Ghana is a lovely and a very peaceful country. As a matter of fact, Ghana is ranked the 4th most peaceful country in the whole of Africa after Botswana, Malawi and Mauritius respectively according to Global Peace Index as of 2019. So it’s certainly a country you dont have to be afraid visiting.
Ghana is blessed with a lot of beautiful sceneries from the natural beauty of beaches, waterfalls, and national parks to museums and attractions, there are numerous reasons to visit Ghana, but there are some things tourists need to know before visiting. From how to take photographs to how to use a taxi, here are a few things to take heed of.
1. Never use your left hand to interact with individuals. Ever. It is considered rude and obnoxious. If your right hand is unavailable or busy, use your left hand and immediately apologize after.
2. Don’t try to sell your ‘superior culture’ to Ghanaians. At best, you will be wasting your time. Worst case scenario, you will make a lot of enemies. What do I mean by this? Ghanaians are incredibly religious people and for the most part, consider most ’Western cultures’ as immoral.
So you want to talk to a Ghanaian about gay rights, abortion, sex change, etc? Dude, just don’t. Now I’m not saying this is right or wrong. I’m only telling you what to expect. Besides, why will I be against gay rights when I love having rights?
3. While we are still talking about religion, do not for the love of god, tell people you are an atheist. You are going to be seen as the literal devil. Literally. Ironically, Ghanaians love to shove their religions down people’s throat, yet, they absolutely hate it when you talk about your own lack of religion. It’s hypocrisy, I know.
But if you want your peace of mind, and do not want people contacting you 24/7 to spread the Galling News about their long-haired Jewish saviour, allegedly born in December, then you should keep your opinions of religion to yourself. Unfortunately, I’m kind of paying the price for that. But that too shall pass.
4. Politics can be very divisive here in Ghana. Don’t talk about it unless you know exactly what you’re talking about. Even then, still, don’t talk about it.
5. 99.9% of the entire population of Ghana is made up of black people. We do not quite understand racism the same way many multi-racial countries do. If you’re a racist visiting Ghana, you’re going to have your ego thoroughly crushed.
Firstly, because your racism might be too covert for us to identify and give a fuck, or secondly, because it is so overt that you end up getting the ass whopping of your life time, or you may end up being paid back in your own racist coin a thousand times over. No joke. Leave the racism behind at your airport.
6. We do not expect visitors to learn any Ghanaian languages; we speak over forty of them. For the most part, people will speak English with you, if that’s what you speak. But please, do not force people to speak English, nor should you do that slow condensing thing Native English speakers do the moment they meet others who they perceive do not understand English.
If someone does not speak English, they do not automatically understand you the moment you begin speaking slowly. You only make a fool of yourself. Ghanaians won’t tell you you’re making a fool of yourself. But the smile on their faces will.
7. Don’t accept the first price a cab driver gives you. Taxi price in Ghana is usually at least 10-25 Cedis depending on the distance you’re going. It could be more than this if your distance is relatively far. And frankly speaking, regular Ghana taxi/cabs are getting higly expensive these days.
To accept the first price as a tourist makes it easier for them to keep increasing the prices and stand their ground. Always ask someone (a shopkeeper, a passerby even) how much an average taxi should be and stand your ground.
8. This point is particularly for celebrities who want to visit Ghana. Cardi B visited Ghana and it was not pretty. Here’s the thing, compared to other parts of the world, Ghanaians are not too enthusiastic about celebrities.
Yes, we may like their movies, or their songs. But that’s just about it. If you’re here to entertain, do that. And while you’re at it, enjoy yourself with all the sights and good food. But please for goodness sake, do not talk about issues you do not understand. See point 2 above. You will have a very unpleasant stay if you do.
9. Don’t take photographs of people without their permission; Ghanaians like to pose, love a selfie, and love being asked to have their picture taken. But take a candid of, say, a busy streetscape with people going about their daily business and someone is bound to be furious. There have been instances in the past of photo books of Ghanaians at less than their best being published abroad—a sort of poverty porn—so tourists aren’t’ given the benefit of the doubt that this isn’t what they’re up to. Be respectful.
10. Don’t disrespect an elderly person. The elderly people are really respected in Ghana; because it is believed that to live that long is by the Grace GOD and it’s not as easy as drinking water and Ghanaian respect that.
Regardless of the relationship with an older person, it is a normal thing to address them as ‘Ma’, ‘Papa’, ‘uncle’, or ‘aunty’. It is believed to treat them with anything other than respect is the equivalent to doing the same to one’s own parents. Do so and prepare to be admonished for it by everyone around who was a witness
For the most part, visiting Ghana is great. Really, don’t panic, you will enjoy yourself. In 2019, due to a government policy dubbed “The Year of Return”, we had so many people who visited the country. It was great. Just understand that Ghanaians are different, and you may not always agree with us.