Ghana: holidays, events, climate
There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is then 50 days after Easter. The Corpus Christi festival is celebrated on the 2nd Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.
|January 1||New Year|
|February March||Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice)|
|6th March||Independence day|
|1st of May||Labor Day|
|June 4||Revolution day|
|July 1||day of the Republic|
|November December||Eid-al-Fitre (end of Ramadan)|
|3rd of December||Farmers day|
|December 25th and 26||Christmas|
Source: Countryaah – Ghana Holidays
The dates for the Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shift every year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, which precedes the festival day Eid al-Fitre, Muslims do not eat during the day, but only after sunset. Many restaurants are therefore closed during the day. The festivals Eid al-Adha and Eid-al-Fitre last 2-10 days, depending on the region.
The following traditional festivals with music and dances take place every year in the various regions:
|January||Edina Buronya (New Year) at ElminaAdaekese Festival in the Ashanti region|
|February||Dipo Krobo in Odumase|
|March||Gologo in the northeast of the country|
|July||Bakatue in Elmina|
|August||Akwambo in Agona Nyakrom and Agona Swedru|
|September||Fetu Afahya of Fanti in Cape Coast (This is the biggest festival in Ghana.)Odwira (Cleansing of the Land) in Akropong
Kobine in Lawra (Wala Harvest Festival)
|November||Mmoaninko in OfinsoHogbetsoto in Anloga|
|December||Fiok in centime|
In Ghana there is not the four seasons known to us, but an alternation of rainy and dry periods.
Periods of rain
They last in the south of the country, i.e. on the coast, from May to June and from the end of September to November. Average daytime temperatures stay around 30 °C all year round. At night they also stay constant at around 22 °C. In the course of a year, precipitation falls in the south around 2030 mm. The rainy season lasts from the end of March to November, with a steady increase and peak in September. However, only about 1015 mm of precipitation falls here each year. The average daytime temperatures vary within a year from 29 – 37 °C. At night they fluctuate between 20 – 24 °C. During the rainy periods the humidity can rise up to 90%.
In the south of the country, dry periods occur from July to August and from December to April. In the north it lasts from December to March. During this time the Harmattan, a dusty desert wind blows from the northeast and brings large temperature differences between day and night, especially in the north. The wind drops the high humidity.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that GH stands for the nation of Ghana as a two-letter acronym.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Fortresses and castles from the colonial era
The around 35 historical fortresses (forts) are located at the mouth of the Volta, in Accra (Ghana), the central and western regions. We have presented some of these colonial relics in more detail under “Fortifications and castles”.
Traditional Ashanti buildings
The last remains of the Ashanti buildings can be found in the region northeast of Kumasi.
The Ashanti were a warlike people who were only defeated by the British after 70 years of recurring war. They had a lot of gold to trade in.
The grass-covered and relief-decorated mud buildings in which the Ashanti lived, but also the palaces, were destroyed in the colonial wars. Nowadays there are only 10 temples left in the villages of Abetifi, Abirim, Akoboanbong, Asawase, Asenemaso, Bogyease, Darkwa, Jachie, Kentenkrono, Patakro and Obomeng and can be visited there.
The traditional Ashanti buildings were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.
Accra (Akanname: Nkran)
Accra, the largest and capital city of Ghana with around 2,030,000 residents, not only acts as the seat of government, but also as the economic and administrative center of the country. The city, located on the coast in the south, is a conglomerate of foreigners and almost all ethnicities living in Ghana. Its reputation as a regional cultural center is confirmed by institutions such as the National Museum, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Archives, the University of Ghana and the Central Library. Accra also has one of the most modern clinics in West Africa, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
Cape Coast (gahn. Oguaa)
Cape Coast, the capital of the Central Region on the Gulf of Guinea, currently has around 143,000 people. The traditional education center houses the University of Cape Coast and one of the country’s most important high schools. The city is also known for its city festivals Fetu Afahye and the Panafest. Then many African-American tourists come to the city and make it even more lively than it already is.
Elmina (Akannamen: Ak)
About 25,560 people live in Elmina, capital of the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem district in Ghana’s Central Region. Certainly the most striking building in the city is the Portuguese Fort São Jorge da Mina, which was built directly on the beach. Together with Fort St. Jago da Mina (also Fort Conraadsburg) built by the Dutch in 1652, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
The centrally located city of Kumasi is the second largest city in Ghana with around 1.5 million residents. It is located inland and acts as the capital of the Ashanti, the largest ethnic group in Ghana. The traditional city is not only famous for its 300-year history, but also because of the many green spaces. This is why the Ghanaians like to call Kumasi the Gardentown. The Asantehene, the head of the Ashanti, also lives in the administrative capital of the Ashanti region.
Sekondi and Takoradi
These two places are very often referred to as a twin city, because in recent years they have grown together in such a way that the two city centers are only less than ten kilometers apart. Takoradi can also be proud of one of the only two overseas ports in Ghana.
Tamale is the most important city in northern Ghana with around 360,000 residents and is predominantly inhabited by Muslims. With Tamale Port, the city has an important traffic junction as well as numerous higher educational institutions such as the Technical University College of Tamale or the University for Development Studies.
Tema is Ghana’s most important port city and is only 25 km from Accra. The 300,000-resident city can be proud of the largest deep-sea port in the country, via which Ghana’s export hit cocoa is shipped.
Winneba (Akannamen: Simpa)
The coastal city of Winneba in Ghana’s Central Region, inhabited by 45,000 people, does not only act as the capital of the Awutu-Effutu-Senya district. The university city also has Ghana’s only sports college and is known for the Aboakyer Hunting Festival, during which talented hunters have to catch an antelope with their bare hands.
Larabanga mosque in the north of the country
The remarkable Larabanga mosque is the oldest Islamic place of worship in all of Ghana. It was built in the 13th century in the traditional West African style.
Adomi suspension bridge
This suspension bridge over the Volta River is the only suspension bridge in Ghana with a length of 241.5 meters. It was built under the British in 1956, shortly before independence.
Peduase Lodge in Kitase
Kitase, a neighboring town of Aburi, is home to the former weekend home of Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana. The building is now used for the accommodation of state guests.
Sekondi-Takoradi-Stadion (also Essipong-Stadion) in Sekondi-Takoradi
The multifunctional stadium in Sekondi-Takoradi, also known as Essipong-Stadion, functions mainly as the home ground of the FC Hasaacas club, but is also used for other football events. It was also the venue for some games of the African Cup of Nations in 2008. The stadium, which opened in 2008, can accommodate around 20,000 spectators.
The soccer and athletics stadium in Tamale has a capacity of around 21,000 seats and was newly built for the 2008 African Cup of Nations. Today it serves, among other things, as the home ground for the Real Tamale United club.
Fortresses and castles
Cape Coast Castle in Cape Coast
The Cape Coast Castle is one of the 35 historic fortresses and is located in the city of Cape Coast.
The building was built in 1637 as a base for the Dutch: But the fortress was conquered by the Swedes as early as 1652 – known as Carolusburg, it served as a trading base.
Between 1660 and 1663 the local Fetu conquered the fortress. After it became Danish and Swedish again in between, it came into British possession in 1665.
In July 2009, US President Obama and his family visited the slave dungeons at Cape Coast Castle. At that time, the fortress served, among other things, as a “repository” for slaves intended for the colonies in North and South America. The people here often vegetated for months until they were finally loaded onto the ships to travel to the colonies. Today the “Ghana Heritage Trust” runs a museum on the history of the slave trade on the former Gold Coast. The forts and castles were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
Christiansborg (also Osu Castle) in Accra
The Christiansborg, built by the Swedes in 1652 and located in the Ghanaian capital, has been the Ghanaian seat of government since 1957. Unfortunately, the building, which has had to undergo multiple changes of ownership over the course of its history, is not open to the public and may not be photographed.
Fort Augustaborg in Teshi
It was the Danes who built Fort Augustaborg in Teshi in 1787. The imposing building was occupied by the British until 1957.
Fort Batensteyn (also Fort Batenstein) near Butre
The fort, which dates back to the 16th century, stretches towards the sky above the fishing village of Butre on the Atlantic coast. Today the fortress, which had to undergo multiple changes of ownership over the course of its varied history, is a rather sad sight. Unrefurbished and littered with rubble, it is nevertheless an interesting tourist site that offers a magnificent view. Fort Batensteyn has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.
Fort Groß Friedrichsburg
The fortress (Fort) Groß Friedrichsburg was built in 1683 for the purpose of the slave trade by the Brandenburg Elector Friedrich Wilhelm (the Great Elector) and sold to the Dutch in 1717. The German Otto Friedrich von der Gröben (1657-1728), who later died with the rank of lieutenant general, played an important role in the construction of the fort. Nowadays visitors can stay here and learn about the history of the fort and the slave trade.
Fort Metal Cross near Dixcove
On the edge of the fishing village of Dixcove (Western Region), the Fort Metal Cross, completed by the English in 1697, rises up, which twice defied the attacks of the influential Jan Conny, a middleman between colonial rulers and native peoples. Historically more interesting is the fact that after the British handed it over to the Dutch as part of an exchange, the fort was taken over by indigenous peoples and successfully defended against the Dutch. This victory was an important reason for the Dutch withdrawal from the Ghanaian Gold Coast only a short time later. In today’s (renovated) fort, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, you can spend the night in an atmospheric way.
Fort Sekondi in Sekondi
The former English Fort Sekondi was built in 1682 and is located in Sekondi, now Ghana. Unfortunately, only remains of the original fortress, which has changed hands several times in the course of its history, have survived.
Fort San Sebastian in Shama
In 1523, the Portuguese Fort San Sebastian, which is now under UNSECO protection, was built in what is now the Ghanaian city of Shama. At that time it was one of the first European trading fortresses on the Gold Coast. The current shape of the building goes back less to the Portuguese than to the Dutch, who redesigned it considerably.
State Museum in Accra
The State Museum of the Ghanaian capital shows a collection of art objects from the country that is well worth seeing.
“Living Museum” in Kumasi
In a reconstructed village goldsmiths, potters, weavers and sculptors can be seen at their traditional work.
National Museum in Accra
The National Museum of Accra, which is well worth a visit, offers its visitors an in-depth look at Ghanaian history and culture. The time from prehistory to the present is covered.
Universities and educational institutions
Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC) in Accra
The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center – KAIPTC for short – is located in the Ghanaian capital Accra. The institution for the training of armed forces for international peace operations by West African troops was named after the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who was born in Ghana. The KAIPTC serves to train civil, police and military forces who are active in international peace missions.
Korle Bu Teaching in Accra
Korle Bu Teching Hospital is Accra’s Medical University Hospital. It is located in the suburb of Korle Bu and is one of the most modern clinics in West Africa. Aside from surgery, internal medicine, and other common clinical facilities, it has one of the few radiotherapy facilities and the only burn center in the region.
Technical University in Tamale
The Technical University of the city of Tamale forms a university college, which is attached to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Ghana. A degree in spatial planning and one in religious studies are offered, for which one can obtain a bachelor’s degree.
University of Cape Coast
This university on the Atlantic coast with its campus near Cape Coast was built on a small mountain with a picturesque view of the Atlantic. Around 17,000 students are currently enrolled in the eight university faculties. In addition, there are another 20,000 students studying as part of a distance learning program. The university, which has existed since 1962, offers specializations in a variety of subjects. These include administrative sciences, tourism, trade, education and ophthalmology. A medical faculty has also been available since 2007. A law faculty is also being planned.
University of Ghana in Accra
The largest and also oldest state university in Ghana is not entirely in Accra, but mainly around 12 km away in the suburb of Legon. About 24,000 students are currently studying at this educational institution, which was founded in 1948 as the University College of the Gold Coast. It is spread over eleven faculties at three locations: the main campus in Legon, the much smaller Accra campus and the Korle-Bu campus. One of the most important professors who taught at the university was the sociologist Norbert Elias.
Atakora mountain range
The Atakora mountain range, which runs from Ghana’s northeast to southwest, extends not only to Ghana but also to parts of Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso. It reaches the highest point with the 986 meter high Mont Agou (also Mont Baumann), which is not on Ghanaian soil, but in Togo. The highest mountain in Ghana, the 885 meter Mount Afadjato, also belongs to the mountains.
Kakum National Park near Abrafo
The Kakum National Park is one of the most famous national parks in Ghana. It spreads over 350 km² in the central region of the country and has existed since 1990. The entire area of the park near Abrafo consists of tropical rainforest. It is very interesting to be accompanied through the park by one of the specially trained rangers and instructed about which tropical plants can be used as medicine and how. The flora and fauna of Kakum National Park are simply breathtaking. You can see the almost extinct monkey cats there or watch forest elephants, civet cats and forest buffalo. Certainly the most recommendable is the suspension bridge tour over the tops of the trees, which is unbeaten in Africa. Sometimes you move 330 meters long at a height of 45 meters.
Meteorite Crater Bosumtwi
The crater, the age of which is estimated to be around 1 million years, has a diameter of 10.5 km and is covered by an outflow-free lake up to 80 meters deep.
Mole National Park
93 animal species live in the impressive Mole Reserve in the north-west of the country. These include antelopes, monkeys, buffalo, warthogs and 33 species of reptiles. Furthermore, some lions and elephants were (re) resettled here. The 2500 km² park is Ghana’s second largest national park after the Digya National Park. The park is developed for tourism and includes a hotel complex that provides four-wheel drive vehicles and guides with whose help you can go on a photo safari.
Ghana’s highest mountain at 885 meters has a name that means something like “at war with the bush”. The reason for this unusual name goes back to a plant that grows on the mountain and causes serious skin diseases The mountain’s forest, which is threatened for various reasons, has been protected by the Ghanaian NGO Ghana Wildlife Society since 1997. In addition, the first municipal nature reserve in Ghana was established with Dutch government aid, which is exclusively looked after by the local population Falls that attract many thousands of tourists every year.
The salt marsh of the lagoon provides the habitat for a particularly rich bird life.
Independence Square in Accra (also Black Star Square) Accra’s Independence Square
is dominated by a giant black star that rises on the Independence Arch. The square commemorates the country’s independence, which was achieved in 1957. You can also see the eternal flame, which was lit for the first time in 1961 by Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana.
Akosombo Dam in the southeast of Ghana
The rock embankment dam was built between 1961 and 1966 on the Volta River for electricity generation (approx. 912 megawatts) and as flood protection.
Aburi Botanical Garden
Ghana’s only botanical garden is in Aburi, north of Accra. It was established in 1890 by the English colonial rulers who wanted to use it as an agricultural research station. Nowadays the public can visit the garden and will also find tropical plants there that once existed in Ghana.
Jamestown, the oldest part of Accra, is still an active, if unrestored, center of fishing. Usually this part of the city is mostly ignored by tourists, which is a shame as it is one of the most interesting sights in Accra.
Java Hill in Elmina
This hill in the area of the town of Elmina is dominated by the remains of the Fort Java, built by the Dutch in the 19th century, in which the present Java Museum is located.
Kwame NkrumahMemorial Park in Accra
This memorial park was founded in honor of Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana to independence and became the country’s first president. The monument dedicated to him and the mausoleum in which he is buried also point to this important national figure.
Labadi Beach in Accra
Labadi Beach is one of Ghana’s most popular beaches for tourists. It meanders along the Atlantic coast of the Ghanaian capital and is lined by two of the city’s most expensive hotels. Cafés, restaurants, souvenir shops, street musicians and acrobats enliven it and make it a special experience. In addition to the usual beach activities such as sunbathing and swimming, Labadi Beach offers many other time-filling programs that should not be missed. But be careful: after dark it is better to avoid the beach for safety reasons.
Volta Reservoir near Akosombo
The Volta Reservoir, dammed up by the Akosombo Dam, spreads in southeastern Ghana near Akosombo and, with its gigantic area of 8,502 km², is the largest reservoir in the world that was created entirely by humans. The lake, which was laid out between 1961 and 1966, is bordered by a 660 meter long and 114 meter high rock embankment, which is used both to generate electricity and to protect against flooding. Its possible storage capacity of an estimated 153 billion m³ makes it the fifth largest reservoir in the world.
The Digya National Park extends on the western bank of the Volta Reservoir.