How to travel to Ghana for business or fun for Nigerians (1)

As you read this, Nigerians are on their way to Ghana by road and by air. Nigerians are known to be one of the best traveling nations. It is also likely that you would want to travel and that is why you are also reading this.  There are various reasons why people travel but we are going to focus on traveling for business to Ghana.


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I have personally traveled on my own the first time without figuring out anything. It was a fun vacation visit with my family and I bet it was so trilling, 

Traveling for business is a trip that must be planned very well in advance.  You must put into considerations many things from the day you leave to the day you will be back to your home.
I have met several people, especially ladies who got stranded in Ghana especially due to reasons including no communication with which they are visiting, ATM not working for them to cash money from Nigerian banks, augment with drivers over charges, not getting the right food from restaurant just as they would have eaten in Nigeria etc.

Note: Do you want the comprehensive ebook (downloadable) 210 Pages titled A-Z of doing business in Ghana, email me on syobizng @ gmail.com  
 
Let us look at 10 necessary preparation tips you must consider when traveling to Ghana for business.
1.    Understand Financial Implication of your movement: Never try to journey to Ghana without understanding and estimating how much you will be spending through out your stay in Ghana. This is very fundamental as you must calculate this to the later. The denominations of Naira and Ghana are very different. But I will advise that you equate in lay man’s sense N100 to GHc1. This is not the exact figure but I am just asking you to put this at the back of your mind so you are mindful when planning. You can get the exact exchange rate at http://www.xe.com
Write all your estimated and envisaged expenses on paper.  These should include among other the following
1.    Travel Cost by Road or Flight
2.    Expense on the road if going  by road
3.    Cost of hotel throughout period of stay:  Depending on where you want to stay, hotels are cheap between N1,000 to N5,000. And then there are the high brow hotels too depending on your budget.
4.    Cost of Transportation within Ghana. Also Transport is cheap but you must decide if you are using public buses called TroTro (Danfo in Naij), or you are taking Taxi. There is no discrimination and I advise you follow TroTro if you can and want to minimize cost. There are no Byke or Okada.
5.    Feeding: There are places you could find nice Nigerian food to eat. Just ask anyone in Circle, Accra and you will be show where Nigerian restaurant are. There you will find most Nigerian food including Fufu and Pounded Yam at N500 equivalent. Please note. What Ghanaians call Fufu is different from what you call fufu in Nigeria so be careful.
6.    Shopping or Doing Business: You must also estimate your budgeted money for doing business as you stay.
2.     
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      Are you going by road or air?  Going by road and going by air are two different situations. I have done the two and I tell you, it is fun in both, but one is more fun than the other.  While flying to Ghana, I had just myself and two traveling co-travelers to talk to. Most of the times, they were serious minded individuals or so to speak, I always initiated talks on topics but they seem no to be interested or so. I may also have sounded boring, but I think they were more of introverts than I am since I am the extrovert type. On three or so occasions, I was able to make friends and that brought a very strong relationship with a Kaduna based Blogger and broadcaster as a very reliable friend that we are so close today. He is a great guy. Gabriel is a friend, an author and blogger as well as a serial entrepreneur Gabriel Nmadu. His wife is a good lady who works with the Kaduna State Radio Broadcasting service. That relationship has seen me also mentoring my great friend into writing two great books on entrepreneurship. I was also to travel with him together to have training in Ghana and we were guest of a TV3 Broadcasting service in 2009 where we were interviewed together at Tudu Market, Accra, Ghana in 2009 by TV3 Crew.

Note: Do you want the comprehensive ebook (downloadable) 210 Pages titled A-Z of doing business in Ghana, email me on syobizng @ gmail.com  
 
I tell you the truth in all honesty. Traveling by road will give you all the needed fun and happiness you need. This is a journey of 10 hours traversing three countries via Nigeria to Benin, to Togo and then to Ghana finally. You will meet kinds of boring and interesting people who are going to different places for different reasons.  Aside the above, you would have passes three different countries and your International passport stamped in and out various countries. Plus you will be able to feel the countries. You will have a feeling of differences in environment, culture and the people of different countries than what you have seen before now. Isn’t this awesome?

I have traveled with my printed books on entrepreneurship, business, and relationship as well as motivational from Nigeria to Ghana by air and road. I have faced various immigration services personal at Nigerian Airport and Kotoka international airport as well as by road and I know what obtains in each. In all, both Nigerian immigration and Ghana’s own are all good mannered and well trained and you will be sure you will never be embarrassed. The only single issue I had was my being asked to print my books in Ghana and I understand this as this will help boost their economy and I did this with my other books including “How to bounce back from Life’s setback and mistakes”.

If you are traveling by air, my advice is that you do not just rush your travel. It is advisable to plan and pay in advance as there are various promos the airlines are giving at different times. You could book online ahead. But my advice is that you book one month to your travel date as this will give you a reduced cost. There are various airlines you can buy your air ticket from. And be sure you will be treated well and good.

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By Road: You have various commercial buses traveling from Nigeria to Ghana from Lagos to Accra and Accra to Lagos. So you have choices depending on your budget.
You could travel from Yaba through Efex or Cross Country Stations,  Amuwo Odofin with ABC or you head to Mile 2 where there are various types of buses and Cars traveling from Mile 2 to Accra both Night and Day. But personally, I enjoy travelling with Efex and Cross Country as that has been the regular company transport system I use over the years, especially Efex. I have had very close relationship with most of their Drivers including among other Mr. Simeon, Mr Segun and a host of other. They have been helpful in carrying my books to and from Ghana and I enjoyed their ride. I have also had some very stubborn Liberian driver who is no more driving with company now. He is a very nice guy but will always run into trouble with Togo Police who will always flag vehicle down for check but this guy will never stop. They will always chase him to stop and punish him. But hold on; they will never detain your vehicle, only thing they could do is to hold back some papers and ask you to pay latter and then come to retrieve your particulars. But in each of these cases, we will always be allowed to continue our travel. So it is not going to affect your journey.

Note: Do you want the comprehensive ebook (downloadable) 210 Pages titled A-Z of doing business in Ghana, email me on syobizng @ gmail.com  . You could also have a one-one-consultation with me.
 
Traveling from Lagos to Accra Ghana by road will cost you between N10,000 to N16,000 depending on what means of identification you have as well as what transport you are using. Mile2 used to be very cheap those days for N9,000 but it has increased to almost N13,000. The only side reasons most people will even take Mile2 is that even if you do not have means of identification, they will still allow you to travel. Note: I do not and will never encourage you to not have a means of identification. Traveling is a risky thing as you are protected in ECOWAS countries in all ramifications. This is a treaty that has been signed long ago between all ECOWAS country to protect free movement of goods and services of member citizens.

EFEX Transport will charge between N12,000 to N14,000. This is dependent on several factors; If your International Passport is Virgin(you have not used it before), if you are traveling with your company ID card or using Voter’s Card or National ID Card, the cost is higher. But if you have traveled before, the cost comes to N10,000 to N12,000. So is Cross Country Bus.

With ABC transport, you pay higher. My advice with experience is that you go with the small buses from Cross Country and Efex as preference unless you are having big luggage. I will be discussing about this latter. I will also prefer that you travel back to Nigeria with luxury buses such as ABC if you are buying to sell and you have heavy luggage as there are limited items these other companies that use smaller buses will carry. But in all, smaller buses will quickly get through checking at entry and leaving border points in each country (Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana borders – entry and exit).

Note: Do you want the comprehensive ebook (downloadable) 210 Pages titled A-Z of doing business in Ghana, email me on syobizng @ gmail.com  . You could also have a one-one-consultation with me.
 
You could pay in advance before you travel as that will make you be at rest and not under pressure. Pay at least one or two days before the day of departure and have your receipt given to you. All you need to go with in order to make payment is your means of identification in the form or International passport, ID card or Ecowas travelers Certificate.

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Also take the direct line of the company to call them as you leave your home for their station on the day you are traveling. If you are coming into Lagos from another state, you could have accommodation to sleep over in most of the stations or around there. This is important as departure time is always 7am.

Once you arrive in the morning, submit your travel identification to the attendant who will issue you a receipt again and hold your ID card or International Passport. Do not worry as it is safe. You will only be handed back your ID or International Passport once they are through with the last immigration check in Ghana. That will be almost 2 hours before you get to your final destination in Accra.

Your Dressing: While traveling, it is important you dress like a prospect rather than a suspect. I have had some sad experiences watching Immigration, Drug Law and other Security apparatus have issues with some co-travelers, especially young Nigerians. Simple reason: They dress like suspect in the name of “swag”. I advise you keep your swag in your house before leaving for the station to travel. 

Some will have their hair unkempt, wear dirty clothes, look rugged and “hard”, or have a feeling of pride when they are invited for just questioning by hard working Immigration, Drug law agents and this land them into trouble. These officers know their onions and do not forget they are good in psychology. And it is often said that you are addressed by your dressing. Look decent and good and travel for good intention and I bet you will never have problems with these guys. Just imaging a situation a young man who was traveling with us had 45 GSM Sim cards or Chips of various countries and when he was accosted (In fact, spotted by his dressing too), he bluffed the Agents. This landed him in trouble. We did not know what was happening until he raised alarm that his Sim cards were missing and wanted to call it “shit” with the officers. He said the officers had his cards and asked the driver to reverse back after we had left the check point. The officer asked him to check himself very well since he never took his cards. The young man insisted that the officer had his bunch of cards. Unfortunately for him, the cards fell out from his trouser pocket. He had the beating of his life and we had to intervene. The officer simply asked us “how many sim cards should a normal human being have”, and we answered not more than three. He said “ this man has 45 sim cards”.
I repeat, dress well, have a clean shave and nice hair cut. And be polite when you are asked any question. 

Be polite also with your co-travelers. Be good mannered and kind to your co-travelers. Never insult the driver or your co-travelers. Make friends.

Your Money: This is a critical issue. This is the most fundamental aspect of your journey. You already know that without money, you will not be able to travel.  Money will keep you going and doing things in Ghana and it will help solely to achieve your aim of going to Ghana. Deal with this issue very strongly in advance. It could be frustrating to travel and get stranded in Ghana. No one will listen to you. So just be careful and plan ahead here.
1.            Keep your money in your own Bank Account and have some that can also sustain you partly. ATM do fail. This very true. I have also seen people who got to Ghana and slot their ATM into Nigerian Banks over there and it could not dispense. This could be as a result of various reasons from network failure to no connection with the Interswich. Unfortunately, most have relied on they were told by bank workers when they went for inquiries of their ability to withdraw from ATM in Ghana. Also note, to my understanding, the Nigerian banks in Ghana and Nigeria do not work on same platform so if you have issues, they will most likely refer you to your bank back home. Do not rely on the banks in Ghana to solve your problem easily, though they will try.

You can only withdraw your money in Ghana through ATM and not bank cashing with your ID or through your regular cheque book in Nigeria.


One of the best ways to go about this is to have accounts with Ecobank and GTB as they both work reliably well in terms of ATM. At least if one fails, you can use the other. Thank God that technology has improved and the rate of ATM failure now is just very minimal.


2.            Use UBA Africash: UBA has a service called Africash and it is wonderful. You can use this service to your advantage while travelling. The only condition is that you must own a Bank Account with UBA. With Africash, you can send and receive money within Africa where the UBA banks are. Fortunately, UBA is one of the best banks in Ghana. All you have to do is send money to yourself in Ghana and cash it in their bank while there. Note that in all, you will be receiving your money by ATM or Africash in Ghana Cedi and not Naira
3.            Hold some cash: Hold your some or all your cash if you are comfortable or do not want to use any of the services above or want to be very sure. Your money is secured while travelling but you must be careful. This way you can also change your money on the road. Please avoid flaunting your money so people will know you’ve got it. It is dangerous.
4.            Changing Your Money: You can change your money to Ghana Cedi at Lakoji in Togo or at Aflao Entry of Ghana. In all, you must be very careful, cool and take your time so you do not lose your money. There are still dubious changers but you must rely on the driver who will always have someone reliable to change money for all passengers. The driver will announce that anyone who wants to change Naira to Cedi should change from a particular money exchanger. This should be followed strictly.
Ask for exchange rate, then ask for calculator and do your multiplication and get the amount. Also, note that the money and denomination of Cedi could be confusing. You must be careful about this. Make sure your money is complete before you leave the exchanger.
Another place you could change your money from Naira to Cedi is when you are in Ghana and need more Cedis. You could do this at any Bureau Exchange. But you have to  note that their money will not be as much as the one in the places discussed above, though you are very sure to get your exact money without issue as well as quality service. 

You could also go to Tudu Market in Accra and exchange with the exchangers there very close to GTBank or Nigerian Station. Just ask and you will see many of them. Please note that you must be careful with them as some a dubious. Always use your intelligence. If you need assistance, just call any of the drivers loading Nigerian passengers and they will assist you. Most of them  are Yoruba and Ibo so you could speak any of the language to them and feel at home.
Never change your money in the night no matter what and never get late around Odo Rice area of circle as there are a lot of miscreants there. That is the only black spot where you could be robbed. While passing there in the day time, you must also be careful. You should be at alert and watch if you are going to enter Tro Tro or Bus around that area. My advise is that always board your vehicle if you can at terminals as this will give you safety with your money or personal effects. But generally, there is nothing to be afraid of as circle is relatively very calm, peaceful and there is night life there.

 Note: Do you want the comprehensive ebook (downloadable) 210 Pages titled A-Z of doing business in Ghana, email me on syobizng @ gmail.com  . You could also have a one-one-consultation with me.
3.    Arrival and Hotel: It is important that you plan ahead before your arrival and budget for hotel. You are getting there late and if you do not know anyone, you could be confused and stranded. But fortunately, you will see Taxis all around and you could ask them to take you to a hotel around. You must have a budget before you arrive. Around the Efex station, you could ask the Taxi to take you to the opposite street and look for cheap hotels around there. If you have enough money and want comfort and luxury, there is a luxurious hotel directly opposite Efex Transport Station called Paloma and you could have $100 to $200 accommodation there per night. Otherwise, you could have GHc40 (N2,000)  to GHc100 (N5,000) decent hotel with fan to full AC around there. You could ask of New Haven, Ingot around there or ask them to take you to other hotels around. One trick you can also use is to call Efex Ghana in advance and ask them to help you in accommodation. I bet they will do so long as you are their passenger.  Their direct phone number is: +233245522510. You could also do this with the assistance of the driver. Same with Cross Country.

By and large, you will not be stranded with accommodation on arrival if you have your money.

If all you have it just N500 for accommodation, you will also have your way. What you need to do is to look for hostels that charge GHc6 to Ghc10 per day. You can have this accommodation for months if you wish.  But you should note that you will have from 4 to 8 people in a large room with 4 to 8 beds. The only problem with this is that your things are not private. But you must be able to have a way to deal with this as you start staying there.

I have also seen some other Nigerians who use some very intelligent method to sleep. They just look for Internet Café and Stay there to browse over night. This way they sleep in these places for long or throughout their business stay.

How will you take your bath and go to Toilet if you use these smart methods? I know you will ask this!  There are public toilet and baths and you can just use them when needed for 50pesewas (N25) to GHc1 (N50).

4.    Means of Identification: Always move with your means of identification in your pocket. Never go out without your ID. This is important and try not to keep late nights outside. There are no security issues in Ghana per see, but you must be careful as you do not understand their language. There are still dubious people anywhere you go so you have to be careful.
5.    Friendship: It is important that you make friends as you travel but be careful. You also need to mind and check very well the type of friends you will keep in Ghana for business or personal. Birds of a feather flocks together.

6.    Worship Center: You have various worship religious centers in Ghana. There are a lot of Nigerian Churches for worship and you could attend Churches in any of them. There are Redeem Christian Church of God almost everywhere, but Winners Chapel and Christ Embassy is so popular in Ghana. Deeper life Church is also popular. Just ask a Taxi and  or go to Bus Station in Nkruma Circle and you will have an easy way to be at Winners and Christ Embassy Churches in Industrial Area. Note that there are two types of Winners Chapel in Ghana. You have Winners International and Winners Ghana. International is owned by Winners Nigeria while Winners Ghana is owned by a Ghana Pastor who used to be with Winners International. Just tell them you are going to Winners International or Winners Nigeria and you will be there from Circle within 10 minutes drive. From Circle Station, you will be paying around GHc150 (N70) to get there.

This is also the best place to make quality friends. Join a group and participate in Church activities if you are going to stay permanent in Ghana.

Note: Do you want the comprehensive ebook (downloadable) 210 Pages titled A-Z of doing business in Ghana, email me on syobizng @ gmail.com  . You could also have a one-one-consultation with me.
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