Safe travel for woman in Ghana?

edited August 2009 in - West Africa
Is it safe for a woman to travel alone in Ghana? I plan to visit Accra, Sunyani, the Cape Coast and Mole National Park. Is it advisable to use public transport (mini buses) or would it be safer to use a taxi? I am also prepared to rent a car from Accra if necessary, and possible. Are the Cape Coast buses reliable and safe?
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Comments

  • edited 8:07AM
    Lizzy, have you been to third world countries before? If you're an old-hand at third world adventures, then Ghana could be a snap. If you have no experience in the third world, it could be difficult, frustrating, even dangerous by yourself. It really depends on if you have contacts in Ghana. If you're a novice traveler and are going alone with no one to help when you get there, you could be in for a steep learning curve.

    I've been up and down the coast with a rented car with driver and have encountered a number of "official police" roadblock shakedowns where we were accused of doing something illegal and the fine was to be paid on the spot. Fairly common. The roads are generally terrible. Cars are generally in terrible states of repair. One of my rentals (with driver) had the transmission blow apart leaving me stranded in the middle of no where. Another had a fuel line leak nearly blowing the car up, leaving me stranded in the middle of no where.

    Keep your wits about you and be aware of the possibility of being scammed. Corruption is a problem, water and food born bacteria is a very real problem. Coastal waters especially near towns and villages are very polluted, as they are used as toilets. When you think of Ghana's beaches, don't think California and Highway 1. They're not the same. Just be careful. Don't flaunt your wealth, keep valuables to yourself or don't bring them.

    On the true upside, I've met some wonderful, helpful people in Ghana. It can be a very interesting place to visit. I'm a photographer who has worked in 34 countries and spent nearly half a year working in Africa, but only a few weeks in Ghana. I always work hard to stay healthy and never travel alone. My photo gear draws too much attention to me and I tend to look like a target. And because I'm occasionally gone for long periods of time, I have a lot of cash on me. So again, I'm super cautious.

    Enjoy Ghana and it's people. It's a colorful place. Just be careful if you do it alone. And I wouldn't drive it alone.
  • edited 8:07AM
    Do you think that it is safe for a teenaged girl (16) to spend a month in a school program teaching children in an orphange? I have been assured that an adult would be with her at all times and that the villagers would never harm her. However, although it is an entirely different part of the world, I remember being told in Kuala Lumpor, "don't let go of your childrens' hand, white slavery is very popular." THAT of course has left a permanent scar for travelling in third world countries!
  • edited 8:07AM
    I enter my comments as a Ghanaian. therefore I may be a bit biased.
    1. Lizzy, Ghana is a very safe place to travel to. as said in the commentary above, sanitation is a problem. please take your malaria...medication and drink the bottled water. there are various brands sold everywhere. this is because your immune system may not be that strong. for being a lady, that is no problem at all. travel in public transport. it is inconveniencing but safest. of course when there is a breakdown, you are in a group and that is more confortable. the bigger the vehicle, the better!!! within the city, the mini buses called trotro are safest. late at nite or where the trotros dont exist, you take a taxi. the taxi drivers will always mention a higher price. remember you can bargain for a reduction in taxi fares. do that before you start the journey. most of the banks in ghana offer visa/master and other international money services. you could carry your card and take the money bit by bit. or when travelling e.g to the mole national park, send the money by transfer and cash it at the nearest big town (Damongo).

    2. mother to 16 year old: i think your daughter is too young. its safe in terms of slavery, kidnapping etc. The villages are the safest places in Ghana. your daughter will be treated like a queen. she will be pampered. but she is not emotionally strong enough. when she is 20 she could come.
  • edited 8:07AM
    I wanted to know when you leave accra ghana, by Kotoka international airport, do you have to have funds on you before you can board a plane, and if so how much. someone was telling me that they needed funds before boarding a plane over there.
  • edited 8:07AM
    I'm visiting a friend in Tamale and i don't know anything about the place. I have tried to research but i don't get enough info. I want to know the culture, the people and if the place is safe enough..I'm a South African so im not really conserned about the public as I think is the same as South Afica but i really would love to hear form a ghananian or someone who's been to Tamale before.
  • edited 8:07AM
    Regarding the question asked by zulmaria, I am eager to read your answer on that. I have a friend who wants to visit the US from Ghana, but claims that there is a financial obligation to be met before being allowed to leave that country for this one. It sounds like possible scam to me.
  • edited 8:07AM
    @ zulmaria: funds to board a plane? Why? It is not usual and it can't be true. Tickets/boarding are not purchased at check-in points and they include tax. NO money disbursement should be done at the airport, aside what travelers wish to make (buying stuff, tipping, etc.).
  • edited 8:07AM
    @Jekyl: The only financial obligation is that needed for acquiring a passport, visa, ticket, vaccinations, ...., stuff like that.
  • edited 8:07AM
    @Kayj: Tamale is safe, despite political and ethnic unrest in the not too distant past. Stay clear of Bawku, however. It's been unstable for some time now, for the same reasons. Tamale should be tons safer than SA, I figure.
  • edited 8:07AM
    Hi I am going to be moving to Ghana and would like to know if there are any tourist attractions in the Bhong Ahafo Region and if there is a Twi Phrase book or dictionary that can be purchased in Accra or Komasi.
  • edited 8:07AM
    Well.. Ghana is a very safe place. I have been there in 2008 and stayed there for 3 months. People are very friendly.. and very helpful. But also remember.. just like the USA... there are some areas you have to becareful not to find your self wandering around. The taxi drivers will try to cheat you when they see you are from some where else. Just be smart.... and becareful.. and you will enjoy your trip to Ghana..
  • edited 8:07AM
    Hi, I guess my questions are a little redundant but Im asking any way. Is it safe for two girls to travel up through Tamale and into Mole Park? The internet seems to provide various levels of caution, from no problem to travelers should re-evaluate their need to visit this area. We've both been to 3rd world countries before but I still think we're fairly novice. Is it safe to go see the elephants??
  • edited 8:07AM
    I to have a girl friend that lives in Accra Ghana and she tells me she need 300 dollars to board a flight out of Ghana airport, Is this true ?
  • dada
    edited 8:07AM
    i know there is departure tax from ghana airport but i believe this is only around £15 (???) $25usd
  • edited 8:07AM
    am south african and i got a boyfriend in ghana,i wish to visit am scared of the ritual killings all over ghana.i gt to a point were i dont think am gonna be safe even with my boyfriend dnt get me wrong i love him to bits but cant trust a foreign man with my life just like that.i love him so much bt am scared to visit him i think he better come to south africa so that my family can meet him!
  • edited 8:07AM
    as a south african woman in love with a ghanaian man,do u think starting at the south african ghana embassy to report that am in ghana they must look after my safety return to south africa will help me to be safe in ghana?
  • edited 8:07AM
    @ mother to a 16 year old. I know this is quite a bit after you commented, but just in case you're still wondering about your daughter going to Ghana, I'd like to tell you that I traveled to Ghana by myself when I was 17 (3 years ago) and lived with a native family for 3 months. I spent my time working in an orphanage and preschool in Accra. I felt very safe and had the time of my life. People were very kind and welcoming. In fact, I am returning to Ghana this year to be an intern for two months. That said, it does require a certain level of maturity and level-headed-ness. Be prepared for culture shock!
  • edited 8:07AM
    @Deli
    I have been to both South Africa and Ghana and in my opinion, Ghana is 90+% safer than South Africa and there is no need to be afraid of ritual killings.
    There are no "ritual killings all over ghana".
    There is a relatively low crime rate and the people are very friendly and helpful.
    As with any place that you would want to travel to, you just have to be take necessary precautions like avoiding late night travels.
    You should rather be more concerned with contracting malaria than being kidnapped for a ritual.
    Get your anti-malarial medicine and you should be ok.
  • edited 8:07AM
    KB thank u very much,after reading what your journalist hs put on the net i was disappointed abt ghana bt today i got a different side abt ghana.KB if u dnt mind pls send me your details i need to talk to u offline that is if u are ghanaian.thank you in advance!
  • edited 8:07AM
    My mother in law wants take 1 year old to Ghana for a month. Besides me missing him does anyone think this would be a good idea? I am worried that his little body right now being so young cant handle it. She did take my step-daughter 10 years ago, but I am worried about new diseases. Please help.
  • edited 8:07AM
    Have meet a friend over the net working in Accra, Ghana. He is supposed to be wealthy Australian. His son was the victam of a Hit and rund accident. As he is wishing the best of care for his son, he has hired a private Doctor. He tells me, He needs $38,000.00, aust., dollars for the doctor to look after the childs injuries. Fractured Scull and broken limbs. As you are unable to use credits cards in Gahna, and is unble to access money from Australia over there, wants me to send him the money. I am concerned. Please help me
  • edited 8:07AM
    @spidereyes

    This is a classic scam. Don't send any money. Credit cards are accepted in Ghana, and if you're able to send him money, then why can't he have someone send his own?
  • edited 8:07AM
    KB youve really being to Africa everything you said is true
  • edited 8:07AM
    Spidereyes
    Tell them to get incontact with the Australian Embassy
    They should be able to help
    Plus should have there travel plans on smarttravel.com and also if they are wealth they would have travel insurance (as suggested on smarttravel.com, travel agents and major booking sites in Australia)
    This website also tells them how to get help over seas.
  • edited 8:07AM
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  • edited 8:07AM
    I am 18 years old and i am planning to travel to ghana with an organization to volunteer in an orphanage for two-three months , i was wondering if people have any ideas if it is safe to do so and any tips?
  • edited 8:07AM
    Hey dan im also looking to go to ghana to volunteer but just want to find out how safe it is an stuff like that before i actuali apply properly for it. what organzation are you going through to do it?
  • edited 8:07AM
    I've lived and travelled in Ghana for 3 months last year (I'm an 18 year old girl) and I never encountered any problems with regards to safety. As long as you use common sense knowledge - don't show any valuable things, don't walk around late at night or drink too much alcohol, take care of your health (only drink bottled water, use malaria medication/prevention etc.) Just all the things you should do whenever you are travelling in a third world country. The only annoying thing is that they might try to let you pay too much for things you buy - which will still be very cheap.
    For the rest, I think Ghana is one of the savest countries I've been to so far - the Ghanianans are very very friendly and helpful, they will take care of you wherever you go (both in small towns and large cities). I've travelled on my own a couple of times, never felt unsafe. I would recommend travelling by STC buses for larger distances - they are both comfortable and safe. For a smaller distance or remote destinations you can use minibuses called trotro's which are very cheap. Also, in the cities like Tamale, Kumasi & Accra (shared) taxis are affordable. After a while you don't care anymore about driving in a car which is almost broken.
    I would say, just enjoy the adventure, use your common sense and you'll have the best time of your life :)
  • edited 8:07AM
    Hey jess im going with an organization called international volunteer HQ, im going in september for three months ! Thanks for the help Suus
  • edited 8:07AM
    I am volunteering to teach in hohoe ghana during the week. Weekends will be my free time Will it be possibl to go other palces from there safely? Mainly Mole Park, wii falls, etc
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