Background: In 2014, I lived in Ghana for almost four months. I worked in a school along with local teachers and fellow international volunteers. We traveled the country, danced our hearts out and laughed about our own narrowness. Ghana is humid, musical, and colorful. It is full of history and grace.
Accommodation: Ghana is well- prepared for backpackers. It is said to be “Africa for beginners”, you’ll find nice low budget hostels in every town. We’ve couch surfed a few times, too, and had great experiences!
Transportation: There’s nothing like a trotro ride through Ghanas backcountry (winding roads with deep jungles to both sides), or a motorbike ride on dirt roads. Trotros (smaller buses) take you everywhere, modern touring coaches travel longer distances. Road traveling seemed fairly safe, and people are utterly friendly and honest. It is uncommon to bargain over prices (instead, you can trust the mate giving you a fair price). It is also very common to get a taxi or shared taxi.
Nature & Outdoor: Ghana is beautiful and lush, and there are plenty of nice walks and hikes that can be taken! Wildlife did not seem as crazy as in Kenya, but there are plenty of wildlife experiences possible especially in the North. We have been hiking around the villages we lived in (in Greater Accra region) and at Boti Falls. Some serious hiking can be done in the Agmatsa Wildlife Sanctuary near Hohoe close to the border to Togo. Ghana has got beautiful beaches, and the lagoon near Ada Foa in the Volta region is wonderful but also quite popular for backpackers and volunteers.
Food & Drink: The food in Ghana is just too good. Ghanaians make some really good dishes using starchy vegetables (corn, manioc, yam, …) or rice, hot peppers, aubergine, tomatoes, as well as eggs, chicken, beef, and fish. The sauces are spicy and very tasty. Fufu, kenke and banku are specialties that have to be prepared for a long time and with lots of effort. There are some amazing snacks like coconut cookies, plantain chips or doughnut balls available from street hawkers. Fruit like pineapple and mango is always fresh, inexpensive and indescribably delicious. For drinks, you’ll for example get a few types of beer (e.g. “Star”), coconut water straight from the coconut, or even palm wine.
(White) solo female travel in Ghana is not a problem at all. I felt completely safe wherever I went, Ghanaian men addressed me respectfully and friendly. Even going out is not a big deal. Young women traveling on their own is nothing strange or new in Ghana.
What to pack for a long term stay in Ghana: I was most grateful for my mosquito net and a few long sleeved/legged clothes for night. The weather in Ghana is very hot, but mosquitos will come after you. (I also took malaria prevention, yet caught malaria anyways.) In public, modest clothing is most appropriate. I usually wore jeans shorts or cotton pants, and a tank top or button down and I was fine. The sun in Ghana is crazy, so I was happy I had a head band or scarf, plenty of sunscreen and my sun glasses. You’ll sweat like you didn’t know you could, and one of the first things you’ll probably buy is a little towel to wipe your forehead -very ghanaian. Don’t bring stuff you may not need. You’ll be able to buy almost anything in Ghana, anyways. Ghana is a beautiful African experience, but you’re not out of the world. There’s even a mall in Accra, in case you need some first world luxuries like soy milk or Birkenstock.
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