20 Things not to do in Ghana

1. Avoid engage in sexual act
This may come as an extreme as it happens barely in other parts of the world but it is highly forbidden in Ghana. None is permitted or allowed to engage in any form of sexual activity in public by law or by tradition in public. Do not engage in any sexual activity or you might get reported to the security service for action to be taken against you.

2. Don’t do fishing on Tuesdays
Due to ancestral beliefs and taboos, fishing is prohibited on Tuesdays in most of the coastal areas of Ghana. As consequence of this, development of the place is at its lowest since potential investors won’t take the risk of doing business in an area where it is not allowed to work on specific days due to old beliefs.

3. Don’t do swimming in the beach on Tuesdays
This is another instance of blind belief in myths. Swimming on Tuesdays is highly forbidden and is considered by the people of Ghana as a taboo. So pick any day for swimming other than Tuesday.

4. Do not press your thumb in someone’s direction
This is actually a very peculiar thing and shows the contradiction between different culture codes. . Usually in Europe, Asia and other parts of Africa, pressing your thumb against other fingers in the direction of someone simply means approval or acceptance. In general sense it means “YES”. But in Ghana, it signifies an abusive gesture and also an insult to one’s parents specifically the mother. Never ever do this in any part of the country when you are there.

5. Don’t have any kind of fighting
Fighting can be considered as a personal thing caused as a consequence of uncontrollable anger. However in Ghana, fighting in public is not acceptable and in cases of extreme intensity you can get arrested by the police. If there is any instance of you having any issue with someone then hand it over to the police to deal with it.

6. Don’t use left hand to give or receive something
Most Ghanaians struggle to come to terms with the use of the left hand for giving or receiving something although it is very normal in several other parts of the world. Ghanaians perceive the use of the left hand for giving or receiving items or showing directions as a very insulting gesture. Remember to use the right hand in Ghana to avoid displeasure or anger of anyone.

7. Never make any derogatory gesture about any religious, political or ethnic group or behavior

Don’t indulge in any act that might be derogatory towards any religious, political or ethnic group. Ghana is secular or tolerant and respectful towards all its diverse tribes, religions and customs.

8. Don’t forget to respect the people, especially the elderly ones
Remember to greet in the correct order, right to left, regardless of age or gender and don’t forget respect Ghanaian older people.

9. Don’t forget to share
People in Africa do not live the “independent” lives of Western Culture. The best way to join and show your appreciation to this culture of interdependence is by sharing food and stories. And also it is acceptable to give small amounts of money ($2 maximum) to children or the disabled, but generally not to beggars.

10. Do not be a show-off
Remember not to flaunt your wealth or be loud, insulting or disrespectful in any possible way, which includes flashing lots of cash, jewels or electronic gadgets. The reason being is that this might hurt their sentiments or maybe taken as a gesture of insult to their social and financial status.

11. Avoid public smoking
Although smoking at some drinking establishments and restaurants, and foreigners are mostly forgiven, but Ghana is mostly a smoke-free country.

12. Do not litter
Do not spit or throw trash on the streets. Although you will see trash everywhere, but of course the people there will not appreciate a foreigner littering their country.

13. Don’t photograph anyone without their consent

Do not click picture of anyone without their permission. And also do not photograph any government buildings or military installations.

14. Don’t waste yourself

Excessive alcohol consumption is considered shameful in Ghana. Remember to keep it light and not binge drink.

15. Don’t sniff food

In many cultures sniffing the food before eating is taken as an act of smelling the aroma of the food. But in Ghana it is appropriate to sniff offered food or beverage.

16. Avoid taxis at Kotoka Int’l Airport
Upon arrival at the airport avoid the taxis at the airport. They will charge you a lot more than the on-going rate. Try to arrange pick up service before you reach to Accra, make sure to arrange for your host or a trusted local to pick you up from the airport. That will also make things a lot more hassle free.

17. Avoid walking on the streets of Accra after 7pm
It is not safe to walk on the streets of Accra alone after 7pm. make sure you are with the company of 3 to 4 other people.

18. Traffic in Accra is like a snail with a limp

To reach a place in Accra on time, leave at least two hours prior to the arrival time or you’ll curse yourself. Traffic in Accra is so bad that it is actually a “part-time” job for most commuters.

19. Don’t argue with Ghana Police
If you ever happen to be in a traffic/ road issue, then never argue with the traffic cops. Just oblige and “tip” him/her GHc1.00; sorry it’s been increased to GHc2.00.

20. Avoid wearing revealing clothes in Ghana
The Ghanaian culture on dressing does not accept such type of clothing. Make sure to wear something that amply covers your private parts. And most importantly, the thing to remember is to dress decently In Ghana.



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