Open Sewer System
The sewer system is on the side of the roads in Accra. Some have concrete blocks covering them and some have metal grates. Either way they are covered (or not) they are still in disrepair. You must watch where you walk, especially at night. You could easily twist your ankle. I know I posted a lot of photos of the street sewers but I was fascinated.
Bargain, bargain and bargain some more
Wasn't sure whether to put this in the Local Custom section or not. When a taxi quotes you 5 cedi's you tell him 2 cedi's and that is in the evening. Of course, it depends how far you are going. From Asylum Down to Osu that is a fair price. They see "tourist" and jack up the price. We did pay coming out of an expensive restaurant in Osu going back to Asylum Down and it was 5 cedi's and there was no backing down so we caved.
Drive from the points I'm talking about are roughly 10-15 minutes depending on traffic.
go to the police
I didn't experience any crime while i was in Ghana, there was one occasion where it was quite late and a guy was trying to 'guide' me to my guesthouse and wouldn't leave me alone but when i stopped another man to ask directions he showed me to the policestation where they looked after me and i ended up being escorted to my guesthouse by the chief inspector!
I found the Ghanaian police very helpful from just wanting directions, information or if you feel unsafe, they even pumped up my bicycle tyre when i had a puncture!Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Family Travel
Buying from traffic lights
Many people earn a living by selling foods, mints etc from traffic lights. They are to be commended as it keeps them away from other not so savoury industries! Do beware however. You will always see bags of apples being sold with packets of toilet paper. The apples are kept cool by soaking in barrel of water and bagged 6 to a bag. So I'll leave it to your imagination as to why the 2 are sold together!
Walking on your own or as a couple
Please enquire at your hotel whether it is safe to venture outside without driver at night. We did one night and were very lucky. A man offered to walk us home, naturally we were suspicious but one of my beach friends had sent him to us because of the local danger and the distance was only 100 yds. When we offered to tip him he became highly embarrassed as he genuinely only offered out of friendship
Early explorers and missionaries, including the Great Egyptologist, Belzoni, died soon after arrival in Ghana. Today, the traveler's risk of dying by dysentary is low, and most other health risks can be vaccinated. The sole threat remains malaria, an illness spread by mosquitoes.
Authorities prescribe prophylatics a month before, during, and for a month after the trip, unless it will last more than several months. Prophylatics for malaria are not a vaccine but act to combat reproduction of malaria cysts in the blood. Mosquitoes detect humans by respired CO2, but less than 10% of mosquitoes carry malaria.
Ghana physicians at government clinics easily diagnose malaria. My wife disliked the nauseating side effects of the prophylatics, and stopped taking them. In Kumasi, she fell ill. I rushed her to the hospital, a dingy institution by USA standards. Crowded with patients, records were kept on index cards, banded and boxed, but Belinda was rushed to the doctor. By her report the doctor ruled out malaria, but took a blood sample anyway. We filled his prescription at a private pharmacy, as the hospital pharmacy was not stocked. After 35 days on the road in West Africa, my wife and I returned home healthy.
We are not medical experts but suggest the followng. First, use a DEET clothes wash kit to treat a set of clothes before leaving home. Second, use a 50% DEET lotion to stop mosquitoes from landing on the skin. Third, wear long sleeves and pants, especially at night. Fourth, and most importantly, since being biten at night during sleep is very common, stay in hotels with air-conditioning. Most towns in Ghana have at least one hotel with A/C, which eliminates a habitat of stable, hot, humid air that mosquitoes need and disperses/evacuates respired CO2. If the traveler is on a very tight budget, or if no a/c is available, a good fan near the bed can help, but then sleep in a mosquito net. Fifth, avoid spending time about the open sewers common in the cities.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
I often read and hear stories about "that you have to be careful in Ghana". Everybody is strongly advised to be very careful in busy or dark places; for robberies, pick-pocketing, violence and all other kinds of drama.
I stayed in Ghana for 2,5 months and in this period I visited a lot of busy places and I walked alone in the streets at night in major cities like Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and Cape Coast. I don't know what more I should have done to get in dangerous or threatening situations, but I experienced nothing like that.
The Ghanaian people are friendly people and are sincerely interested in the visitors in their country. And according to my experiences, that doesn't change when it gets darker, when it becomes crowdy or the you walk alone in a desolate place.
Of course it is wise not to walk around showing off expensive things and of course you'd better stay away from poor area's in the middle of the night, but there is absolutely no need to scare yourself because of all the stories you hear here and there.Related to:
- Road Trip
If you are going to Ghana and especially when you are planning to spend a long time there, be prepared that nothing will stop you from having Malaria. Of course you should take your Malaria-medecines, wear mosquito repellant when the insects come out after sunset, and you should sleep under a mosquito net when there are mosquito in the room you are sleeping in.
But then again, you will get bitten anyway, and then the risk is very high that you will get sick. Therefore, be very careful when you are not feeling well: fever, sickness, tiredness and a lack of appetite are some of the signs. When you are feeling like that, better go to the hospital immediately.
In Ghana they are very generous with medecines and they will give you the Malaria medecines easily. But better to take these pills when there is nothing wrong with you, than to ignore it and wait until you have to spend some day in the hospital with an infuse in your arm.
Sorry for the scary talk, but my experience is that under people who spend at least 2 months in Ghana, at least 50% gets Malaria.
It burns your mouth
These Halls ginger sweets really blow your head off! I love ginger and I loved these sweets, but even I found them a little overpowering at times. One is enough a day! They are made by Halls in Ghana. Don’t try them if you think Fisherman’s Friend is strong – these are ten times stronger! Treat with caution!Related to:
- Food and Dining
Taking photographs of people
Ghanaians don't like foreigners pointing cameras at them, and who can blame them?
Some, in the more touristy places, will ask you for a considerable sum of money as a way of dissuading you. When people are this good-looking and photogenic, this can be frustrating, but I think it's best to respect people's feelings - and avoid turning this into another commercial transaction.
That said, not everyone feels the same. I was taking some shots of Aburi town when I noticed an older woman coming into the frame and lowered my camera to avoid offence (still, she shook her finger at me and said 'no pictures, be careful'). Then I discovered that a young charmer had also wandered into the frame a few seconds earlier - her attitude was very different!
Generally speaking, rural Ghana suffers very little in the way of traffic jams. We did see quite a few bits of traffic congestion in urban areas however.
There are many police road checks along the way, which often cause tailbacks, Make sure that your papers are in order at all times.
Road works are common, causing traffic to build up, or complete road closures making long deviations necessary. Often these are not signposted, and at one stage we had to rely on the knowledge of a local bus driver to find our way around a closed road.
It is all part of the fun of driving in Ghana.Related to:
- Road Trip
There are many poisonous as well as non-poisonous snakes in Ghana, but you are very unlikely to encounter any. So we were told. And believed. Until one day in Tamale…..
Just as we were finished our lunch, there was a bit of commotion outside the walls of the restaurant, with a crowd gathering and throwing stoned at the ground just by the wall. Being curious creatures, we went to investigate, and found that it was a snake! The locals had managed to kill it by the time we got there (thankfully) and we never did find out whether it was poisonous or not (again thankfully). A bit of excitement for the day though.
We think it was probably the non-venomous mole snake, but we didn’t want to take any chances.Related to:
- Road Trip
Putting your hand in your pocket
The local expression for ‘wishing to use the bathroom’, ‘spending a penny’, ‘powdering your nose’ or whatever the delicate expression is in your neck of the woods, is ‘putting your hand in your pocket.’
Be aware that public toilets are few and far between in West Africa. Where they do exist they are most usually the squat variety and may not be to your desired standard. It may be preferable to use the ‘bush toilet’. Sometimes there is a small charge for using public facilities.Related to:
- Road Trip
During the dry season, dust can be a major problem for visitors to Ghana. Not only is dust unsettled by passing vehicles, at this time of year you get the very unpleasant Harmattan – a dust laden wind from the Sahara. If you drive in a vehicle with the windows open, every time you pass another vehicle, you will be covered with dust, as you can see from picture five.
It is not just the fact that everything you wear becomes filthy, cameras really don’t like dust, and as for what it does for your lungs, time can only tell. I slept under the stars a couple of nights while in Ghana, and on the second night I woke up with the driest mouth I have ever had, which later developed into an extremely sore throat. I had in effect lost my voice completely when I woke up – all due to the dusty air.
Sometimes you don’t even realise just how dusty the atmosphere is – I didn’t think it was at all dusty the evening I took picture four – you can’t see it with the naked eye, but the flash gun certainly picked it up!Related to:
- Road Trip
Many of the roads in Ghana are not paved and some are really no more than dirt tracks. There are lots of pot holes, and we were there in the dry season, so I should imagine it get a whole lot worse in the wet season. Allow more time than you think it will take, even to travel short distances. There are also many road works, as well as road checks by traffic police. We must have been stopped two or three times AT LEAST, every single day by police checks.Related to:
- Road Trip
I am a frequent visitor to Ghana and this is my perhaps 12th visit to this hotel. I find it to be...more
Rain Tree Road
Good for: Couples
1 JJ Rawlings St. , Cape Coast, 00000, Ghana
Good for: Couples
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