Among some of the major airlines that service Kotoka International Airport in Accra are United Airlines (non-stop from Washington DC), Delta Airlines (non-stop from New York’s JFK), Brussels Airlines, Iberia Airlines, British Airways/American Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Emirates, Alitalia, and TAP Portugal. Because airfares to Africa in the summer can be very expensive, it is important that you purchase your air ticket early.
For visa application guidelines, please visit www.ghanaembassy.org. Official letters of support will be sent in advance to all those who need to apply for a visa.
What to Take with You
Malaria prevention medication and mosquito repellent. At sundown everyday (about 5pm), apply your mosquito repellent if you plan to be outdoors or in hallways. Always keep your door closed to avoid mosquitoes entering your room. Keep well hydrated, especially when in the sun. It is recommended that you drink bottled water only (not from tap or plastic sachets).
You will not be able to cash any personal checks drawn on any bank while in Ghana. Travelers’ checks can also be a problem. ATM’s are common for cash withdrawals. You may also exchange foreign currency easily at one of the many Forex Bureaus in the city (consider exchanging cash at the Forex Bureau located next to the baggage area of the airport). Credit cards are not accepted by most vendors.
To get into the city of Accra from the University of Ghana campus, intra-city buses and local mini-buses called “tro-tro” as well as taxis are widely available both within the campus and at the gates of the university. A taxi from campus to downtown Accra may cost about US$10.00. Please note that the district within which the university is located is called Legon, but the university is also often referred to as Legon; in this sense, school and area are synonymous in name. As such, whenever you want to head back to the campus, make sure that your intentions are clear to the driver, otherwise you may be dropped off on the roadside rather than on the campus proper.
The newly built University Medical Centre is located near Yiri Lodge on the university campus.
Convenience Shops and Pharmacies
Several convenience shops are located on the Legon campus and surrounding areas. These include general grocery stores, bookshops, pharmacies and hair salons / barber shops. The closest to the Guest Centre is an All Needs Store. Others are the Central Cafeteria, The Night Market next to the All Needs Store (fruits, vegetables, etc. are sold here), Legon Mobil Mart (near the main gate), Legon Shell Shop (South Legon), Total shop (near the main gate), the Legon Bookshop (by the library), The Legon Bookshop (at the Jones-Quartey Building near the main gate). A pharmacy is located on the university campus: Pfago Pharmacy (Legon Hall Annex B, near the Guest Centre), Pills & Tabs (next to the Mobil Station near the campus main gate).
Located some 15 minutes from the campus is Tetteh Quarshie Circle, an extensive round-about where you will find a number of local Ghanaian-made gift shops (clothing, jewelry, artifacts, musical instruments, etc.). The shops are located at the intersection of George Bush highway (toward Cape Coast) and the circle outlet off the road from Legon. It is highly recommended that you bargain prices down for any relatively high-priced item you intend to purchase, of course, unless the price is reasonable in your judgement.
Security and Health Precautions
- If possible, always lock your handbags/baggage. If the item has a shoulder strap, wear the strap across your body.
- Do not wear or carry expensive items, including expensive luggage. Do not wear attractive jewelry.
- Be aware of pickpockets, as they tend to prey on people who look lost or unfamiliar with their surroundings. Do not put valuables in the exterior pockets of your pants, your backpacks, or in bags that are open at the top. You may keep your wallet in your exterior pocket only if the pocket is buttoned. Hold on tightly, especially to your camera and cell phone. On the bus, in taxis, or in crowds, hold your handbag or wallet tightly to your body (do not hang them loose).
- Beware of traffic; drivers in Ghana sometimes do not wait for pedestrians; they expect pedestrians to give way all the time. Walk against the flow of traffic so oncoming vehicles can be observed.