Ghana

Ghana is currently a very safe, stable country with relatively low crime levels compared to other West African countries. Take sensible precautions but be assured it is quite safe.

Bywel's bar in Osu is a frequent hangout of expats on Thursday nights meaning that it is target for muggings. Be sure to leave in a large group and enter a taxi immediately upon exiting the bar.

Do be aware that both female and male homosexuality is illegal.

Cases have also been reported of people snatching mobile phones in the streets. Avoid using your mobile phone out in the open if you do not absolutely need to. You may run the risk of having someone snatch it from you.

Be aware that chloroquine-resistant malaria is widespread and you must take sufficient malaria protection including mosquito avoidance, mosquito repellents, and chemical prophylaxis. Yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into the country.

It is strongly urged that a traveller request vaccinations against Hepatitis A & B, Cholera and Typhoid fever if they are planning to travel within the country.

There is a very high risk of meningitis in the northern third of Ghana which is a part of the Meningitis belt of Africa. This applies especially during the dry windy periods from December to June. A polysaccharide vaccine is available for Meningitis types A, C, Y and W135.

Although the AIDS/HIV rate is lower than other sub-Saharan African countries, do not have unprotected sex! Also you should avoid contact with still freshwater as there is a risk of schistosomiasis.

Some restaurants will approach European health standards, but be prepared to pay for this. Smaller restaurants, often called "chop bars," will likely not meet these standards.

Because of the tropical climate near the coast, travellers will need to stay hydrated. Bottled water is available everywhere. Voltic Water has been a reliable brand over the years, but do check to make sure the seal has not been broken.

For the latest traveller's health information pertaining to Ghana, including advisories and recommendations, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention destination Ghana website (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/trav...).

If you have a medical emergency this site has some resources to assist you with your emergency. (http://www.commerceghana....).

contact

Postal services can be unreliable within Ghana itself but international post, at least to and from Accra is reasonably reliable approx 2 weeks either way to the UK for example. Mobile phone penetration is very good with over 25 million registered numbers and has good coverage even in remote areas.Essential for visitors to obtain a [cheap]new phone[from such as Freddies Corner ,5 locations incl. Tema,from ghc30] and a local SIM card from any of the 6 providers [Vodafone, MTN,GLO, Expresso, Airtel and Tigo].Phone credit sellers are everywhere and will top up for you.For laptops use USB sticks[ pay around 50 cedis for a stick with a 2GB allowance). With a recent ICT boom in the country's urban areas, you're never too far away from an internet cafe where one hour of internet access should cost GHS0.50-1.00. Many hotels also boast broadband access via wireless hotspots.

respect

Do try and pick up on respectful practice such as not eating or offering with your left hand, but in general Ghanaians are quite accepting of tourists getting it wrong. Greetings are very important. Ghanaians are not forgiving of people who do not take time to greet others. Sometimes greetings come in the form of a salute accompanied by a "good morning" or "good afternoon". The expected response is the same a salute with a "good morning or afternoon". Inquiring how the person is doing is also a good idea.

The Ghanian hand shake is a typical handshake, quickly followed by the snapping of thumb and middle finger. The technique will be introduced to you the first time you shake hands - it will take you by surprise as it involves sliding your hand down the other persons hand, taking their middle finger between your thumb and middle finger as they take your middle finger between their thumb and middle finger, then snapping your finger together as they do likewise. It is unique. Smile, make new friends, and give them a Ghanian handshake - they will smile and nod!

talk

English is both the official language and the lingua franca between Ghana's many peoples. English speakers will have no trouble communicating their needs anywhere in the country; Ghanaians usually speak English quite fluently, albeit with some quirks. Official government documents are in English, but there over 40 distinct languages spoken in Ghana including Twi/Fante in the Ashanti and Fante regions, Ga in Greater Accra, Ewe east of Lake Volta, Dagbani, and so on. "Obruni", the Akan word for foreigner, which literally means "white man", is generally shouted at any tourist in the more heavily trafficked areas, black or white, male or female.

In the northern regions and among Ghanaian Muslims in general, the Hausa language is also used as a lingua franca.