The Republic of Ghana, formerly known as the Gold Coast, was one of the first African Colonies to come under British rule. In 1957, it became the first country south of the Sahara desert to gain independence. The 540km coastline of Ghana is dotted with colonial slave forts and castles. This is an unpleasant but unforgettable reminder of its dark history. Ghana’s population of 26 million is extremely diverse. There are at least 68 ethnic compositions within the 6 main ethnic groups, Ewe, Akan, Guan, Ga, Adangbe and Gonja, with most hailing from the Northern tribes. These groups are also a combination of different tribes themselves. With such a wide range of different people, it is no wonder that Ghana has at least 75 different dialects and languages. All these tribes and ethnic groups have unique cultural and traditional practices which are centuries old. These and the mode of celebrations and traditional beliefs serve to distinguish them from each other. Sea, sand and sunshine; the stunning coconut-lined deserted white sand beaches; the wild multifaceted Southern Tropical Rainforest with its myriad of birds and flora; moving steadily northwards to the Sahelian Savannah plains with its game and wildlife, Ghana’s landscape is difficult to beat or equal. The enormous cultural diversity and unique traditional practices make travelling in and around Ghana a pleasurable adventure to undertake and behold.
LOCAL GUIDES AND TOUR LEADERS
If you are an individual or couple travelling with us, you will generally have one of our expert local leaders with you. For larger groups we always allocate two local guides, both knowledgeable and experienced in their related areas. There are also in addition local or site guides who are there to make sure that your holidays are enjoyable, rewarding and knowledge–filled. Our full-time team of over 20 cultural, wildlife, birding and nature specialists are recognised as the finest in West Africa and also possess in depth cultural and historical knowledge of all the areas we visit. Our cultural, heritage and educational tour directors and guides offer a dynamic, constructive and inclusive approach to our leading, moving away from old-styled lecture tour guiding, which collectively makes us the leading West African tour specialist. Ashanti African Tours employ full-time registered and certified expert local guides in culture, birding, wildlife, butterflies, history and general natural history. We do not use freelance guides and pride ourselves on paying our staff a good salary, pension, healthcare and social security. We pride ourselves on quality, affordable, authentic and professionally-led tours which benefit locals and the environment.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
The climate of Ghana, due to its geographical location between long 4°c and 11°c N and about 1°c E and 3°cW, just north of the equator, is a typical tropical climate. Ghana is crossed by the Greenwich Meridian at Tema. Daytime temperatures average around 30°c. However, there is some variation seasonally and geographically. Temperature in the mid-portion, to the south of the country ranges between 21°c – 32°c and 24 °c- 40°c in the north depending on time of the year. The warmest months are February and March and the coolest are August to early September. Seasonal changes are different from those of North America and Europe, due to its proximity to the Equator. Ghana’s temperature is reasonably consistent. The rainy season is from May to October. Most of the southern sector has two periods of rainfalls, a major one from mid-May to mid-July and a minor one from September to mid-October. The northern sector has only one, from mid-May – August. From December to mid-January, the Harmmatan winds blow from the Sahara Desert, causing very dry and hazy conditions in the north. This has little or no effect on visitors.
On the vast majority of our standard set-departure tours, we use mid-range hotels ranging from 2 to 3 star where available, all having private washroom facilities, air-conditioning, swimming pools and international restaurants. During our birding and nature tours, we use the best standard accommodation close to the area of interest, as most locations are quite remote. It is possible to upgrade accommodation at an additional cost when staying in Accra and Kumasi, as at all other locations we use the best hotels available. Please be aware that we can design bespoke tours for luxury and budget travellers, depending on how much you would like to spend on your holiday.
GUEST HOUSES AND HOMESTAYS
On some of our Eco, Wildlife, Voluntary, Educational and Cultural tours in the more remote areas, local guesthouses are used and in some unique cases homestays. Although these are more basic than hotels in larger communities, they are comfortable and clean. Staying in these types of accommodations brings us into closer and more intimate contact with the locals, their ways of life and fascinatingly, their wonderful unity.
On rare occasions during some of our Eco, Wildlife and Extreme Birding and Butterfly tours in more remote areas, we will camp. This is not for the duration of your entire tour, but for a couple of days where accommodation is unavailable. This is usually the case for night-viewing of wild animals such as Lions, Leopards and Hippos. Camping is usually on a shared basis, but single occupancy tents are available when requested. All meals are cooked by our experienced guides and are usually a mixture of ample and delicious Western and salivating authentic Ghanaian dishes eaten around an open fire, the Ghanaian way for a memorable evening. Some of our permanent camps have electricity, toilet and cold shower facilities, a permanent chef and backup generator.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING
Due to the wide variety of tours we offer, this information will be forwarded upon confirmation of your booking in your pre-trip information pack.
Ashanti African Tours (GH) Ltd is registered with the Ghana Tourism Authority (a legal requirement). Our operating license number is T-04/CR/16; our company has public liability and professional indemnity insurance with a policy cover of $1,000,000.00 USD per claim; all our vehicles are comprehensively insured; our guides are registered, certificated and employed on a full-time basis, in addition to our services and tour leaders being of the highest standard.
You must ensure that you have adequate personal insurance cover for your trip. It is a compulsory requirement for all our trips in Ghana and other African destinations and it is your responsibility to take out a suitable policy. You will not officially join our tours until evidence of your insurance has been provided to our office. This must include personal accident, medical expenses and repatriation to your country of origin. We also recommend that your policy covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Please note that free insurance cover offered by some credit cards does not cover repatriation expenses.
All nationalities, except Ghanaians and members of the ECOWAS community, need a visa for entry into Ghana. British citizens can download a visa form from www.ghana.com.co.uk . You will need four passport size quality photos and can send your passport via recorded delivery. This takes approximately two weeks to process. Alternatively, you can go directly to the Ghana High Commission, 104 Highgate Hill, London N6 5HE, nearest tube Archway Station. All tour participants will need a single entry visa which is valid for three months from day of issue. We advise you to apply for your visa at least four weeks prior to departure. The current fee is £50 (subject to change without notice). For citizens of other countries please see below:
Direct Visa Applications and Information from Embassies and High Commissions
www.ghanahighcommissionuk.com (United Kingdom you can download application form)
www.ghanaembassy.org (United States of America)
For all other embassies search on - www.embassyworld.org
For visa agents that charge a fee - www.travcour.com
IMMUNISATIONS AND VACCINATIONS
You need to consult your doctor six to eight weeks prior to departure. You may visit - www.traveldoctor.co.uk - for extensive information on foreign travel to exotic locations.
Below is a guideline only:
Anti-malaria tablets (consult your chemist)
Yellow fever (you must carry this certificate)
All guide fees are paid by Ashanti African Tours and it is a company policy to tip all local site guides and hotel staff. Therefore if any client wants to tip any guide or staff at hotels, it is at the client's own discretion.
The majority of our tours are all-inclusive, so you only need to budget for the following: snacks, soft and alcoholic drinks, shopping and other personal items. If travelling to other West African destinations and a visa is not arranged prior to your arrival, please allow approximately an additional £40 for each single entry visa per country.
Ghana’s environment is quite fragile; we are strongly in favour of and committed to positive impact tourism wherever possible. As much as possible, we try to minimise the negative impact of tourism on local cultures and the environment in Ghana and we try to ensure that, whenever possible, local economies benefit from our presence in their area.