Tips for Visitors to Accra

Akwaaba

Let’s say you’re coming into Accra for a couple of nights.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Basics

  • Running water, constant power, and broadband Internet are luxuries
  • Greet everyone with a “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” and do not use your left hand to introduce yourself
  • Always have some small cedi notes, e.g. 1, 2, 5 cedi notes
  • There is nothing to see in Accra
  • Good girls do not stay out late
  • Yes, there are a lot of black people.  They’re everywhere!
  • It’s kind of expensive for Africa
  • Find out what day of the week you were born
  • The best day to see the city is Sunday morning
  • Yes, they’re staring at you
  • Don’t be cheap.  The amount you overpay can go a long way to help someone
  • Always wash your hands after you shake a man’s hands; there are no public toilets
  • Smile
  • Your new name is obruni

Money/Danger

  • Locals view you as a cash machine.  Take whatever price you’re quoted and divide by three.  This is your starting bargaining price
  • Do not flash money openly; 200 cedis may be nothing to you but for many people it could be half a month’s salary
  • Ghana is generally safe but use common sense, e.g. do not walk about alone late at night
  • Do not leave valuables unattended in your hotel room; do not leave your laptop to go to the toilet — this is not Starbucks
  • Try to find a good taxi driver who you can call at night if you get lost
  • Buy a cheap phone for no more than 50 cedis
  • Barclays Bank does not charge fees for withdrawals
  • You don’t have to tip but it’s appreciated

Restaurants

  • Try the food, eat with your hands
  • Make sure your server understands your order
  • Everybody moves slow — be patient
  • “It’s coming” and “I’m coming” do not mean anything
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