Capital | Accra
Population | 23,832,495 (July 2009 est.)
Area | 239,460 sq km
Official language | English
Holidays | Independence Day, 6 March (1957)
Currency | cedis (GHC)
Time Zone | UTC+0
Best time to visit | October to March, when the weather is cooler and drier.
Connecting with the Culture | Browsing Accra’s Makola (batik and beads) and Kaneshie (food and spices) markets. Steeping yourself in Ashanti culture and history at the national Cultural Centre in Kumasi. Strolling through Accra’s peaceful Aburi Botanical Gardens. Spending the night in an old fort or castle on the Atlantic Coast. Lazing on the long white Sandy beach at Busua. Hiking and wildlife watching at Kakum Nature Park.
Read | `Asante: The Making of a Nation’, by Nana Otamakuro Adubofour provides an insight into Ashanti history and culture.
Listen | `Electric Highlife’, a taste of the highlife that will really get you moving; `Master Drummer from Ghana’. By Mustapha Tettey Addy, one of West Africa’s greatest drumming performers.
Watch | `Heritage Africa’, by the celebrated Ghanian director Kwaw P. Ansah’ an exploration of Ghana’s colonial past.
Eat | groundnut stew; omo tuo – mashed rice balls served with fish or meat soup. Kyemgbuma – crabs with potatoes, meat and cassava dough; ntomo krakro – fried sweet potato cakes, a popular street food.
Drink | askenkee-a cool, milky white non alcoholic drink made from corn.
In a word | Hani wodzo (let’s dance)
Characteristics | Beautiful beaches; vibrant city nightlife; fishing villages; ruins of the slave trade; elephants and antelope; highlife music; ancient forts and castles. Chilled-out, friendly people.
Surprises | Ghana was once home to West Africa’s mightiest gold empire and was the first country to drop colonialism and go it alone. It built the biggest artificial lake in the world; and it produces some of Africa’s best highlife music and most famous sculpture. Its possible to meet the current Ashanto king at Asantehene’s Palace in Kumasi – inquire politely and bring a gift.