small supply just incase, as you don't want to get stuck with the choice of dehydration or cholera roulette.
Photo Equipment: during the dry season there is a lot of dust, especially in the north so i wouldn't take a very expensive camera as the light is pretty bad and it'll just get damaged.
Miscellaneous: books, paper and pens, you'll do a lot of waiting for buses to fill before they leave so have something to entertain you.
Sleeping bag liner to sleep in helps to stop mosquito bites.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Budget Travel
Luggage and bags: Very small bags to carry your items around with you. But do put hotel type shampoo and conditioner the local Rastas really appreciate it
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Summer clothes and light shoes but long tops and trousers for evening
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Any medical and toiletries you can think of I didn't see any local shops which would sell these at all
Photo Equipment: Everything you need
Books for the road
Miscellaneous: If you come to Ghana, as I did, thinking it will be easy to find books by Ghanaian and other African authors, think again. I only found a few in Legon University Bookstore (which is worth visiting) and in the Black Star bookshop in Cape Coast. So pack a couple of novels for the road. But if you're in Cape Coast, do drop in at the Black Star. It has a wildly eclectic collection in all subjects. I was able to suprise a friend of mine who loves Colette with an old leather-bound edition of Cheri!Related to:
Miscellaneous: In a lot of hotels/guesthouses in Ghana it is not normal to supply the guests with sheets in the rooms. And because the average Ghanaian room has mattrasses and pillows that don't look too clean and can be pretty smelly too, it is very wise to take a set with you.
A sheet for around the mattrass and the pillow should be enough; you won't need blankets to cover yourself in most (hot and sweaty) rooms.
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Miscellaneous: An essential thing to bring with you when you are planning to travel through Ghana, is the Bradt Guide on Ghana. There is no guide like this one about this country. Lonely Planet only has a guide about the whole of West Africa, with very limited information about Ghana.
The Bradt has all the necessary information about connections of transport, places to stay and places to visit. The only disadvantage is that prices have changed a lot since the last print, so be prepared to spend at least 20% more than the book indicates, especially on accommodations.
Miscellaneous: If you're like me and from America, forget the 25% mosquito repellent. African mosquitos are ridiculous. 25% is NOTHING to them. Either wait til you get to Ghana and get their mosquito repellent, or go on ebay and get 50% deet repellent. A good one is Repel 55 or 50.
General tips from a health care provider
Luggage and bags: Make sure you bring luggage and/or bags that you wouldn't mind getting dirty. Ghana is a very dusty country..forget about bringing your nice purses & bags!!!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: I only stayed in Ghana for 1 month from Sept - Oct 05. In my opinion, you only need 2 long sleeve shirts (for the cold nights & STC buses), rain jacket (rainy season/light jacket), 8 shirts (sleeveless & tshirts), 1 capri, 1 pants, 2 skirts (get fabrics & get them made, you'll only spend $5-10), 2 soccer shorts, 2 pair of BLACK socks, 8 underwear & sneakers. It depends on your style but my advice is NOT to bring whites (hard to handwash -- no washing machines people!) & wear pastel colored clothes at night (mosquitos like dark colors). The best 2 things I wore in Ghana: shorts & flipflops. A reminder to female travellers -- please wear soccer shorts (long shorts almost to your knees), short shorts is a big no no in Ghana. Anyway, you don't even need to bring a lot of clothes. I bought some of my clothes in the markets. I bought my Adidas & Umbro shorts for 15,000-20,000 cedis (a little more than $2)!!! Flip flops for 5,000 cedis. If you like a good "garage sale", you'll definitely enjoy ghana.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: My advice is to use 25-30% DEET for your mosquito repellant & only spray it at night or on wildlife hikes. A mosquito net is a necessity (I like the "bug tent". Some hotel rooms doesn't have hooks to hang the net). Light skin or not, please use waterproof (you'll be sweating under the African sun) sunblock. For soap, handtowels, hairspray, laundry detergent, etc -- you can buy it cheaply in Ghana. I found hand sanitizer extremely useful for the urinals/toilets in Ghana (they don't have places to wash hands). Lastly, for medication...here's a small list: anti diarrhea (BUT if you have diarrhea, it's better to "let it flow" than medicate yourself. You might have an infection & it's better to get it out of your body & rehydrate yourself & eat well), benadryl (if you have an allergy reaction from exotic animals, food), pepto (for unfamiliar foods), pain meds (i.e. tylenol, advil etc), AND anti malaria meds (doxycycline, larium, malarone -- just know the side effects). Also, bring bandages & topical antibiotics.
Miscellaneous: My main advice: Drink PLENTY of water/fluids, wash your hands before you eat, know what your eating, try different foods but try them little by little, and have an excellent time!!!
Luggage and bags: towel,sponge,soap.tooth paste etc.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: t-shirts,shirts,sandals,jeans,trousers and shorts.shoe and canvas
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: mosquito repellant,soap,sponge,towel,shaving cream,drugs for malaria.
Photo Equipment: camera and video shooter
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: beach wear,boots.Related to:
- Family Travel
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: No need for a tent, though a light sleep sack for hostels where there are no sheets or you wouldn't trust the sheets is a must.
Miscellaneous: No one told me before I went, but bring US Dollars cash to change, and bring only $100 bills. If you have twenties, it will be tough to change them outside a bank, and if you do, you'll get a bad exchange rate. Also, they only take visa at the banks and ATMs, or for that matter anywhere else, so don't expect to use any other card anywhere.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Some of the basics for Ghana....
Luggage and bags: Durable luggage, particularly something that cleans easily: it's VERY dusty in Ghana! Wheels are good, but not everywhere in Ghana has paving, so expect to carry your luggage a lot.
Take an empty bag: you'll want to take souvenirs home! If you forget, you could easily buy one of the chequered (laundry-type) bags.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: One light sweater or at long sleeved top: depending on the time of the year you go, it might get windy at night.
A small umbrella: when it rains, it pours!
Clothes made of light, natural fabrics are good as you wont feel sweaty or clammy in them.
Hard wearing shoes/sandals: not all the roads are paved, some are very uneven, so you'll need durable shoes.
Leave the short shorts at home: it isn't done in Ghana and you'll only be stared at.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Anti-Malaria - this is important. Start the course four weeks before you leave for Ghana.
Mosquito repellent: believe me, you'll be glad of it!
* The water is so soft that soap is fine, (unless you have a serious skin complaint). Don’t take any special "moisturising" shower gels from the West, though, because you might have trouble washing it off thoroughly. This will cause you a lot of discomfort.
*If you use body lotion, take a very light one, unless you are travelling in the dry season (Harmattan)
* Ditto for face cream: you'll be very sweaty.
* Contact lens paraphernalia: take spares, I found that the average pharmacy doesn't stock these.
Anti-histamines, if you are prone to irritation.
Photo Equipment: Lots of camera film, and a spare battery: you can get them Ghana but you might not be near a good camera shop when you need them.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: * Take hankies, tissues or wet wipes with you. so you can freshen up at any time.
* take a personal fan and/or some cooling spray.
Miscellaneous: Things you can get in Accra:
Dusting powder: it's mentholated talc that soothes prickly heat, buy some as soon as you step off the plane!
Bottled water, available from shops, it's dirt cheap!
Painkillers: get them from a proper pharmacy, not from the street!
If you aren’t able to get your vaccinations done before you leave, you can get them done at a hospital very cheaply.
There are Western-style supermarkets in Osu, Accra.
You can get manicures and pedicures for a pittance (equivalent of GBP1.00) so you could just take the basics
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Weather is very hot, so clothes for hot season. Don't forget long sleeves shirts and long trousers in cream colour for evenings: protection against mosquito bites
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: MALARIA: some malaria of the North of Ghana resist now to the usual medecine.
Anyway, if you are travelling less than three months, take the usual paludrine and nivaquine.
You can also have a stronger like LARIAM, but only use it if you feel fever and think you have malaria.
I do like this: I don't take anything, but have my tablets. If I feel fever, I take tablets during some days, 5 per day.
And every day, I eat some hot pepper and garlic. This food gives a particular smell to you blood mosquitos hate!
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