Translate

The ultimate guide to solo travel in Ghana

About Ghana

 

Africa is a continent often overlooked as a possible tourist destination. West African countries in particular have hugely impacted the continent. From cuisines, music to clothing and much more and Ghana is no exception.

Home to famous empires such as the Akan and Ga. Ghanaians have a proud and very rich cultural influence over the continent that not many know of. For example did you know that they were the first sub-Saharan African country to gain their independence from colonial powers? Ghana’s first prime minister Kwame Nkrumah fought for other countries such as Guinea to also gain their independence and therefore this country is a trailblazer and full of so much culture and history.

Ghana, also known as the Gold coast of Africa, is not only rich in gold but in cultural sites, traditions and customs. The country is situated on the coast of West Africa. Its neighbouring countries are Burkina FasoTogo and Cote d’Ivoire. The capital city is Accra and the local currency is the Ghanaian Cedi (GHS)

This country is by far one of my favourite African countries with a diverse city atmospheres. bustling city, with so many cool places to visit. With frequent public transport, google maps will be your best friend in finding your way around the city.

Ghana is a safe west African country to visit. Especially for solo female travellers. Though no country is 100% safe, Ghana is one of the safer West African countries. If you’re in the capital Accra, it’s best you stay in more affluent areas such as East Legon. It’s always practice to always walk with a purpose (don’t look like a tourist or lost), If you are lost always go into a shop to ask directions rather than strangers on the street. As a solo female traveller you should also be mindful of your things, whether that’s your bag at a restaurant or drinks at a bar, never leave your things unattended.

If you don’t look Ghanaian you can get unwanted attention from people especially traders. It can be handy going with a Ghanaian guide or friend to act as a buffer for you.

Beggars are common in Kumasi around the market area so do watch your things here and only give if you are comfortable doing so.

With the rise of tourism to the country’s capital, Accra has a lot of cheaper accommodations are now available. An average night in a hostel will cost around £30 per person per night with 5-star hotels costing around £150 a night.

 

The best area to stay in Accra depends on what type of experience you are looking for. I’d advice staying in the Kokrobite region if you want a calm, relaxing experience as resorts here are all inclusive and isolate from the city

 

Backpacking in Ghana is definitely doable but not as common. Cheap accommodation such as homestays and hostels are available and transport such as VIP coaches and local buses are available within cities. Just make sure that if you are taking a local bus, you are mindful of your things and have a trusted local give you the price.

Ghana is home to a plethora of both natural and man made attractions and monuments. Depending on which region you are in in the country, will determine what you see. Below are some must visit sites;

Accra

The country’s capital located on the southern coast of the country is home to 4.2 million people. Some noticeable places in the city are;

The Independence Square.

The Independence Arch in Accra, Ghana, is part of the Independence Square which contains monuments to Ghana’s independence struggle, including the Independence Arch, Black Star Gate (located across the road), and the Liberation Day Monument. You can climb to the top of the Black star gate to get a view of the whole city.

Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum

This is the final resting place of the first president of Ghana and his wife Fathia Nkrumah.  It is meant to represent an upside-down sword which in the Akan culture is a symbol of peace. Here you can find a museum with a collection of the president’s personal belongings alongside photographs. Pictures and videos are not allowed in here.

Gallery 1957

This is a renouned contemporary art gallery which hosts various artists depending on the season.

Labadi beach

This is the perfect place to go to relax and take in the beauty of the country.

Aburi Botanical Garden

A little north from Accra is Aburi Botanical Garden. This place is nothing short of a fairy tale walk. With some beautiful scenic points and abundance of wildlife, you are sure to become one with nature here.

National Museum of Ghana

This is the largest and oldest of the six museums under the administration of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board and is home to hundreds of artifacts.

James Town

Jamestown and Usshertown are the oldest districts of Accra with a rich culture and history. The annual Chale wate festival comes alive in this area. This area is also home to “Mini Brazil” where many freed Brazilian slaves were returned to. You can learn more about this in our vlog.

Makola Market

This is the largest market in Accra where you can find anything from souvenirs to food to electronics.

Cape Coast and Elmina

The Cape coast is also a great region to visit with so much to see and do. Cape Coast castle and Elimna Castle are UNESECO World heritage sites allowing you to walk back into the slave trade era.

Elmina castle

 You’ve probably seen pictures of the of this huge castle, but within the walls of the castle lies a very gruesome history of slavery, torture and colonialism. It is a hard but necessary place to visit to fully understand Ghanaian history and culture. In cape coast there are also many other slave forts such as the Dutch fort opposite Elmina castle.

Cape Coast Castle

This is the oldest colonial structure in the whole of Africa! Dating back to 1555 is one of about forty “slave castles”, or large commercial forts, built on the Gold Coast of West Africa by European colonialist.

Kakum national park

Just outside of cape coast lies Kakum national park; one of the only canopies walkways in the world. Kakum National Park is the largest canopy walk in the country in the middle of a rainforest standing at over 40 metres high.

Akosombo

Akosombo is home to one of the biggest Dams in Africa! The views from the dam will have you amazed by the waterfalls. Adaomi bridge is a breath-taking walkway bridge in this smaller town but still a nice view. Here you can be adventurous and abseil down the bridge into the river (with a boar waiting for you at the bottom of course) or take a relaxing river boat cruise along the lake. 

Here you will be able to see part of Lake Volta; the largest man-made lake in the world!

Close to the Akosombo region is the Asiafo Amanfro region where the Umbrella Rock monument is located alongside Akaa Wateralls and Boti Waterfalls where we can swim and relax for the day.

Assin Manso

Assin Manso is north of the Cape Coast and home to Assin Manso Slave Market. This was the last point for slaves before being shipped to other parts of the world packed with a unique tour experience.

Kumasi

Kumasi is the capital city of the Ashanti Region, in southern Ghana. It’s known as a center for Ashanti culture. In this city you can explore;

Manhyia Palace

An ancient village home to the Ashanti ethnic group which is the seat of the King of the Ashanti Empire.

Prempeh II Jubilee Museum

Located within the cultural centre, this museum though small holds some ancient Ashanti artifacts such as clothing the Asante King Prempeh II’s war himself. No photos and videos are allowed in here.

A little walk from here is the cultural centre where local carvers, craftsmen and weavers can be seen making traditional clothing and ornaments.

The sword monument of Okomfo Anokye

Also known as The ‘immovable’ Sword driven into the ground by Okomfo Anokye remains pushed into the ground, almost 300 years since the date of burial. An interesting and sacred site to visit.

Kumasi Fort

Also known as The Armed Forces Museum is a military history museum located in Kumasi, Ghana.The fort fell under British control and became a base for the Gold Coast Regiment and the original colours can still be seen in the fort. The fort is now the home of the Ghana Military Museum which has some very interesting exhibits.

Bonwire Village

 located south of Kumasi, this is where the famous Kente cloth which was originally worn by Ashanti royalty originates. Here you can see how the cloth is made whilst learning a little bit more about it’s historic symbolism.  

Outside these cities

Outside of the big cities mentioned, Ghana still has so much to offer such as Shai Hills, in Dodowa.

Where you will have the exhilarating rock climbing experience and nature trail. Here you will learn about the cultural significance of this place alongside spotting some baboons, antelopes and hundreds of bird and plant species.

­­­­Mole National Park

This is Ghana’s largest national park, home to over 40 different types of large mammals and 200 species of birds. This park also has a very symbolic tie to the country’s history of slavery which can be learnt about at Assin Manso.

Wli Waterfalls

Located east of the country, this is the highest water fall in West Africa located in Ghana, locally as Agoomatsa waterfalls.

  •  Try their renowned rice

    There’s a common friendly rivalry with all west African countries over the famous Jollof rice. Originating from Senegal, it is also called Wolof rice. Many people say Ghanaian Jollof is one of the better ones but you will have to taste that and let us know what you think.

    • Kejetia market

    This is the largest open-air market in Ghana and is home to almost everything your heart could desire.

    • Book a Ghanaian cooking experience

    Ghanaian cuisine is nothing short of delicious and you can learn how to cook them also with some unique cooking experiences.

    • Taste chocolate
    Similarly to the point above, Ghana is the largest producer of cocoa meaning some of the best chocolate comes from this very country. You can try a chocolate making and tasting experience in Accra
  • Relax at Labadi beach

This is by far Accra’s most popular beach. With a lot of locals going to relax, soak up the sun and play sports. Why not join in with the locals in their activities especially when the sun goes down as there are occasional parties on the beach.

  • Party!

Ghanians are not only known for their friendliness but also for their party spirit. The weekend nightlife is always packed in Accra and certain areas such as East Legon are code name for a good time.

October to March is the best time to visit Ghana, when the climate is marginally cooler and less humid. However, December holidays in Ghana has gained popularity over the past years due to #theyearofreturn which was an effort by the Ghanaian government to reconnect the diaspora back to the continent.

  • Leave the left hand behind

It is seen as impolite to eat (or shake, or hand money off, etc.) with your left hand – Ghanaians consider the left hand to be profane. It can be hard to remember to do everything with your right (especially if that isn’t your dominant hand,) but please be aware this is a cultural rule in many African countries.

  • Don’t smell

Similarly to the first tip, in Ghanaian society it is seen as extremely rude to smell your food.

  • Get a sim

If you plan to stay in the country for a long time, it may be useful for you to get a sim card, these can easily be bought in phone shops. Public WiFi is not really common. Though some upscale restaurants do have WiFi, it may be safer as a solo female traveller to stay connected on your go throughout the city too.

  • Travel Well

The best ways of getting around the Ghana is local transport. Tuk tuks and taxis are very convenient and cheap. Though there are not any meters there are set prices per destination which all the locals know about. You’ll soon pick these up after a few rides, night-time rates are higher. You can also use ride hailing apps like uber and bolt which is often cheaper than taxis.

  • Look Around

Wherever you are in the city, make sure you take a walk through the streets as you’ll be blown away by the amazing views of green forests in the distance.

  • Get a sim. 

If you plan to stay in the country for a long time, it may be useful for you to get a sim card, these can easily be bought in phone shops. Public WiFi is not really common. Though some upscale restaurants do have WiFi, it may be safer as a solo female traveller to stay connected on your go throughout the city too.

Meeting locals is never an issue in Ghana as the friendliness from both locals and travellers is definitively some of the most we’ve ever experienced in any country. I found that just by walking around the neighbourhood and going to local hotspots such as the beach so many people greeted me and approached to talk to people. I was able to meet people in parks, restaurants and just in public. Now I know that this may not be something that others are willing to do so some other great ways to meet people are;

 

  • Staying in hostels. I’ve found that staying in hostels really helped me to meet new people and go on adventures together and Accra was no different. With so many cheap hostels around, it’s more than worth a try.
  • Taking tours. There are so many experiences and tours in Accra which will not only help you see the sights of the city but are also a great way for you to meet fellow travellers.
  • Joining some clubs. Now I didn’t personally use this method, but I did hear from other travellers that this is a good way to meet people. Using sites like Facebook and joining groups is a great way to meet expats, and locals to get the social ball rolling.

Ghana has a total of 7 international and domestic airports with Kotoka International Airport based in Accra being the biggest.

Depending on your itinerary, I’d say 2 or more weeks in Ghana would be enough to really see what the country has to offer as you will have enough time to visit other cities and have some rest days in-between.

  • Can I drink the water? No
  • Is tipping expected? Tipping is not mandatory but if you’re happy with service 10% is acceptable for restaurants and tour guides.
  • Fixed price or barter? Fixed Price except at markets.
  • Any ATMs? Yes in the main cities.
  • Which side of the road do they drive? Right.
  • Good for vegetarians? They do love their meat but it’s okay for veggies.
  • Any seven wonders of the world? No.

Plan a trip to Ghana

If you are ready to solo travel in Ghana, here are some useful links to help you plan your travel.

Facts

Budget – £70 a day (based on traveling on a budget and staying in hostels and budget accommodation Ghana, Kumasi may be abit more expensive)

Capital – Accra

Population – 31.7 million

Language spoken – English

Local Currency – Ghanaian Cedis

Do I need a visa? – No for ECOWAS passport holders, Yes, for British citizens

Flying time to Senegal – 9 hours

Did you know? Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence!

Follow Us
Want more guides?

Enter your email address to subscribe to our newsletter and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Have a story? Would you like to be a writer for our platform? If so, Contact us below

    Weekly Blog Stats
    • 16,202 Views
    %d bloggers like this: