How to Travel to Ghana for Cheap0
No country in the west impressed me as much as Ghana. I traveled there, on my quest to get familiar with several African countries. Ghana was my first stop and it really swept me off my feet. Although it is not expensive by our standards, this country is not on the tourist radar very often, and this is the reason why I decided to write about my experience.
Before you set off
The whole idea of traveling to Africa was completely dismissed and scorned by my friends. They even managed to make me think twice before I made my final decision. However, going to a country that is so different on many levels from your home country forces you to think in a divergent, what-if way. So, if you are planning to follow in my footsteps, first go over these tips for Ghana trips.
Airport impression (and caution)
When I was on my way to Ghana, I had some prejudice. My greatest fear was to get robbed or kidnapped there. So, when I set my foot at the Kotoka International Airport – the largest in Ghana – I was at the same time surprised with its raw looks and amazed by the energy of the people when I left the building and started exploring Accra. An important note upon arrival to avoid getting ripped off: the fastest way to get to the center of Accra is by taking a taxi. The average price of such a taxi ride should be about 35 cedi, which is about $7. Make sure that you choose a vehicle with a taximeter and always ask about the expected price.
Accra – gem of the Gulf of Guinea
With more than 2.2 million people (as of 2012), Accra is a large and powerful city. It is one of the most beautiful African cities, as well. During my stay there, I was surprised to see some monumental landmarks, like Black Star Square or the Black Star Monument. The great thing is that those sites are public monuments and you do not have to pay to see them. The same goes for the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park – a large, free-entrance area, dedicated to the first post-colonial president of Ghana.
I also wanted to learn more about the period when Ghana was the center of slave trade, so I visited the National Museum of Ghana. The admission fee was about $8, but if you manage to form a group, it can be lower.
Ghanaian soul food
Apart from the monuments, I was also awestruck by their food. From the variety of meals that I found unusual, I chose chicken with rice and special spices. I admit, I was afraid to try the traditional local food at first, but later I relaxed and even ate fufu in the street. Do not be afraid to eat in the street in Accra, since many Ghanaian street vendors are undergoing a WHO hygiene program for improving food hygiene and the situation is much better now. Eating in the street will leave more money in your wallet and you will try local specialties. Of course, the Kaneshie market is a must-see place to try them, as well as to get some budget-friendly souvenirs, made by the local people.
Volunteering for cheap accommodation
After a few days in Accra, I realized that my stay in Ghana was going to be very short if I kept sleeping in hotels. It is not easy to find affordable and fine accommodation in Ghana. You can find reasonable prices and offers on reliable sites, like meQasa.com, and I recommend that solution. However, after I tried it, I decided to start volunteering. I went to several non-governmental organizations in Ghana and asked them if they needed an extra hand. Luckily, they offered me to work as an English teacher in a village 50km from Accra. The organization provided accommodation for my teaching period, which helped me save a lot of money. I volunteered for a whole month, but then I felt I had enough of it and that I should to go and see other beauties of Ghana.
Mole National Park
When I got to know the Ghanaian people and their customs, I wanted to take a closer look at the wild animals that can be seen on a safari in Ghana. I decided to go to Mole National Park, one of the biggest in Ghana. The ticket cost 30 cedi, which was about $6 and it was a real bargain. Also, if you are coming by (rented) car, you will pay additional $4.
Make additional savings
My experience in Ghana cannot be shrunk to a piece of writing. The people are beautiful and open-minded, the country is large (about 240,000 square km), but it still lacks better transport infrastructure. So, to avoid the confusion and delays that traveling around Ghana might produce, I used different travel apps throughout my stay in Ghana. They helped me save money and even spared me from getting late for my plane, because the flight time was changed.
If I have a chance, I will go back to the Gold Coast. I still have many places to see and I cannot wait to hang out with my Ghanaians friends again, especially the kids in the school in which I taught.