If you are fed up with crowded and polluted Accra city center, if you feel like breathing better and cooler not too far from the town, I really advise you to go to Aburi.
After you left Accra, you drive through the green hills for about 40 mn until you arrive in the centre of Aburi. The botanical garden in Aburi was started by the British and opened in March 1890.
The Botanical garden in ABURI
It is not expensive to enter with your car ( 2.5€ )and driving into it, there is a line of tall trees that makes you feel like you are in Beverly Hills :
Then you can have a nice walk through Aburi Botanical Garden. Due to the altitude of Aburi, the climate is a really cooler than neighbouring Accra.
However, if you wanted to have a long walk it is not for you since it is quite small…
As you can see , you will discover the ficus tree which is so big that you can enter in its trunk!
There are more than 350 different plants species which are growing in Aburi. There is a romantic lane, “Lovers Lane” where roses are growing, and an area with the “brown gold” of Ghana: cocoa.
There are many huge termite mound too ! Just have a look !
The botanical garden is a great place to relax and take “fresh” air, and watch to birds:
If you want to look to huge majestic trees one after the other, and take a nap under trees in a cool temperature, then you will enjoy the place.
Moreover, I advise you to plan a picnic with friends and children which can be perfect It will be a great place to let the kids run around without any fear : there is a “retired “helicopter which is perfect for them to play inside too.
There are small eating places within the gardens too but it doesn’t seem like good ones. You should come with your own food or go and eat in Hillbury, a greatplace that I love.
If you prefer going to the restaurant with your family or friends and rest to Hillbury resort, you will discover a majestic hotel in the spectacular Akwapim mountain range.
The views is amazing over the surrounding mountains and you an rest in the swimming pool in front of the evergreen valley of the majestic view.You will thenn feel better, escaping the crowded places, and most of all you will enjoy good food.
On the afternoon, you can also go to a farm not far from Aburi center where you can buy fruits and vegetable and see their pigs too!
Then after all this, I am sure that you will come back to Accra with good energy 🙂
Shai hills reserve, peaceful place 50mn from Accra
Shai Hills Resource Reserve is les than an hour north of Accra bordering the Akosombo road. The reserve is 51 square kilometres. This makes this location a small but the closest wildlife viewing areas to Accra.
Shai Hills is a plain by topography but has outcrops of 5 hills. The hills in the Shai area is base to several stone quarries.
Shai Hills also has rich history and heritage of Ga people : the hill was home to the ancestors of the people of Shai and still contains vestiges. It was the British colonial masters who forcibly expelled them in 1892 on the allegation that the natives were committing ritual murders.
Its vegetation is a combination of open and wooded grassland, savanna covered plains. To date 31 mammals, 13 reptiles and 175 bird species have been identified in the reserve.
The baboon troop at the front gate can be very amusing, but be warned these are dangerous animals and they love to snatch your unattended personal belongings!
Two ostriches are also there and they come to you when the guards call them with a “specific noise”.
Best times are in the evenings or during sunset. The lighted city skyline is a sight to behold.
During morning, you may meet Kob antelope, bushbuck or monkeys, although the monkeys here are not habituated like at Tafi Atome or Boabeng-Fiema.
You can travel the park in a 4X4 vehicle or on foot with an armed escort from the hours of 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Visitors can climb up the summit of the caves and the inselbergs in the reserve to view the plains of Accra.
Three caves can be found in the reserve and these are Adwuku, Sayu and Hieweyu.
These caves provide an excellent home for bats which will spend the entire day sleeping only to wake up in the night.
It is an easy clim (look, I even did it with my flip flop!) It takes 10 mn for the 1st one (the photo underneath) and one hour the one on the above photo)
Crocodiles, snakes and tortoises can also be spotted …they say…. but noone of my friends have seen them already !!
The bird life in the park is something really important since migratory birds can be seen :
There are the Senegal parrot, grey plantain eater, hornbill, red northern bishop and violet turaco are in the Shai Hills reserve. Other birds to be found in Shai Hills Resource reserve include Senegal cuckoo, stone partridge and francolin. This makes the reserve a bird lover’s paradise.
At night, we went to sleep to Stone Lodge , at 5km from the reserve, a very nice hotel in the middle of the contryside with a nice swimming pool and quite good meals.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR BEGINNING A NEW EXPAT LIFE 😉
WHICH STEPS FOR REGISTERING IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY ?
Foreign Bureaucracy are often the Devil !! (Although we are not very good at it in France neither, you may be thinking …. !!! ).
Apartment, check. Now that you have the basics down, keep in mind that there are many countries whose government offices move at a slower pace. This is when you learn patience !
Keep these tips in mind as you traverse your new home and go to your embassy as the French Ghana Ambassy :
Be sure to have your visa in order. Know where the government offices are and know how long a wait each appointment requires. Most importantly though, bring a book, try not to get frustrated at all the red tape!
The french ambassy address: 12th road off Liberation Avenue, PO Box 187, Accra Tel: (00) 233 (0) 302.21.45.50
Why register to the ambassy?
In order to benefit from all ambassy services and to be secured during your expatriation here. It is free and it will facilitate administration formalites (such as having a new passport, identity cad, driven license). You will receive by email important information (such as staying home because of a big storm !! ). You can also be on the electoral list.
How to register?
2 options are possible according to your stay lenght
1st, less than 6 months : you can tell the ambassy you’re here and give them contacts where you stay and the one to call in France if there is a problem
2nd, more than 6 months : you have to show your ID, your french nationality and where you live now in Ghana. You will then get a card which prooves you live here now. It will be indispensable if you need to be repatriated for illness for exemple.
How to register for citizen a Non -citizen resident ID?
You have to go to register for your Non-citizen ID to have your permit to stay in Ghana if you are a foreign national permanently resident in the country.
You can find infomation in foreigner identification website. It cost about 100€ and a scratch card must first be bought from any Cal Bank branch then the registration process start with a registration form about your personal information and biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) are then taken. Applicant is then instantly issued a Non-citizen card which signifies the completion of the registration process.
It takes me about 15 mn if there is no waiting queue.
HOW AND WHERE TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS DURING EXPATRIATION?
Now that you have a nice apartment, you’re starting to want someone to share your adventures!!The problem is, you don’t have the smallest idea where to make new friends!! During your time in high school and college, having a group of friends was relatively easy. You were all the same age, participated in the same activities, and grew up in the same area.
When you are expatriate, this is different.
You’re out in the real world and meeting people in a new city and country means taking on a whole new approach to friend making. If you’re working at a company or school, then your friends will likely be your new coworkers.
If not, then the whole “friend thing” becomes a lot more complicated. You don’t want to live in your Facebook past but you’re unsure of how to continue in your overseas future.
Before you retreat into a cavern of loneliness and despair, give these following tips a try:
Join an expat organization
Give online friends a whirl. Bloggers are great people to know and tend to be in touch with their community. I advice you to join an online expat organization such as Accra expat and Internations organization. Do a quick search for people writing about your area and see if you can arrange to meet for coffee. Check for local meetups, expat get-togethers, or Couchsurfing events. Of course, make sure to meet up in public areas the first couple or times. There is comfort in familiarity and while you’re on a grand overseas adventure, it can be wonderful to talk with a group of people from your home country.
Before I left France, I had already searched on internet some expat and french organisation. I had found “Accra Accueil” which deals with meeting others, doing activities and sharing passions, discovering the city… It was perfect for the beginnings.
Take a class in something you’re passionate about!!
Whether it’s cooking, sewing, dancing, painting, yoga, or language you’re sure to meet people who have similar interests as you.
In accra there are yoga lessons, zumba, pilate, massage….
FINDING MOBILE TELEPHONE AND INTERNET ACCESS AT HOME
You can register like me to Vodafone and get internet in one day. You need your telephone number (of the last owner of your appartment) and your ID.
In February 2016, for 85 GHC (21€) you get 20 GB and for 125 GHC you get 40 GB. I got my new internet box and they came to install it in 10 minutes at home free. It is the first internet access but if for downloader it will be 250 GHC and for an office access 400GHC).
See below the internet penetration and use in Ghana, Africa and in all over the world… interesting, no?
Due to the unreliability of fixed-line infrastructure in Ghana, mobile phones are more widely used. The poor call quality of mobile phones, however, means that more people hold more than one mobile phone, usually with two or more different carriers. The various mobile carriers in Ghana have each been assigned a network code.
I ‘ve chosen Vodafone, I bought a new sim car for 5 cedis (1 €) and get a new samsung phone for 400 cedis (100€). Here are the other operators and emergency tel numbers.
For 10 cedis (2,5€) I can recharge it. Calling France is very cheap : with 10 cedis I can call at least 40 mn!!
#15/17 Otaten-Darkuman Junction, Off the Kaneshie-Odorkor Highway (Near MTN), Accra. P. O. Box MP 4080, Mamprobi-Accra., Accra
KAB-FAM GHANA LIMITED is an Electronics and Home Appliances trading company incorporated in Ghana in May 2013. We are Authorised Partners of quality brands such as Samsung, Midea, and Nasco. We are pr…
At iSHOP Ghana, we’re passionate about Quality. That’s why you’ll find some of world’s most quality products on our page. Since the inception, we’ve built our reputation on devoting our efforts to bri…
Franko Trading Ent, Behind Costa Forex Bureau Adabraka, Accra
FrankoTrading Enterprise is a private company dedicated to providing high quality Mobile phones, Phone accessories, Laptops, Scanners, and Digital Cameras etc. Exceeding customer’s expectation as well…
GIVING A PERFECT SERVICE ANYWHERE IN GHANA. WE HAVE WHAT IT TAKE TO BE A MOBILE PROVIDER, WE PROVIDE YOU WITH ANY KIND OF MOBILE PHONE ANY WHERE IN GHANA. CALL US NOW AND EXPERIENCE OUR ORIGINAL PRODU…
No. 4, Adjumah Crescent, South Industrial Area, Kaneshie, Accra
At Globacom we esteem our vision. It is our vision which keeps us moving forward. Our vision which pushes us to be the best we can. And our vision which propels us into the future, ahead of our compet…
Telefonika is a telecommunications company, trading in mobile phones and accessories, telecommunication equipment, electronic products, gadgets and general goods. We pride ourselves to our attention t…
Freddies Corner. A Local Retail & Wholesaler of Mobile Phones, Computers & Accessories. We also offer Phone Repairs, Decoding, Unlocking & Flashing, Sale of Local CDs & VCDs as well as Laptop Software…
Vodafone Ghana Head Office is located near the Ariport Round-about., Accra
Vodafone in Ghana is one of the latest additions to Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s leading mobile telecommunications company. This follows the successful acquisition of 70% shares in Ghana Telecommun…
As usual in tropical country (we are close to equator), expatriation in Ghana means to kiss the seasons goodbye…….
Accra features a tropical savanna climate that borders on a semiarid climate. You can see the equator is just under Ghana.
The only seasonal change is the switch between dry season with harmattan and the rainy and humid season.
But it will always be more than 24 ° !
As Accra is close to the equator, the daylight hours are practically uniform during the year.
The sunrise is around 6am latest and Sunset around 6pm. There are never clouds and it is always shiny except when the harmattan is coming.
You can see how is the sunrise from Airport area during the harmattan in february 2016 :
AND the nice blue sky during the year : in markets and in the villages …
Tema where it is always sunny even when it is cloudy in the center of Accra city:
The average annual rainfall is about 730 mm, which falls during Ghana’s two rainy seasons ( from April to mid-July and october) and causes local flooding in which drainage channels are obstructed.
Precipitation is most likely around June, occurring in 31% of days. Precipitation is least likely in January , occurring in 4% of days.
On March,1st, 2016, after 3 months without rain… in Accra, we had a “sand storm” coming from Tema.
I was outside in East Legon with a friend eating in a restaurant when the waitress tolds us that this storm was coming… here are the pictures:
We came rapidely inside a room and afterwards wemanage to come into our car to go back home …you can see how was theroad from East Legon to Airport area:
Very little variation in temperature occurs throughout the year. The average monthly temperature is between 24.7 °C to 35 °.
Cooler months are more humid and humidity generally high, varying from 65% in the midafternoon to 95% at night. Strong wind gusts occur with thunderstorms often cause damage to property by removing roofing material.
Warmer months are when there is the windy harmattan season in January. You can see on the right how the sky is.
As to the consequence, Accra feels “dry heat” when this wind comes from Sahara desert: it lowers the humidity, dissipates cloud cover, prevents rainfall formation and sometimes creates big clouds of dust which can result in duststorms or sandstorms.
Humidity drops to as low as 15%, which can result in spontaneous nosebleeds for some people.
Other health effects on humans may include conditions of the skin, eyes, and respiratory system, including aggravation of asthma.
Hope you will enjoy coming here and discover the tropical weather !!
Make sure you and your family have valid passports and get your VISA ( through your Diplomatic government)!
Find out about international driving licenses ( register ont public french service. Most countries will not accept your home country’s license (or for the 3 first months as in Ghana). In ghana, you will have to go to your ambassy (French Ambassy for me) to register and pay about 35 cedis to get a formality paper prooving your frenchdriving license and then you will get it.
Find out if you need vaccinations because you also may need it to enter the country at the airport. Find out in the Pasteur Institute which vaccinations you need. => For Ghana, yellow fever vaccine is required to enter the country, hepatitis A and B, Meningitis with meningococcirabies are recommended too. There is Malaria also but if you stay in Ghana for expatriation, it is useless to take medecines before leaving doctors will told you. You cant’s take it all over the year so you may get Malaria anyway… Fortunately, few expat get it.
CHECKLIST 1,5 MONTH BEFORE
Ask your doctors, vet and dentist for copies of yours, your families and your pets’ medical records. While you are at the surgeries, organise a final check up for you, your family and your pets if your employers do not ask it. Don’t forget the vaccination (for me, yellow fever) . Maybe you need to buy 6 months treatment before leaving because you can’t find it in Africa for exemple. So you have to ask the french social security for agreement to deliver. Of course, you will no more belong to it 6 months after your arrival in your host country.To enter with your 6 months medecine, you may be asked to give proof of your need for the medication for customs
Check all insurance policies and organise your visas if you need to. In my case, my boyfriend’s company did everything for both of us, and now we belong to : an international healthcare insurance card for expatriates called Previnter to have our money back AND “West African Rescue Association” (WARA) which gives 24/7 medical access assistance center. Prices for medical care is very very expensive here.
Prepare a power of attorney (see more on solicitor for french expatriate )Make sure you have certified copies of all important documents ready to hand over to the person you will be leaving in charge of your affairs while you are away. I gave it to my parents for banks and the rent of my apartment.
Organise the cancellation of all magazine/newspaper subscriptions or regular deliveries you receive on the day you will be leaving.
CHECKLIST 1 MONTH BEFORE
Start to pack up the house, leaving the essentials that you need for the next month. For me it was easy since I only needed two luggages for my clothes/ shoes/ipad…And the weather is always very hot there! I have never worn a pull over here for the last two years! Our furniture were already in a container in Marseille (where my boyfriend lived) . You can ask for an estimate moving to CMA CGM request quote for exemple. It is the one which made it for us. It took about a month to get it… and everything was in perfect condition !
Change your address on anything which requires it (bank, tax office, ) if you can’ t have it by email. I gave my parents address for all these papers in order to be sure to receive it quickly.
Identify the French Alliancy, clubs and networks such as Accra Expat, that can potentially assist your transition and can start to put plans in place for meeting people once you arrive. “Accra Accueil” helped me meeting french expatriates and discover the town and activities such as sport.
And of course, be interested by your new country before living there ! Find out a guide as “Lonely Planet“, websites and blogs, read about the population, education… Learn and try to appreciate their culture… Start to know how to adapt yourself and come with an open mind !
I also checked about the prices of foods (check on cost of living website) and what we don’t find there. So I took some chocolates and french cheese in my suitcase since it is expensive there!you can see below some prices in GH₵ (1 € is 4,45GH₵ on Feb, 7th 2016).