Haggle hard when it comes to prices for Taxi's in Accra. As an American, I hate it. Feel bad. Like I'm cheating someone. The car salesman type tactic. I hate it. You have to do it and once you get the swing of it... go full force.
We talked a guy down from $120 U.S. to $60 U.S. for a taxi to the border.
What bugs me the most is that the taxi driver's think because you're in a "business type hotel" they can charge you the prices as such.
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Ghana is becoming a popular holiday destination and attracts different kind of tourists.
Tourists mean Euros & Dollars, so don’t be surprised when you see and hear begging kids everywhere around the country.
OBROUNI GIVE ME CEDIS is the most popular phrase.
Please stop giving money without a reason!!! Let them do small works for you or guide you before you pay something. Otherwise they stay beggars.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
To canopy walk or not to canopy walk?
Kakum National Park is a beautiful place, and well worth travelling the few miles from Cape Coast. But it's mainly focused on its famous Canopy Walk - a bridge suspended over the forest canopy (maintained scrupulously by daily checks).
Nothing wrong with the canopy walk (apart from the fact that it's expensive) but there are better ways of enjoying this park. You will almost certainly not see animals if you get there after 8 am, so an overnight stay or early-morning walk (5 30 am), arranged the night before, is a much better option.
Unique Suggestions: Don't pass up Kakum, even if you can only come during the daytime like most people.
The tropical rainforest is under severe threat here, as in other parts of the world.
It's worth paying a small sum (about 4-8 euro, depending on whether you do the Canopy) to help maintain the Park and preserve a little piece of rainforest heaven/ haven for the remaining animals, whether or not you get a glimpse of them.
Fun Alternatives: There are a few other national parks in Ghana, but this is the one with the easiest access from Accra.Related to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- National/State Park
Tipping. Bribery. Backsheesh. Dash. Call it what you like, it is a way of life in Ghana, as in much of Africa. It can grease a palm and open doors to many different establishments which may otherwise ‘be closed’, find you goods ‘not available’, and in many ways enrich your experience of Ghana.
Unique Suggestions: Don’t try to fight it, work it in to your budget before you go. As I said it is a way of life over here, and you cannot change it. Be careful how much you tip: too little and it can be an insult, too much and you are making a rod for your own back and the travellers who follow behind you. Ask a local what would be appropriate.
Fun Alternatives: For those occasions where you think it may be appropriate with a small gift, bring something along from your home country. This may especially be appreciated if you are staying with a local family.
This government legal money- spinning swindle is not unique to Ghana. Getting a visa is both time consuming and costly. All nationals, other than West Africans, require a visa to enter Ghana. We got ours by visiting the Ghanaian Embassy in London and leaving the passport with them, having downloaded an application form from the net. Costs and timing will depend on your nationality and where you reside, so check with the nearest Ghana consulate for up-to-date information. Visa service agencies can take the leg-work out of the process for you, but they do charge a fee. Fees vary from agency to agency.
Always ask before taking photographs of people, and respect their answer – if they say no, don’t take the photograph! Group shots such as markets or street scenes are OK, but many people do not like being photographed. I took this picture as I was walking through a market, and didn’t realise that the lady had covered her face.
Unique Suggestions: If people ask for money to have their photo taken, really it is up to you if you want to proceed. Negotiate a price before snapping the picture.
Fun Alternatives: If you promise someone a copy of the photograph you have just taken of them, make sure you really do send it to them. Many local people do not have access to photography and cameras, and this could well be one of the few, if not the only, photograph they have of themselves.Related to:
It is a common occurrence in many Third World countries to have dual pricing for entry to tourist attractions. I am in two minds about this system.
For: To make money from the tourists, they set what is to most of us a reasonable rate. Most local people would not be able to afford this charge, so in order to attract local people, and thus teaching them about their valuable heritage, they lower the rate for Ghanaians. Fair enough.
Against: We are both seeing the same thing, why should it cost us more?
Unique Suggestions: There is nothing you can do about it, so you just have to grin and bear it.
Whenever we stopped the mini buses, the local children would come running. Usually it was out of pure curiosity, but sometimes they would ask for pens, sweets or money.
Unique Suggestions: Never give to the children directly, as it encourages begging.
Fun Alternatives: If you want to help, give to a registered charity, or to a school.
Unfortunately in Accra the parents of Arab refugees or immigrants to Ghana have been grooming their children to beg aggressively from tourists. The children - some no more than 3 years of age will grab on to your leg and refuse to let go - the youngest one that we experienced cried and repeated over and over again "Dash me a 1000". When we gave him 500 cedies he was not satisfied and then grabbed on to the leg of someone else.
Solution - quite aggressively remove their hands from your leg and say "no" in no uncertain terms.
Unique Suggestions: Solution - quite aggressively remove their hands from your leg and say "no" in no uncertain terms. Also carry a few coins that you can throw at these children and throw it in the opposite direction to you
Fun Alternatives: There's no avoiding this one unless you can truly blend in with the locals. They tend to grab on to children or the elderlyRelated to:
- Family Travel
Kakum's not the only rainforest in Ghana !
Some find it very beatiful, but for me it ws a bit of a tourist trap. I've seen other places in Ghana where the rainforest was just as beatiful, where you didn't have to pay so much money just to enter it and where no other tourists were so you could really enjoy the sounds of the forest. It's very touristic and you'll be walking in a row of other tourists over the bridges.
Unique Suggestions: There are 7 bridges to cross above the rainforest. And you can take a guided tour (extra price) through the forest after the walk over the bridges. It's quite a way to get there so if you made the trip, I would recommend to do both.
Fun Alternatives: If you take the train from Kumasi to Takoradi you go straight through the rainforest, it's very beatiful so don't forget to watch out the window.
Also you can see a bit of rainforest at Kintampo falls.
Internet dating sites
It is a fact: if you become old, it is difficult in Europe to meet sexy young girls (unless you pay).
If you go to the Internet cafés of Accra, you will see many men creating profiles of sexy girls who want to marry an American, as old as possible.
They know what to say, but there is only one goal: HIT MONEY
Unique Suggestions: If the picture is too sexy or looks like a professional picture, it is fake. Don't answer them.
If they give you a phone number to call, and a girl is answering, it does not mean that you have a girl behind, it can just be a friend acting on behalve of your "lover".
Fun Alternatives: Never send money, never spend money on them.
Busua Beach "Hawkers"
Be aware of the many beach hawkers trying to sell you just about anything from coconuts to dried fish.
Having learnt the hard way ( by giving in to one ) it is wiser to say a firm no and look away and if that does not work, its time to get mean!
They get the message pretty soon and leave you alone to enjoy the sea and surf.
Unique Suggestions: My best advice is to stay firm with buying from the hawkers. If you buy once they will only pester you each time they see you. But I know it is hard to say no so just be aware.
Fun Alternatives: The alternative would be to take an hours drive west of Busua ( heading towards Ankobra Beach Hotel ) this is a lovely quiet beach resort with food served and accommodation provided in chalet form. It is pricey so it would be great to go for the day. No hawkers in sight there at all.
Well worth a visit.Related to:
There are always hundred and hundred of people when you land at Kotoka.
There is no problem with the custom, no steal and no tips demanded by police.
If nobody is waiting for you, go directly to the FOREX in the airport and make some change.
When you go out, there are plenty of people requesting you to carry your bags.
It is almost impossible to prevent them from doing it. However, they won't steal, they will find a taxi for you and carry everything to the car.
You can then tip them, one banknote of 2000 or 5000 cedis. Not more.
There is no counter in the car, so you will have to negociate. The price from the Airport to OSU is 15000. You are very close. The price for one hour of use of the car is between 30000 and 40000. Be careful, they are able to ask you 100000 cedis for the course! It doesn't look very expensive regarding European or US standards, but for that price you go to Aflao(100 KM!)
Unique Suggestions: Always negociate then before entering the taxi. Don't hesitate to go to another taxi, another one will be happy to charge you less and work.
Always change some cedis to tip people, else you will give them too much.
Fun Alternatives: Take one guy who is going to help you and drive others away.
Purchase of African art: handicraft.
As you are in Ghana, you will certainly buy wood (ebony) crafts and the fantastic Kente.
when you go to markets or in the street, they give you a very high price. Of course you have to negociate. Some people tell you to reach the half of the price. That's even too much.
All crafts are made in large quantities. All those people are not sculptors. The price for a small ebony item is between 2 and 5 dollars when wrapped FOB Tema.
Unique Suggestions: If they don't want to reduce the price, don't forget that there is a huge competition, so go somewhere else. There is nothing so particular and be firm with prices.
If you want to pay 10$ and they ask you 100$, then make a counter-proposal at 5 cents.
Never tell your price, be always far below.
Fun Alternatives: On the road to the garden of Aburi, coming from Accra, there are a lot of workshops alongside the road. They have very good quality work and it is cheaper than in Accra.
If you go there on Saturday afternoon, people want to sell as much as possible to have money for outting. So, they are ready to sell cheaper than any other days.
As you are in West Africa, you can meet people or they can find your address in Europe or US.
They will send you a fax or letteror e-mail, even call you, requesting you for a very good business. They are all the son of a very rich man who just died and saved millions of USD in banknotes. You can check the names, they are real. The money is in a security house and they beg you to help to save the money in Europe. They are ready to give you 20%.
If you go with them, you see effectively millions in banknotes in a house, but the bags have been there for a very long time and they don't have the first dollar to pay the renting and be able to withdraw the bags from the house. So YOU have to pay. Be careful, all is fake. They are very good actors and even Swiss bankers were had in this business.
Never accept any kind of business from people there. Never trust Nigerians, they are all dishonnest and just want to take your money.
For the story, I received 11 letters in Belgium from Nigerians. They had my number from my own cards. But when I go to Africa, I have real cards and fake ones with an Internet special number I give to people I don't trade with. The total amount of dollars in cash was 785 million dollars! All this money was waiting in so-called security houses. Imagine that I could have more than 150 million dollars. How stupid I was not to do business with them !!! ;-)
There are plenty versions, sometime the banknotes fell in tar and you have to pay the solvent.
Unique Suggestions: Never meet these people. Don't fall in the trap. All what they say is not possible.
If they meet you, someone else will follow you and steal when they feel that they won't be able to take your cash.
Fun Alternatives: If they talk to you in the street or restaurant, tell that you are not interested and run away, it can be very dangerous.
If they really had money, they would not ask you to help them. Too many people are still falling in the trap.
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