Ghana is often one of the first West African countries visited by travellers.
The capital city of Accra is usually the first destination. Stop by and see the space-age National Theatre, built with Chinese assistance in a distinctive modern architectural style. To take advantage of Accra’s coast, visit Labadi Beach, a stretch of waterfront where travellers can regularly watch reggae, dancing, and cultural drumming performances.
Located down the coast past Accra is Cape Coast, a city with architecture laced by a history of British, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, and Portuguese colonialism. Still standing today is the Cape Coast Castle, an eerie reminder of where slaves were housed before they were shipped to the Americas and the Caribbean.
Tamale, the fastest growing city in West Africa, is starkly different than the southern cities. Tamale is predominantly Islamic, marked with mosques and calls to prayer. The city is the gateway to most of northern Ghana, including Mole National Park. The park is Ghana’s largest wildlife reserve, and is home to elephants, hippos, and more than 90 other species of mammals.
With its relative safety, Ghana is a good introduction to life and travel on the African continent.
Italians should see a travel medicine specialist at least six weeks prior to departure to discuss the following:
- Hepatitis A: Spread to humans through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person, hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all travellers to Ghana.
- Hepatitis B: This contagious liver disease is contracted through the exchange of bodily fluids or contact with contaminated items like piercing tools. The vaccination may be recommended based on travel itineraries and habits.
- Meningitis: Ghana is in the Meningitis Belt that extends across sub Saharan Africa. Travellers may be at particular risk if visiting during the dry season of December to June.
- Rabies: The rabies vaccination should be considered for those travellers coming in close contact with animals. Discuss your itinerary with your travel medicine specialist.
- Yellow Fever: The PHAC recommends all travellers receive the Yellow Fever vaccination before traveling to Ghana. A Yellow Fever Certificate is required for entry if coming from or transiting through a country with the virus.
- Measles: Outbreaks of measles still occur around the world, including in Ghana. Vaccination or a booster shot is recommended for Canadian travellers.
- Typhoid Fever: This vaccine is recommended for travellers to Ghana. The illness is caused by consuming food or drink that has come into contact with fecal matter.
- Cholera: More than 600 cases of cholera were reported in Ghana in 2015. It is recommended travellers take Dukoral, an oral vaccination to protect against the infection.
Mosquitos infected with malaria are found throughout the country. Travellers are at high risk throughout the year and the PHAC recommends speaking to a travel medicine specialist about antimalarials. Precautionary measures should be taken to prevent other insect bites.
Medical facilities outside Accra are poor. Italians should ensure their travel health insurance covers medical evacuation in the case of emergency.
Here’s what to expect of the weather in a few key Ghanian destinations:
- Accra: The temperature in Ghana’s capital city remains similar throughout the year, and ranges between 23º Celsius and 31º Celsius. The winter months are more humid, especially at night. The Harmattan trade wind that blows through Ghana between the end of November and mid-March brings a dry heat.
- Tamale: Regardless of the time of year, temperatures can vary greatly in just one day. The average low in all 12 months is 22º Celsius, with the average high reaching 37º Celsius in February and March. The rainiest months in Tamale are July and August.
- Busua: The temperatures for this western beach town vary greatly throughout the year. May, October, November, and January are the warmest months, with temperatures around 22º Celsius. The average low rarely dips below 11º Celsius. May and June are the rainiest months.
Ghana has two rainy seasons, with the first occurring between April and mid-July and the second happening in October. Bursts of rain can be very intense and can cause localized flooding.
Caution should be taken by Italian travellers visiting Ghana, as petty and violent crime is increasing. Pickpocketing and purse snatching are common, especially in drive-by motorcycle incidents. Neighbourhoods frequented or lived in by foreigners are at higher risk. There is also a risk of taxi theft. Ensure your doors are always locked and there is no one else in the taxi. Theft has also been reported at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, and you should only use airport hired porters. These staff members will wear a tag with their name and photo.
Driving in Ghana should be done within daylight hours. People may attempt to have you stop your vehicle, which you should not do, as mobs of people surrounding a car can be dangerous.
Solo female travellers may face a lot of unwanted attention. This can be prevented by dressing conservatively and being polite but firm with undesired suitors. Ghana is a very physical culture, and people may make physical contact with you to get your attention.
Credit card fraud is also an issue in Ghana. It is recommended travellers limit their use of their credit card while in country and keep a photocopy of their documents.
Here are some essential items to consider for your trip to Ghana:
- Important documents for entry: Ghanaian immigration requires a number of documents from travellers wanting to enter the country. This includes a letter of invitation, travel itinerary, and more. For additional information see the “Entry Requirements” section below.
- Yellow Fever Certificate: Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for entry to Ghana.
- Close toed shoes: Ghana is dusty and dirty, even in the urban centres. Protect your feet with a pair of solid, close toed shoes.
- Sunscreen and a lip chap containing SPF: The Ghanaian sun is intense and unforgiving. Carry plenty of good quality sunscreen and a lip chap that will protect you from the rays. Blistered lips are a painful travel companion.
- Special soap for handwashing clothing: It may be difficult to find laundry facilities in Ghana. Upscale hotels may provide the service, but most travellers will likely have to hand wash their clothes or hire someone to do so. Special bars of soap or detergent can be bought for hand washing on-the-go. Pack cotton clothing as it is breathable and easy to wash by hand.
All Italians visiting Ghana should register with the Embassy in Ghana before departure. This will inform the office of your travel plans within the country and will allow them to reach out in the case of an emergency or evacuation. If you plan to purchase a local SIM card you can also enter your phone number to receive SMS updates from the office.
Jawaharlal Nehru Road P. O. BOX CT 885 Cantonments Accra
Tel. 00233 (0) 302 - 775621/2
24/7 emergency line: 00233 (0) 244317079
Visit the Embassy website prior to your departure.
Italian travellers require a tourist visa to enter Ghana. Visas can be applied for online to the Ghana High Commission in Canada. Applications require a number of documents, including passport photos, a letter of invitation with ID from your host, and a copy of the travel itinerary or flight ticket. Both single entry and multiple entry visas may be granted, and cost either $65 or $150 depending on the number of entries requested. The single entry visa is valid for up to one month and the multiple entry visa for up to one year.
Italian passports should be valid for at least six months beyond the intended date of departure from Ghana.
If you have any questions about travelling to Ghana or are wondering what shots you may need for your trip, schedule an appointment with your International Health Passport clinic today by calling +39 392 0056499 or book online now.