This December 2019, will be my third festive season spent in Ghana, and my fifth visit to the country as a whole. And for those wondering, I am not Ghanaian or of Ghanaian heritage; I’m Nigerian, but most definitely a Pan African.
Throughout this year declared to be the Year Of Return, I’ve seen countless tweets, blog posts, and conversations regarding the huge influx of visitors in Ghana throughout this year, and pen-ultimately this December.
I myself am quite apprehensive and overwhelmed leading up to what will potentially be the busiest December for Ghana yet.
Below I’ve included some important tips, especially from my own experience, of what to be aware of when visiting Ghana, especially in December, as a non Ghanaian. Again, my experiences and opinions may reflect differently from others. I’ve received so many questions from other non-Ghanaians, so thought it would be of help to condense some of them below:
- English is everywhere. So that is a big help. Some parts of Ghana I’ve actually been mistaken for Ghanaian, which works well in my favour so I don’t get ripped off when buying certain things, or haggling for a taxi. I don’t think putting on an accent gets you any further either. Regardless, in most places, you only need to be looked at for 10 seconds to immediately be noticed as a foreigner. And there will be tonnes of others like you, so no wahala!
- Don’t just eat anywhere. Street food is a no, NO from me. Go by recommendations from locals, Instagram pages, and word of mouth. I wouldn’t run straight to Time Out reviews, as newer restaurants, especially in Accra, are opening up by the second. So trust your gut (literally) by asking around first. And no worries on whereabouts as you are spoiled for choice!
- Uber and Yango are your go-to’s. Yango is quite new and the cost of fares are cheaper than Uber. However, TRAFFIC. Traffic is really something else this December. Whew. My tip: order your taxi 30 minutes before you need it. I’m not kidding. AND USE CASH to pay for them. Taxis don’t like or take pre paid card payments.
- Malaria is real. Don’t be silly. Don’t risk it. Either get the daily ones or the weekly ones. Doxycycline (daily) or Lariam (weekly) are the ones I usually use. Worth checking with your GP or doctors. Also, you can get these in selected chemists in Ghana too. Just ask around.
- It’s a big party destination around this time of the year, but it’s still a country with strong cultural values and codes. You are in Africa. You say hello, you say thank you. Drop any strong Western expectations at the door and you should be more than fine.
It’s incredibly warming to see the number of non-Ghanaian tourists, holidaymakers, bloggers, wanderers, and Pan Africans like me visiting another country, and feeling at home. I can honestly say it’s the feeling Ghana gives me every time I go back.
I think December will give all of us a very loud view and different lense of Ghana, which I would say is also well enjoyed in other months of the year too.
Either way, this is such a great thing for the culture. I hope this spreads across other countries in the continent too.
Thank you for reading!
P.S. I’m moving to West Africa for six months!