Ghana Travel Guide for Volunteers
A trip to Ghana will give you the chance to enjoy a vast array of activities, from museums and busy capitals to award winning beaches, national parks brimming with life and historical forts where you can bear witness to one of the tragic events that have shaken our very concept of humanity – the very beginning of the slave route.
Ghana's Atlantic Coast Forts
Ghana’s Atlantic Coast is lined with old forts built by the various European powers which decided to build a trading outpost in the Gold Coast since the 15th Century.
The Cape Coast Castle was built for the slave-trade and is one of the most impressive of Ghana’s old forts. It was originally built by the Dutch in 1637, later expanded by the Swedes, finally being taken over by the British in 1664 and turned into their colonial headquarters.
It stayed that way for the next 200 years until they moved the capital to Accra in 1877.
Elmina is a quaint fishing town along Ghana’s coast, home to one of Ghana’s biggest attractions, St George’s Castle.
Built by the Portuguese in 1482, it was captured by the Dutch 150 years later and became the headquarters of the Dutch West India Company for the following 250 years.
Gold exports were replaced by slaves and a tour of the dungeons will show you exactly how gruesome this chapter of humanity was.
The stark beauty of the whitewashed Castle walls contrast deeply with the dark history of this place.
Volunteer Guide to Accra
Ghana’s capital is a sprawling city with about 2 million residents, known for its safety.
Accra has a mixture of modern buildings, shanty towns, occasional castle and lively markets. The central hub is around the Makola Market, just south of the market is the Atlantic ocean.
The National Museum has wonderful displays about Ghana’s culture and history including the slave-trade, and the Ashanti Kingdom.
The Makola Market is colourful, vivacious, and a source of absolutely every souvenir you may think, consider or fathom to bring home.
You’ll also have a chance to go for a relaxing swim, as there are a few beaches in and around Accra, the more famous being Labadi, Coco and Bojo beaches.
Ghana's Glorious National Parks
Mole is Ghana’s largest wildlife park in the northwestern part of the country. Here you’ll be able to see buffalo, antelope, elephants, warthogs, hyenas and maybe a leopard if you get lucky! Lions have recently been re-introduced to the park as well. You can opt for a walking safari or a traditional game drive accompanied by an armed guard.
Kakum National Park is a dense tropical rain forest in southern Ghana, home to over 40 species of mammals including forest elephants, forest buffalo and Mona-meerkats. The bird life is wonderfully varied as with over 250 species present here.
The highlight of any visit to Kakum is the stroll on the canopy walkway, built 30 meters above ground, crossing several bridges and over a thousand feet in length. The canopy walkway offers a unique perspective of the wildlife and unique plants of the forest.
Extra Tips for Travelling in Ghana
Do your research before you go and know where these places are before you head off. This can also help you find the best areas to go and explore in Ghana.
Keep your wits about you – As with travelling to any big city, mind your intuition and use your street smarts.
Don’t walk alone at night, don’t wear flashy jewellery or show off luxury brands, and keep your car doors locked when driving to avoid carjacking.
Make smart decisions and try to blend in and you should have a great time!