Ghana-single mom and 4 year old
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Jan 27, 2013 7:57 AM Last Post By: ingyanne
Nov 8, 2012 12:57 AM
Ghana-single mom and 4 year oldI'm planning on visiting my husband who is working at a hospital close to Cape Coast with my 4 year old daughter. Since my husband will be working a lot it will just be my daughter and I exploring the local area (Anomabu and Biriwa) by ourselves. We have all our vaccines, anti malaria pills, ect. I've traveled most of S.E Asia and South America so I'm not a novice traveler. But I've never been on my own and definitely not on my own with my very blond haired, light eyed, sticks out like a sore thumb daughter.
1. Is it safe to jump on local buses to go exploring in that area? I've had issues being robbed on buses in S.America before. Do they charge more for foreigners for bus rides?
2. Places I should avoid with my daughter?
3. My hubby is taken care of for his accommodations but we need to find our own. As he is still in training we don't make a lot of money so we were hoping for something less than $30USD a night. We don't need anything fancy. Any suggestions?
4. Would it be safe for she and I to take a bus up to Kumasi for a few days and go explore on our own?
5. She loves the forest and I want to take her to Kakum Ntl Park would you recommend that for her age? We hike a ton at home and she's fearless when it comes to bugs and animals. She doesn't understand that they can hurt her.
6. Are there issues with rabies in the area?
Happy to have any advise, suggestions, recommendations that might help.
Nov 8, 2012 6:26 AM
Nov 8, 2012 8:01 AM
2You will not be robbed on a bus. People in Ghana are generally very helpful to foreigners who aren't really familiar with how things work. The greater danger is the condition of the vehicle, the ability and mindset of the driver, and other crazy drivers who shouldn't be on the road. The prices will be the same for everyone.
Ghana is generally a safe country. As such, around Cape Coast there is no area that I can think of that would specifically be a no go area for you. Harassment of women is not the norm. As a white person you will be noticed but given that Cape Coast is a hub for young white volunteers to relax, your presence will surprise no one.
In Cape Coast I always stay in the Sammo Guest House. Everyone knows it and it is cheap (should still be less than $10 a night). Nothing fancy by any means but it isn't very far from the beach or the main sights of Cape Coast plus it is near the 'fast car' to Accra.
Nov 11, 2012 4:38 PM
3When I was in Ghana over the summer, my daughter and I spent a couple of days on a few unusual, but very cool, day tours. We got to do bead work and see how African Trade Beads are made, see how they make the local fabrics and try some of it ourselves, learn how to cook some of the local dishes (I now make great jolof rice!). Your daughter might find that more interesting than the usual adult activities. The lady who runs it was great with my daughter, and the price was reasonable. Just a suggestion, from another mom who travels with a young daughter! Other companies may do it too, shop around for sure. The one we used was StaRVee Tours.
I found the people in Ghana to be really friendly. If you stand in the street looking at a map. several people will come up to you and help you find taking you to the place you are looking for. People were fascinated with my daughter's blond hair. They're very hand's-on and kept coming up to touch it. It kind of freaked her out at first.
Nov 12, 2012 4:48 PM
4Sounds like you are very experienced at travelling - between us (the owners and managers of Stumble Inn), we have 7 blond haired white children under the age of 6 all based not too far from Cape Coast. There have been no real problems at all. Obviously you take more care, especially around areas like Cape Coast and Elmina Castles where hawkers can be a little more aggressive. Similarly, on very touristy areas of the beach, just be a little more alert, but overall there is nothing negative to say!
With regards to your questions - buses are pretty safe. Take the usual precautions with your belongings, but they tend to be pretty welcoming! Prices are the same, and others would kick up a fuss for you if they saw you being charged more.
Accommodation for less than $30 a night, and in Cape Coast - I think that has been pretty much covered. We are just outside Elmina which is very doable from the University, and you could get a beach hut for this money with us, but there are also very good options in Cape Coast itself.
Bus to Kumasi - I would say that would be absolutely fine, well worth the trip as well.
Kakum - the forest walk is quite interesting but the main reason people go is the canopy walk, which is around 40m above ground. I don't know if there is minimum age for kids, but you do see lots of small school kids go on it! It's pretty safe..
Lastly, rabies, always a small risk, but again, if you're careful then it shouldn't be anything to worry about at all!!
I hope you have a great trip!!
Dec 3, 2012 12:06 PM
5what a great group of responders. I hope my little bits of info are helpful as well......
we stayed in Cape Coast at Fairhill Guest house (website indicates current economy rooms at $22 US per night) and it was fantastic (especially the service & security). on-site restaurant. http://www.fairhillguesthouses.com/
we also went to Kakum and it was a great experience and would be fantastic for your daughter although if were my 4 y/o I think I would want a leash/rope around my child when crossing the canopy bridges. They really are fairly safe but being the overprotective parent that I am, I would want to keep my child RIGHT with me while on the bridges. maybe you should Google some pics of the bridges and you can decide your own comfort level.
If you make the trip to Kumasi, I would also recommend planning a 100KM (each way) trip to Boabeng-Fiema monkey sanctuary. I'm not sure about buses tours for getting to the sanctuary but I really think you and your daughter would just love the experience. The guides are extremely friendly, patient and knowledgeable. If you are so close, it would be a shame to miss. I found this link from Google to be helpful: http://www.ghana.photographers-resource.com/locations/Wildlife/LG/Fiema_monkey.htm
Elmina castle was very sobering but what an experience!! Most likely over a 4 year old's head but the tour is roughly an hour which I am sure she would at least enjoy the "castle". The local markets would be fun for your daughter and yourself although as the poster above mentioned, be wary of your daughter and your belongings (wear backpack on the front). Personal safety is not general threatened but there are definately pick-pockets and aggressive hawkers.
Also, not sure when you intend to travel but we spent New Years Eve in Cape Coast and it was also fantastic. While we did not have any of our children with us, there were many local children around who joined in the fun.
if you have the time and money for a one or two night getaway (maybe with your husband), I HIGHLY recommend http://www.aximbeach.com/ . Rates are getting out of your intended budget ($35 for a double, children free) but it is very beautiful and worthwhile for a couple night escape. It is approx 140KM from Cape Coast.
hope you have a great time!!
Jan 27, 2013 7:57 AM
6I'm sure you'll have a great time! That sounds like a good trip.
The only thing I would add to what the others have already said is that, while there should be no trouble going up to Kumasi, be very careful there if you go into the centre of the city. The central market (reputed to be the largest in West Africa) is enormous and extremely busy. While the people are generally friendly, they can be rather pushy and it's easy to get lost in the bustle of the crowds. I would be very careful with your daughter there, but otherwise I'm sure you would enjoy a short trip to Kumasi.
The Cape Coast area is beautiful, and Kakum National Park is lots of fun. I hope you have a wonderful time.
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