Dangers of Travel in Ghana
Africa has always been a continent we observe with both fear and admiration. The one thing that those feelings have together is ignorance. The fact that we do not know much about Africa and that we seldom decide to explore it is the thing that makes it a dark and mysterious continent. Still, the beauties of this continent are so many, that it would be a shame never to visit. As Richard Mullin once said “The only man I truly envy is the one who has not yet been to Africa… He has so much to look forward to”. One of the best places to start your adventure is the pearl of Africa, Ghana. Although there are some insecurities about traveling in Ghana, most of them are just prejudices and immediate experience is the best way to fight them.
Political Stability and Crimes
Ghana is a politically stable country and one of the safest countries in Africa. It is advised to exercise normal safety precautions as you would do in USA. Avoiding suspicious places and being cautious at large public gatherings is recommended. Ghana is a state with a relatively low rate of violent crimes. Ghana has 0.4 guns for every 100 people, while the USA has 88 guns for the same number of people. Still, there are risks when it comes to smaller crimes, such as purse snatching and pickpocketing, especially in busy tourist areas (beaches, buses, attractions, markets and parks). Some precautionary measures to take are traveling in groups, avoiding nighttime travel, keeping a watchful eye on belongings.
One of the biggest safety concerns in Ghana is poor standard of traffic. According to the World Health Organization, estimated number of road traffic deaths in Ghana per year is more than 5000. Though many taxi and bus drivers can be pretty reckless, it is rather safe to travel by trotro (mini bus). Hiring a full-time driver whose credentials you will check carefully should keep you safe. Also, you should go on foot wherever you can. That way, you will minimize the risk of traffic and have the opportunity to experience the beauty of Ghana and get to know the local population.
Health Related Threats
Malaria is a common concern for people who travel to Africa. And the threat is real. Still, there are ways to avoid and treat it. The standard recommendation is to take anti-malarials one month before arrival to develop resistance. If you do, however, catch malaria, it is rather simple to cure, as long as you report the symptoms to a doctor. Other hazards can be prevented with vaccination. Always carry a bottle of water with you, because it gets really hot.
Other Things to Pay Attention to
It is no secret that finding accommodation in Ghana can be rather tricky. One of the potential dangers is to get ripped-off when booking a hotel room or renting a house. To prevent this, find a reliable middle-man, such as meQasa.com. To feel completely comfortable in Ghana, you must get to know its people, dive in deep into their culture, and respect the things you do not understand. For instance, you must know that, though people in Ghana are pleasant, friendly and cheerful, they are not fond of pointing cameras at them. If you really want to take someone’s picture, first get to know him and then ask kindly. You have probably heard that emergency services in Ghana are not very reliable, in most cases, that is not entirely true, but if you cannot get in touch with local police, you can always turn to West African Rescue Association.
There are, as in any part of the world, some security threats in Ghana. However, all of them can be successfully avoided. In the end, the amazing scenery and the lovely people of this country outweigh all the risks.
Oliver is an experienced business consultant from the UK. His job allows him to travel, which also happens to be one of his greatest passions. You can find him on Twitter.