Land & People


Ghana is low - lying and mostly flat. It covers an area of 238 537 sq. km and is flanked by Cote d'Ivoire in the West, Togo in the East and Burkina Faso in the North. The coast line is approximately 536 km long along the Gulf of Guinea and has no natural harbours due to the numerous Lagoons and the strong surf. About 60km inland the land rises slowly to the Akwapim Mountains around Aburi near Accra. This Mountain Range merges over into the rainforest belt in the south western part of the country. Further north the land falls again where it meets the Volta Basin which is about 150 - 300 meters high. The northern Savannah makes up two thirds of the country.

The coast along the capital Accra is marked by striking contrasts. To the west you find sandy expanses surrounded by dunes but two or three km further up the coast the shore line changes dramatically into a rocky ruggedness. Along the route to the Ivory Coast stone and sand alternate. On the east the land seems to burst under the pressures of fresh and salt water which subsides into numerous lagoons which are infiltrated by the arms of the Volta as well. The shoreline here is much lower than the sea level and is protected only by sand banks. This has as result that Keta for instance is a city martyrized by the sea whose waves have destroyed crops and houses. On the west the coast is steeper and it is indented with bays protected by a shield of rocks upon which the sea crashes harmlessly.

The Black Volta is a natural border between Ghana and Burkina Faso. Before the construction of the Akosombo Dam which diverted the rivers the Black Volta emptied into the sea near the Tano River. The White Volta has always flowed obliquely into Ghana joining forces with the Red River and ending up at Ada. One of its tributaries captured the Black Volta along the way. This resulted in combining the three into one - The Volta. The Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam has spawned a huge lake made up of the waters from the three Volta's - the Volta Lake. It is the largest man made lake in the world and feeds the Akosombo Dam which produces electricity for Ghana and it's neighbours Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire and Togo. This fast expanse of water forms two thirds of the country with a size of 8600 sq. km.

The Tano forms a border between Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire where it flows into the sea. The Ankobra River divides into two arms before ending in the sea west of Axim. The River Pra winds down from the Kwahu Plateau and empties into the sea by Sekondi. Further east there are two rivers - the Ayensu and the Densu - the later providing Accra with drinking water.

The forest coinciding with the pre-Cambrian Plateau is divided into two parts. On the southwest stands the tropical rainforest with its gigantic trees bound with lianas and millions of parasitical plants. Farther east towards the plains and the Volta Lake the forest is less densely packed with trees some deciduous during the dry season. Tree felling and Cocoa cultivation have left their trace on the forest. What is spared by the Cocoa Plantations is being felled down by the Timber Industry. Near the towns and Villages though the forest has to give way to clearings devoted to crops of all kinds. The wooded Savannah makes up the rest of the country with the exception of the coastal plains, the Volta Delta and the area between Lake Volta and the border from Ho and the hills of Togo.
The forest is very dense despite the continuous logging activities. It is an amazing place filled with flora and fauna so different that one could visit the same place twenty times and still find new and exiting species of grass, ferns, lianas and parasitic flowers growing all around. It is also home to millions of insects some still unknown to man and other animal species which are threatened by extinction in other parts of the world.

The savannah is a vast expanse of land giving an impression of amazing diversity. Forever uncluttered it enhances each tree, rock and dwellings with shapes and colours in propounding correspondence. During the raining season, the next six months following each year, the savannah is a fairyland. The trees have regained their foliage and bloom with the air filled with fragrances from all the different species. Even though trees of similar species grow in clusters they seldom mingle with others. The sun penetrates every nook and cranny and as such the savannah is a kaleidoscope light. The rest of the year, when the season is dry and not so favourable when the leaves have dried and fallen, the savannah has a different kind of beauty to offer. A beauty which shows individual shapes of baobab trees and lines of dry branches against blue sky.

Vital Statistics
Country Location Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo
Geographic coordinates 8 00 N, 2 00 W
Area land- 230 020 sq km , water- 8,520 sq km
Land boundaries total 2,093 km - Burkina Faso - 548 km, Cote d'Ivoire - 668 km, Togo 877 km, Coastline -539 km
Country Size 239,460 sq. km
Population app. 19 million
Capital Accra
Airport Kotoka International Airport
Language English as official language. Major local languages are  Akan, Ewe, Ga and Hausa
Religion Christian denominations- 24%. Islam- 30% and other African traditional religions - 38%. 
Currency 1 Cedi = 100 Pesewa
coins - 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 Pesewas   notes - 5, 10, 20, 50 Cedi
Electricity 220 Volts. Three pin and flat pin plugs
Foreign Currency Foreign Currencies are exchanged in Forex Bureaus or banks. Credit Cards are widely accepted at major hotel, airlines and selected shops
National Holidays January 1st (New Years Day) 6th March ( Independence Day), May 1st (May Day ), Easter,  July 1st (Republic Day ), December 25th (Christmas Day ), December 26th ( Boxing Day )
Internet Country Code gh
Country Code 00 233
Area Codes
Ashanti 032 20 X X X X X
. . .
032 25 X X X X X
Brong Ahafo 035 20 X X X X X
. . .
035 27 X X X X X
Central 033 20 X X X X X

033 23 X X X X X
Eastern 034 20 X X X X X
. . .
034 30 X X X X X
Greater Accra 030 2 X X X X X X
030 3 X X X X X X
030 35 X X X X X
Northern 037 20 X X X X X
. . .
037 26 X X X X X
Upper East 038 20 X X X X X
038 21 X X X X X
038 22 X X X X X
Upper West 039 20 X X X X X
Volta 036 20 X X X X X
. . .
036 26 X X X X X
Western 031 20 X X X X X
. . .
031 26 X X X X X
Climate tropical - warm & dry along the southeast coast, hot & humid in the southwest, hot & dry in the north
Seasons two main seasons - Raining Season - April to October & Dry Season - November to March
Temperatures between 21 - 38 degrees centigrade all year round
Elevation extremes lowest point - Atlantic Ocean 0 m, highest point - Mount Afadjato 880 m
Natural Resources Oil, Gold, timber, industrial diamonds, bauxite, manganese, fish, rubber, hydropower
Agricultural Products  Cocoa, rice, coffee, cassava (tapioca), peanuts, corn, shea nuts, bananas, pineapple, kola nuts, yam, plantain
Export partners China, Japan, Togo, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, US, France, Indonesia
Export Commodities Gold, timber, cocoa, tuna, bauxite, aluminium, manganese ore, diamonds
Import Partners China, japan, UK, Nigeria, US, Germany, Italy, Spain, Indonesia
Import Commodities Capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs


Ghana's Flag

The flag of Ghana was designed by Mrs. Theodosia Okoh to replace the flag of the United Kingdom upon attainment of independence in 1957. It was flown until 1959, and then reinstated in 1966. It consists of the Pan-African colours of red, yellow, and green, in horizontal stripes, with a black five-pointed star in the centre of the gold stripe. The Ghanaian flag was the first African flag after the flag of Ethiopia to feature these colours.

The red represents the blood of those who died in the country's struggle for independence, the gold represents the mineral wealth of the country, the green symbolises the country's rich forests and natural wealth, and the black star stands for the lodestar of African freedom. The black star was adopted from the flag of the Black Star Line, a shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey that operated from 1919 to 1922., and gives the Ghana national football team their nickname, the Black Stars.

distance in kilometre

Accra 0 810 144 165 478 85 270 218 400 658 29 740 754
Bolgatanga 810 0 779 914 350 752 558 853 470 170 839 368 266
Cape Coast 144 779 0 309 429 229 221 74 351 609 173 691 705
Ho 165 914 309 0 564 162 356 362 486 476 135 790 380
Kintampo 478 350 429 564 0 402 208 503 120 180 507 280 276
Koforidua 85 752 229 162 402 0 194 303 324 582 114 664 678
Kumasi 270 558 221 356 208 194 0 242 130 388 299 470 484
Sekondi 218 853 74 362 503 303 242 0 372 683 247 765 779
Sunyani 400 470 351 486 120 324 130 372 0 300 429 378 396
Tamale 658 170 609 476 180 582 388 683 300 0 687 314 96
Tema 29 839 173 135 507 114 299 247 429 687 0 769 515
Wa 740 368 691 790 280 664 470 765 378 314 769 0 410
Yendi 754 266 705 380 276 678 484 779 396 96 515 410 0
  Accra Bolga
Ho Kinta
Kumasi Sek
Tamale Tema Wa Yendi



After the end of Dr. Nkrumah's Regime at the end of February 1966, Ghana begun it's Economical down slide and by the end of the 70's Ghana had reached it's lowest point. At that time even the best Government would not have been able to make a difference. Flt. J. J. Rawlings and the PNDC went down a long and winding road to stabilize the Economy. With the help of the World Bank, the IWF, the United Nations and many Western Countries lending a helping hand, Ghana was able to get up again and with the Economy Recovery Program designed by the Government it recovered.

The main Foreign Exchange earner is Cocoa - Ghana is responsible for 30 - 40% of the world's cocoa. Timber used to be a great source of income for the country, but poor reforestation has diminished the size of the forest reserves drastically and this has resulted in strict measures when it comes to export of Timber. Ghana is rich in Gold and next to the South African Mines the Ashanti Gold Mines among the 10 largest in the World. In the Agric Sector another export item is the Pineapple which has become very popular in the last few years. Other food crops like Yam, Cassava, Maize, Rice, Palm Nuts, Sugar Cane, Fruits and Vegetables are grown for the local markets. Along the coast the majority is into fishing and cattle is found in the north of Ghana. With the new Government , the NPP ,Ghana is trying to promote made in Ghana goods.

One upcoming Foreign Exchange earner is everything connected to Tourism and many hotels are springing up all through the country. Ghana has a lot to offer in tourism with it's rich history, culture, beaches and nature parks.


The first schools were opened in the 19th century by Missionaries. Today, even though schools are many and the Government is trying to promote education in many ways, Ghana still has a large number of uneducated, especially among the fishing community and mostly girls. The present school system was adopted from the British. Ghana has 4 Universities, numerous Polytechnics and Vocational Training Institutes, an Institute of Languages, School of Journalism, School for the Blind, School for the Deaf and on the whole the school system is one of the best in West Africa. Many Ghanaians living abroad send their children to school in Ghana till they have sat the Advanced Level Exam after which some choose to further their education abroad.


The population of Ghana was approximately 19 million in 1990 and is made up of about 100 different tribes. The largest ethnic groups among these are the Akan ( the Fanti along the west coast & the Ashanti in the center )with 50%, the Dagomba & Gondja ( in the north ) with 18%, the Ewe with 15% and the Ga - Adangme ( in the area of the south eastern coast line) with 9%. In the north you have smaller groups the Mosi, Haussa and Fulbe.

The population grows about 3% yearly. In addition many migrate over from the neighboring countries Burkina Faso and Nigeria. During the Liberian War many refugees settled in Ghana and never left. Many Ghanaians left to work in Nigeria during the Economic Crisis in the 70's but came back during the collapse of the Oil Prices beginning of 1983. A large number of those that returned from Nigeria went to Britain and Germany to work.

Age structure is about 41.8% between the ages of 0-14, 55.35% ages 15-64 and 3.47% for 65 years and over. Life expectancy is between 55 - 86 years for men and 58 - 66 years for women.

Euro African Synthesis

The meeting of the two great continents - Europe and Africa has left it's marks on the land and people. Some of these are the architecture, way of life, and character traces in some tribes especially along the coast. It is not unusual to find names like Hayford, Quist, da Costa, Vroom, Vanderpuije.



Ghana's Government is a Constitutional Democracy. On December 7th 2009 a new President was voted into power.- Mr. John Atta-Mills and his vice President being John Dramani Mahama. The President is both the Chief of State and Head of Government. Voted also are the 200 Members of Parliament. The Judicial system in Ghana is ruled by the Supreme Court.



The first impression one gets from the Ghanaian is one of happiness. The Ghanaian has the ability to laugh about almost everything and turn sadness into joy. In addition you will notice that music and dance are very important in this country's culture. One of the most important things in the Ghanaian culture is hospitality. Everybody is made welcome with a hearty "Akwaaba" - Welcome - that still has meaning and is not only a polite saying. Ghanaians are proud of their culture, their language and their traditions. The Ghanaian is very superstitious and believes in myths and legends which play a big part in their everyday life. Ghana is a country free of racism and any other form of discriminating against one person or another for whatever reason.

The most important occasions in the Ghanaian Culture is a Funeral. Funerals are colorful social events where one meets old friends, makes new friends, gets business contacts, finds a wife or a husband and informs oneself about the latest gossip. Next to Funerals are Weddings which are celebrated in grand style. Mostly the couple is first married in the traditional way where the man to be asks for the woman's hand in marriage from her family. If the family agrees the union is sealed with a bottle of Schnapps and a Bible which the husband to be gives the ladies family. In modern times the Schnapps and Bible still exist but have been added on and depending on wealth one has to buy a number of items ranging from bales of material to cooking pots and sewing machines in addition an amount of money. After the traditional marriage some partners later marry in Church or Court. Most couples in rural areas marry in Church in a grand fashion after they have been married for many years and have had all their children already. In the urban areas more and more couples marry in Church or Court straight away.


Every Ghanaian has a traditional name first before he or she is given a Christian name. This is given according to the day of the week when the child was born.

Wochentag Male Female
Monday Kwadwo / Kojo / Jojo Adjoa / Adzo / Ejo
Tuesday Kwabena / Kobina / Ebo Abeena / Abla
Wednesday Kwaku / Kewku / Kuuku Akua / Ekua / Aku
Thursday Yaw / Ekow Yaa / Yaaba
Friday Kofi / Fiifi / Yoofi Efua / Afua / Afi
Saturday Kwame / Kwamena / Ato Ama / Aba / Awo
Sunnday Kwesi / Akwasi / Siisi Esi / Akosua / Kisi

Ghanaians do not automatically give the child the name of the parents but often give a name of an ancestor. The naming ceremony is mostly performed eight days after birth early in the morning. The child is taken out of the house to be presented to the wind, the sun and the earth after which a drop of water is placed on the child's tongue followed by a drop of schnapps. The child's name is mentioned for the first time and he or she is told that "When it is water it must be water" meaning that the child should always be truthful. After this the father welcomes the child into the world and presents gifts and good wishes. This is an important event which calls for a celebration.

Initiation or Rights of Passage

Ghana has a matriarchy Family structure and as such only girls undergo rights of passage to initiate adulthood. This ceremony is held in conjunction with a girls first menstruation.

By word of mouth

There is little written history in Ghanaian Tradition it is mostly handed down by word of mouth. The Ghanaian loves a good story and it is through legends and myths that children learn not only about their history but also what is right and wrong. One favourite character to do this is " Ananse the Spider ". Still today you often find children gathered round an elderly person in the evenings listening to the stories of " Kwaku Ananse ". Ghanaians also love a good proverb or parable and use them frequently.

The hen knows day has broken but lets the cock crow anyway.

A child whose hands are washed may eat with the grownups.

The one that looks into the eyes of the dead will see their ghost.

The one that wants to catch crabs has to stick his bottom in the air.

Antelopes always walk in twos so they can blow out dust of each others eyes.

The Chiefs Palace is another source for beautiful stories, poetry and songs being used during their prayers to the Gods and the speeches they give to their people have been handed down over the centuries.


Festivals play a major role in Ghanaian culture. The whole year round a festival of some kind is celebrated in every town and village. Here is a list of the major ones during the year.

January: Edina Buronia ( Elmina Christmans ) The first Thursday of the new year is celebrated by the people of Elmina in the Central Region.
March: Dipo  in the Yilo - Krobo Region in East Ghana - an initiating rite festival for young girls.
May: Aboakyer in Winneba is a Deer hunting festival.
July: Bakatue is celebrated in Elmina to usher in the new fishing season.
August: Damba is an Islamic Festival celebrated in the Upper and Northern Regions.
September: Homowo is celebrated in the Ga Traditional Area of Accra to commemorate the hardships endured during the fourteenth century migrations to their present day territory.
September: Fetu Afahya is the biggest and best known festival in Ghana and is celebrated by the Fanti's in Cape Coast.
October: Odwira is a festival celebrated by the Akuapem people in the Eastern Region.
November: Agamatsu is celebrated in the Wli Traditional Area to thank the Gods for the waterfall.
November: The Anlo Tribe in the Volta Region celebrates Hogbetsotso as reminder of their release from the tyrant Chief Ago Koli from Nigeria.

Aside of the above mentioned festivals there are many many more all around the country. Even if there is no festival scheduled the Ghanaians always find a reason to celebrate.


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