Traveling again

Photo: DepositPhoto

It’s 4:41 a.m. and I’m back in Accra, Ghana, lying in bed beneath a twirling ceiling fan that’s providing just the right amount of coolness to the air. I am pleasantly lethargic after a good night’s sleep.

I’m easing into the new day, listening to the chickens in the neighborhood greeting the day and each other in their characteristic noisy call and response way. An occasional barking dog adds to the mix. It can sometimes be an annoying cacophony so early in the morning, but today it is a nice welcome back to Africa serenade!

There’s no place quite like Africa. When you travel to Africa, you too will come to understand why some people say that you can leave Africa, but Africa will never leave you.

Here is what I want to share with you today.

Ghana is open for business! Leisure travel and business too.

Yes, we are still living in the times of Covid-19 and safety protocols are still firmly in place. It looks like the virus is going to be around for awhile, and we’ll all just have to find a way to live around it.

For people itching to travel, you can! Just be sure to follow ALL (not some) safety measures. Remember that the number 1 priority of the country you visit is to keep everyone safe, especially their citizens. You are a guest. 

In Ghana you will always be welcome. For it is a fact that Ghanaians are exceptionally welcoming and friendly! Coronavirus or no Coronavirus, you will still have great travel experiences in Ghana and in many other countries of the world, just so long as you follow the rules!

To travel to Ghana, here’s what you will need (as of May, 2021):

  • Tourist/Travel Visa
  • Proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination (sometimes they ask to see it, others times, not)
  • Proof that you have taken the Covid-19 PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure, and that your test result was negative. Without this, you will not be allowed to board the aircraft, at least this is the case with Delta Airlines — my preferred airline for travel to Ghana because of its direct service from New York’s JFK Airport to Accra’s Kotoka International Airport.
  • Proof that you have paid the $150 for the Covid test which will be administered to you upon arrival at the airport in Ghana. This payment has to be paid online and you will receive a confirmation notification and receipt which you will be asked for at the airline ticket counter as well.
  • Ideally, you should also fill out the Ghana Health Declaration Form online and submit. This did not seem as critical as the first two documents, since on arrival, we were given a choice; those who filled out the form online would join one queue while others who did not fill out the form, joined another queue. It did not seem to be a big deal. One thing to note about filling out the Health Declaration Form online is that many of us did not receive any confirmation message that could be printed out as proof. The message I receives when I submitted the form send something like this: Data successfully saved. Apparently the information was entered in into the system on the Ghana. All online processes went smoothly.

On Arrival: Expect everything to be very well organized and well demarcated. Safety measures are very much evident, from the plexiglass barriers between lines of passengers, and between passengers and the desk attendants, to wearing of masks by all airport personnel, to complete protective gear worn by the staff administering the Covid tests, temperature checks and clearly indicated places to stand.

Everything was more thorough than I am used to seeing in the United States, for that matter. So after going through all the health check points, which, in my case, went remarkably efficiently, you move on to immigration and then on the baggage retrieval, and then the last step is to obtain the results of your Covid test.

It took about 15 minutes to get my results. My test was negative, so I was free to leave the airport. For those with a positive result, they would have to quarantine.

Once you emerge from the airport you walk into an outdoor lobby of sorts and here is where you will meet the friends, family, your tour guide, or hotel shuttle personnel, or taxi drivers there to assist and welcome you!

So there you have it. A step-by-step description of the requirements and what to expect when traveling to Ghana during this time.

Hope you will visit Ghana soon. Happy Travels!