Food serves as a way to know so much about the traditions and culture of a place especially for Africans. Each group of people has particular foods, although sometimes cooked with the same ingredients, that distinguish them.
The people of Ghana are no different. As such, experiencing and experimenting with local traditional foods provides an education of the culture, too. They take a lot of pride in their meals and as a tourist, you must make it a point to try at least one of these meals and you will always want to return for another bite of it. Here are 10 must-try foods to consider on your next visit to Ghana.
1. Jollof rice
Jollof, although Senegalese, has gained a lot of ground and popularity in the Ghanaian community. It is a pot dish of rice and tomato sauce. Most Ghanaians enjoy their Jollof with meat or fish. There are a lot of discussions online about the best method of cooking Jollof. It is the easiest meal to find in any home, restaurants, weddings, parties, and even funerals. As a tourist, you must definitely have a taste of it when you visit Ghana.
Waakye is another example of Ghanaians’ innovative use of rice. This meal originates from the Northern part of Ghana but you can find it anywhere in the streets of Accra. It’s a medley of beans and rice. Most Ghanaian tend to eat Waakye in the mornings, although it is also available at all times and so it is not uncommon to see people clad around a Waakye spot early in the morning. The beauty of this dish is, it can be packed with so many accompaniments, according to the consumer’s preference. The combinations are simply endless. You can get a “simple” waakye with spaghetti or you can dig deeper by adding a boiled egg, meat and or fish, wele (cow skin), avocados, coleslaw, gari (finely grated cassava), and fried ripe plantains. You can top these with black pepper sauce or shito and stew.
Red-red which is a combination of beans with palm oil and fried plantain, thus the name ‘red-red’ is a filling traditional dish made from boiled cowpea beans and served with palm oil and fluffy, fried plantains. It’s one of the few Ghanaian dishes that doesn’t rely heavily on spice because the main flavor comes from the ingredients. Red-red is also a great option for vegetarians because it contains no animal products. You may serve it with rice or gari.
4. Omo tuo (Rice balls)
Omo Tuo (rice balls) are another traditional Ghanaian dish that demonstrates how the population often reinvents the many ways to consume rice. It’s basically soft rice that you can enjoy with a number of soups, particularly groundnut/peanut butter soup. You can find riceballs in many restaurants across the country, especially on Sunday afternoons. It seems to be the meal for Sunday afternoons.
5. Banku and Tilapia
You’re likely to find food vendors grilling spicy tilapia on the streets of Accra. It goes well with banku, a Southern dough made from fermented corn and cassava, as well as extremely hot peppers, diced tomatoes, and onions. People who live near the Ghanaian coast eat banku as a main dish. This is a fantastic meal that is both a delicacy and also affordable.
6. Kenkey and Fried fish.
Just like Banku and Tilapia, you can find Kenkey and fried fish on almost every street in Ghana, mostly in the evenings. One can enjoy it with pepper, okro soup, or stew. It is traditionally the food of the Ga ethnic group found in the Southern part of the country but has spread to all other parts of the country. It is very cheap to buy and as such, is eaten by all and sundry. You definitely must try it on your next visit to Ghana.
This meal, especially fufu and goat light soup, is very popular in Ghana’s Eastern and Ashanti regions. The Akan’s pride and joy. Fufu is a staple food in West Africa, but it’s made in Ghana by pounding boiled cassava and plantains into a soft, sticky paste to serve with aromatic, spicy tomato soup. Northern Ghana has its own version of fufu, which is made with yam. This weekend treat is enjoyed all over the world, with on meals nationwide.
8. Tuo Zaafi
This meal originates from the Northern part of the country but can be found in all regions. It is similar to banku, but less sticky, and is made by cooking corn dough and adding a little cassava. The nutritious and rare herbs used in the accompanying soup, such as Dawa Dawa and ayoyo leaves, distinguish Tuo Zaafi and make it a common minor variation to the core recipe. In any part of the county that you visit, you must definitely try this meal on any afternoon- it is most filling and refreshing.
9. Boiled yam/ plantain with kontomire stew
(Also known as palava sauce)
The use of a variety of leaf vegetables, as well as local herbs and spices, is a popular feature of Ghanaian cuisine. Ghanaians prepare kontomire stew with boiled tender cocoyam leaves, salted fish, and boiled eggs. You can enjoy it with boiled yams, plantains and avocados. This dish is a must-try when you visit Ghana.
Last but not least, is kelewele. This savory side dish is a must-have on any list of traditional Ghanaian foods. Kelewele is a hit with everyone who tries it, including those who aren’t big fans of spicy food. You will usually find this delicacy at night in the streets of Accra and other cities. We prepare kelewele by soaking soft plantains in a medley of peppers, ginger, and garlic and frying them in hot oil. The aroma is fresh and solid, with a good plantain flavor that balances out the sourness. We serve kelewele with peanuts or gizzards.
Africa is a beautiful continent of wonderful people with a very rich culture. More often than not, there are some prejudices concerning Africa that seem to have taken roots in the minds of many. But to visit the continent and fully understand and enjoy the people and the places, you need to be abreast with some facts that you must know about the place.
Africa is a continent with countries and not a country on its own. It consists of 54 countries.
Africa is the 2nd largest continent in the world. It is home to about 1 billion people of the world’s population in different countries.
Africa has some of the best wildlife and nature reserves in the world. This makes it a great place to visit as tourists have a view of nature and enjoy some serenity.
Africa has relatively very religious people who strongly believe in the existence and worship of deities. In Africa, the most common religions are Islam and Christianity.
The continent has strong traditional rulership in most countries and communities. Additionally, these types of rulership are also keen on the governing of the people. They work aside from the centralized form of government.
In Africa, there are over 1500 spoken languages. Most of the languages are grouped into different dialects. The different dialects are spoken by the several ethnic groups that exist.
Africa is the world’s hottest continent with deserts and drylands covering a percentage of the territorial landscape.
Most African countries were colonized by other countries, which is strongly embedded in the history and culture of the people.
9. Africa is a very vegetative continent. It provides a great percentage of the farm foods eaten across the globe.
10. Africa is home to some of the most hospitable people in the world. Africans are always ready to open up their homes and welcome people who wish to tour and have a feel of their continent.
Being armed with these facts about Africa gives you the tourist, an upper hand in knowing and being abreast with information concerning the place you intend to visit as well as debunk any other contradictory information you may have concerning Africa which has impeded your visit. Africa is always ready with open arms. You just need to visit and have the time of your life.
The ACT team will be glad to welcome you to Africa. We have put together sustainable packages on our website. Use this link to check it out.
The first time you try traveling or embarking on any adventure can be daunting, just like any other activity-your first driving lessons, your first day in school, etc. Touring is even much more nerve-wracking because it is in a different country and continent altogether, a land you have never set foot in. The adventurous nature of touring and touring Africa, in particular, can be exciting for any tourist due to the burst of energy and excitement that usually accompanies traveling for the first time. Most people commit many otherwise avoidable mistakes that either take the fun out of the adventure or causing them to incur costs they could have avoided. To enjoy your trip to the maximum, I will take you through some simple and important pointers that you must know when traveling and touring for the first time in Africa and Ghana specifically.
1. Do your research
Before embarking on any adventure, you must do lots of research. Study the culture of the people, their language, foods, politics, and acceptable or unacceptable practices of the land. Doing this limits you to have a cultural shock. With a lot of research, you will not only travel based on your emotions but facts.
2. Learn the basic phrases of the people
Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to communicate with others when it is most pressing. As a traveler and tourist, learn some basic phrases of the people that can help you get by without paying for a translator or risk getting stranded. You do not have to be a master of the language, you only need to make an effort in understanding and speaking basic phrases to help you get by. That will go a long way to make your trip wholesome.
3. Check VISA and other important documents needed for traveling.
Enthusiasm and excitement can sometimes lead to forgetfulness. Be sure to double-check all documents, especially your VISA as early as possible before your departure date to be certain that all documents are duly in place to enable you to have a smooth and stress-free experience when boarding.
4. Secure Visa’s and other important documents
Get softcopies of all documents (passport, VISA, Travel insurance) and email them to yourself. Many times, travelers and tourists tend to misplace or lose their documents on tour. They either forget where they place them in the excitement of new places and this can be very dire for you. To be on the safest side, scan all important documents and email them to yourself. When you do that, you can easily recover all documents should you, unfortunately, lose any of them. No worry or hustle then, your fun just continues.
5. Luggage in moderation.
The fear of not having what you may need can be worrying, however, that fear may also cripple you into packing too much then you should have and will need. Burdensome luggage can be a fun blocker, giving you body aches from carrying and at the same time preventing you from freely enjoying your trip. Get a list of necessities and pack in moderation. There is such a thing as too many clothes or luggage and it’s a bad escort for any fun trip.
6. Be flexible
In your quest to have a perfect first trip, you tend to plan and over plan. That can put you in some unneeded stress which will affect the trip and take away the excitement, and so, plan but not stringently, be flexible and let the ACT. help you out.
7. Locals are friends, not foes.
As strangers, we sometimes tend to see everyone as an enemy especially when we have some sort of biased perception of the place. You can not however fully enjoy a place and not involve the locals who have lived all their lives in the place. Don’t be too guarded or scared to interact with the indigenes of the place. You must however be careful not to be too trusting so as not to attract people with not-so-good intentions.
8. Hoarding local items. (Buying too much)
The beauty of Africa and precisely Ghana can never be overrated. The beautiful artifacts are all over the place that you can never get enough of. As a tourist, don’t make the mistake of trying to purchase everything that catches your attention. Once you do that, you will end up hoarding and spending so much more than you intended. Have a budget in terms of how much you can buy and stick to it to avoid any financial unpleasantness after the trip that may make you regret going on the trip.
9. Dress appropriately
In truth, in Ghana, you are going to be addressed based on how you dress, and not all dress styles may be culturally appropriate. Try as much as possible to dress with the culture of the people in mind, to avoid being tagged and stigmatized-which will take out the fun in your trip. My tip will be to dress to cover most parts of your body.
10. Ask questions
You need to ask questions before and during your trip. A better understanding leads to a better appreciation. Do well to ask questions that will help you not just be a one time traveler but a frequent one, who also enjoys his/her trips. African Culture Trips is a hub of answers, always ready to hear from you and give you answers, pointing you in the right direction.
Make your next trip to Africa meaningful. Choose African Culture trip (ACT) to plan your trip with you. Contact us with this link.
Traveling can be a wholesome activity for fun, adventure, knowledge, and exposure. Having some knowledge about the intended destination adds on even more value. Nothing is more assuring than knowing exactly where you’re going, and having the choice of places you visit at your disposal, not just to be met by chance.
For the tourist, this is even much more convenient if you’re to have a fulfilling trip and exposure to your destination.
Ghana is a land of many opportunities and excitement, sometimes too much to see you don’t even know where to start from and how to navigate your trips. To make your trips a wholesome one, let’s take a virtual trip first and foremost through some must-visit tourist sites in Ghana, some very well known, some not so known but equally intriguing.
Kakum National Park
The Kakum National Park is the home for nature and purely organic and natural living. Inhabited by many unseen plant and animal species, the park provides the tourist the desire of having first-hand contact with nature in its rawest form. Kakum National Park, located in the coastal environs of the Central Region. The uniqueness of this park lies in the fact that it was established at the initiative of the local people and not the government. Its canopy walkway is one of the highest and most adventurous walkways in the whole of Africa.
The Elmina Castle tells the story of the founding fathers of the nation. The castle depicts the colonial and slave trade story of Ghana. It is found in the Central Region of the country, with its coastal areas, and served as the point of travel for the then slave trade. It was established by the Portuguese. With the history behind it, it gives the tourist a bit of understanding into the history of Ghana, to better appreciate the country.
3.Mole National Park
It is the home and refuge of wildlife. The park has a diversified range of animals. The park has become the home to animals who may have otherwise been endangered. It is situated in the Northern part of the country, and a visit to the park will leave you in astonishment at the sight of nature and species of animals never seen.
Boti Falls is a twin waterfall located at Boti in Manya Krobo in the Eastern Region of Ghana. It is known that the twin waterfalls are male and female. The intersection of the two waterfalls is described by locals as a mating ceremony. The falls are a beautiful sight to behold and an adventurous walk through the wild. To get to the falls is an added adventure one can’t afford to miss.
5.Aburi Botanical Gardens
The Aburi Botanical Gardens is a tourist site in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The botanical gardens are filled with many different species of plants which gives it a serene and welcoming atmosphere. Not only does it have a serene atmosphere, but it also serves as a very nice place for socialization and the taking of pictures. Most of the plants seen there are unique in Africa and the world at large. The journey to the Aburi gardens is also an exciting trip with the mountainous views along the journey.
This tourist site is found in the Volta Region of Ghana, close to the Ghana-Togo border. It is the highest mountain in Ghana. Because it is shielded by the tropical forests of Ghana, it is also home to many species of mammals as well as some very beautiful butterflies. Once you’re able to climb to the top of the mountain, it is a very wonderful and captivating view you will never forget.
The Manhyia palace serves as the seat of the Asantehene as well as his official residence. The palace has been in existence for so many years. It gives a rich cultural account of the people of Ghana, particularly the Ashanti’s. There is an attached museum which tells the history of the place as well as showing some artifacts. Tourists who visit the palace can enjoy the beauty of the culture of the people in its rawest form, while learning about the history of the place. It is situated in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
The Bunso Eco-park is an eco-tourism site that is ideal for adventures, picnics, and relaxation. The Bonso park includes a canopy walkway, a tour of nature as it is a reserve, a forest hike, horse rides as well as ziplines. Tourists to the park will enjoy the serenity of nature while taking adventurous activities. It is situated in Abuakwa, the Eastern Region.
The Shai Hills is a suburb near Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region. It is a plain land but has outcrops of hills. It also has a wildlife reserve that has several wildlife species. It is covered in coastal evergreen savannah and granite hills. It is a beautiful sight for tourists to enjoy the scenery and have a feel of nature.
The tourist sites in Ghana are numerous and very exciting places. In my next blog, we will continue on our virtual visits to these sights through the art of writing even as we prepare to come tour Ghana in person- the land of many opportunities. Feast on the mental images of those I’ve already mentioned and described, to whet your appetite for more.
I choose to travel with as light-weighted baggage as possible to help enjoy my trip right from when I step out of the door and head to the airport. Traveling ‘light’ has enhanced my trips across Africa in so many ways. It always saves me from waiting in line to claim my baggage. Traveling light helps me to avoid the nightmare of carrying a big suitcase around while catching a connecting flight, and even losing my bag.
I simplify my trips by traveling light, with a backpack or hand luggage. And I want to share some tips on how to keep it as simple as possible. I also asked a few friends, colleagues, and neighbors for their tips on simple travel and their answers were wonderful. In this article, I will compile the best tips that will change your travel experience to Africa.
Before I share the tips, I will share a poem that summarizes how to ‘simple travel’.
Poem by Elsie
Open your heart and mind to everything
Accept everything and everyone
Forget your background, habits, and norms
Follow your heart
Reinvent yourself moment by moment
Pack light and remain open to light in people
who bless you with smiles.
Tips to Keep your trip to Africa simple
What to pack to travel light. Travel documents, deodorant, ID, credit card. deodorant, a pair of trousers, 2 pairs of shorts, 2 T-shirts, 3 pairs of underwear, a cap or hat, sunscreen, 1 swimwear, 1 book, journal and pen, phone and charger (also to be used as a camera). “Anything else I need: I will purchase at the destination”. Ask yourself this question “Do I need this item or want it?” There is little you need when you travel. Remember you are packing what you can take along on the flight.
Think about things you can buy cheaply at the destination like toiletries and don’t bring them with you when you pack. You can always buy local products when you run out. It is also part of the experience.
Pack clothes and undergarments that are lightweight so that you can quickly wash them as needed. They will be able to dry overnight.
Arrive earlier at the airport than you think is necessary for both domestic and international travel. You may arrive 2 hours before the time for a domestic trip and 6 hours before the time for international trips. This reduces stress while waiting for along security check as the time for your departure inches even closer. Ordering your favorite drink at the airport restaurant while you wait to board the plane is better.
Prepare for security checks-in. Wear comfortable easy shoes preferably without a shoelace. Do not wear belts with metals or don’t wear belts at all.
Put your jacket in your carry-on before you get to the security checkpoint. Put all your electronics and fluids (perfume, toothpaste, deodorant, up to 100ml) in a transparent plastic bag. Do this to avoid searching through your bag to find at the security checkpoint and repack them after you go through security.
Keep important telephone numbers written down on paper, in your diary, in memory, just in case you lose your phone (telephone number of travel company, tour guides, embassy, people in the ground, and family).
Do not bring all your money with you when you go out (when you arrive at the destination) Leave some at the place you lodge. Leave extra credit cards back home.
Take time for naps in between your trip. I mean it.
Talk to locals and always begin with a smile.
Taste, eat and enjoy local food you have not seen before. It is part of the experience. Remember that locals are always quick to caution visitors about food that will cause a stomach upset for first-time visitors.
Plan some must-do’s and leave the rest to chance, do not be caught up with a single sight.
Wander around and stay open to the crazier elements of the culture. Observe and ask questions later.
Get up early in tropical climates. This will help you to beat the heat of the day. It will help you to avoid crowds and get more out of your day at a leisurely pace. Again, do the things you want to do first since plans may go awry as the day goes on.
Do not try to see everything in a given place. You will probably have a better time if you focus on meeting great people (instead of going to great places. Sometimes you can only visit the right places when you meet the right people during your trip).
Try to stay away from popular/big tourist spots unless there is something you want to see. I will recommend meeting locals, observing and doing the things they do, and eating the food they eat always makes for a great experience.
Leave your laptop behind. For computer addicts, being away from the internet for a few days recharges and relaxes you in ways you never experience at home.
Get one of those totes or bags that fold up into a small package to slip into your backpack. You can use this to collect your souvenirs. Alternatively, mail your purchases home as you go. This reduces what you must carry around with you, what you have to list for customs.
Old clothes and underwear can be disposed of to make room for your souvenirs when returning home.
Bring along a hand sanitizer, wipes, and Ziploc bags.
Get well informed about the destination you are visiting. Make photocopies of sections of guidebooks. Leave it with your neighbor or family along with your itinerary. If there is an emergency (you have your wallet or bag stolen), you can contact your neighbor or family back home through a telephone call. You can also scan all important documents and mail them to yourself. This way you always access these documents.
Make copies of your passport, credit cards, and other valuable documents and bring them along for emergency reasons. Again, write an emergency phone number for each credit card aside from the photocopy and leave this information with your family back home. In case of an emergency, you can contact your family back home for this information.
When you’re done reading your only book, find a book-exchange and trade it for a new one.
When visiting Africa, many are excited purely because of the culture, weather and typically because they are visiting a destination not typical of places they have visited in their lifetime. (These are answers from Europeans and American friends). To be able to make the most out of your trip consider the great tips mentioned above to help keep your trip simple.
We have been on a rollercoaster ride this year. It has been intense, but we are still here, and we are grateful and hopeful. Many have written off this year but be encouraged because it is not over until it is all over. We have life, therefore, we need to keep our heads high and keep going. Very unfortunately, Covid-19 is still with us. Our local authorities have therefore put some rules in place to keep travelers safe. Many are not familiar with the Covid-19 travel protocols therefore this article will explain to them to make travel much easier for you.
General advice for travelers (Mandatory Covid-19 travel protocols)
Your face-masks are a must. Estimate at least 3 to 4 disposable face-masks for a day depending on your movement. Also, pack extra masks for unforeseen circumstances
Hand sanitiser is your friend. Take along several 50 or 100 millilitres bottles along with you and carry one in your purse when you go outside.
Bring along your pocket tissues.
Keep the results of your Covid-19 test at hand during the immigration check.
Read on the website of the WHO to keep yourselves updated with all other necessary protocols you need to adhere to, to make your trip successful.
Read on the website of the airline you choose to fly with for last minute updates and information.
Sneeze and cough into your elbow and try to maintain physical distance of a least 1 metre from others.
Covid-19 protocols for all travellers
This short article for the “must go” traveler. It will share some general travel protocol and specific travel protocol for travellers going to Ghana (West Africa). Although many have consciously decided not to travel, others may need to travel due to different reasons. This article is for you. Below, I will explain some Covid-19 protocol you have to follow when traveling.
Depending on your country of origin, you might need to undertake a Covid-19 test, also known as the PCR test. The local airline company where you purchased your ticket can confirm this since it will be a requirement before you get on board the plane. The airline will also recommend companies where you can take a valid test of around 150 Euros. You have to undertake the test within 72 hours within the time of travel. The results of the test will be ready between 24 to 72 hours. The time range to receive your Covid-19 test results may differ depending on the company where you took your test. The results of the test will be sent to you digitally through the mail. Print the results out and have it in hand at all times during this trip.
Buying your ticket from a responsible airline company
Be reminded to purchase your airline ticket from a responsible airline company. It means that you have to buy your ticket from a company that offers a variety of options that enhances your trip. Offers include the chance to buy an “open” ticket. An open ticket allows you to choose another travel date just in case you are not allowed to travel due to sickness. Check the availability of the Covid-19 test date before you book your ticket. Many test centres are fully booked and it might take time before you acquire a date to get tested.
Going to the airport
Check your body temperature before you go to the airport. Remember that if your temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius you would be sent home and not allowed to travel. Your PCR test results should be with you. Do not forget your hand sanitizer as well and some tissue for personal use. If it is possible, have a good meal at home. Doing this will prevent you from eating at the airport or on the airplane. Remember you will have very limited options to the choice of food at the airport and on the plane due to the Covid-19 protocol put in place. Print the results out and have it in hand at all times during this trip. Remember to wear a face-mask at all times inside the airport. Face-masks should be worn appropriately (extending from the middle of the nasal bridge to halfway between the chin and the neck.
NOSE MASKS RECOMMENDED BY THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION
Persons above 60 years and those with underlying health conditions should wear a medical mask while traveling. A medical face mask provides adequate protection from the virus. Persons who are healthy and do not have symptoms can wear a fabric mask to avoid them coming in contact with the virus. Note that wearing a face mask does not provide full protection. You have to compliment wearing your mask with frequent washing of hands under running water with soap, covering a sneeze or cough with a tissue or bent elbow, and maintaining a least 1-meter distance from others where it is possible.
Covid-19 protocol for when you arrive at the Kotoka International Airport in Ghana.
This part of the article is for travellers who are visiting Ghana. Ghana has placed 3rd worldwide as one of the countries that have been able to effectively manage Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO has made it known that Ghana is safe for travel. The government and the immigration services have therefore put some Covid-19 protocol in place that incoming travellers need to adhere to. The following protocols are expected of travellers aside from what is expected of you from your country of origin. Any traveler who arrives in Ghana is expected to take a mandatory Covid-19 test at the airport for 150 dollars.
Travellers who transit through another country before arriving in Ghana will use the first country of departure as a reference point. The results of the test will be available within 30 minutes after the test. If your results turn out negative, you are allowed to enter the country. If your results turn out positive, you would have to go on a mandatory two-week quarantine at a government selected hotel. You would bear the cost of your accommodation at the hotel. (Note that you are not allowed to go home to self-quarantine if your test is positive). Children under 5 years of age will not be required to undergo testing at the airport.
Travellers who pass their tests are allowed into the country with the advice to use their face masks at all public places. Washing of hands with soap under running water is also required of all visitors.
Travellers have to be informed before their trip
Whether we like it or not, Covid-19 is still here with us. We need to be conscious and intentional about how we live our lives around Covid-19. Although many have banned personal travel, others do not have a choice when it comes to travel. Many need to travel for work and other emergencies. This article has been prepared for every traveler to inform you on how to navigate the trip safely whilst following the rules in place.
Do you need expert advice/help for your trip to Africa?
Would you want to enjoy a travel experience in Africa tailored to your preference?
Do you need us to plan your itinerary by laying out the activities for your trip to an African destination + hours, days, or months of volunteering to make your trip more meaningful?
This write-up is for the hesitant traveler, for the mama’s and papa’s who are afraid to allow their children to travel to Africa, the student who is in a fix to travel internationally for an internship, for the female solo traveler who has traveled the world except to Africa. This article will inspire you to book that flight and move.
Travel plays a significant role in our social, emotional, and physical development. The vulnerability, shock, loneliness, newness, and disorientation, all come together to teach you and help you evolve.
THE EXCITEMENT WAS GREAT
I was 18 years old and I was so excited about my first international trip. It was time to finally travel alone. Those days we did not have the opportunity to find information on Google since we did not have access to the Internet. I had to rely on friends who had made that same trip concerning what to expect. My mother said “watch and do what others are doing on the plane”.
I could not wait for the time to come for me to get on the plane. I packed my luggage more than a month before the actual day of departure. After what seemed like unending days, the day came for me to depart from Ghana. (I will announce my final destination later). We traveled for four hours with public transport form Kumasi, the second-largest city in Ghana to the Kotoka International Airport (the only airport in Ghana for international departures).
PARTING WAYS WITH FAMILY
My whole family including two aunties and an uncle traveled along to the airport. They gave a long preaching session all the way from Kumasi till we got to Accra. (You have got to love my African family). Take a wild guess, what was this preaching session about? “Take care of yourself, do not talk to strangers, pray a lot, take part in doing the house chores”, etc. The whole family took turns to advise me on what to do. I wanted to know more about what to expect during the flight and the country that I was visiting, but my family did not know much.
I waved them goodbye and entered the airport with all the enthusiasm in the world. I followed all the protocols and before I knew it I was on the plane. As mama told me to do, I watched what others were doing and did the same. I fastened my seat belt and braced myself to take off. It felt like it was taking too long for the flight to take off. It had been over an hour when the pilot announced that we were waiting for the final signal before we could take off.
CRUISING IN THE AIR
Taxiing to take-off was nerve-wracking. I shut my eyes until I could hear what seemed like a smooth ride in the air. I believe an hour or so had passed. I opened my eyes to find other passengers watching a movie on the screen above my head. I also saw the flight attendants sharing drinks and snacks from a food trolley to the passengers. Suddenly I realized I was sitting by the window. How was it possible that I did not see this until a few hours into the flight?
It was a night flight and there was little I could see through the window. The airplane cruised into the darkness. The air hostess came by and I requested a snack, a cup of soda, and a small package of a warm meal. I thought to myself, “I want a can of soda and some more rice, this food will not be enough for a 10hour flight”. I asked for more but it was all I could have. I only had an option to buy extra food. I had no idea, I would have had a proper dinner at the airport.
I dived into a deep sleep an hour or two after my meal. Although the meal was not enough, I had no choice but to go to sleep since most of the passengers sitting around me were snoring. Shutting my eyes was my best option. I opened my eyes to a beautiful sunrise between the clouds. I took the opportunity to visit the washroom when the people sitting next to me had gotten up to stretch. It was a tiny washroom and could barely do my thing. I managed to get my business done and walked to my seat. Shortly after, the pilot announced that we should brace ourselves for landing.
MISSING A CONNECTING FLIGHT IN NEW YORK
Immediately we touched down, many of the passengers started clapping. I opened my eyes and clapped along. Apparently, they were applauding the pilot for a safe landing. We were asked to remain seated since our gate was being prepared for a safe exit out of the plane. The air hostess announced that we were not permitted to use the bathroom but remain seated. We had been waiting in our seats for almost 30 minutes when some passengers started protesting that they wanted to get up and use the washroom. The air hostess said it was still not allowed. In between the argument, the pilot announced that we could get out of the plane. We could all finally get up, get our hand luggage, and go to the gate to connect our next flight to our final destination.
I run to the gate to catch the connecting flight to my final destination since I was late. It was almost empty at the gate and I thought to myself, “I will be the first to get on this flight”. I went straight to the counter to check-in. “The flight has departed” hurled the flight attendant. I dived into a great panic. I started shivering. It was eleven pm at night. I handed the flight attendant my boarding pass and she told me that I would have to continue my trip the following day. I stared at the lady, without saying a word, my words failed me. The lady at the counter explained that our flight had departed because we did not arrive on time. She handed me two vouchers for dinner and breakfast and directed me to a shuttle waiting outside which would take me to my hotel.
TRAVEL WITH POCKET MONEY
There were other passengers who had also missed their connecting flight and were also directed to the same hotel and shuttle. I joined another elderly lady whom I saw as a mother figure to walk to the shuttle. We got outside and realized that the shuttle had departed. I started to sob. The lady consoled me and advised that we both take a taxi and share to cost of the trip (Thankfully I had pocket-money on me). I agreed and we took the taxi to the hotel. It appeared that the hotel was about 20 minutes away from the airport. We paid the taxi driver and walked into the hotel. We checked-in and I parted ways with the lady and made my way to my room. I was so tired and wanted to retire to bed after about 14 hours on the road.
I arrived at my door and it would not open. I remembered that the receptionist said I should insert a card which was supposed to be my room key at the door to my room. I inserted the card several times but the door would not open. I sat in front of the door to decide my next move. It was midnight already and the hallway was empty. I decided to go back to the reception to ask for help but I realized I had lost my bearings and thought it wise to just wait by the door till someone passed by so that I could ask for help.
It felt like a few hours had passed before a tall, lankly, bearded man came walking by. I immediately stood up, afraid to ask but felt it was my last chance to get the door open and go have some sleep. The man was glad to help. He inserted the card just once and the door opened. I thought to myself, what did I do wrong? I inserted the card the same way as the man did but I did not achieve any success. I dared not to ask how he managed to get the door open. He gave me my key, I thanked him and walked away.
As I walked into my room for the night, I stood behind the door and prayed that the good Lord will not allow this weird looking man to enter my room and harm me. How on earth could I have taught so evil about a man who saved my ass from sleeping in front of my hotel room door? I decided not to close the door entirely since the door could get locked and prevent me from catching my flight the next morning. How naïve could I be? I placed my luggage behind the door to prevent it from opening entirely. I remembered I had a food voucher for dinner and breakfast. I dared not to go outside. I lied down on my bed and partially shut my eyes. I was tired but could not fall asleep. Poor me!
A few minutes had passed and the telephone in my room rang. I thought, “who might this be?”. I hesitantly picked up and to my surprise, it was my dad. I started weeping. I told him my whole ordeal, and he said “Maame, this is the reason I arranged for this trip. It is part of the experience. Just be open to learning”. At the time I thought my dad was going nuts, but it makes a lot of sense now. Daddy assured me to lock my door, take a shower, set the alarm, and go to sleep. Having dinner was no longer possible. The hotel restaurant was closed. Daddy assured me that everything was going to be fine and that he will be waiting for me at the airport the following day.
GETTING CLOSER TO HOME
I was wide awake before the alarm went off. I got ready and headed downstairs to have breakfast. I had to make use of my breakfast voucher, besides I was famished. I enjoyed my breakfast. It was my first ever buffet and I overate. I met a few passengers who were going to be on the same flight as I was so we all gathered together and rode to the airport on the shuttle. I was finally making my way home.
Check-in was smooth. Before we knew we were on the flight heading to the final destination. I was happy since it was estimated that we would get to our destination in two hours. We landed and I proceeded to customs. Afterward, I headed for the baggage claim to get my suitcase. I walked for 45 minutes but the carousel was nowhere to be found. I was so exhausted and hungry so I took a seat somewhere at the airport.
I then asked a lady sitting next to me if I was anywhere close to the baggage claim. She requested to have a look at my boarding pass which I made available. She laughed and told me to get on a train which would arrive in a few minutes. “A train does a train ride inside this airport” The lady stared and directed me to get on the train as it arrived. She told me to get off at the last stop as and when the conductor announced.
THE FINAL HURDLE
The train rode for about 15 minutes before it announced that everyone should get off. I couldn’t have missed this announcement. I ran off the train still overwhelmed, “how could a train ride inside an airport”. I turned one final corner to find my luggage on the carousel. It was the only luggage, and I quickly picked it up and headed outside. It was exhilarating to finally get outside knowing that I was had made to my final destination.
THE ULTIMATE REUNION
My next challenge was to locate my dad, who had promised to be at the airport to meet me. I looked everywhere but could not find him. Not again, I thought. The first thing that came to mind was to call him. I went to the phone booth to try but it accepted only coins that I did not have. I sat on a bench outside the airport and went into deep thought. What was I going to do next?
I located a woman standing not very far from me talking on the phone – I knew this woman might be able to call my dad for me. I asked her and she agreed to help out. I mentioned the telephone number to her and she dialed. She handed me her phone when my dad answered. I directed him to where I was and he located me the next minute. He was apparently standing close to the elevator showing my name on a board. I missed it.
A MEMORABLE TRIP
I was glad to meet my dad. It was a great reunion. We sat at the nightstand till midnight while I shared my whole ordeal. Dad said once again, “Maame, this is the reason I arranged for you to visit me all the way from Ghana to Atlanta, Georgia at 18, without a direct flight, to enjoy the whole experience and learn something new.” I gave my dad a hug and retired to bed.
This trip was a great experience. I wrote a lot in my journal about the people I met, places I visited, the food I ate, the way of life of the people, and finally all the lessons I leaned.
My first International trip has shaped my life in many ways. It has reflected in my decision-making in areas like my choice of studies, school, relationships, career, and even writing this article. I know this article will help give you perspective in the area of travel and decision making.
Set the stage for greater things. Get out of your comfort zone and embrace new challenges. It is the only way to grow and expand your horizons.
It’s been a while since I came your way with some travel culture. We went on a research spree to find new trends that would be of value to you. Stay tuned for the coming months where I will share great content on travel for wellness, romantic couples trips, girls trips, family trips and volunteer/internship trips to Africa. This week’s article will focus on traveling responsibly. We all know that travel is an essential part of our lives and we cannot do without it. Since traveling through different means can have a detrimental effect on our environment, we should look at ways to travel that benefit the destination.
Many people are aware of the many negative consequences of our frequent trips around the world to enjoy the scenery and experience different cultures. Traveling to popular and busy destinations, going on road trips for months, packing big luggage, staying in huge multinational hotels, may have negative consequences on the environment. For these reasons, you have to think of alternative ways of traveling responsibly. If you understand how the world works, you will notice that traveling has always been part of our lives and we cannot do without it. We travel for different reasons. This article will share 5 wise ways of traveling to benefit you and the chosen destination.
Take the path less travelled
Be sure to distribute your trip money evenly. Choose an less popular destination where not too many people are visiting. Choose a destination that is not often talked about but is loaded with exclusive natural resources that are not found elsewhere in the world. Have in mind that less popular locations are mostly kind to the pocket – you will pay a fraction for services offered as compared to popular locations.
Curb your carbon emissions
Walking is food for the soul, it keeps you in shape. Take long walks during your trip. Choose a destination that allows you to take long hikes with a cultural experience. Join a group of travellers who are locally assigned to a tour guide. Local tour guides are loaded with information about the destination. They normally share historical stories about the destination, help you find your bearings, and give you that total cultural experience. Going on a long hike keeps you entertained, informed, healthy, and provide the local tour guide with some form of income since he gets paid in the end. You also avoid the use of some form of transportation during sight-seeing which may pollute the environment.
A.k.a. hassle-free travel. Sticking to at most a hand language is good for the environment. It prevents the airplane from consuming a lot of fuel. Use compression cubes or stuff sacks so that you can pack a lot of stuff in a carry-on language. Remember that traveling light also makes your whole travel experience easier. You save your sanity especially if you will transit in another country. The golden rule for traveling light is to pack cotton clothes and take only what you need. It is better to take twice the money than clothes. You can always purchase items that fall short locally.
Choose environmentally-friendly accommodation
Stay in a sustainable hotel/hostel or guesthouse that has employed a local inhabitant and not a gigantic multinational franchise hotel. Look out for facilities that serve local organic food, have eco-friendly water dispensers, conserve energy, limit water use, ditch the use of disposals, recycle, and encourage the guests to reuse linens and towels. Search for hotels and facilities that have accepted regulations and environmental responsibility. They need to have a green lodging certification. Sometimes hotels that work for environment protection and preservation call themselves Ecotel.
Support the local economy
Become a patron for local produce, which can be used as souvenirs. Inquire about locally manufactured handmade crafts and artefacts that are exclusive to the destination. Buying these items provides income for local companies. As a visitor, you also have the opportunity to own uncommon items that are only found at the location.
The importance of responsible travel cannot be underestimated. Sustainable travel saves us money by reducing spending and waste to help our environment to thrive. We have a responsibility to protect the natural ecosystem. Our little contribution to support the ecosystem can go a long way to support life and provide resources to meet the needs of the present and future generations. In the end, there will be healthy communities with clean air, and a non-toxic environment.
Travel to Africa curious and return home empowered
This short article is to inspire a shift in perspective. Are you tired of doing the same thing over again just to earn a decent living? Have you had enough and want to move on to the next thing? Do you need clarity on your next decision concerning what you want to do at this point? Read further to catch some goodness.
Africa is saturated with professional development
To be clear about your current field of studies or work, you need to periodically take field trips to a location that shares a practical experience about different concepts. A field trip is a trip with an educational intent where participants interact with the venue, it’s set up and exhibitions to gain a first-hand connection to ideas, concepts, and subject matter. Several countries in Africa are enriched with the resources that are solely found on the continent. Field trips bring you to unique places that cannot be found at school or workplace. You can observe a natural setting and create meaning through experience. Interactive exhibits will help you to play with concepts and activities that are new and thought-provoking.
People who participate in field trip experiences generate a more positive attitude about life. They add reliance on learning and interpersonal relationships to promote personal social development. You will be able to improve your observational skills, curiosity, interests, social skills, by sharing your perceptions and knowledge with others to result in motivation to reach new and higher levels. If you feel you are stuck and not enjoying what you are doing, a field trip to Africa will offer you a unique opportunity to create connections to help you gain understanding and develop an enjoyment for learning.
Engage in a multidimensional activity where all your senses are involved. (Touch, Feel, Smell, Hear, and See)
This is where you will engage all your senses to authentic, first-hand, sensory-based learning. You will be able to explore; listen, watch, disassemble and reassemble. You will be able to learn a lot by grasping experience and transforming it into a result or an application. You will be directed to a specific experience to guide you through reflection to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop your capacity to contribute to your life, vision, family, or community.
Photo by Duy Pham
Quality Experiences lead to deeper learning and interest development
Here are 7 of my favourite African countries for a field trip
Madagascar, Tanzania (Zanzibar), Kenya (Lamu), Seychelles, Comoros, Cape Verde, and Mauritius
Also known as the Islands of Africa, they are found in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. These countries have spectacular natural resources that will teach you to gain clarity for your next adventure in life.
Look out for my next article where I will talk more about what these countries have to offer for the most experiential field trip to Africa.
P.S. A field trip across the breadth of Africa with focus will provide a potential impact on your knowledge, interests, and life vision.
Join us for our next trip to Africa for life-changing field experience.
Do you need expert advice/help on your trip to Africa?
Are you seeking a travel experience in Africa tailored to your preference?
Do you need us to plan your itinerary by laying out the activities for your trip to an African destination + hours, days or months of volunteering to make your trip more meaningful?
I totally agree that a vacation should involve some form of adventurous activity. An adventure that will show some form of boldness in you; which you never knew existed. Do you agree as well? Read along and pick some highlights on the Kwahu Paragliding Easter Festival to help you take a meaningful trip to this place.
The Adventurer in You
In my experience, I have engaged in adventurous activities such as motor riding in an erratic terrain, walking high canopy walkways built across trees, desert safari tours, and observing tourist paragliding. Observing the latter activity made me so scared imagining all the things that could go wrong. Engaging in these activities sparked up different energies in me that has helped me face life’s challenges and opportunities in very helpful ways.
Kwahu Paragliding Festival
Kwahu lies in the Eastern region of Ghana and about a two and half hour drive from the country’s capital, Accra. The drive to this location is steep and curvy, making the journey an adventure in itself. This festival happens during the Easter period in Ghana and attracts many people from around the world seeking to enjoy exciting cultural events such as hiking, cycling, local tours around the village, and paragliding. This year’s 13th edition will facilitate other fun activities such as musical concerts, health walks, street markets, and carnivals. The beautiful weather, friendly locals and mouthwatering eating joints takes this adventurous activity to another level.
Have fun in the air
The climax of the event is paragliding. Experienced pilots from all over the world gather to fly participants. The theme of this year’s edition is ‘Soaring Beyond the Return’ and will take place from April 10 till 13. A participant is buckled up together with a qualified pilot and takes off at a height of about 2500 meters from above the Odweanoma mountain and flies over the breathtaking village. Your safety is also secured since there is always a standby ambulance to take care of emergencies. This adventure can be enjoyed by adults and the youth as well.
The Kwahu Paragliding Festival can serve as a meaningful cultural trip for the adventurous traveler. Taking a trip to Kwahu is exciting for the tourist and also for the locals as well. The locals refer to the Easter period as their ‘Cocoa Season’, meaning a season of harvest. Service providers such as drivers, traders, and other entrepreneurs are able to sell their services to both domestic and foreign tourists. There are also local volunteer opportunities which helps you to show an appreciation for the place you visited. For example, one can offer to teach school children life skills through a masterclass for a day. This can be arranged with local school authorities when you get there. Visitors are assured that they will be able to enjoy a rich cultural heritage, arts, crafts, and experience the diverse way of life of locals, reflect on social customs and religious traditions. This trip can also serve as an entertainment and educational experience that combines art with natural, historical and social heritage.
Highlights of the Kwahu Paragliding festival
Cultural aspects of trip
For the fashion lovers, you will be inspired by locals adorned in colorful African prints that will make you get one for yourself. Local fashion designers will not hesitate to sew you the most current style in no time.
Palatable African home-made dishes will be available for sale at different eateries in the area. If you are an extrovert like myself, you can easily make friends with locals who may invite you home for dinner. Opt for popular Ghana-Jollof if you have a preference.
Authentic culture lovers
Experience the rich cultural diversity of locals and domestic tourist who visit. You will experience the different ways of life of other people to help you gain an understanding of their traditions, customs, and environment. Their laid-back way of life will catch your attention and give you another perspective to life.
Africans in the Diaspora
African living in the diaspora get the chance to connect to their motherland. Getting back home helps many to reconnect to a place they know they always read about to be their original home.
A peaceful country with a sustainable economy which ensures many investment and business opportunities.