This is the trip of a lifetime, as some of you may know this is coined the “Year of the Return,” where the descendants of the enslaved African Diaspora are returning to Ghana to commemorate those ancestors who were on the first slave ship that arrived 400 years ago to Jamestown, Virginia from West Africa. For those of you travelling to Ghana for 10 days with Ketour Travel Club, please take heed to all the things you should know while preparing for your upcoming trip. These are things to help you while travelling to enjoy yourself and have a great time.
It is the sole responsibility of passengers to secure and bring the required documentation/visas. You will require multiply/re-entry visa if you are traveling to more than one African country. For further information visit www.travel.state.gov
As a typical tropical country, Ghana has an average monthly temperature of between 70 degrees – 90 degrees Fahrenheit). At certain times of the year temperatures can be even higher. It is important therefore to travel with appropriate clothing/protection (e.g. light cotton clothes, sunscreens, sunglasses and hats). The air-conditioned coaches and Ghana evenings can become quite cool; therefore, we suggest that you bring along a sweater to wear when needed.
Once in the country, you are advised to drink as much bottled water as possible. This will prevent dehydration.
It is important to take protection against malaria before your departure to Ghana. Your family doctors can advise on this. It is advisable to let your group leader know about any ailment that you have in case of any emergency. We suggest that you bring along any medicines you are taking because you may not find the same kind here in Ghana. We advise that you keep your medicine on you always. There are very good medical facilities and hospitals in Ghana.
VACCINATIONS AND HEALTH CONCERNS
Yellow fever vaccinations are required for all foreign nationals visiting Africa. Updating
your tetanus vaccine and any others your doctor might recommend (such as malaria, cholera,
typhoid, meningitis or rabies) is also a good idea. Taking malaria prophylactics before you
arrive is generally recommended. Start taking your malaria pills before you depart as
instructed by your doctor. Make sure you take them exactly on schedule without missing doses. Wear long pants and long-sleeved clothing especially around dawn and dusk when the anopheles mosquitoes are most active.
What You Need:
- Anti-malarial drugs
- Insect repellent
- Long-sleeved clothing and pants
- Mobility issues/Allergic reactions:
Please advise if any of you have mobility issues or specific allergic reactions.
Ghana has an abundance of food grown locally or imported and you can usually find a wide variety of continental and local Ghanaian dishes in most Ghanaian restaurants. There are also many international restaurants, which specialize in food from countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Eastern & Western Europe as well as other West African countries. There are fast food chains from America that serve fried
chicken, hamburgers, french fries etc. We encourage visitors to sample the local dishes however, be careful with the local hot pepper, called shito and we suggest that you Do Not eat food from street vendors. Only drink sealed bottled water, which is readily available and can be purchased at most grocery stores throughout Ghana.
CHRISTIAN AND ISLAMIC WORSHIPS
Church worship on Sundays and Islamic worship on Fridays are fully participated in by Ghanaians. Those who may wish to share fellowship with Ghanaians are invited. There are various churches (different denominations) as well as numerous mosques in town.
CURRENCY/FOREIGN CURRENCY EXCHANGE
The currency used in Ghana in known as the Cedi. Foreign currency can be exchanged at the Forex bureau, which generally give a better rate than banks. We recommend that you bring cash for convenient access and easy conversion to the local currency. Forex bureau exchange rates vary from place to place however, the difference is normally very small. Notes in larger denominations attract a higher rate.
Hotels and shops may exchange US$ for Ghana cedi’s but at a lower exchange rate. Do not change money in the street, ever. Traveler’s checks are changed at a much lower rate and are accepted by a very limited number of banks. In other words, it is difficult to change traveler’s checks. Visa and American Express cards are not widely used for purchasing goods outside of the major international hotels. ATM machines are available in all banks and EZI cash points in most cities. Please note that VISA cards are widely accepted by all ATMs. Only one bank, Ghana Commercial Bank accepts MasterCard.
An interesting aspect of shopping in Ghana is that apart from fixed prices of items on sale, there is the bargaining system, where the buyer and the seller negotiate on the price. Usually, the seller starts the price 80% above the normal price, so you must be persuasive enough to negotiate the price down. It is also very important that you shop around to establish the price of a commodity before buying. But like the saying goes, a good price is what the item is worth to you.
There are various types of public transportation in Ghana; however, taxis are the fastest. There are line taxis, which are shared with others and obviously is cheapest, dropping taxis which are hired by you alone and drop you at your destination. Rates are negotiable. Lastly, there are charter taxis which are generally hired for multi-destinations and charges are on hourly basis.
Please note that Ghana operates on 220 volts. If you are coming from the U.S you will need to bring an adapter. Electrical outlets accept either the three pronged or two-pronged plugs.
ENTRY FEE FOR CAMERAS/VIDEOS
You can take pictures in the Castles, museums and at monuments. However, you should note that there are charges of between $1.00 to $5.00 for taking cameras and videos into these tour sites.
PACKING TO DEPART THE U.S.
For quick identification of your luggage, use the same bright colored tags. As a precaution, you should tag all luggage with your business address, your destination, dates of stay and
the name of the Airline and Flight number as well. Remember to remove all old luggage tags so that airline luggage handlers do not get confused. Make a list of contents of each bag, especially if you will be switching airlines. If you must force your luggage shut, it means you have over packed. Do not risk this as it may open. Check with your airline provider on baggage requirements.
MEETING AT THE AIRPORT
Ghana’s International Airport has undergone a complete renovation. Tour operators are no longer allowed to meet clients inside the arrival hall (as we used to). You will therefore be responsible for your luggage and the tour team will meet you at the “meet and greet” area outside the arrival hall. Your driver/ guide will have a placard bearing your name and/or group name.
BAGGAGE: IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG
If your luggage does not arrive on your flight alert airline personnel immediately, it may still be on board. If your luggage is not found, you should fill out a copy of a baggage claim form from the Airline and return it to the airline officials. If your luggage has been damaged, check if all its contents are intact right away. If you notice something, report to the airline representative and he/she will write a written report known as a Property Irregularity Report.
Most tourists enjoy giving gifts to Ghanaians, especially those that live in villages. We commend this generosity; however, we would ask you not to give gifts in situations where there are more than five people around. If you do so, you may attract a crowd and you could be mobbed. It is recommended that you ask your tour guide for assistance before dispensing gifts.
At your hotel you will have access to phones with international lines, faxes and email, however, this may be different once you leave your hotel and you are away from the city. There are also many communication/business centers in most cities.
Tips are encouraged for better relations. You may carry smaller Cedi denominations in your pocket to satisfy those who offer services. The amount you offer depends on the quality of the service rendered to you. If a tipping fee has been included in the cost of your tour, tipping those who provide services during the tour will not be necessary.
You may take photographs anywhere except at military and police installations, embassies, zones, and residences. The Airport and the Osu Castle which is the Official Residence and the office of the President are prohibited. Pictures of individuals may be taken with their permission. When in doubt ask.
Ghana like every other country has its own code of social ethics. For instance, it is considered a gross insult or anathema to receive, give or point at someone with your left hand.
TRADE AND BUSINESS
We suggest that you do not enter into trade or business transactions with casual friends, they may not be genuine. Those who wish to do so must seek the advice of consultants. We suggest that you do not buy precious minerals from unlicensed dealers, they may be fake.
There are many clubs in Ghana, particularly Accra.
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