Places in Ghana

Top events in Ghana

May
03

The centrepiece of this famous 300-year-old hunting festival is the deer (or, more accurately, antelope) hunt, which has the town’s two oldest...

May
05

Usually peaking in activity between 1130 and 1300, this popular and accessible festival is held at the Ashanti royal palace in Kumasi about eight...

July
01

Heralding the start of a new fishing season, this festival, which is characterised by a variety of processions and competitions, is said to pre-...

Bean in Ho marketplace, Ghana
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Bean in Ho marketplace, Ghana

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Ghana Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

238,533 sq km (92,098 sq miles).

Population

25.2 million (2013).

Population density

106 per sq km.

Capital

Accra.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from the UK in 1957.

Head of state

President John Dramani Mahama since 2012.

Head of government

President John Dramani Mahama since 2012.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz; usually British-style plugs with three square pins.

Studded with sandy palm-shaded beaches and jungle-fringed aquamarine lagoons, Ghana's long tropical coastline, though far from being a mainstream resort area, is arguably its biggest draw card for independent travellers. Inland of the coast, Ghana sets out its credentials as a dream destination for ecologically-minded tourists, with a range of habitats embracing dense rainforests in the south, savannah in the centre, hiker-friendly mountains dotted with dramatic waterfalls in the east, and relatively arid sub-Sahelian plains in the far north.

Many of Ghana's individual national parks and game reserves are rather small compared to some other African countries, but the network is extensive and ecologically varied. The expansive savanna of the ever-popular Mole National Park, in the far north, is still home to elephants, a variety of antelope, and small numbers of lion, spotted hyena and other predators.

By contrast, the forested Kakum National Park and Ankasa Resource Reserve, both within day tripping distance of the coastal resorts, support half a dozen species of tree-loving primates, along with other forest dwellers such as the massive bongo antelope and myriad butterflies. Colourful tropical birds are particularly numerous in Ghana's forests, but are well represented in most other habitats too, with more than 750 bird species recorded in total.

Community ecotourism projects protected sacred or taboo creatures play an important role in conservation as well as in offering tourists an opportunity to see wildlife at close quarters. Most famous perhaps are the crocodile ponds at Paga, where these fearsome ragged-toothed giant reptiles are so habituated and used to reverence that they can be touch as they lie next to the water mouths agape. Also very popular are the community monkey sanctuaries at Boabeng-Fiema and Tafi Atome.

For history buffs, the Ghanaian coast has been the site of 42 forts and castles built by various Europeans powers from the 16th to 19th centuries. Collectively inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these old buildings are in varying states of habitation - some are now ruinous, others almost entirely vanished, but many remain fully intact, most notably Elmina and Cape Coast Castles on the coast west of the capital Accra.

In almost every town small or large a traditional open market evokes sounds and sights of the African bazaar. The far north is scattered with curvaceously beautiful West Sudanese style mud-and-wattle mosques, as well as adobe villages noted for their flat roofs and colourful wall paintings.

Kumasi, the ancient capital of the Ashanti Kingdon, is surrounded by active 19th century fetish shrines (like the coastal castles, protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and it remains the residence of the Asantehene (Ashanti King) who holds court at his palace every sixth Sunday - one of many colourful traditional festivals, full of pomp and pageantry, that can be can still be seen throughout the country. By contrast, the capital Accra is a forward-looking and modern coastal city, hosting one of the most vibrant restaurant and bar scenes in West Africa.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 23 April 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

An outbreak of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in south-eastern Guinea. If you travel to this region you should follow the health advice issued by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, maintain strict standards of hygiene and avoid eating bushmeat. There have been no confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in Ghana.

For further details about this outbreak of Ebola, see the NaTHNaC Outbreak Surveillance database and follow the WHO on twitter.

Around 70,000 British nationals visit Ghana every year. While most visits are trouble-free, violent crime can occur at any time. Be particularly vigilant in public areas, and take care when travelling by road. 

Localised outbreaks of civil unrest can occur at short notice in the north of Ghana. Following sporadic gun violence which left one person dead, the Nanumba North District Security Council has imposed a 12-hour curfew in Bimbilla in the Northern region of Ghana.

There is an underlying threat from terrorism.

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