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Visitors walk along the canopy bridge in Ghana's rainforest

Getting Ready for Ghana: Volunteer Preparation Guide

Planning to volunteer in Ghana? This guide is here to help with your travel preparation.

By Thom Brown | 31st January, 2020

As a welcoming country, Ghana is perfect for your first volunteer trip. Once you’ve signed up to one of our programmes, we’ll let you know what to prepare before you set off.  This travel preparation guide exists to answer any initial questions.

With the right prep, you’ll be setting yourself up for an unforgettable experience in this beautiful country in Africa.

What vaccinations do I need to travel to Ghana?

Certificate for the yellow fever vaccination being packed into backpack

We are not medical professionals and cannot recommend vaccinations. However, immunisation against yellow fever is usually required for entry into Ghana. On arrival, you’ll present a certificate as proof that you got it done.

Wherever you go in Ghana, malaria is a risk. 6-8 weeks before departure, talk to your GP for further advice on malaria prevention and other vaccinations. Until then, get ahead of the game by checking the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Do I need a visa to volunteer in Ghana?

Most travellers need a visa to enter Ghana. We offer advice during the application stage, but you can also check your requirements online. Remember, the process can be slow and disorganised, so the sooner you get started, the better!

What should I pack for a trip to Ghana?

Volunteers from Switzerland wait for their transportation after arriving at the airport

When preparing for travel to Ghana, consider how you can protect yourself from the environment. Your packing list should include:

 

  • Thin long-sleeve t-shirts
  • Lightweight outdoor trousers
  • Clothes made of polyester or merino wool, which are odour-resistant and quick drying
  • Clothes with built-in mosquito repellent and sun protection
  • Darker clothes that can get dusty and dirty
  • Plenty of insect repellent
  • High factor sun lotion
  • Closed-toed shoes for rough terrain

 

This is a good starting point for staying protected and comfortable in Ghana.

How much money do I need to travel to Ghana?

While the average tourist budgets around 50 cedis (£6.70) per day, you’ll probably get by on half of this. This is because the fee you pay for your project covers food, accommodation, and transport. You only need money for extra luxuries.

Living costs in Accra are 60% lower than in London. However, vendors are often cash only, so factor this in when preparing to travel abroad. If you can pay by card, Visa is usually fine, but Mastercard is rarely accepted.

How will I deal with cultural differences in Ghana?

A care volunteer with her Ghanaian host family

Before you head abroad, you’ll do cultural awareness training. You can also read this guide on dealing with cultural shock to prepare yourself for travel to Ghana. Remember to embrace change and immerse yourself in the local culture. Your trip to Ghana has the potential to broaden your horizons, teaching you another way of living.

You may notice differences such as a relaxed approach to timekeeping. You can find this frustrating or feel the stress relief of being unburdened by strict deadlines. It’s all about mindset. By understanding cultural variations before you go out, you're mentally preparing yourself, limiting the cultural shock you might experience.

What will the weather be like in Ghana?

On a hot day in Ghana, a woman strolls on the beach

Ghana’s climate is pleasingly stable during the year. You’ll experience:

 

  • Highs hovering around 30°C, year-round
  • Lows of roughly 23°C
  • Drier weather in the northeast
  • More humidity in the southwest
  • A rainy season on the south coast between March and November
  • 14 days of precipitation in the wettest month of June
  • Hot, sunny days during the dry season

Can I use my phone in Ghana?

Backup and emergency phones for travel to Ghana

It should be possible to use your own phone in Ghana, but it’ll be expensive.

To save money, consider getting a local sim card on arrival. MTN is the most widely used network, but Vodafone is also popular and affordable. Whichever network you choose, check whether your device is compatible.

Better yet, leave your expensive smartphone at home and buy a cheap phone when you arrive in Ghana. This way, you won't worry about loss or theft. It's there when you need it, but spend the rest of the time living in the moment and taking in your new surroundings.

Does Ghana have good internet?

WiFi coverage is more sparse in Ghana than you may be used to. Many families don’t have internet access at home and we can’t guarantee that your host will provide consistent WiFi. You’ll be able to travel to an internet cafe, but bear in mind that they’re not on every corner.

Our office does come with reliable WiFi, as do some restaurants in the city centre. If you get a local sim card, you can also take advantage of 4G which is common in urban areas. Beyond that, embrace the opportunity to disconnect and enjoy the incredible natural beauty that Ghana has to offer.

Now you know what to prepare, consider booking your place on a Ghana-based volunteer project.

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Feeling prepared for Ghana?

Chat to our support team to begin your volunteer application.

01273 007 230

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