First-time travellers to Africa tend to pick the continent’s northern parts for their holiday destination. But if you truly want to experience the spirit of Africa at its finest, Ghana is probably the best place to start your explorations of this wild land. Although its tourism infrastructure is rapidly developing, Ghana has not yet earned a reputation among international globetrotters. Its holiday resorts are marked by few tourist crowds and the prices are much lower than in other more touristy African countries. Still not convinced? Here, take a quick peek at these five arguments in favor of spending your next vacation in the Ghanaian lap: you will never know just how much Africa you are missing until you give this amazing country a go!
1. The culture
Ghana is nowadays home to over 100 different ethnic groups, and the largest communities include Akan, Moshi-Dagbani, Ewe, and Ga people. Though local dialects are highly diversified, the official language in Ghana is English, so you will have no major problems haggling at the markets and finding your way around town. Ghanaians are known for their love of traditional crafts and music, so be prepared for a refreshing audio-visual cultural shock as soon as you land. Markets here are brimming with merchants selling paintings, fresh fruit, wooden statues, masks and handmade clothing, and upbeat tunes, drumming and hip life beats are flooding the streets.
2. The festivals
Ghanaians are a merry nation and their positive mindset is reflected in the abundance of festivals that span the calendar. In January, the Rice Festival features music, dance, drumming sessions and gastronomic treats and takes place in the Volta Region. Make sure you check it out if you are travelling to the area at the time. If you prefer water-borne thrills, head over to the Elmina Region in July for theBakatue Festival and see local fishermen celebrating the beginning of the fishing season on their bright-coloured boats. Or, book your accommodation in Accra for August via one of real estate portals such as meQasa and attend the Odambea Festival which honours Ghana’s rich cultural heritage and ancient traditions.
3. The beaches
When in Ghana, make sure you soak in the sun at one of the country’s pristine beaches such as Labadi, Kobrobite and Cocoloco. While Accra’s Labadi is an excellent sunbathing spot for beach sports lovers, Kobrobite is a better option for reggae fans, craft lovers and hippies eager to meet like-minded locals and tourists. Nature lovers should definitely pay a visit to Cocoloco for a dash of Ghanaian wildlife starring sea turtles and numerous wild bird species.
4. National parks
Although it is a relatively small country, Ghana takes pride in as many as 21 protected areas, 7 of which are national parks. Over in Western Ghana, Bia National Park is where you will find 62 different mammals and over 160 bird species. In Mole, north-west Ghana, you can hope to encounter buffaloes, elephants, hippos, crocs, baboons and colobus monkeys. For sightings of large feline predators such as leopards, try Kakum. You’ll also be able to take a daring walk across a shaky 40-meter high canopy bridge in the heart of virgin rain forest.
5. Friendly locals
Ghanaians are known for their whole-hearted hospitality, so you will soon feel like you have found long-lost relatives in this African paradise. Locals greet foreigners by a wide smile and they will do all they can to help you and teach you about their culture and history if you show interest in their ways. Don’t be surprised if you hear the word ‘oberoni’ shouted to you now and again – it means ‘foreigner’, and the person addressing you in the manner does not aim to insult you, they are only trying to strike up a conversation. Ghana is always a great destination to visit with your family.
Ghana is a true Western Africa jewel: with vibrant culture, friendly locals, colourful markets, clean beaches, impressive wildlife and a lively music scene. This country truly has everything it takes to live up to your highest vacationing standards. Are you ready for a first-hand encounter with a wild yet cordial face of Africa?
About the author
Amy Goldsmith is a business assistant from Melbourne. Her job allows her to travel a lot, which also happens to be one of her greatest passions. Find out more about her travels on Twitter.