Ghana cedi were redenominated in July of 2007. The new "Ghana cedi" GHS equals 10,000 old cedis. During the transition period of six months, the old cedi is known as "cedi", and the new cedi was known as "Ghana cedi".
Be aware that most Ghanaians still think in old currency. This can be very confusing and costly. Ten thousand old cedis are habitually referred to as ten or twenty, or thirty. This would, today, be one, two, or three "new" Ghana cedis. So always think whether the quoted price makes sense before buying or agreeing on a taxi fare. If in doubt ask whether this is new cedis.
US Dollars are accepted by some of the major tourist hotels, but you shouldn't rely on this. As in all West African countries, older dollar bills will be rejected by banks and Forex bureaus. If you intend to take dollar notes make sure that they are all from the 2007 series or above.
Euros, dollars and UK pounds in cash are the most useful currencies to take with you and are easily and safely changed at numerous a/c booths open to 21:00. Approximate exchange rates as of 27 Jun 2014, are:
GBP1 = GHS5.11
USD1 = GHS3.00
€1 = GHS4.09
There are many Forex Bureaus in Accra, and a few in the other major cities. It is very difficult to change travellers cheques and certainly almost impossible outside Accra and Kumasi, unless you change them at a major bank. Barclays has branches in Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast, and even Tamale where you can change travellers cheques. Expect lines. VISA cards are accepted at major hotels and there are ATMs in Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast which accept VISA. Be aware that the Cape Coast cash machine is frequently empty. At the main branch of Barclays Bank in Accra you can get a cash advance on your VISA or MasterCard provided you have your passport with you.
Bargaining is very much expected in the markets. Large cities such as Accra have markets open every day, but travellers get the true flavour of the country if they have the opportunity to visit a village market on the day of the week that it is open. Most goods will be staple goods, but cloth, beads, musical instruments, bags, and even CD's are usually available.
Kente cloth, drums and wooden designs, such as masks and "sacred stools" can be found on almost any street in any tourist area in Ghana.
The accra mall is a first class and commercial shopping centre situatedon the spintex road of the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.www.accramall.com.
adinkrah symbols & sacred stools
The sacred stools have traditional Adinkrah "motif" designs in them that can mean many things having to do with God, love, strength, community, and much more. Finding a guidebook which will tell you what each symbol means is advisable to prevent the possibility of buying a stool that doesn't mean what you think it is.
Gye Nyame is by far the most popular Adinkrah symbol. It means "Only God".Other popular stools are the "Wisdom Knot" and the one with the character holding many sticks together, which cannot be broken, to symbolize the strength of community.