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HOW TO Guide

How To with practicalities


 

WELCOME  TO  GHANA !

 

 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR EXPATRIATES

 

 

DAILY LIFE

Languages

Taxis

Trotro’s

Water

Toiletries

Clothing

OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

Embassies in Accra

Public Holidays
Flight information
Translations
Import duties
Documents authentification

Photo processing

Precious minerals

 

More subjects will be added

 Should you have or think of information or subjects
which you believe could be added to this page, kindly contact us.

 

 

DAILY LIFE

Languages of Ghana
The official language in Ghana is English. There are also several tribal languages such as Twi, Fanti, Ewe and Ga. While Twi is the language most widely used, you can communicate in English practically everywhere in Ghana. Twi is interesting to learn - see the "How To learn local languages" page.

Taxis
Taxis in Accra abound but not all of the taxi drivers are licensed to drive and they will almost invariably propose excessive fares. Use your good judgment when hailing a taxi: does the car appear to be in good condition and clean inside and out, is the driver acting normally, does he speak English? Be especially careful at night. Drivers will also ignore the fact that you may not enjoy loud music or radio talk shows. More inconveniently, drivers often do not have change and that is really annoying so try to have small bills and if you don’t, inform the driver before getting in.

Fares: the cost of a taxi is reasonable but make sure to negotiate the price before you get in. The issue is traffic. Fare for short hops is GHS 4.00/5.00 and go up to with distance, expected time of travel and nighttime.
Try to memorize that right fares to your most common destinations. Do not bother haggling too long: should you not get your way quickly, wait for the next taxi - remember that there are hundreds around. In addition, try to not give your business to an unfriendly taxi driver who tried to over overcharge you in your face and then proposes less right away. Once you know the right fares, no more discussion: just say where you are going, how much you want to pay and ask for a yes or a no. If it s no, just move on to the next taxi.

When a driver and car give you an excellent feeling, ask where is his residence or usual area of work and if suitable, take his name and number. It will be handy as well should few taxis pass by your place of residence. Hotels have their recommended taxis drivers but they always overcharge, although their cars probably are nicer. All taxis may be rented by the hour, half day or full day and for out of town one-ways or round trips. For the rare ones with air-cons, when negotiating an out-of-town trip, negotiate on the base that you will pay the gas on top of the fare.

2016: both Taxify and Uber have launched in Ghana. Taxify started in September and rates for clients are GHS 1.7 start, GHS 0.81 per km, GHS 0.19 per min, with a Taxify commissions are 15%. Taxify claims that with their model, drivers earn on average 13.3% more per trip than with competing app which charges 25% to drivers. Uber has not communicated with us.

See the "How To with security (with a taxi or in a car)" page.

Trotro’s

Should your budget be low, it will suffer from repeated taxis rides which will represent a sizable cost if you have to go around a lot. For short distances, you may want to acquire a bicycle – great solution to go around your neighborhood – but for longer distances, trotro’s are the cheapest way to go around. Savings and seeing how most locals go around will however be the only benefits. Often hot, packed, loud, in fairly bad condition, stopping frequently, etc.: that is trotro! So be patient and positive. Try to avoid the large trotro stations at the beginning/end of the routes. For safety concerns, only trotro’s within the city should be used and for convenience.

Here are the main routes:

-   Ring Road, with an inconvenient break at Nkrumah Circle

-   Nkrumah Circle to Accra Mall and further north, via Ako Adjei Interchange and Liberation Road

-   Accra Central to Accra Mall and further, along Independence Avenue and Liberation Road

-   South Osu, along Oxford Street then either Cantonments to 37 (intersection near 37 Military Hospital and Max Mart) or Nkrumah Circle (shared taxis ply this latter route).

 

When unsure of the destination, ask the driver’s assistant what it is or simply give yours. Do not hesitate to ask information to people standing at bus stops and passengers. A trotro is certainly the place where you will meet the nicest Ghanaians, but on the other hand, beware of pickpockets - see our "Security alerts and advisories" page.

 

Water

Don’t drink water from the tap. You can purchase bottled water from almost any shop. Good bottled water are Voltic and Aqua-In. Price for a 1.5 liter bottle will vary from GHS 1.00+ at a supermarket to over GHS 1.50 at a small street shop. The best is to buy boxes found at many streetside shops. Voltic comes in 1.5LT, 750 and 500ml. Ensure that the boxes you get are or have not been exposed to sun.

 

Considering the heat in Accra and should you not spend most of your time in air-conditioning, you will drink a lot and bottle water will end up costly. With a 1 to 6 price ratio, chilled pure water sachets can be bought from shops and hawkers on the streets nearly everywhere. The pure water sachets have undergone a filtration treatment and are produced in a heat sealed sachet. Sachet water can be bought in bags of twenty to have at home. Buy only good brands such as Cool (made by Voltic) and Yes. The problem around town is always to find a garbage to throw the bag away. Should you drink it on the spot, sellers usually have a trash bin below the cooler they keep water sachets in.

 

Don’t buy water called “ice water” which is just chilled tap water in a tied plastic bag and whether you buy bottles or water sachets, try to ensure that they have not been stored in the sun all day.

This April 2015 blog post reviews the situation about drinking water and sachet water in Ghana in detail.

 

Toiletries

Toiletries can be found but bring your own unless you are ready to switch brands. If you are black, you can find basic (Dark and Loverly, Soft Sheen Carson) hair care and beauty products. But if you are Caucasian, you will find imported toiletries items only in the big “supermarkets” such as Koala, Max Mart, Marina Mall or Shoprite but the selection will probably lower than what you are used to and prices higher.
The same applies to sunscreen but sunscreen is a MUST in Ghana. So bring the best you can get with you and enough of it. We strongly advise to apply some on your face daily and to not fully expose yourself too much to the sun on the beach or at the pool if you are a Caucasian with light skin. It is too common to see "all red" foreigners around town.

 

Clothing

It is illegal to wear original military or camouflage clothing.

 

 

OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION

 

Embassies in Accra

You can access a list of all diplomatic representations in Accra.
Should you not find your diplomatic representation, you can contact us.

Remember that numbers have changed and that the prefix for Accra is 0302 instead of 021.

2017 Public Holidays in Ghana
The country has 13 public holidays. If one falls on a weekend, the day off will is normally transferred to the Monday.
January 1: New Year's Day

March 6: Independence Day (observed on March 7)

April 14: Good Friday

April 17: Easter Monday

May 1: Labor Day

May 25: African Unity Day
June 25 (date to be confirmed): Eid al Fitr (End of Ramadan)

July 1: Republic Day (should be observed on Friday June 30)

 

September 1 (date to be confirmed): Eid al Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
September 21: Founder's Day (Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday)

December 1: Farmer's Day

December 25: Christmas Day

December 26: Boxing Day

 

Flight information

You may obtain flight information from

§    tel.: 0302 776 171

§    Kotoka International Airport’s website 

§    the website of the concerned airline.

To access flight schedules and various travel services, visit our Travel Section launched in summer 2015.

Translations
The Ghana Institute of Languages is approved for translating legal documents, such as the Police Clearance from your country that one needs when applying for a work/residence permit.
For French documents, Alliance Francaise Accra offers this service: translations@afaccra.org - +233 (0) 501 287 804.

Import duties
This General Goods Calculator will let you find out the HS Code for your goods and the corresponding duties and taxes.

Authentification of documents (to use in a foreign country)
The Legal and Consular bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will handle it (notary public, judicial service and own certification) within a week for GHS 150 and three days for GHS 200. It is faster and cheaper than through Registrar General which take 2.5 weeks and GHS 250 and has become a difficult government agency to deal with. No documents are needed besides the one(s) needing authentication (birth or marriage certificate, police clearance, etc.) and it can be dropped and picked up by anyone, such as a driver.

Photo printing

There are several photo laboratories in the city of Accra well equipped to give you high quality photo prints of your memories of Ghana. They have a good reputation for handling both professional photos and travel snapshots. The most popular in Accra include Sharpnet in Osu (50m from Danquah Circle on Ring Road going east - also an Internet cafe), Flash Photos at Danquah Circle (Osu/Ring Road, next to the Chinese fastfood), Photo Club at Marina Mall and Osu (30m after turning left at the second junction after Papayes, down Oxford Street, before Lara Mart Supermarket), Photo Lab (close to Papaye fast food in Oxford Street in Osu) and Modern Photos near the Nkrumah Circle.

Note about Flash Photo at Danquah Circle: we find them overpriced so we advice to walk 20 meters east around the curve (towards Labone/Labadi) to the small Omega Jay Photo, best for passport pictures as Sharpnet is accross Ring Road there.

For home printing, affordable quality printer/copier/scanners can be found at numerous IT shops on Oxford Street.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY RESTRICTIONS: photography of sensitive installations, including military sites, government buildings, and Accra's International Airport, is prohibited. Permission should also be obtained before taking photographs of anyone in uniform (police officers and military officers, for example). In some instances, film and cameras have been confiscated.

 

Precious minerals

The Government of Ghana maintains strict regulations on the import and export of gold, diamonds, and other precious natural resources. Only agents licensed by the Precious Metals and Mining Commission may handle import-export transactions of these natural resources. Any transaction lacking this Commission's endorsement may be illegal and/or fraudulent. Attempts to evade regulations are punishable by prison terms.



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