Ghana Travel Guide: Tips For First-Time Travelers with Tiffany Heard – Episode 163

Ghana Travel Guide with Tiffany Heard from Hues of Africa.
Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

Tips for planning a memorable vacation to Ghana and things first-timers should know to make the most of their trip! Have you ever dreamed of visiting the vibrant West African country of Ghana? Tiffany Heard guides curious travelers back to Africa by organizing small group trips to Ghana. She also inspires others to take a trip to the Motherland through her immersive adult coloring series. If you’re interested in planning your first trip to Ghana, Tiffany Heard, a seasoned traveler and travel creator who has visited Ghana nearly a dozen times, covers the best times to go to Ghana, places to visit for first-timers, affordability, safety tips, and more. Continue reading or listen to the podcast episode below for the ultimate first-time Ghana travel guide!

Tiffany Heard shares her extensive experience visiting Ghana and offers valuable insights for first-timers interested in exploring the West African country.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Pandora | YouTube | Any player

In this episode, we cover:

  • [3:08] The appeal of group trips to Ghana
  • [5:23] Potential downsides of group travel
  • [8:01] First impressions and surprises in Ghana
  • [12:06] Recommended places to visit in Ghana
  • [15:08] Immersive experiences in Ghana
  • [20:00] Solo Ghana travel tips
  • [22:29] Affordability and costs in Ghana
  • [27:25] Best time to visit Ghana
  • [31:58] Tiffany’s “Hues of Africa” coloring book inspiration
  • [35:07] Self-care and therapeutic aspects of coloring

Ghana Travel Guide: How To Plan a Trip To Ghana For First-Time Travelers

Why visit Ghana?

Is Ghana worth visiting? Yes, Ghana is worth visiting!

Ghana is known for its welcoming people, beautiful landscapes, and rich history.

Overall, if you are looking for a destination that offers a blend of culture, history, and natural beauty, Ghana is worth considering for your next travel adventure.

Visiting Ghana offers a unique blend of culture, history, nature, and relaxation, making it a compelling destination for travelers seeking an immersive and enriching experience.

Formerly known as “The Gold Coast” of Africa, Ghana offers a rich cultural experience with beautiful landscapes, historical sites, and unique experiences.

The country is known for its vibrant cities like Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast, offering different attractions and activities.

Ghana is also a safe destination for travelers, making it ideal for solo or group trips.

Another reason to visit Ghana is that the country is affordable. There are plenty of options, from luxury accommodations and all-inclusive vacations to budget-friendly stays, making it accessible for various types of travelers.

As for things to do in Ghana, enjoy museums, city tours, cooking classes, beaches, waterfalls, shopping, massages, safaris, and more.

The Appeal of Group Trips to Ghana

If you are interested in meeting new people, making connections, and creating lasting memories with others, the group trip route may be a better option.

Group trips to Ghana often offer a sense of community and camaraderie that may be lacking in solo travel experiences. Traveling with a group allows for bonding, laughter, and support from fellow travelers, creating a sense of belonging and connection that can enrich the travel experience.

Going on a group trip to Ghana gives you an immersive cultural experience guided by a knowledgeable tour leader who will lead the way and provide insights into the local customs and traditions. This can enhance the overall travel experience and provide a deeper understanding of the destination and its people.

Group trips also offer convenience and ease of travel as everything is planned for you, including accommodations, excursions, and transportation.

While group trips to Ghana are an option, there are obvious downsides worth mentioning, too.

Potential Downsides of Group Travel

To maintain a sense of community and ensure meaningful interactions, Tiffany’s group trips are intentionally kept small, with 20 to 25 people. However, other tour operators can host larger groups of 50-100+ people.

One potential downside of a group trip to Ghana is the challenge of balancing individual preferences with group activities.

While most group trips try accommodating different preferences and personalities, you may have different interests or expectations.

Another downside could be the lack of flexibility in the itinerary.

Group trips often have a set schedule and planned activities with little downtime, which may not allow for spontaneous exploration or personal time.

Also, not everyone will get along with all group members, leading to potential tension or discomfort with a roommate or another traveler in the group.

Solo travelers who are used to their independence may also find it challenging to adjust to the dynamics of a group trip. Decisions are often made collectively, which may not always align with individual preferences. The lack of flexibility can be frustrating for solo travelers who are used to making decisions and going at their own pace.

Group trips can also be more expensive than solo travel, as costs are shared among the group.

While group travel to Ghana may present challenges, such as limited flexibility and potential conflicts with other group members, the benefits may outweigh the drawbacks. So, if you are considering a trip to Ghana, don’t hesitate to join a group trip for a truly unforgettable and enriching experience.

Tiffany Heard offers annual trips to Ghana; click here to learn more.

Solo Travel Tips for Ghana

Considering traveling to Ghana alone? Is Ghana a safe country?

Ghana is generally considered safe for solo travelers. However, remain cautious and be aware of your surroundings, especially with personal belongings like phones and valuables.

When visiting some regions, be mindful of local customs and transitions. You may need to dress more modestly in Muslim-majority areas. Clothing should cover shoulders and knees. Women may also choose to cover their hair, especially when entering a mosque.

While modesty is important, it gets extremely hot in Ghana, so wear lightweight, breathable fabrics.

Since major cities and tourist attractions are far apart, consider hiring a driver and guide to navigate the country, ensuring a smoother and more informative travel experience.

Before you visit Ghana, learn some basic phrases in the local language, Twi, to facilitate communication and connect with locals.

Here are some useful Twi phrases, one of the many languages spoken in Ghana:

  • Me ma wo akye – Good morning
  • Akwaaba – Welcome
  • Me ma wo nsa – Goodbye
  • Medaase – Thank you
  • Ɛte sɛn? – How much is this?
  • Wo twɛnim na ɛyɛ? – Where is the restroom?

When to Visit Ghana

Ghana is a year-round destination, but it’s essential to consider the weather and events happening when you want to visit.

The best time to visit Ghana is typically during the dry season, which runs from November to March.

However, due to various festivals and events, December is a popular time, making it a bit more expensive. Ghana is a popular destination during the holiday season, especially around New Year’s, with various events, parties, and festivals.

Tiffany Heard: “Talk about great marketing. Ghana did great marketing tourism a couple of years ago. It was called “The Year of the Return,” pleading with people in the diaspora to return home. Because of that, tourism has grown yearly, with people returning specifically in December.

There are parties, concerts, fashion shows, galas, and conferences in December. Whatever is going on, you name it, they have it during that time. 

As a result, December is also the most expensive time to visit Ghana because it’s also Christmas. People from all over the world are coming back home for the holidays.”

If you prefer to avoid crowds and save money, consider visiting in August when the weather is pleasant.

Length of Trip

Tiffany Heard recommends that a first-time visitor to Ghana spend at least ten days for a well-rounded experience. This allows for visiting multiple cities, experiencing various cultural treasures, and exploring must-see destinations like Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast.

Accommodation & Getting Around

Where to stay in Ghana?

Ghana has various luxury and budget accommodation options, including hostels, budget hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnb.

Read Next: How To Be a Great Airbnb Guest: Airbnb Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts

Tiffany recommends hiring a driver for convenient and safe travel within the country, as well as taking taxis (negotiate the price) or Uber.

Plan your itinerary to maximize your time and ensure efficient transportation between cities and attractions.

Health & Wellness

Prioritize your health by getting necessary vaccinations, such as yellow fever, before your trip.

Pack essential medications and a first aid kit to address minor health concerns during your stay.

Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun’s intense heat by wearing sunscreen, hats, and appropriate clothing.

Places to Visit in Ghana

When planning your trip, consider visiting multiple cities to experience Ghana’s diverse culture and attractions.

In this first-timer Ghana travel guide, Tiffany recommends:

  • Accra (Arrive at Kotoka International Airport)
  • Kumasi (5 hours 30 minutes drive)
  • Cape Coast (4 hours travel time)
  • Return to Accra 
Black Star Square in Accra, Ghana

Start your journey in Accra, the bustling capital city known for its nightlife and cultural sites. Then, head to Kumasi to explore the Ashanti region and visit historical sites like the Last Slave Bath. Finally, don’t miss Cape Coast, where you can learn about Ghana’s history at the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, which played a significant role in the transatlantic slave trade. These sites offer a sobering yet important look into Ghana’s history and the impact of colonialism on the country.

Listen to this episode on Spotify!

Budget-Friendly Tips

While airfare to Ghana can be pricey, there are plenty of affordable options once you’re on the ground. Consider staying in budget-friendly accommodations like hostels, guest houses, or Airbnb rentals.

Food in Ghana is relatively cheap, especially at local chop shops, where you can enjoy authentic Ghanaian cuisine at a low cost.

Consider traveling during the off-peak season to save money on accommodations and activities. Whenever possible, book early to lock in the best rates.

Regarding affordability, Ghana offers opportunities for travelers to engage in various activities without breaking the bank, such as visiting the parks and bustling markets, admiring artwork, enjoying the beaches and waterfalls, surfing, and enjoying the nightlife.

Immersive Cultural Experiences

To immerse yourself in Ghanaian culture, consider participating in cooking classes or a batik-making workshop.

Food plays a significant role in Ghanaian culture, and learning how to prepare traditional dishes such as jollof rice and fufu can give you insight into the local culinary traditions and flavors.

Funny enough, my cousin sent me a picture. She was like, look, I made Red Red today. So it’s cool to be able to take what you’ve learned, bring it back home and replicate some of the items.

Tiffany Heard

Cooking and sharing a meal can also create a sense of community and connection, bridging cultural differences through a shared love of food.

Don’t forget about self-care, such as indulging in a massage by a waterfall. This experience offers relaxation and rejuvenation and allows travelers to connect with Ghana’s natural beauty and soothing sounds of nature.

Additionally, activities such as ATV riding and visiting waterfalls provide opportunities for adventure and exploration, allowing you to step out of your comfort zone and experience Ghana more actively and engagingly.

Travelers can broaden their perspectives and create lasting memories by engaging in Ghana’s culture, cuisine, and history and meeting people. Immersive experiences, such as cooking classes, city tours, or cultural exchanges, offer a unique opportunity to connect with Ghana on a deeper level and embrace its beauty and richness.

Travel To Ghana Requirements

1. Visa Requirements

One of the surprises people have when visiting Ghana for the first time is the visa application process, which can be lengthy and requires sending in your passport.

All visitors to Ghana must have a valid passport. Tourists must provide a roundtrip ticket and show proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their stay in the country.

2. Vaccination Requirements

Ghana requires visitors to have a yellow fever vaccination, which costs upwards of $300 USD per dose. Beware, most medical insurance companies will not pay for the vaccine.

The yellow fever vaccine is a one-time vaccine that lasts for life, so travelers do not need to keep getting it repeatedly.

Other recommended vaccines include Malaria and Cholera.

Ghana Packing List

Wondering what to pack for Ghana? Let’s wrap up this Ghana travel guide with an all-season packing list.

  • Light and breathable clothing for the hot weather in Ghana
  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring cities and sites
  • Scarfs, cardigans, and shawls when entering holy sites
  • Swimsuit for enjoying the beaches and water activities
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses to protect from the strong sun
  • Insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites
  • Travel adapter for charging electronic devices
  • Lightweight, portable charger
  • Personal hygiene items and medications
  • Passport and necessary travel documents
  • Yellow fever certificate
  • Travel insurance like SafetyWing for peace of mind
  • Cash and credit cards for transactions
  • Camera and travel drone for capturing memories
  • Umbrella
  • Lip balm
  • Portable fan
  • Hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes
  • “Hues of Africa” coloring book
  • Refillable water bottle to stay hydrated
  • Snacks for on-the-go energy

About Tiffany Heard

Tiffany Heard is a travel blogger and creator of a coloring book series that educates people about Africa’s diverse cultures and history. As a proud alumnus of Howard University, Tiffany had a transformative experience during a summer study abroad college program, during which she fell in love with the beauty of Ghana and its cultural experiences. Tiffany has been to Ghana almost a dozen times and organizes group trips to share the full cultural experience with others. Today, her global adventures have taken her to over 20 countries.

Read the full transcript of this episode below.

Danielle Desir Corbett: Have you ever visited the African continent? In particular, the West African country of Ghana. Tiffany Heard has had the pleasure of visiting Ghana multiple times. She hopes to inspire others to take a trip to the motherland through her immersive adult coloring and activity book called, Hues of Africa, Journey Between the Lines. She also organizes small group trips to Ghana, guiding curious travelers back home to Africa. In today's episode, Tiffany joins us to share what first-timers to Ghana need to know, including places to visit, must-see attractions, unique experiences, and cultural treasures, the best times to visit, and so much more. Connect with Tiffany at HughesofAfrica.com and her YouTube channel, Where in the Herd is Tiffany? Don't forget to grab a copy of Hughes of Africa for yourself or gift it to a friend or family member who would enjoy exploring different African countries, such as Nigeria, Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana, and more. You can find all the links mentioned in the description of this episode. Welcome to the thought card, a podcast about traveling money, where planning, saving and creativity leads to affording travel, building wealth and paying off debt. We are the financially savvy travelers. So Tiffany, thank you so much for joining me. I know we've been thinking about recording this session in particular for quite a bit of time. And I know folks who are listening and they are probably first time visitors to Ghana. So they are inspired. They're thinking about planning their trip. And I wanted to have you on to really share with us what it's like, because I know you've been quite a few times. So how many times have you been to Ghana? And what about Ghana keeps you coming back over and over and over again?
Tiffany Heard: So I would say what keeps me coming back is I started off a summer study abroad. I was there for six weeks. Of course, I was however old I was in college. And when I tell you I had the time of my life, I had the time of my life. And so I was like, I literally was there in Ghana. I was like, I think I'm in the wrong country. That's what I said to myself. Funny enough, my mom was like, oh, you're going to be ready to come home. Yeah. Even after the six weeks, I still wasn't ready to come home. So I think being on my own with a group of women, us, we're still, how many years later, we still stay in contact. We still get together. And then just being the beauty of Ghana, that's what keeps me from coming back. So I've been to Ghana at least nine to ten times at this point over the years. And it was funny because last year I was like, I'm not going back because I need to explore other countries. Well, something keeps me coming back. And that is specifically our group trips. For me, it is really full circle. Like somebody took me and now I get a chance to take other people back. And so the response is, we cram it in such a short time for the group trips, but what I experience in six weeks, they get the experience in nine days. That is what brings me back because I get a chance to bring people back to the continent and give them a full cultural experience. So that's what keeps me coming back.

Danielle Desir Corbett: I love that because there is a lot of times people are interested in visiting the continent, but they may have like apprehensions or concerns or just not even know where to start. So what are some of the benefits of traveling as a group, doing a group trip, going to someplace like Ghana, for example?

Tiffany Heard: I would say you get to share your experiences with other people. If we see something, we see a food, anything like that, I could be like, hey, Rumi, do you remember when that happened? The cool part about it is because I've been on a group trip myself the first time, I understand the experience of the people that are going. Because some people haven't been on a group trip and they're planning a group trip. I'm like, you need to kind of know what's going on with people. I think some of the benefits are just to have the cultural experience with someone. Therefore, on this side of planning the trip, you don't have to do anything. I literally will do everything for you. All you have to do is show up. I will say, and if you talk to a bunch of travelers, navigating Africa, and I know there's 54 countries, but navigating different countries in Africa can be a little bit tedious and a little difficult to find things. Sometimes for other countries, they'll have a whole bunch of things listed of what to do and where to go. But then sometimes for places even for Ghana, sometimes you're like, well, what do I do? Where do I find a driver? How do I get to Cape Coast? How do I get to Kumasi? Again, with the group travel, somebody does it for you and all you have to do is show up and have a good time. So to me, those are some of the benefits of traveling with the group to places in Africa.

Danielle Desir Corbett: What do you think are some of the cons? What do you think are some of the things that you maybe hear those objections that people are like, it's a group trip to Ghana, really, for me?

Tiffany Heard: I definitely think one of the cons, Daniel, you already know, we're both solo travelers at heart, right? So when you talk about, okay, I'm a solo traveler, and now you're joining a group, you're like, okay, hold on. And it's funny enough, we did have, I think some of the people on our group trips, sometimes they forget That is not a solo trip. They're like, I want to do this. I want to do that. I'm like, OK. But again, this is our itinerary for the day. The cool thing about my trip is I say, if you do not want to participate in something, you don't have to. But I would say, again, for a solo traveler, it is kind of hard to not veer off and do what you want to do. Then another thing is too, you could have personality issues, like maybe you don't get along with somebody. Luckily, we have not had any issues with roommates. Let's not go wood. But let's say you may not get along with your roommate or maybe you just do not click with another person that's in the group. The cool thing is even though you're traveling together, you do get a chance to have a long time. You don't have to sit with somebody on the bus or different things like that. But I would say those would be some of the biggest things is personality and maybe the solo aspect of a group trip.

Danielle Desir Corbett: I've been on group trips, but typically with a large company. So these are like massive group trips where it's like 30 people or something like that. So I would super be interested in like the smaller group trips. So like how many people are typically joining you on your group trip? And why did you pick that number? Why does it feel right for you?

Tiffany Heard: So we have been slowly growing. I think we started off with four. for the first one that we did. I've also done group trips to Columbia. I think that may have been three. We've even had one person on the trip, which means they canceled. Listen, I know we're not talking about entrepreneurship, but this is another thing for you to keep going because after we have that one person, we end up having about 20 people for this last trip. that tells you that don't stop just because it doesn't look like it's going as expected. But I would say between 20 to 25 people is a good number just because it's not too big. I've seen people take 100 people to go on it. And for me, I can't. It's a lot to deal with, 20 personalities, let alone 100. I just feel like you can't get that small community. There's just too many people for you to make those connections. Because if I have 100 people, 50 people, it might even get a chance to interact with people in such a short amount of time. So I think that is the good number to still feel that sense of community.

Danielle Desir Corbett: I love that. I love that. So let's talk about what typically surprises folks who are going to Ghana for the first time. They touch down, they land, now they're exploring. What are they typically shocked about? Or is there culture shocks? Talk to us about some of those surprises.

Tiffany Heard: Before we even get to Ghana, one of the things that you have to do is get your visa. A lot of people don't know that there's a visa application process. Again, within African countries, it can be difficult, their process to getting visas. You would think that would make it easier for tourists coming in and that's not always the case. For Ghana, it's actually a long application that you have to do. I walk people through that. We have a whole meeting about it. But people are surprised that you have to send your whole passport in. They're like, what if my passport doesn't return? Blah, blah, blah. What if I have another trip coming up? So I think that's the number one people are afraid of. And I was like, I've been going to Ghana for years. I always got my passport back. You should be fine. So that's number one. I will say some of the shots that you have to get now with COVID and different stuff like that, people are afraid of vaccines. But remember, we have been getting vaccines all our life when we were little before COVID come. So some people are like, well, I don't know if I want to get the yellow fever. I don't know if I want to get the recommended. So that's another thing I think people are kind of leery of. Like I said, I started off when I was in college. So we're used to getting vaccines. So I got everything they recommended. Now I tell people, if you're not comfortable with it, just get the yellow fever. That literally lasts for life. You don't have to keep getting it over and over again. I think the price of the yellow fever can be costly if your insurance does not cover it. I had Kaiser back in the day, it was free, but some people don't and so it can be expensive. Funny enough, getting a yellow fever in another country can be cheaper than getting it in America. So that's pre-planning stages. And then I would say, kind of while you're getting there. So I was like, well, let me ask a couple of people what did they think or what were they most shocked by? And so I asked my mom. My mom was able to finally go to Ghana with me after years. So if you have never took a mother-daughter, father-daughter trip. I highly recommend it because as much as I travel, I want to bring my parents and show them because I can talk about it, but it's nothing like them being there. It's so funny. It took so long for my mom to get here, but now that's all she talks about literally almost every day. Like, I can't wait to go back to Ghana, blah, blah, blah. One of the things that she said that surprised her was the amount of people. Of course, we know wherever we live at, there's a lot of people, but if you have ever been to a McCullough market and you literally scan your phone, there are thousands of people literally in one place. I think the people being concentrated what surprised her. Another thing is she just talked about the landscape being very beautiful. She compared it to Hawaii and I was like, mom, I've never been here for years, I've never compared anything to Hawaii. But if you look at some of the places, I can see what she's talking about with the greenery, then the water, and just the different landscapes is beautiful. Then I talked to my cousin and she said that she loves how they work collectively together. So if there was somebody in need of something, you would see somebody helping out over here. Even when it comes to food, they can eat communal food. I always say that we're very selfish in America. So for example, if I want a hamburger, I want my hamburger to myself. I'm not going to share. But in Africa, if one person has a hamburger, they will cut that up into four slices so that everybody can eat their hamburger. or eat a piece of the hamburger. And the same thing in Thailand, we went, this is off topic, but we went to Thailand and it was a communal setting. And she was like, yeah, we're going to eat, you know, all together. Cause I know in America, y'all gonna do that. I was like, oh, the shade. I realized like, it is so true. We consume things on our own and it's more of a community feel. So I could definitely understand what they said in that aspect.

Danielle Desir Corbett: Oh, I love that. And I think that's the beauty of travel is that you get to see how other people live and even potentially bring some of those values back home to you, right? You're maybe a little bit more conscious about certain things. So I absolutely love that. So for someone who's traveling to Ghana for the first time, what are the cities, villages, towns that you would recommend that they hit up if they had, let's say, a week in the country?

Tiffany Heard: Most people, I would definitely change that week to at least 10 days because it takes a long time to get over there. I'm from the West Coast, so the minimum is going to take me 15 hours. I will have to fly to the East Coast. Daniel, you're already on the East Coast, so you will be a little lucky. You can get a flight from New York or DC for only 10 hours straight into Ghana. But I usually do a layover in Ghana, and so it would take longer because I usually go the turkey route. Again, I will highly recommend going for at least 10 days, because if you go for 10 days, you can hit up at least three different cities. The reason why I recommend three different cities is because each city is very vastly different. How I operate my group trips is how I would operate if I were traveling solo. I will say the first city you're flying into is Accra. Accra is the main city. Accra is popping, that's where you're going to party all night long. Literally, when I say party all night long, Their parties can last till 5, 6, 7 a.m. If you're used to California, Miami, California shuts down at 2, Miami maybe 4, but Ghana, they can go all night long. If that's what you're into, you're going to be very happy. There's also a lot of cool restaurants. Aesthetically, they're very pleasing. If you like day parties, lounges, that's where you're going to get in a crawl. I would say the next city is Kumasi. Kumasi is where the Ashanti region people are. A lot of people skip over Kumasi when they're there for 10 days, but that's where you can go to the palace. We go to Kakum National Park. In between these cities, we go to something called the Last Slave Bab. This is literally where the slaves took their last bath before being taken to the ships. And then the next one is Cape Coast. So Cape Coast is my favorite. It's funny, I don't know how to swim, y'all, but I love anything beach and water. And so Cape Coast is literally, the coast is beautiful lines with water and trees and different things like that. But that is also where you'll get the history of the Cape Coast castles. So there's two castles, Cape Coast Castle and Elmina Castle. So that's typically what people do if you're only there for 10 days, okay? Of course, if you have more time, if you can stay longer, I highly recommend it because that is such a short amount of time. But if you can go up north to where they have a safari, you can go to the boats region where you can do boat rides. There's just so much that you can do. Although I've been so many times, there's still stuff that I'm like, okay, I need to do this, I need to do that. But those are some of the concentrated cities that you would go to if you only had seven to 10 days.

Danielle Desir Corbett: Yes, I love that. I love that breakdown. And you have actually a wonderful blog post on your site that I will reference because you literally talk about things like Wi-Fi and transportation and like all the nitty gritty things to help you plan your trip to Ghana. So I'll definitely make sure to link that in the show notes. One of the things I love following you and following your trips to Ghana, you do amazing photo shoots, by the way. You have had incredible massages by some sturdy, sturdy fellows. I'm like, Oh, okay. And I've also seen videos of like cooking and you partaking in cooking classes. So talk to us about some of the immersive things to do in Ghana that you feel like if it's your first time, like try to see if you can actually do these things, go to these places because it's really amazing.

Tiffany Heard: Yes. The cooking class, I don't care what country you're in, do a cooking class. I try to do cooking classes everywhere I go because food is a big part of the culture. If you go to Ghana, food is definitely a big portion of it. Everybody knows about jollof rice, jollof wars. I still say between for our Nigerian listeners, Ghana wins it hands down. So during our cooking class, we actually do jollof rice and another one is called fufu. So fufu looks like a ball. It almost looks like dough, like uncooked dough, but it's actually plantains and yams and they pound it together to make this consistency. you eat it with your hand and you scoop it up and they say you're not supposed to swallow. I mean, you're not supposed to chew. Sorry, you're supposed to swallow, but then you eat it with soup. They have something called red red and red red is like black eyed peas and like sauce and plenty. So it's funny because I feel like food is similar to back at home, but there is being on it. There's spices, a lot of red oils and different things like that. So definitely highly recommend taking a cooking class. And funny enough, my cousin sent me a picture. She was like, look, I made red red today. So it's cool to be able to take what you've learned, bring it back home and replicate some of the items. Danielle mentioned massages. Okay. So that is something that probably is not on people at Centenary. But I made a part of mine. I think self-care is super important. So it's really cool to do a massage by a waterfall. And the part that was cool was, you know, when you're in the massage parlors, you hear like fake rain and fake this. Like, no, I literally hear waterfalls in the back of me. And so when the masseuse was finished, a very nice looking gentleman, I like literally could have slept there for like two hours. Another thing I didn't mention is Ghana is really hot. during that time. And so just being by the waterfalls was really refreshing and really nice. And then of course you had nice eye candy. So we do stuff like city tours. Definitely make sure because you want to feel what the city looks like. Again, partying is cool and all that stuff. But what does the city look like? What are the historical points that you need to go to? So definitely do the city tours. We do stuff like ATV riding, like get off the grid, have a little adventure. I think those things are cool. We do waterfalls, of course. I can't mention enough how hot it is. When I tell people to join me, I say we're as close as possible. I know that sounds like what, but you know, some countries you have to be very careful about what you wear. I would say like in Ghana, Accra, Kumasi, you're open to wear what you want to wear. But I will say if you ever head up north, there is mainly Muslims, so you probably should cover up more. Which is funny enough because I had on like a two-piece outfit when I went up north. And it was like a Friday and that's when they really, everybody prays. So you could tell we were not from there. And so the kids were pointing and laughing at us. And I asked them, I was like, what are they saying? And so he was asking him, why didn't my clothes connect? because it was a two-piece outfit. I laugh at that because I'm like, they dress a certain way, so somebody else that's not from there doesn't look like they ain't got no clothes on because my stomach was showing. They were like, what is going on? It was funny because the girl with me had a big slit, some tattoos. We were a mess. We didn't even pay attention because we're used to being down this way where it's not uncommon for us to dress like that. Those are just a couple of the immersive experiences that you can have. I forgot to mention this one. When I first went there, the most immersive thing that I've done was actually we had a whole stay family. I stayed with them for a couple of days so you can see how people live, how they cook, different things like that. To this day, I'm still in contact with my homestay mother. Unfortunately, I was a little sad because I wanted her to meet my mom this time, but communications crossed and so we didn't get a chance to, but last year I saw her. So that is definitely immersive that a lot of people don't do.

Danielle Desir Corbett: Oh, I appreciate that list. And I definitely recommend following Tiffany because you will see all of the experiences, right? I do love them. I do love following them. Let's talk about solo travelers. So if someone is like, I want to go to Ghana solo, what should they be thinking about when it comes to health and safety? Do you have any tips and suggestions there?

Tiffany Heard: So if you are a solo traveler, I recommend in terms of safety. I've always felt safe when I'm in Ghana. I've never felt like I can't walk alone at nighttime. In terms of that, I think it's a great solo destination. I will say, although I haven't had this issue, last year somebody's phone was stolen and it happened so quick. I was at a concert where there's a lot of people there. People are probably preying on people. So I will say be careful with your phone and stuff like that. Like I said, normally I have no issues, but that's something to be aware of. I will say though, although you're going solo, I still highly recommend hiring a driver and a guide. Okay? The reason why I say a driver and a guide, because sometimes if you find two in one, that's great, right? But let's say you find a driver and if they're just going to take you to the destinations, you need to know what's going on once you get to that location. So that's why I say, I think it's best to hire a guide because I've heard some people's experiences like going to Salina, like, oh, it was just okay. But I'm like, yeah, because the guide is going to tell you different information once you arrive. And there's conversation along the route to wherever you're going. Tell them to teach you, the language is called tree, the local language. So have them teach you some local tree phrases and different things like that. So having that guide is super important. I don't feel like you can necessarily navigate it on your own. Because again, remember I mentioned those three different cities, those cities are hours apart. And so it's just better to have somebody that already knows and again, can give you that local feel in terms of like what to do, where to go. And two, I don't know about anybody else, but I love to meet other people. So usually they have friends. All right, let's go out together. Okay. This is your friend. This is my friend. We're all come friends together. So that's what I would say in terms of that. And in terms of just looking for places to stay, you can stay at the popular hotels. If you're into luxury, there's the Kapinsky. I've actually never stayed there, but I know the celebrities and stuff go there. But I would say Airbnb is great. I use Airbnb. So when the people leave, I use Airbnb to stay places because it's cheaper. And sometimes, again, talking to guys and stuff, you can get the local prices and stuff like that.

Danielle Desir Corbett: And I love that because you can still DIY travel on your own, but you still have the comfort of a guide. You still have the comfort of a driver, right? There's different things that you can do. Maybe you go on to a cooking class and have a cooking tour. So when you are a DIY traveler, you don't necessarily have to do everything alone, which I appreciate that. So let's talk about affordability. You kind of teased a little bit. And this show is half travel, half personal finance. I always want to know cost, right? I know that tickets airfare from the U.S. to the African continent is whoo. All right. It's a little sweaty because I know it's pricey. OK, but again, affordability is subjective, too, right? It's everyone has different financial situations. So when it comes to affordability, how does Ghana fit in that scale? How affordable is Ghana? What are their opportunities to save money? Anything we should know about financial wise?

Tiffany Heard: So one thing I do want to mention, since we talked about solo and group travel, I would definitely, of course, say being on a group travel, you're going to spend more money, right? That just is what it is. But you're with the group travel you're spending more money because I don't think people realize when you do group trips not only do you have to pay for your accommodations your excursions you still have me as a person that does it I have to pay for staff I have to pay for different things so that cost is going to be figured out into there, right? But of course, if you go solo, you're going to save money for sure. But again, how are you going to navigate that? I mean, you have to call different people. You may have to say, okay, I need a cooking class over here. I want to buy tea class over. That can be a lot to figure out. So cost-wise, definitely cheaper doing solo versus group. But you got to think about what's more important. Is it saving money or is it the ease of travel? Okay, that's one thing I want to point out. The other thing about airfare, yes, airfare can be super expensive, especially around December. I think I spent around $1,700, $1,800. My mom and I spent $2,100 for a ticket. That's relative to when you buy it and different things like that. That is super expensive for a flight, right? But if you go at other times of the year, you can get it a little bit cheaper. Then once you get on the ground in Ghana, I would say it's not as expensive. Of course, food is very cheap and that's objective too. I did go to a restaurant and I think I spent about 50 bucks, that's expensive for Ghana. But you can go to the local chop shop and get something for $5. There's KFC, I forgot to mention, that's cheap. So there's a bunch of things that you can get for cheaper. So I say food is definitely cheaper. If you want outfits made, to me, that's very inexpensive. Hotels, different things. If you want to be a rich king or queen, they got that luxury for you. Or if you say, I want to do a hostel. We've done a hostel, I think, when we were on our first trip there in school. Or you could do middle range, where you're paying $100 something per night. So you literally can get whatever you want in Ghana. So I think that's really up to your budget. And then again, the stuff to do, once you get to the sites, the sites are not as expensive. It's getting there. That's the issue. Because things can be far apart, especially if you want to go to those other places. Everybody has to go to Cape Coast, right? That's where the slave castles are. That's at least a three to four hour drive. Of course, that's fuel, that's a car, so that excursion may get it. It may be a hundred and some dollars because somebody has to transport you there and still take you back to Accra. That's what it means by a little sample of a budget. I know that's very broad, but it's very broad because you have to determine what type of traveler are you. Some people say, I really care about where I stay and I want the most luxury stay. For me, I'm out from eight to four, eight to five during the day. So I'm just like, do I need the most luxurious stay? And then I may still be like, okay, we're napping for two hours and now we're about to go out to the restaurant. Now we're about to go out. So how much time am I really spending in the room? So it really just depends on your budget and everybody knows how much you want to spend while you're there.

Danielle Desir Corbett: that travel style comes up again, like you have to know that your interests, what you prefer, all those things come into play. But I also know that sometimes getting to a destination is the priciest part, or sometimes it's like the cheapest part. And then the dynamics of the economics when you're there, it's different. So I appreciate that clarity when it comes to Ghana in particular. Now, I've seen you plan group trips around New Year's. So two questions, twofold. When would you say is the best time or a good time to actually go to Ghana? And what's happening in New Year's? I always see you planning New Year's trips around Ghana.

Tiffany Heard: Right. So actually, talk about great marketing. Ghana did great marketing a couple of years ago before the pandemic, and it's actually called the Year of the Return. So they basically pleaded to people in the diaspora like, hey, come back home. So a lot of us do not know where we came from, right? So when an African country says, come back home, you're like, all right, we going back home. And so because of that, it has just grown year by year of people coming back at that particular time. So that was the initiative. I don't know if they're actually calling that now, but now it's catching on. So in December, there are parties, there are concerts, there's fashion shows, there's galas, there's conferences. Whatever is going on, you name it, they have it during that particular time. There's celebrities out there. There's a big concert called Afrofuture that's from Afrochella. And so everybody named Mama's out there. So funny enough, it's almost like a low-key reunion because I've met people that I've never met in the States. My Facebook friends, we have met in Ghana, like of all places. So I think that's the reason why a lot of people go from that initiative and now it's just grown to these different things. So that's why we go back in December. But December is also the most expensive time to go. because it's Christmas time holiday. So remember, not only are people from all over the world coming, but people that have families are coming back home for the holidays. So everything I feel like is just increased at that particular time. But I will say anytime is a good time to go. Again, keeping in mind that they don't have like a winter season. So you're going to get like rainy or you're going to get really hot. Even though the heat is a lot, I don't want to go during rainy season because that's traffic, it stops things, slow things down. So I would say check to see when the rainy season is and go another time besides that. But like August, they have a big festival. So you can also look for other festivals that they're having. So August will be a cheaper time to December, but there's still a lot of stuff going on during that particular time. So I would say look for some of the most popular things, or you say, I don't care about that. I just want to go. It would probably be cheaper maybe when there isn't a festival, right? Because, you know, but there's always something to do. So you don't have to worry about that portion. But yes, I think that will be one of the good times to go.

Danielle Desir Corbett: I love that. How long would you say a good amount of time for planning a trip to Ghana? Can you do it in six weeks, six months, a year? What would you say?

Tiffany Heard: So for me, when I plan trips, funny enough, I do things on the spur of the moment when it comes to planning. So for me, I do not like a year out. Who knows where I'm going to be in a year? So I personally don't like to do that. I would say a good three to six months would be okay. But for group trips, we plan a year in advance because it gives people the chance to pay payment plans. So I think it just depends on if you're doing that group travel, because again, they're going to post it a lot earlier. Or if you're doing that solo travel, I would say anywhere from three to six months should be fine.

Danielle Desir Corbett: I am definitely that traveler that's, uh, what's going on next year. We're doing a year out. So I'm like, it's so funny. Like, I just, I plan out like when I'm traveling. So I try to get the tickets and I'm like, it's happening. But then when it comes to things to do it, so I'm last minute. So it's, you could be a hybrid, you know, you could be a hybrid person where you're like, let's just book it. And then we'll figure out everything as we go.

Tiffany Heard: But sometimes doing it that way, sometimes you do save money on buying your tickets early. So it really just depends. But again, you just never know. Sometimes people get them super early and you think it's a deal, then the next person comes and they get it cheaper. We all know if you're looking for airlines, literally you'll see one price, one second, and then when you click to buy, they'll be like, oh, the price is going to be like what? I literally was here. I'm very interested to know who was behind these computer screens, like putting this information up. Like I really want it. I'm like, why are you messing with us? Like seriously. So yeah.

Danielle Desir Corbett: Dynamic pricing. They're like, oh, well, you have money to buy this ticket. So let's just bump it up 10 percent and see how you do this.

Tiffany Heard: And the other thing, too, I think, of course, they catch on. So they say, OK, I see thousands of people are buying a ticket to Ghana for December. Oh, yeah, we're going to hike up the prices. So that's another thing that they do as well.

Danielle Desir Corbett: Absolutely, absolutely. So as we wrap up, I know that you are an author, Tiffany. Congratulations. You have an incredible adult coloring book called Hues of Africa, Journey Between the Lines. What was the inspiration for creating this book? And what has been the feedback and the reaction, especially as it relates to people thinking about visiting Ghana?

Tiffany Heard: So the inspiration of this great old pandemic was the inspiration. And I say that because I had planned a group trip to Columbia, and we had about 15 people signed up, ready to go. And of course, when we heard about the pandemic, we're like, oh, by next month, it'll be over. Yeah, clearly, it was two years and we're still counting, right? People are still catching COVID. And so I was like, well, how else can we make an And so that's when I came up with the coloring activity book. I remember I was in line at Walmart. When you remember when pandemic happened, we weren't allowed to just go into the store. So we're waiting outside. I was with my mom. I was like, mom, I'm going to create this book. And she was like, oh, OK. She probably didn't believe me or probably was like, whatever. But a year later, we definitely had it done. So it's a coloring activity book, and I dedicated it to my grandmother. She's no longer here, but my grandmother would sit and do puzzles and different things like that, and I would watch her. I love doing activities on the back of the cereal box. I don't know if anybody remembers doing that. And so for me, when you talk about Africa, there are a lot of negative things that come up. I think now we're coming to a place where it's a little bit different. But when I was growing up, what did you see? it would be the starving children infomercials on, you know. And of course, there are poor people everywhere, but that was the image that was constantly shown to us. And so I'm like, no, how do we show people the beauty of Africa? And so in this book, you will see various pictures of different countries. And so I really tried to capture the essence of whatever country that I was referring to. And so you will see intricate designs. And that's why we make this one adult because they're not small lines, right? And then on the other side, you get a chance to learn through an activity. So you get to learn how many countries there are through a word search or we have bingo on there. So we have a lot of different activities that you can do and learn in the process. So the feedback has been very great because a lot of people don't know different things about Africa. Honestly, when I'm researching, I learned a lot I've been to Ghana 50 million times, but I haven't been to other places. So it allowed me to learn in the process as well. So we've gotten great feedback from it and super excited. And I just think people need to learn more about their history. I don't think we talk about it because we don't know. A lot of people have not been to Africa. So it's kind of like, let me bring travel to you. And then, so we give away, we have a swag bag so everybody gets a book. So once you leave from Ghana, you should be able to do the Ghana page or recognize some of the things once you leave. So that's the inspiration and why we did the Hues of Africa. And it was also inspired, that is now the business name. The business name is called Hues of Africa.

Danielle Desir Corbett: I love that and I remember like you working on the book project like because we're friends and we keep in touch and it's just so inspiring to see how far you've come and see that project grow so much. I think something that I love about your coloring activity book is the self-care aspect. Can you talk a bit about that? Because I know you have a background in social work, like travel can be therapeutic. And I know coloring also has great self-care aspects as well. So can you talk a little bit about that?

Tiffany Heard: Right. So you hit the nail on the head. Basically, again, I have a background in social work. And so for me, therapy comes in all different forms. Right. Of course, I say go see a therapist for sure. Number one. OK. Coloring is not going to take away your problems, but it has shown to be very therapeutic. So funny enough, Danielle, we had an older lady who had, I think, dementia and some other mental health issues. And so the person that bought the book from her was like, she would sit there for hours and it was just so therapeutic for her. And the pictures would come out beautiful because back in her time, she was actually like a teacher and different things like that. And so funny enough, I told you I dedicated the book to my grandmother. She like crossed out a name on there and like put her grandmother's name. And so I thought that was very cool because that meant that somebody else could relate to that granddaughter, daughter, whatever relationship. And so it is proven to be very super therapeutic. And they say color is therapeutic because it's this constant motion of going back and forth. And so it's putting you in like a calming mood. You get a chance to be creative and different things like that. And so I think with today's climate, we definitely need some extra therapy. And even thinking about kids too, when kids are in school, what are they doing? They're doodling, they're doing, you know, they're writing probably stuff they shouldn't be writing, but it's like, okay, take out your pencil and go ahead and start coloring. And these images will, you know, hopefully stay in their mind if they've ever visited or they can say, okay, I saw that image. And if you look at the book, there's some images that are super, super close shout outs to the artists that were super close to some of these communities there. And so for that, I'm super excited. So yeah, that's the reason behind the therapeutic aspect of the book.

Danielle Desir Corbett: I love it. I love all the things. So Tiffany, this was so incredible. I hope listeners can walk away with ideas, inspiration, and get planning. If Ghana is on your list, like let's get that done, right? Let's go. Let's explore. Let us know where can we connect with you? What do you have coming up? Do you have another book coming out? Anything we should know about? Let us know.

Tiffany Heard: Yes. So, Hues of Africa was our first book. So, we now have the second book. The second book is called Hues of HBCUs, which is cool too. This is our HBCU book. So, it's cool to kind of connect. First, you get to start off with your history in Africa, and then we know the story behind HBCUs. We know we were, you know, during a certain time, we were not even allowed to learn to read or write. Unfortunately, and so that's the reason why HBCUs were made. This book is also important, but it's cool. You get to start from the beginning and then you get to move on to the states as well to see how that connects. We're excited about that. I went to Howard, shout out to my HBCU. There's a sororities fraternities, I'm a part of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, and then there's the HBCU experience. We are super excited about the new book, it's not even a year old. We are going full steam, shout out to Black History Month. And we do want to write a third book. I'm excited about the third one too. It probably will not be out this year, so I don't know if we need to discuss it, but definitely know there's another one in the pipeline. And then we talked about group trips so much. We actually have two group trips this year. One will be in November to Egypt. I think that's the first week in November. And then we'll also be back in Ghana for New Year's Eve. And then I also have a podcast It's called International Interludes. We're talking about love and solo traveling. Of course, we have YouTube that's all about travel. There's a whole playlist for Ghana. There's about 10, 12 of those in there. Of course, just follow me on Instagram. You'll see those shorter clips like the massage. Go check that video out. than other things that are on there. And so yeah, that's how you can keep up with us. If you're on Instagram, it's Hughes of Africa. If you want to see the travel, it's Sweet Tiffy's. The podcast is on Spotify and YouTube is where the heart is ticking. So that's where you reach me at.

Danielle Desir Corbett: I love that. Well, Tiffany, this was absolutely incredible. I will have all of the links to books, resources, blog posts, all of Tiffany's channels as well in the episode description and show notes. So with that, I leave you all happy travels my financially savvy travelers and talk to you next time.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *