Greetings in Ghana are important. Vistors should try to remember not to greet, eat, direct or give things out with their left hand. All greetings start with a handshake and start from the right and work round to the left – no matter the hierarchical structure of the welcoming group. This also applies at funerals where the bereaved will be at the centre of a seated area – start at the right and work one’s way around the whole line. A lack of a formal greeting in a public forum can be interpreted as impolite or disrespectful.
Ghanaians appreciate good conversation, and greetings – if time permits – should be a little longer than just “Good Morning”. It may be prolonged to find out about family, health, job etc. On first meeting some Ghanaians of rank, they often appreciate being addressed by their proper title (if one exists). Thus, you should try to use Professor, Director, Reverend, etc. Especially important are the honorific ones amongst which are, Otumfo – ‘the powerful one, Katakyie – ‘the warrior’.
In the North of the country or if one is amongst people of Northern background, the person perceived to be the most important is greeted first and then the greetings should be hierarchical (if in doubt, follow the example of any Ghanaian colleague).
Please be flexible with time in Ghana as Ghanaians are known to have a relaxed approach toward time management. Although Ghanaians have a flexible approach to time, it is necessary to make appointments before doing business in Ghana. These should be scheduled in advance.
Tipping is a common practice in Ghana. The accepted standard in restaurants is a couple of Cedis, although sometimes an additional service charge will be charged (often in the case of a large party). Bar staff are also tipped. Most people providing a service expect a “dash” (tip) in return, and it is sensible to carry a few low denomination Cedi bills in an outside pocket where they can be easily retrieved i.e. without going into a bag, wallet or purse.
THINGS TO DO
Ghana is known for diverse wildlife, old forts and secluded beaches. Coastal towns Elmina and Cape Coast contain posubans, colonial buildings and castles-turned-museums that serve as testimonials to the slave trade. North of Cape Coast, the vast Kakum National Park has a treetop-canopy walkway over the rainforest.
Make the most of Accra; see a large collection of Ghanaian art in the National Museum and Independence Square, dominated by the Independence Arch and the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier. The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, which houses the remains of Ghana’s First President, is a favored destination of many tourists in Ghana.