Which part of Ghana are you from

Ghana: insider tips for traveling through West Africa

Getting around in Ghana

What you have to be prepared for: The distances in Ghana are long - and some of the roads are in extremely poor condition. Hence my tip: Do not drive your own or a rented car, but use Trotros and leave the feeling of time pressure right at the Accra airport.

The trips with the minibus are not only super cheap, but also a real experience every time. The wagons have space for 15 to 20 people and a lot of luggage - including live chickens. The bags are squeezed under the seats and, if there is no more space, into a small gap between the last row of seats and the door. If this no longer closes, no problem, a rope is lashed and the door remains half open while driving.

At every stop, salespeople run to the Trotro, shouting loudly and knocking on the windows - they usually carry them in containers on their heads. Then provisions are bought: banana chips, drinks, filled dumplings, meat skewers, yoghurt drinks or rolls. Ghana style.

The nature of Ghana

Wli Falls - West Africa's highest waterfall

The Wli Falls are a real experience - and with a height of about 65 meters they are the highest waterfall in West Africa. You are in the Volta region in the north-west of Accra, right on the border with Togo.

The Wli Falls consist of an upper and a lower waterfall, both of which you can reach during a six-hour hiking tour - it leads through dense tropical forest, over bridges and has some steep ascents and descents.

Be careful, especially in the rainy season this can turn into a slide. You should definitely be sure-footed and wear good shoes - don't be fooled by the fact that the guides often only wear flip-flops.

If you do not trust yourself to do such a hike, you can only visit the lower waterfall, this path without steep climbs is about three kilometers long.

Getting to the Wli Falls: With the Trotro to Hohoe (from Accra the journey takes about six hours) and the remaining 25 kilometers by taxi.

Cape Three Point - lonely sandy beach

This beach is one of the most beautiful in Ghana - and it is also one of the loneliest. If you stand all alone with your feet in the sand at Cape Three Point, an old lighthouse to your right, a palm tree to your left, the Atlantic Ocean in front of you, then you almost think you're at the end of the world. In fact, you are at least at the southernmost point of the country.

Portuguese sailors discovered it and gave it the name "Cabo de Tres Puntas" - in German Cape of the Three Points. You will see why at the latest when you have climbed the lighthouse. Another highlight, if you are there between November and March: Baby turtles hatch on the beach and find their way into the sea.

Getting there is quite an adventure because the streets are full of potholes. With your own car (especially in the rainy season) you should avoid tackling the road as much as possible. It could be that you arrive with a tattered underbody - this is what happened to our inexperienced taxi driver.

Take the Cape Three Points Trotro from Takoradi or Agoda to the collection point for the taxi motorbikes, which will take you there. The best thing to do is to contact the lodge (see Accommodation in Ghana).

Kakum National Park: Experience the Rainforest

You can get to know the tropical rainforest of Ghana in a spectacular way: A canopy walk stretches between the huge trees of the Kakum National Park. At 330 meters and seven bridges up to 45 meters high, you can get closer to the plants and animals in the otherwise practically inaccessible habitat.

Another highlight: You can even spend a night in the 350 square kilometer Kakum National Park, which is located north of Cape Coast and Elmina. You will be accompanied by a park ranger, with whom you can also go on a hike at dawn. You can send overnight inquiries directly to the Park Info.

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The wildlife of Ghana

There are very different habitats in Ghana: In the rainforest in the south there are very different animals and plants than in the savanna in the north. Here are two tips on how you can experience both regions:

Safari in Mole National Park

Ghana is not as typical a safari country as Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, Namibia or South Africa - this has to do with the fact that West Africa is much more densely populated and therefore there are no such large herds of animals. But you can still experience really wild animal encounters, for example in the Mole National Park in the north of the country.

There you have the opportunity to observe around 300 species of birds and 94 species of mammals - including elephants, antelopes, buffalo, baboons and warthogs. You can do this on tours in a jeep or on foot. The latter is pretty exciting, because it can very well happen that you suddenly find yourself in front of a full-grown bull elephant.

Beware, they are not always the nicest people around. It is therefore essential to follow the instructions of the park rangers.

Arrival: From Accra it is a good 600 kilometers to the Mole National Park. Do not drive the distance in one go!

If the park is not on your round trip, you have the choice: Either you can book a flight to Tamale (quite expensive and not exactly environmentally friendly), or you plan an overnight stay in Kumasi and two days for the journey.

Monkey watching at Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary

In Tafi Atome you will experience monkey cats up close in the wildlife reserve of the same name, several hundred monkeys live in the forest. Usually, when they are not looking for food in the village, they live hidden in the trees. You can keep an eye out for them on a guided tour through the forest.

But be careful, they are crazy about bananas! If tourists have some with them on the tour, the playful monkey cats jump down onto the shoulders, heads and arms of the guests.

The Monkey Sanctuary was founded in 1996, it is a community-based ecotourism project. That means: The income flows into projects to maintain the community. For example, the village was supplied with electricity, and the school and community clinic were renovated.

Arrival: You can combine the visit with a trip to the Wli Falls by booking a taxi to Hohoe on the return journey from the lodge with a stopover in the sanctuary.

The history of Ghana

Elmina Castle: The "Door of No Return"

Anyone who wants to understand Ghana has to deal with this dark chapter of history: the slave trade. For more than three centuries, Ghana was the largest slave hub in Africa, and Elmina Castle near the city of Cape Coast played a major role in this.

After men and women were held captive there for weeks or months under inhumane conditions, they went through the “Door of No Return”, were put on ships and brought to America. You cannot and should not escape the oppressive feeling when you stand at this door today.

Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum

In 1820 the British declared Ghana a colony under the name “Gold Coast” - in 1957 Ghana was one of the first states in Africa to fight for independence. This is what the people of the country are proud of and worship the father of independence, Kwame Nkrumah. His face is adorned with banknotes and postage stamps, several streets and the largest roundabout in Accra are named after him, and a mausoleum was built for him in the capital.

The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park also houses a museum that houses many photos, personal items and memorabilia of the first President of the Republic of Ghana. And you can also find out there why he was put out of office in 1966.

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Eating and drinking in Ghana

Basically, I recommend you: Let yourself into the Ghanaian cuisine, even if there are restaurants with pizza, burgers and fries in every city. You only really get to know a country if you also eat traditionally.

Especially small snacks at street stalls or from street vendors are available in Ghana for very little money - depending on the season, fresh pineapple, mango and papaya are always available. Two other things that you absolutely have to try this way are bofrots (fried balls of dough) and plantain chips (salted plantain chips).

And on almost every street corner you will find small bars that serve traditional dishes and where you should try my top 3 dishes (for example in the Buka restaurant in Accra's Osu district):

1. Fufu: The national dish consists of a mix of plantains and yams mashed into a pulp. There is either groundnut or light soup (peanut soup or thin soup). The dish is traditionally eaten by hand. In bars and restaurants, you get a wash bowl brought to your table beforehand.

2. Banku: Banku is a dumpling made from corn and cassava flour and water. The porridge is left to stand for a few days so that it turns sour (or vinegar is used as an aid). There is also stew made from fish or meat. Banku is also traditionally eaten with the hands.

3. Red Red:Red Red is fried plantains with bean stew.

Overnight in Ghana

If you are reading my favorite sightseeing tips, then plan an overnight stay. Here are my three favorite accommodations without luxury and frills:

Waterfall Lodge

If you are going to the Wli Falls, the Waterfall Lodge is a nice place to stay. It is located in the middle of the rainforest, consists of several red round houses and has a panoramic view of the mountains and the waterfall. The lodge is run by a German-speaking couple who will also give you tips for the hike.

Escape Three Points

At Cape Three Point there is only this accommodation - and you have to be prepared to get the full "back to the roots" feeling. There is no running (let alone warm) water or electricity in the Escape Three Points ecolodge.

To shower you pour water from a bucket over your head, you “flush” the toilet with sawdust, and you sleep in tree houses. What do you get for it? Absolute peace, a secluded sandy beach, warm hosts, freshly caught lobsters and good cocktails.

Mole Motel

The Mole Motel is the cheaper accommodation option in the Mole National Park. It is located on a hill overlooking a water hole where the elephants come to drink and bathe. From the restaurant with pool and from the small bungalow rooms - the furnishings are kept simple - you can let your gaze wander over the savannah.

Sometimes you see an elephant in the distance, but very close you come warthogs grazing in front of your door or baboons having a small party on the terrace. Most important tip: Don't leave anything, no towel or T-shirt, hanging outside to dry. There is a great risk that it will suddenly disappear.

Arrival to Ghana

Accra's airport is about ten kilometers outside the capital. There are currently no direct flights from Germany. But you can take the train to Amsterdam, from there, for example, KLM flies direct. Alternatively, there are flights with stopovers in Dubai and Lisbon.