Safety Tips in Ghana

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    Putting your hand in your pocket

    by grets Updated Feb 7, 2007

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    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.

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    Criminality

    by Pieter11 Written Aug 8, 2007

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    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.

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    Pickpockets!

    by MissThing606 Written Nov 25, 2006

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    Just like any bustling city, Accra has its pickpockets. They're quick and light-fingered, so they'll get to ANY exposed pocket, bag or backpack. Sometimes, the pickpockets watch their "victims" for a couple of blocks and then swoop in.

    Io avoid being robbed, don't carry money or valuables in your back pockets of your clothes or the outside pockets of your bags. Use a pocket that's close to your body (e.g a breast pocket) where you'd feel intrusive fingers. Keep your bag close to your body with the closures turned inward.

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    Dust

    by grets Written Feb 7, 2007

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    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!

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    Snakes

    by grets Written Feb 7, 2007

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    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.

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    Don't drink the tap water

    by grets Written Jan 13, 2007

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    Water is readily available in bottles of every size as well s in these sealed plastic bags. They are a much cheaper and environmentally friendly way of purchasing water – however, be aware that there are some street sellers who will offer you water in unsealed bags. Avoid. The water bags are also available in many of the stores, bars and restaurants, as well as from the street sellers who will bring them to your car. Even bought off the street, the bags are usually kept cool through insulation and it’s a great way of cooling down on a long hot road trip by placing a cold water bag or two on your lap.

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    It burns your mouth

    by grets Written Feb 25, 2007

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    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!

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    Traffic

    by grets Written Feb 19, 2007

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    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.

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    Ghana - Togo Border closes at 9 PM

    by ajayzener Written Jan 14, 2007

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    We were travlelling from Ghana to Togo by car, we reached the border at 9:15 PM to realise that the border is closed. We were warned initially that the border closes at 10 Pm. But to our surprise we found it closed. We had no choice but to stay back. In the night we hunted around the area for a good hotel, none was to be found. Finally we landed in a small hotel which charged us 20,000 Cedis for a double room, needless to say that the rooms were stinky and the bathroom door did not close. Also the main door had a latch which was just coming off. We spent a sleepless night here.

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    the weather babe

    by pflame Written Apr 19, 2006

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    Bounded on the South by the Atlantic Ocean and on the West by La Cote d"ivoire, the East by Togo and the North by Burkina Faso. Ghana is a tropical country. The South Western part is located within the warm wet forest zone similar to the Amazon. Accra, the capital, is located in the dry equatorial cones. Kumasi is in the wet savanna. It lies between 4? and 11 ? North at the equator and has a coastline of 540 km.

    Northern Ghana has a range season from about April to October. The rest,
    of the year is hot and dry, with temperatures up to about 38?C. In Southern Ghana the rains last from April to June and again from September to October. Generally temperatures are between 21 - 31?C. The rains are usually restricted to specific times each day during the rainy season; they are not continuous throughout the day.

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    HIV AIDS

    by Alpha_Ghana Written Apr 17, 2005

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    It is a fact, HIV is present eveywhere and more particularly in Africa. The number of HIV positive people is always underestimated.
    In Ghana, the principal vector of HIV is not unsafe sex but doctors. With the poor level of basic hygiene in the hospitals, you can enter for a flue and go out with HIV.
    It has happened to a French after a visit of an hospital in Tema.

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    Medial facilities

    by pflame Written Apr 19, 2006

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    Modern private and public hospitals and clinics are available in all cities and big towns. Tourist should contact travelers" medical insurance companies to cover any medical contingencies while away from their home countries.

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    The end is nigh

    by grets Written Jan 13, 2007

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    We saw this sign on a wall in a restaurant in Kumasi. I sincerely hope it isn’t a reflection of the standard and quality of their food. I think somehow the quote must have lost something in the translation……?

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    haa my legs hurt

    by pflame Written Apr 19, 2006

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    yep if you dont love taking the cab in the city,your legs will probably hurt this a normal scenery during dusk or evenings when people troop the streets and lorry stations from work,schools and other places of interest,there are long queues every where from road sides to lorry stations,the best redemption is to chatter a cab

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    Taking photographs of people

    by IoannaE Updated Feb 24, 2007

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    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!

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