Ghana Travel Tips
When to go
There really is no 'best' time to visit Ghana, as the temperature is always Africa-hot and if rainfall doesn't soak you, then the humid air will. If you prefer your soaking tropical in nature, stick close to the beaches. Whatever the season, the weather gets more arid the farther inland you go. Village-specific festivals and events occur throughout the year.
Travel documents and visas: A passport and a visa are required. All visitors to Ghana must posses valid passports issued by their home governments, except nationals of any member country of the ECOWAS who may produce travel certificates in lieu of passports. All non-ECOWAS citizens require visas at a fee before entry.
Ghana Missions and Embassies are authorized to issue visas or entry permits to all classes of visitors destined to Ghana. Where no Ghanaian mission has been established, the visitors may apply directly or through his/her Ghanaian associate by fax, at least two weeks before the visit, addressed to:
The Chief Executive, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, PSC Building, Ministries Area, Accra P.O. Box M193, Tel: (233-21) 665125-9 Fax: (233-21) 663801 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Immunization/Vaccination: Evidence of immunization for yellow fever and cholera is also required. It is strongly recommended to contact your health official at least 4-6 weeks prior to travel for vaccinations.
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travelers when entering Ghana.
Malaria: Vaccination for malaria is recommended. Malaria risk is predominantly in the malignant (P.falciparum) form, and exists throughout the year in the whole country.
Also Recommended: mefloquine
Tax: All travelers are required to pay an airport departure tax of ($15).
VAT, Sales or Use Tax: The VAT (Value-Added-Tax) has just been introduced in Ghana. It is 10% and not refundable. Restaurants charge 5% service charge plus a 10% VAT.
Note: Always ask to see a vendor's VAT certificate; he/she must have it and willingly show it. Unscrupulous dealers will casually add a higher percentage and pocket the profit.
Currency: This is called the Cedi (") which comes in denominations of "500, "1000, "2000 and "5000 bills. 10,00 & 20,000 bill will be available in late 2002. Coins come in denominations of "500, "200 "100, "50, "20 and "10.
There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency you may bring into Ghana. This must, however, be stated on the currency declaration form.
Foreign Exchange Bureau: Foreign currency can be freely exchanged at any forex in the country. There are several foreign exchange bureaus (Forex) in all the major towns and cities, but many outside Accra may not accept travelers cheques except the banks. Forex bureaus tend to give better rates for large-denomination bills than banks normally do. The best exchange rates are for US Dollars, French Francs, Deutsche Marks and British Pounds.
Most travellers cheques exchanged, but the rate is 5% lower than cash. Private foreign-exchange (Forex) offices have better rates and hours. How many cedis you get for your foreign currency: Currency Rates
Credit cards: Many places take major international credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Barclays Bank in Accra will advance Ghanaian money on Visa and MasterCard, minus a commission and a fee for the approval telex. If you have a US card, you will probably have to pay for two exchange rates, US$ to Pound Sterling to Cedis. Not all forex bureaus accept traveler
Banking Hours: Banks open from 8.30am to 2pm (3pm on Fridays) on weekdays. Some branches of Barclays and Standard Chartered Banks open on Saturdays from 10.30am to 12.30pm. However, most banks now operate Automatic Teller Machines (ATM). For cash advances, Barclays Bank accepts VISA and MasterCard.
Airport & Transport: Kotoka Airport (7km from the centre), shared minibuses (tro-tro), taxi
Telephone: Phone cards are available for C12,500 (120 units). Make international calls from the public telephones at the P&T communications centre (Cantoments) and P&T kwame Nkrumah circle, Accra or a telephone booth.
Direct code out: 00
Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in Ghana are limited, particularly outside the capital of Accra. Malaria is common, as are other tropical diseases. Doctors and hospitals often request immediate cash payment for health services.
Photo Developing and printing: There are several photo laboratories in the city of Accra well equipped to develop and give you high quality photo prints of your memories of Ghana. They have a good reputation for handling both professional photos and safari snapshots. Open Monday-Friday 8.30 am-5.30 pm, Saturday 8.30 am to 1 pm. The most popular in Accra include Flash Photos at Danquah Circle-Osu, Photo Lab (close to Papaye Fast Foods) at Osu and Modern Photos near the KwameNkrumah Circle.
Ethnic clashes in the Northern Region of Ghana have resulted in intense violence, particularly in the city of Yendi. Ghanaian authorities have imposed curfews throughout the region, and troops are in place to restore and maintain peace.
--Posted July 9, 2002.
Visitors entering Ghana with more than $5,000 U.S. in cash are required to declare the amount upon entry into Ghana. Currency exchange is available at most banks and at licensed foreign exchange bureaus. Currency transactions with private citizens are illegal.
The Government of Ghana maintains strict regulations on the import and export of gold, diamonds, and other precious natural resources. Only agents licensed by the Precious Metals and Mining Commission, telephone (233)(21) 664-635 or 664-579, may handle import-export transactions of these natural resources. Any transaction lacking this Commission's endorsement may be illegal and/or fraudulent. Attempts to evade regulations are punishable by prison terms.
In rare instances, visitors arriving in Ghana with sophisticated electronic equipment (video cameras and laptop computers) may have to deposit 17.5 per cent of the item's value with the Customs and Excise office at the airport. To get the deposit refunded, visitors must apply to the Customs and Excise Office in central Accra 48 hours before departure.
It is illegal to wear military or camouflage clothing.
PHOTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS: Photography of sensitive installations, including military sites, government buildings, and Accra's International Airport, is prohibited. Permission should also be obtained before taking photographs of anyone in uniform (police officers and military officers, for example). In some instances, film and cameras have been confiscated.
DUAL NATIONALITY: (July 2002) -- The Government of Ghana now permits dual nationality.