The people of Ghana are well known for their friendliness. In fact, according to a poll in Forbes, Ghana was voted the 11th friendliest nation on earth in 2011, and the reason why is evident as soon as you walk off of the plane. As the people are so warm and friendly, greetings should always be acknowledged.
A formal handshake is appropriate in business situations and a friendly European-style three-cheek kiss is commonplace in most social situations. Regardless of the environment, you will definitely feel at home with Ghanaian hospitality.
DRESS: Ghanaians wear a wide variety of colourful African fabrics. A suit and tie is appropriate for business meetings, although locals typically wear African print shirts and dresses on Friday.
The weather is usually on the warm side, so light, causal clothes are worn in social situations. Dress in the capital and along the coast is relatively Western, but women are advised to dress more conservatively if visiting the Muslim northern part of the country.
LANGUAGE: While there are a variety of different languages and dialects in use in the country, English is the most widely spoken and you will be able to get around fine speaking only English. The most of the common local dialects is Akan, which is spoken among the Ashanti tribe.
COMMUNICATIONS: The major mobile carriers in Ghana are MTN, Tigo, Vodafone, Airtel and Glo. SIM cards can be purchased for GHS1 ($0.26) and airtime vouchers can be purchased on street corners and from vendors along the highway. Local as well as international calls are very affordable on the mobile networks. As of February 2012, mobile users are required to register their SIM cards, so be sure to bring along a passport. Mobile data services are improving and readily available. Data packages can be purchased for around GHS20 ($10.3) per GB.
ELECTRICITY: Ghana uses the UK-style square threepin plugs, ranging from 220-240 V. Electricity adapters can be purchased from shops and street vendors.
CURRENCY: The national currency is the cedi. It is made up of 100 pesewas. Bills come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. ATMs are easy to find and the daily withdraw limit is GHS400 ($205.60).
HEALTH: Health insurance is highly recommended for visitors. All travellers are required to get a yellow fever shot before entering the country. Other recommended vaccinations include: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies and meningococcal meningitis.
In metropolitan areas the malaria risk is low, but short-term visitors are recommended to take oral anti-malarial medication. If traveling to more rural areas, precautions should be taken. While in the country, basic health care services are available at public and private clinics, although private clinics provide services more in line with international norms.
VISA: Most travellers to Ghana are required to obtain a visa before entry. US citizens may acquire a singleentry visa for $60 and a multiple-entry visa for $100 which is valid for three months.
For residents of European countries, single and three-month visas cost €50 and multiple-entry visas are €100. Visas can be extended once in the country at the immigration office in Accra. Citizens of the ECOWAS region, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong are exempt from visa requirements.
BUSINESS HOURS: Normal working hours are from 9.00am until 5.00pm, Monday through Friday. Government offices may close anywhere from 4. 00pm-6.00pm. Many shops are open on Saturdays, but be aware that they may also be closed on Sundays.
TRANSPORT: There are an abundance of taxis in the major cities. They are an easy and safe way to get around, although they do not have meters. Trips around the town generally costs about GHS4-10 ($2.1-5.1), depending on the distance. There is also a network of small shared city buses called “tro-tros”, convenient for longer journeys. Personal drivers and cars are inexpensive and easy to hire. Domestic flights for travel to major cities across Ghana are also available.
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