English is the lingua franca and official language of Ghana, which makes it a travel-friendly country. Over 40 other languages are also spoken, Fante or Twi commonly in the Fante and Ashanti regions, while Ewe is used in Lake Volta’s eastern region and Ga in the Greater Accra area. Ghanaian Muslims and those living in the north generally speak the Hausa language.
Ghana cedi (GHS) is the official currency in Ghana which is equivalent to 100 pesewas. Banknotes come in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1 cedis, while coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 Ghana pesewas. ATMs are common in large urban areas including the capital and other developed areas like Kumasi. Credit cards (especially MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club, and American Express) are widely used. Travelers’ checks may be converted in banks and currency exchange offices.
Ghana uses 220-240 V as its electrical standard―double the capacity of most American/Canadian appliances. Sockets are in Indian and British standard (BS-1363), so bring a plug adapter and a voltage converter or a step-down transformer for your gadgets to work in Ghana.
In Ghana, international post and phone services are generally more reliable than internal communications. Ghana Telecom is the largest provider in the country, but several other companies, including cell phone networks, are starting to emerge due to growing demand. Internet access is decent in urban areas and service is increasingly improving in the rural areas and along major highways. Internet cafés are cheap and abundant and most hotels have wired broadband access or wireless hot spots.
There are two main duty-free shops in Ghana; one in Accra and the other in the harbor town of Tema. Dufry & GTDC Diplomatic Shop can be found near the airport and offers tax-free shopping for perfumes, fashion, accessories, arts and craft. The main harbor in Tema plays host to another duty-free establishment, Flamingo Int. Ltd., which sells all kinds of duty-free staples.
You may import no more than 400 cigarettes, a pound of tobacco or 100 cigars; 1.1 liters of spirits or wine; and up to 284 mL of perfume into Ghana without incurring customs. Duty is charged on gifts, especially on the export of antiques and handicrafts that are not tax-exempt. Certificates are issued by the country’s Museum and Monuments Board and are available from the National Museum’s main craft center. Banned imports include: firearms, explosives, ammunition, and animals.
Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations: +233-302-666-314 or http://www.touringghana.com/gtb.asp
Consulates in Ghana
American Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-741-100
Canadian Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-211-521 or +233-21-228-555
Australian Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-302-216-400
Belgian Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-762-281
Chinese Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-777-073
Danish Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-253-473 to 74
Egyptian Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-776-854
French Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-214-550
German Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-241-082
Hungarian Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-400-770
Italian Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-775-621
Spanish Consulate, Accra, Ghana: +233-21-774-004
Fire: 192 or 999