Ghana is one of the premier tourist destinations in West Africa. Ghana, which means “warrior king,” is an incredible country that draws thousands of tourists annually.
Ghana has a lot to offer the world, but it’s best known for its people. Ghana also has a rich history and culture. It was the first African country to gain independence from colonial rule and has a vibrant music and arts scene.
However, as with any country, there are some safety concerns that travelers should be aware of before they visit Ghana.
This article covers the various safety concerns that travelers may have. Additionally, it will provide tips and tricks to get the most out of your vacation to Ghana.
Is Ghana Safe to Visit in 2023?
Before diving into whether Ghana is safe to visit, there are many reasons to consider why Ghana should be your next vacation destination.
Ghanaians are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and interacting with Ghanianians is often the highlight of travelers’ visits to Ghana. Ghanaians are known to be nice, talkative, and helpful. Additionally, the culture is relaxed and laid back.
The laid-back culture creates an excellent vacation dynamic but can also be frustrating because public transportation and service can sometimes be slow and unreliable.
The relaxed nature of Ghana may be frustrating at first, but many people come to love it. Beyond the people, Ghana is a beautiful country with plenty to offer tourists. There are beaches, mountains, waterfalls, and forests.
Wildlife is abundant, and there are many opportunities to see unique animals like monkeys, lions, and elephants. But is Ghana safe to visit?
Ghana is generally a safe country to visit, but some areas are more dangerous than others. Visitors should exercise caution when traveling to Ghana, particularly if they’re traveling solo or to remote locations.
Ghana is a rapidly developing country, meaning some parts are modern, but many areas lack good infrastructure. The lack of suitable infrastructure can make traveling more difficult. It also means that there’s not excellent access to health care.
The most dangerous areas in Ghana are typically the northern regions, near the border with Burkina Faso. This area is prone to violence and crime, and travelers should avoid it if possible.
Accra (the capital city) and Kumasi are other areas to exercise caution. These areas have higher crime rates than the rest of Ghana and should be avoided at night. However, Ghana is still a relatively safe country.
The wealth disparity can make tourists a target for crime, so it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and not flaunt your possessions.
Crime in Ghana
The crime rate in Ghana is relatively low, and most crimes are non-violent. The most common crimes in Ghana include pickpocketing and petty theft. The Ghanaian crime rate is 2.09.
The crime rate measures the number of crimes that occur per 100k people. This rate is similar to countries like Morocco, Bangladesh, and Georgia. Ghana’s crime rate is much lower than the US. The US has a crime rate of 6.52.
While Ghana has a relatively low crime rate, some may be due to underreporting. Even accounting for lack of reporting, Ghana is safe to travel to.
Despite the low crime rate, reports of more severe crimes, such as rape and robbery, are relatively rare. Other more serious crimes include human trafficking. Most crimes in Ghana occur in the capital city of Accra and Kumasi.
It would be best if you avoided these areas at night. When traveling to Ghana, it’s vital to take some safety precautions.
Here are some tips to stay safe while in Ghana:
- Do not travel alone, mainly if you are a woman.
- Do not carry large amounts of money or valuables with you.
- Do not leave your belongings unguarded in public places.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night.
- If possible, avoid using public transportation after dark.
- Keep copies of your passport and other essential documents in a safe place.
- Make sure your travel insurance covers you for medical emergencies and evacuation.
- Pack a first-aid kit and insect repellent.
- If you are traveling to a remote area, ensure you are well-prepared and have all the necessary supplies.
Ghana is a beautiful country with friendly people and a low crime rate. By following the above safety precautions, you can ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip to Ghana.
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods
The best way to avoid crime is to know where the bad neighborhoods are and to avoid them. Like all countries, there are neighborhoods that you should avoid. You should be particularly aware of poor communities in the bigger cities in Ghana.
In Accra, you should avoid:
- Nima: This neighborhood is located in central Accra and is known for its high levels of poverty and crime.
- Korle Bu: This is a neighborhood located in the southeast of Accra. It’s also known for being dangerous at night and for gang activity.
- Madina: This suburb is in the north of Accra. This suburb is known for drug trafficking and gang activity.
- Asawasi: This is a neighborhood located in the north of Kumasi. This neighborhood was the location of some violent protests.
- Bantama: This suburb is in the center of Kumasi. It has a higher crime rate than other areas of the city and should be avoided.
- Asafo: This is a neighborhood located above Asawasi. This area is known for drug trafficking and gang activity.
By avoiding these neighborhoods, you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime.
LGBTQ+ Travellers in Ghana
Ghana is a socially conservative country, and homosexuality is illegal. There are no legal protections for LGBTQ+ people in Ghana. Since homosexuality is illegal, LGBTQ+ travelers should know the risks of traveling to Ghana.
They should avoid public displays of affection and should not openly identify as LGBTQ+. Despite the risks, there are some LGBTQ+ friendly bars and clubs in Accra and Kumasi. If you identify as LGBTQ+ and are traveling to Ghana, keep a low profile.
You can get in serious trouble with the local authorities if identified. Additionally, the locals may not take kindly to your sexuality. If the locals become angry or aggressive, the authorities will not likely intervene on your behalf.
Health and Disease Concerns in Ghana
Ghana has some good hospitals but is not always up to Western standards. There’s also a lack of access to health care in many parts of the country.
Some of the diseases that are common in Ghana include:
- Malaria: Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is common in Ghana. Symptoms include fever, chills, and flu-like illness. It’s a severe disease and can be fatal if not treated promptly.
- Typhoid: Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread through contaminated food and water. Symptoms include fever, headache, and stomach pain. Typhoid can be fatal if not treated.
- HIV/AIDS: HIV/AIDS is a viral infection spread through sexual contact or contaminated blood. HIV/AIDS can lead to AIDS, which is a severe and life-threatening condition.
- Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that is spread through the air. Symptoms include coughing, chest pain, and fever. Tuberculosis can be fatal if not treated.
- Cholera: Cholera is a bacterial infection spread through contaminated food and water. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration.
- Yellow Fever: Yellow fever is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, headache, and muscle pain.
- Dysentery: Dysentery is a bacterial infection spread through contaminated food and water. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.
To avoid getting sick in Ghana, practicing good hygiene and avoiding contaminated food and water is crucial. You should also make sure to get the proper vaccinations before traveling.
It’s also wise to bring some essential medications in case you get sick and adequate medical care is unavailable. It’s important to remember that you cannot drink tap water in Ghana. You should only drink bottled water.
Drinking dirty water is one of the easiest ways to get sick while traveling in Ghana. Disease is one of the biggest concerns for travelers visiting Ghana.
Many common conditions in Ghana are preventable with vaccinations and good hygiene. However, some of these diseases can be deadly if not treated promptly. When traveling to Ghana, it’s vital to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect yourself.
Natural Disasters in Ghana
Ghana is in a region that is susceptible to natural disasters. Natural disasters can occur unexpectedly and can cause widespread damage. When traveling to Ghana, it’s essential to be aware of the risks and have a plan in case of an emergency.
Pay attention to all posted evacuation routes and follow the news up to and during your trip to Ghana. Here are some of the natural disasters that have occurred in Ghana.
Earthquakes are relatively common in Ghana. In 2012, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 struck Ghana. The quake caused damage to buildings and infrastructure and injured several people. Earthquakes strike without warning, so they’re difficult to avoid.
Flooding is a common natural disaster in Ghana. Heavy rains can lead to flash flooding, damaging homes and businesses and disrupting transportation. In 2007, heavy rains led to widespread flooding in Ghana.
The floods killed more than 200 people and caused damage to more than 1,000 homes. The best way to avoid floods is to travel to Ghana during the dry season. The dry season lasts from November through March.
Droughts are also common in Ghana. A severe drought in 2015 led to water shortages and a food crisis in Ghana. The drought affected more than 3 million people and caused widespread crop damage. During drought, food becomes expensive, and there can be political instability.
Tropical storms are rare but can occur in Ghana. In 2009, a tropical cyclone struck Ghana, killing more than 100 people and causing damage to thousands of homes.
Wild Animals in Ghana
Many travelers come to Ghana to experience the African bush. Visiting the backcountry can be an incredible experience but also a dangerous one. The most significant danger to travelers visiting the bush is wild animals.
Wild animals can be dangerous but often pose no threat to humans if left alone. You will not have to worry about wild animals if you follow the rules and regulations. Below are just some of the animals that pose a threat to people in Ghana.
Ghana is home to more than 100 species of snakes. Some snakes, such as the black mamba, are very dangerous. Snakes are most active at night, so it’s vital to be cautious when walking around in the dark. If a snake bites you, you must seek help and get antivenom immediately.
Bats can carry rabies, which is a fatal disease. If you are bitten or scratched by a bat, you should seek medical help immediately.
There are many species in Ghana, some of which can be dangerous. The most dangerous spider in Ghana is the black widow spider. Although the bite of a black widow is painful, it’s not fatal.
Things to Consider
These are some things to consider when visiting Ghana:
- You have to have a yellow fever vaccine to travel to Ghana.
- Using your left hand is considered insulting. It would be best if you did everything with your right hand.
- Ghanaians eat with their hands. You will often have to request silverware if you don’t want to eat with your hands.
- Don’t give people a thumbs-up. Ghanaians view this action as disrespectful.
- Ghana is diverse, but many parts of the country are conservative. Be prepared to cover your skin.