Ghana is probably one of the first countries to come to mind when thinking of Western Africa. Located at the Gulf of Guinea and sharing borders with Togo, Burkina Faso, and Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana is a mostly flat country, its highest point hardly reaching 900 meters above sea level. For a country which is roughly the size of the UK, expats moving to Ghana will encounter a relative wealth of different ecosystems and climatic sub regions.
Common subdivisions you can use for orientation are the Ashanti region with its rainforests expanding along the western border, the central Volta Basin including the world’s largest artificial lake, Lake Volta, and the regions to the north, which feature a relatively high population density due to the arable land there. However, the prime choice of expats is the coastal plains along the south.
Most of the population is concentrated along the coast in the south as well as regions to the northeast of the coast. As large parts of the rural population are drawn towards Ghana’s metro areas, most notably the country’s capital Accra and the Kumasi area, the countryside is rather sparsely populated.
Let us end this section with a fun fact: those of you moving to the coastal areas in the south are closer to the intersection of the Prime Meridian and the Equator — or the “center” of the world, if you will — than anywhere else on the planet.
As per usual in tropical countries, expats moving to Ghana can kiss the seasons goodbye, at least to a certain extent. The only seasonal change you are going to experience is the switch between the rainy seasons and the dry seasons. While the southern parts of the country have two rainy seasons per year — one stretching from May to June and another from August to September, expats in Ghana’s north can look forward to a single, merged rainy season from May to September.
After moving to Ghana, you will realize that apart from differences in precipitation, there are also considerable differences in terms of temperature and humidity between the various regions of the country. Expats in Ghana’s southern coastal regions will probably have least problems dealing with the local climate, as it tends to be warm rather than hot, and not too humid. The southwestern corner of the country is hot and humid; fittingly, it is also the only part of the country covered by rainforest. The North is hot and dry, and the occasional drought is not an uncommon problem in the region.
In case you have already preoccupied yourself with Ghana, you will surely have realized that the nation’s capital, Accra, is the dominant city of the coastal region, if not the entire country. Chances are that as an expat, you will also be moving to Ghana’s capital — that is, if you are not involved in mining, forestry, or oil production on location. The city of roughly 2.5 million is the anchor of the Accra Metro Region with a total population of well over 4 million, making it by far the largest urban area in Ghana and one of the largest on the entire African continent. Unsurprisingly, Accra is the country’s most important city not only in terms of official government business, but economy as well. If you are relocating to Ghana solely for business reasons, get acquainted with Accra right away!
For an African city of its size, the city center of Accra is very safe both for locals and people moving to Ghana. The matter of housing will most likely be handled by your future employer before your move to Ghana’s capital — your preferred choices should be located in the northern and western parts of town, or more generally, the high-income housing areas. Slums and urban decay pose major problems in parts of the city, often exacerbated by the influx of illegal immigrants from West African countries moving to Ghana’s capital. Expats should try to steer clear of those areas.
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