Visiting a new country can be daunting, particularly when the culture is so different to our own. You can find a bit of information to prepare you for a trip to Ghana. Should you have any questions that aren't answered on this page, please contact us to arrange to speak to one of the team who have had first hand experience of living and working in Ghana.
Ghana is a multiethnic country and is one of the most stable and democratic countries in West Africa.
The people of Ghana are warm, friendly, and welcoming. You will find Ghanaians will take a keen and genuine interest in you and your life. It is also important to note that it is also very conservative and religeous so try to respect traditional morals and values, including good manners and respect for elders.
Family bonds, particularly amongst the extended family are very important to Ghanaians as a whole. You will find this less evident in large urban areas such as the capital Accra, but many city dwellers return regularly to their rural villages for funerals and renewal of family ties.
You will definitely find that traditional social values, such as respect for elders and respect for dead ancestors, is more common in the rural population than in large cities. However, there has been a revival in the importance of these values and a closer identity with traditional social roots, as expressed in the institution of chieftaincy, is gaining popularity among the urban folks who have moved into cities from different rural parts of Ghana.
Food in Ghana is typically hot and spicy. The food on offer also differs within cities and rural areas. You will not be stuck finding a burger, stir fry, or pizza in the city, but in the countryside food will be more traditional and you may not recognise any of the dishes. Ghana has a rich indigenous cuisine. It includes fufu (starchy foods—such as cassava, yams, or plantains—that are boiled, pounded, and rolled into balls), kenke (fermented cornmeal wrapped in plantain leaves or corn husks), Jollof rice (rice cooked with tomatoes, onions, spices, vegetables and meat), groundnut (peanut) soup, palm nut soup, fish, and snails.
Ghana is tropical; warm and comparatively dry along southeast coast; hot and humid in southwest; hot and dry in north. If you are not used to particularly hot climates then it can take a few days to adjust to the heat and humidity. We recommend regularly hydrating with water.
The people of Ghana are known as Ghanaian. The population of made up of many ethinic groups: Akan 45.7%, Mole-Dagbani 18.5%, Ewe 12.8%, Ga-Dangme 7.1%, Gurma 6.4%, Guan 3.2%, Grusi 2.7%, Mande 2%, other 1.6% (2021 est.).
English is the official language, but you will find many other languages are spoken. You won't be expected to learn any new languages in preparation for the trip, but by learning a few important words such as "Hello", "How are you?", "Thank you", and "You're welcome" you can show respect and will find you will make new friends quickly!
Learning some simple local customs in Ghana can really help you to fit in easily, and help you to avoid offending any of the locals. Here are a few rules you might find helpful:
Greetings are important, particularly to people of older generations. Failure to greet can be seen as an insult! When meeting a group of people it is expected to greet and shake the hand of each, starting with the older generations.
Signs of affection in public, such as hugging, between men and women is often frowned upon and should be avoided, particularly with a new Ghanaian person you meet.
Loud and boisterous behaviour is also frowned upon, and is definitely the opposite of what you might find on a typical day in Glasgow for example!
Wearing military and camouflage style clothing is prohibited.
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