Ghana is said to be the “Gateway to West Africa”, the “Golden Child of West Africa”, and much more. These tags are a mere reflection of the importance this country holds in the entire continent. As an intrepid traveler I often look for destinations which are off the “common tourism” radar. This was the reason I chose Ghana for my next journey to volunteer abroad. Oh! Yes, I have a slightly different style of traveling places. I like to take volunteer work at the destination I am traveling to, as it provides me with the opportunity to get close with the natives and understand their lifestyle better.
Last December I traveled to volunteer in Ghana where i learnt from our local guide some really important tips and tricks to have a healthy and safe sojourn. So, i decided to share those tips with you to help you make your visit a memorable one. Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts while traveling in Ghana:
- Always use your right hand to exchange items and to eat. In Ghanaian culture, left hand is considered to be the ‘toilet hand’ and is, thus, avoided to greet, give/take items.
- Always greet people when you enter a room. They would be expecting that, and you would not want to wonder why they are staring at you strangely.
- Be respectful to whoever you are interacting with, especially, the elders.
- Learn a few routine words and/or greeting phrases to gel in quickly with the natives.
- It is important that you visit the village chief, when in a rural area. Remove your hat when greeting the chief, with hands out of your pockets.
- Bringing a gift when visiting someone’s place is a sign of good gesture. People in Ghana like to share.
- Tipping a waiter is a general practice in Ghana as well. If you find the service good, do leave a tip for the waiter.
- Ask your coordinator/guide for the appropriate outfit/dress while visiting a particular location or event
- The first and the most important thing, photography. Do not take pictures of a place or a person without taking their consent.
- When meeting the chief of a village, do not offer your hand unless he does it first.
- Do not make any derogatory or funny comments about religion or ethnic/political groups. Do not even think about it!
- Avoid getting out of your senses when drinking in a bar.
- No event begins before, at least, an hours delay from the mentioned time. Do not be a punctual audience and arrive on time for the event, unless you have ample of free time and enjoy waiting. It’s called “Africa time”.
- But, do not be late for a business meeting/appointment.
- Don’t sit with crossed legs in front of elders or the village chief. It is taken as an insult.
- Try not to waste food, water, or any resourceful thing. Even the smallest of the things value a lot in Ghana.
Following these simple tips can help make unforgettable memories for life. I hope this would help you have a safe and exciting journey. If you have any questions or doubts, you can ask me in the comment box below or mail me at [email protected]