In Ghana life is public. People evacuate their homes and apartments every day to escape the stifling heat. And much like the patterned cloth worn by market women, the disparate parts and peoples somehow mix and weave together into a cohesive whole. Ghana is home to a number of diverse peoples and cultures, all finding ways to coexist in a rapidly modernising country. You’ll see men and women in traditional clothes text messaging friends and suited businessmen taking offerings to tribal chiefs.
Ghana has no iconic natural calling card like Victoria Falls or Kilimanjaro, but one look at a map reveals a geographic blessing: hundreds of kilometres of coast shared by beautiful beaches, like those at Busua & Dixcove, ruined European forts, such as Cape Coast Castle, the poignant reminders of the country’s importance as a way station for African slaves, and the battered shacks of lively fishing villages. Accra is the commercial and cultural motor of the country, while Kumasi is the traditional home of the Ashanti, and is famous for its crafts. In the Volta region to the east, where the geography was given a facelift by the Akosombo dam, you can still find substantial swathes of forest crawling up mountains along the Togo border. And finally the North, which offers opportunities for wildlife viewing up close and personal, stretches across the horizon like an overcooked pancake to the Burkina Faso frontier.
Compared to other countries in the region, Ghana is stable and prosperous, but this valuation is in part founded on hopes for the future. The country is often labelled ‘Africa for beginners’, and while you’ll likely be welcomed by the people in a hot, sweaty clinch, the same way the sun grabs hold of you the second after you step outside, getting around is by no means easy.
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