VACATIONING IN GHANA

A Note of Caution: It’s advisable you print this and take along with you as a constant reference. Also, while your ‘hosts’ are very gentle people, remember that everyone is out to fleece tourists so be ready to negotiate. Don’t take whatever they say at face value!

Getting to Ghana • ABC Transport offers decent road transport- luxurious bus, airconditioned, toilet facilities on board, one meal (typically rice and chicken), entertainment (pirated movies & music). Return ticket is about Nxxx. • Cross-Country also offers decent transport (with a meal) in its smaller buses which are much faster. A trip (with a valid passport) costs N11,000 one way. Without a passport, it costs about N19,000. • Virgin Nigeria offers flights to GHANA on a daily basis for about N33,000. Check their website; www.virgingnigeria.com. Aero Contractors (www.acn.aero) probably has the cheapest flights. You can get to Ghana for as low as N15,000 if you book early enough. • All border formalities are handled by the transporters. To this end your passport will be collected by the bus attendant at the start of the journey and will be returned near the end. Don’t worry, your passport is safe. • It is advisable to take some water and something to snack on but be careful not to tempt your bowels (chin-chin is touted to be a good control for bowel trouble). • 1 cedi (GHC 1) ~ N107. So for instance, N5,000 will be about GHC 47 (= 5,000/107). • 1 dollar ($1) ~ 1.4 cedis (GHC 1.4). You can get up to 1.44 if you’re changing large amounts. In Ghana • On arrival at the park in Accra there will usually be someone promoting hotels who will provide free transport if you choose that hotel. If not you can take a taxi to your preferred hotel, if you already have one in mind (costs about 4 cedis – GHC4).

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Before you leave the park, if you have a return ticket, its best to confirm your date of return. • You may buy a Sim Pack (costs GHC xxx) for use during your stay. On your way to Ghana, you might want to switch off your phone especially if there’s credit on it as you might just find that your credit has disappeared!

Accomodation & Meals: • A good hotel (3 star) costs about $70/night & $90 for single and double room respectively (includes breakfast). Hotel Wangara in Labone is a good choice place - decent, DSTV, swimming pool. My choice was the Blue Royal at Osu (Oxford street) with a nice room, wireless internet, and breakfast at $70 single and $90 double. You could also choose Las Palms Hotel which is one of the most expensive going at about $300/night. • It’s naturally cheaper to eat out of the hotel. There are fast food joints available e.g Frankies, Mr Biggs and On the Run. Costs about GHC6 per meal. If you’re the adventurous type, you could try the roadside bukas where a meal costs about GHC2.5 depending on your order. Banku seems to be their main staple – I hated it though! The public buses also make for an interesting ride and can cause as low as 20 pesewas (GHC0.2) as opposed to the GHC2 a cab will charge you. • You can stock your room fridge with provisions (especially water – about GHC1). There’s a good supermart besides On the Run fast food located in “thirty-seven one.” • For the occasional treat I recommend; The Buka near Saagar Supermart ($10 per meal) for Nigerian food; Sisters of the East Chinese Restaurant all in Osu; Selsbridge (hang-out joint) in Labone. Sites: You can get good information from tourist brochures and newspapers at the hotel. • In Accra

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Kwame Nkrumah Museum; National Arts & Crafts Market; Independence Square; Labadi Beach (better on wkds); University of Ghana. • On Wednesdays, there’s a live band at Labadi beach, but they don't start until about 10pm. Entrance fee is GHC 15 (???). • Taxi costs average GHC3 per one way trip. Outside Accra • Akosombo Town (1 ½ hours from Accra): Akosombo Dam tour (costs $5); 5 hr boat cruise (costs $15) on weekends with life band and meals on board. Boat departs about 10 am so leave Accra early so you have time to tour the dam before the cruise. You can charter a car from Accra for the entire day (costs $xx). Or you can stay overnite at Akosombo hotel. • Cape Coast (3 hrs from Accra): El Mina Castle tour (costs GHC9); Cape Coast Castle tour (costs GHC9); Kakum National Park. (I Highly Recommend the cape coast trip) To get there and back: (i) you can use Ghana’s State Transport Company (STC) or the commercial buses at xxx (can't remember the name of the bus park) to get to Cape Coast (ticket costs about GHC7 one way), then charter a car to take you round (costs about GHC30 depending on your negotiation skills) and return to Accra same day; (ii) charter a car from Accra and return same day; (iii) get to Cape Coast and spend the night at El Mina Beach Resort ($125/night) or Coconut Grove Beach Resort (a much better choice) at $105/night and return to Accra next day. It’s advisable to start early in the morning and plan spending some time at Cape Coast. I went by public bus (GHC 7) and stayed at Coconut Grove. That same day, I visited the castles, and the next day, Kakum National Park. You could use a combo of buses and cabs for your movement instead of doing an expensive charter. See www.coconutgrovehotels.com.gh/Beach_Resort.htm • Takoradi • Aburi Botanical Garden

Shopping:
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Woodin shop underneath Wranglers Shop in Osu. • For good bargains in Woodin, Kente, others try the market in the Central Business District. • Beads at Akosombo and Osu.

Money: • Go with dollars as this can be easily changed to cedis in your hotel or various forex bureaus (1.44 cedis to a dollar or GHC1.44 - $1) OR change naira into cedis at the Togo border (about GHC1 to N107). There are quite a lot of forex bureaus around especially in Osu and the Central Business District so changing your dollars shouldn’t be much of a problem. Nite Life: • Clubs: Jokers; Boomerang; Oops; Makumba (entry fee costs $3-$8 depending on the club). • Labadi Beach (Wednesday nights). Entry fee is GHC5 and it’s advisable you go with cedis. A meal costs between GHC10 and GHC20 with a drink. Wednesday also features a live band but the action doesn’t start until around 10pm. • Selsbridge Departing Ghana: If you have an unconfirmed return ticket then best to confirm it (or buy one if you don’t have) at least 2 days before your intended departure. • Return journey formalities are the same as arriving.

FINAL TIPS When I travelled, I was lucky to meet a nice lady by the name of EVELYN ODAKAI. Her job was to help us to get a hotel and she also assisted in taking us around and recommending where to go. Her details are; Phone no: 0244702492 Email: eodakai@yahoo.com

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Or you could rely on a travel agency to organize most of the trip for you, though they will be more expensive. One of such is included below. AG Leisure Services Limited Box KA 16339 Tel. 233-21764317 Accra Ghana E-mail- leisure@africaonline.com.gh Attention Mrs Margaret Equagoo (General Manager)

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