Ghana is one of the fastest growing countries in Africa, with around 90,000 British citizens visiting every year. Travellers looking to experience Africa beyond the stereotypical pyramids, souks and mountains the continent is most known for.
There are many reasons to visit this amazing country, here are the top five:
Arguably the most popular reason travellers visit this amazing country is help develop communities through volunteering.
There are many different ways to help on a diverse choice of volunteer projects:
Schools are often understaffed and welcome teachers without any prior experience, there is also often a need for new schools to be built to provide education to more children.
Conservation volunteers combat the deforestation with tree planting and sometimes getting more involved with the wildlife.
Rural hospitals and clinics are understaffed and underfunded, although some healthcare experience would be advantageous.
There are plenty of affordable projects and Ghana is not expensive. Although finding these projects is becoming more difficult, as the expensive organisation take over the online search results. It can require a bit more digging through page two and three of the search results to find the more affordable programmes.
English is the official language which makes volunteering more flexible, as it is easy to collaborate when there is no language barrier or need for a translator.
In addition to English, there are over eighty regional languages spoken in Ghana. Twi is the most-widely spoken second language in the country:
Maa kye: Good morning
Maa ha: Good afternoon
Maa yo: Good evening
Medaase: Thank you
Ghana is home to 540 kilometres of coastline, filled with beautiful natural sandy beaches and accommodating atmosphere. The beaches in Ghana are tidy, unspoilt by tourism and a great way to splash in the Atlantic Ocean.
There are beaches to suit every type of traveller. Party beaches, where the atmosphere is less about building sandcastles and more about the nightlife and beaches with glorious high waves, perfect for surfers.
The most popular beach in Ghana is Labadi beach, it is the best of both worlds. It hosts a weekly party on Thursday nights with an array of DJs spinning a mix of both hip hop and reggae Ghanaian music. Travellers can also enjoy sunbathing and even horseback riding throughout the rest of the week. There is a line of shops and bars near the beach to enjoy spending time and even watch the sun go down over the ocean.
Cape Coast is popular with travellers who are looking to get more than just lounging on the beach from their trip to the coast. Along Cape Coast there are a series of slave castles, the most popular being Cape Coast Castle. Originally built by Sweden for the trade of timber and gold, it was later used to hold slaves during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The “gate of no return” was the last thing the slaves would see before being transported to the Americas.
With 16 national parks, reserves and protected areas, Ghana is home to a dazzling array of wildlife. There are many parts of Ghana which are remote and seldom visited by tourists, some tours pass through these areas and give travellers the opportunity to witness wildlife which many others don’t have the opportunity to see.
The national parks in Ghana are full of history of slave caves where indigenous people hid from the slave raids, breath-taking waterfalls, lagoons, canopy walks, salt mines and even a decommissioned airstrip in Mole National Park.
Mole National Park is the biggest of all of the national parks, this park alone is home to over 93 mammal species, over 300 bird species, 9 amphibian species and 33 reptile species. The vegetation in the Mole National Park is fairly undisturbed and grasses can reach as high as 3 meters in the rainy season.
Safaris in Ghana offer: elephant, buffalo, lion, leopards, hippos, hyenas, baboons, monkeys, crocodile, antelope and much more.
The Ghana government has taken many actions to protect the wildlife in the country including protecting 15 percent of its land and actively pushing plantation development projects in worn down forest land, however this has done very little to stop the deforestation. About 1.3 percent of the remaining forests are lost each year through locals collecting firewood in the forests and illegal hunters.
Despite much of Ghana being dry and dusty, forests still cover about one third of the total area and rainforest cover about 8 percent. The rainforests are home to one of Ghana’s major exports, cacao crops. Ghana is the third largest producer of cacao in the world, the seeds grow in the rich soil of the rain forest.
The Atiwa rainforest is one of West Africa’s greatest natural beauties. The shockingly tall eight-meter high ferns in the river landscapes are home to some of Africa’s rarest animals and plants.
The Atiwa rainforest is not only a natural beauty providing days out for travellers, local people still rely on the rainforest for food, medicine, building materials, tools and clothing. The rainforest provides five million people with drinking water, while also providing protection from floods and drought.
The tropical rainforest Kakum, once was extended across the whole of West Africa but due to bushfires and other forms of deforestation, it is now one of the last isolated fragments of rainforest. Surprisingly the main attraction to this rainforest isn’t the wildlife but the 1000-foot canopy walkway build 30 metres above ground. Travellers get to experience the rainforest from a completely different perspective, above the trees amongst the activity.
Chasing the sun is not necessary in Ghana as it is beautifully warm all year round. There are two main seasons, the wet and the dry season but both are warm. The north and south of the country experience these at different times.
The rainy season hits northern Ghana from April through to October and the south from March through to November. Even during the rainy season, the temperature still hovers around the mid-twenties with summer highs in the thirties.
The landscape of Ghana is varied, the highlands experience milder temperatures, the coast tends to be more humid and further north in the country is typically hotter and drier. Even travelling for just an hour across this country you can experience a real change in climate.