Moving to Ghana? That is amazing news! You must be very excited and yet eager to know as much as possible as you prepare to leave your comfort zone to take on a whole new challenge.
Ghana is a beautiful West African country and a choice place for several expatriates whether they are looking for an African country to assist in through NGO efforts or are also looking at a piece of the private sector job pie that offers quite lucrative job opportunities.
We want you to not be as shocked depending on what your experience and expectations are so we’re happy to help out when moving to Ghana.
Unlike many countries in the Motherland, Ghana does not present grave safety concerns.
- Crime rates are on the lower side and a conscious precaution will keep you safe – not walking alone in deserted areas that are not well lit, for example.
- Most homes have burglar-proofing (bars on windows) and if you live in an apartment, security personnel are on guard (usually). There are cases of minor thefts and pick-pocketing in crowded areas like open markets and bus stations so you just need to be extra watchful of your purse and wallet. Sadly the police system is not much to ride on.
- Beware of unneeded help and locals who may be overly friendly in order to gain access to your homes. Ghanaians are very nice so it may just be over exuberance so weigh situations best you can.
One of the best things about living in Ghana is the amazing weather. Pretty much summer all year-round, Ghana’s tropical climate makes it very warm and humid, with temperatures hardly ever dropping below 15 degrees Celsius and going as high as 34 degrees Celsius. There are only 2 seasons – rainy and dry (intensity varies according to the region you find yourself in.), with the rainy seasons lowering the temperature a little bit. You won’t ever need a coat again! Flip-flops, sandals, a pair of sunglasses and (not too short or tight) shorts and skirts will be your new wardrobe.
Languages Spoken in Ghana
For a country this size, it will surprise you that there are over 40 distinct languages across the 10 regions, with Twi (pronounced Tchwee) being the most spoken in the south. In the city areas, many people speak English, which is Ghana’s official language, so it is comfortable to move around and get things done as long as you speak clearly and maybe a little slower. It behoves any foreigner to try to learn a few key local language words and phrases. Two you will most likely hear on your very first day in Accra will be “Akwaaba” (Welcome) and “Obroni” (Foreigner/white person).
It is ideal to have a car as there are not too many ways to get around. Mass public transportation is defined by trotros (very cheap minivans) which most expats don’t take unless for the infrequent thrill and then there are taxi cabs which are also not too expensive but are not metred, so require some bargaining skills.
- You won’t see the nice buses with designated bus stops and schedules of the West nor trains and trams.
Definitely first on the agenda would be to find a great place to call home! Our website is the EASIEST way to find an apartment or house to rent or buy and boasts a variety of housing types, whatever your budget. Even better, we offer offline assistance and are happy to answer any questions as you work with real estate agents during your house hunt. For the standards you may require, housing costs can be on the higher end but it’s really just a matter of putting some time into your search and going through the listings so when you go out to do your viewings you’re already halfway there on like the property.
Check out The Accra Housing Guide. Ghana does, currently, have frequent issues with consistent electricity (heard the term Dumsor?) and, in some areas, water supply, so it is important to make accommodations for backup power (a generator) and backup water tanks. A fan is probably fine to ward off the heat but if you are very sensitive to heat, then air conditioners would be on your checklist. Expats tend to drift towards Accra neighbourhoods like Osu, Labone, Cantonments, Dzorwulu, East Legon, West Legon and Abelemkpe.
Schools in Ghana
If you are coming with your kids, then, of course, their education is a key priority for you. You will find a multitude of educational systems in Ghana from the local (Primary – Junior High – Senior High) to the foreign British and American programs (Cambridge IGCSE curriculum and General Certificate of Education Advanced Level) which may be more to your expectation, but come with hefty tuition tags. There are a number of great Ghanaian schools especially in the capital city of Accra like Morning Star School, Christ the King, Alsyd Academy and Ridge Church that will offer your ward a superb mixed local-foreign experience.
The People of Ghana
All over the world Ghanaians are known to be friendly and welcoming. You will find locals enamoured with your experience being from and living abroad and wanting to hear more and you will also find a lot of well-travelled Ghanaians.
Typical Ghanaian Foods
Just like any African country, Ghana has no shortage of amazing food offerings! Local meals are made mostly of a starch (boiled rice, plantain, yam or banku, for instance) with a tomato puree-based stew or soup full of chicken, beef or fish. As there are a lot of ethnic groups each with their own delicacies, there are even more options if you want to get more adventurous (don’t worry , anything crazy!) There are countless eateries to suit any budget if you want to eat out, even if you want a simple meal.
If you are looking for some Chinese, Thai, Indian, Ethiopian food or sushi, you will be pleasantly surprised. Vegetarian or vegan? More and more there are growing varieties of foods you can find easily in supermarkets to whip something up at home but you will find many restaurant menus leaving you slim pickings.
Cost of Living in Ghana
This is a tricky one. If you have the true Wanderlust spirit, then you are the low-maintenance kind who is asking for the local menu options and is fine riding trotros (mass transit minivans) and living in average accommodation and you won’t find it too expensive. Mangoes are just as fantastic as strawberries and kiwis that would cost you much, much more.
If you heard you can have a maid and a driver and eat seafood daily and live alone in a 4 bedroom house, all bathrooms en-suite with a generator, pool and gym, then well…you can bet it will cost you more than it would back home. This is a developing country, so what you may have taken for granted is luxury here. All in all, Ghana is not a cheap place when you are trying to maintain whatever you “were” used to. You can find lovely 2 bedroom residences for $500 or spend upwards of $2000 for the same in the centre of town with all the bells and whistles. It’s a choice.
Fun and Entertainment
Ghana is fun, fun, fun! There is a sizeable amount of things to do, places to go, stuff to participate in and buy. From the nightlife to eateries, beaches and resorts to hotel poolsides, art centres (in all major cities and capitals), bars, spas and salons, you will find ways to relax, do some sightseeing and cultural and historical learnings and have an all around a great time.
You can escape the metropolitan living of Accra and Kumasi and travel farther out on a short flight or road trip to discover the slave trade castles (in Cape Coast), Kakum National Park (which hosts the second longest canopy walk in the world!), Wli Falls (Volta Region), paragliding in Kwahu (Eastern Region), surf in Busua (Western Region), Mole National Park (Northern Region).
It’s really hard to sum up a country that has so much to offer in a short post but for sure you have a better idea now of what is to be your new home. Hurry on over, visit meQasa.com to find a place to live and all the best!