Tourism & Communications

Growing importance of tourism

Historic forts

Cape Coast Fort

Three of the forts and castles built by the European traders – Elmina, St Jago and Cape Coast (above) – are classified as World Heritage Monuments by UNESCO.

With its historic coastline, national parks and eco-tourism sites, Ghana is growing in importance as a tourist destination in Africa.

According to the Ghana Tourist Board, over 160,000 visitors went to holiday in the country in 2009.

Tourists are drawn by a number of national parks such as Digya, Kakum and Mole.

Ghana’s history and cultural heritage are also a key draw. Along the coast, visitors can explore Ghana’s old towns and colonial past, which initially centred on the trade for gold and slaves – see History & Politics.

In the north, centuries-old trading with Arab merchants brought a strong Islamic influence. Places like Paga, Sirigu and Larabanga also have distinctive mud-architecture buildings, such as the famous mosque at Larabanga.

The country’s many local festivals attract sightseers – see People & Culture. These celebrations display the colourful local Ghanaian culture through traditional dress, customs, music and dance.

Watch out on the roads

A loaded truck

Over the last ten years, much work has been carried out to upgrade the road network in Ghana. Most major roads are now surfaced and first-class routes run from Accra along the coast and to the north.

However, on lesser roads, drivers may still encounter frequent potholes, as well as wandering animals and pedestrians.

Frequent speeding and overtaking also make the roads hazardous. Night-time driving is especially dangerous because there are few streetlights and vehicles travel without headlights.

Many visitors choose to travel by bus when touring around Ghana. This seems preferable to driving or taking taxis or tro-tros, the term used for licensed passenger vehicles.