Are you one of those people who always bring too much and in the end not even the things that you needed?
Packing your bags for even a weekend trip can be really hard. Let alone if you travel to Africa, maybe for holidays or to volunteer. Many of our guests are having questions on what to pack, not only for themselves but also what to bring for the locals.
I will write about what to wear, and what not to wear. About which toiletries are difficult to find here and which ones you certainly don’t need to bring to Ghana. About what to bring for the locals/children and what you don’t need to bring. Towels, sheets etc are also part of this blog and any other things that might be useful.
At the end of the blog you’ll find a packing list… Disclaimer; While packing use your own mind also, please don’t blame me when you forgot to bring your favourite book……
Which clothes are advisable to pack? And which not!!?
I often see that guests bought new clothing items just because they come to Africa.. Not necessary! Last summer it was hotter in Europe than in Africa, did everyone wear their survival, light weight khaki trousers? I know you’re travelling to Ghana, but please we have fashion here as well;)
So check your wardrobe first! Which dresses are nice and comfortable during the summer? This is a nice place to start. During rain season it can be quite humid here, in other words……you will sweat. So from the stack of nice and comfortable dresses eliminate the ones that will stick to your body. While you’re eliminating also take out the very light coloured dresses. It can be dusty over here.
The next elimination round is depending on where in Ghana you will be going… As I already wrote we do have fashion in Ghana as well. Only some of the fashionable items are more appreciated in Accra or at the beach than in a village. Part of travelling without a negative impact is showing respect to the inhabitants of the country you are visiting. With that in mind, do bring some hot-pants, very short skirts, short tops, very tight dresses to Ghana if you like to wear them and don’t want to miss them. But wear them in Accra or at the beach, where you see Ghanaian ladies wear things like that as well. There are churches in Europe where you have to wear a scarf to cover your arms and we do that. So here also we can show respect very easily.
‘I already draw enough attention to myself because I’m white, no need to make it worse’.
One of our former volunteers
All this doesn’t mean you can’t wear shorts as a lady or skirts, just make sure they have a decent length or bring leggings.
During the evening/night the temperature can drop and mosquitoes come out, so bring some long trousers(also for hikes in Nature parks) and long sleeves to Ghana.
As for footwear, flip flops are nice for every day things. But try to bring some ‘nicer’ slippers or sandals as well. In Ghana they call flip flops bathroom sandals, which means they use them to shower with and lot’s of showers are also the place to urinate. Therefore flip flops are not taken inside a room. However, don’t forget to pack some sneakers or walking shoes, you’ll need them on hikes in nature parks.
What can I buy in Ghana?
Just about anything! So don’t worry too much. Here are a few things that either are harder to find, or are just really expensive; Tampons, mosquito repellent with a high concentrating of DEET, Sun block and that’s about it…
So forget about bringing all your toiletries in abundance and don’t even think of bringing washing powder. We shower here, we brush our teeth and yes we also wash our clothes…
Bringing a world plug is also not necessary, a power-bank could come in handy though just like a torch light. If you don’t have a torch light at home, then just buy one here. The local stores have them in stock.
The local stores have lot’s of basic items, sometimes you’ll have to search a bit, but visiting the local markets is part of the experience.. And lots of the more basic items for your skin and hair are even nicer than the ones that cost a fortune… Why buy Aloe Vera gel or tea, when you have Aloe Vera in your garden?? If you really need other ‘Western’ items, you can go to one of the many malls or supermarkets in the city.
What about towels, bedsheets and mosquito net?
This depends on your travel plans. Moon&Star Guesthouse provides all. But not every accommodation does. So if you are travelling as well as staying with us bring a few towels, also for when you are going to swim. As for bedsheets, leave them at home. You are coming to Africa, they sell beautiful fabrics here! Just buy 2 yards and you have your pareo, bedsheet, beachtowel, picnic blanket in a handy all-in-one package.
I’m not going to tell you not to buy/bring a mosquito net, but I do see a lot travellers who come to Ghana with one and never use it in the end…
What to bring for the locals in Ghana?
This is also a question that I get a lot. We believe in stimulating the local economy and not the one you are coming from.. And we can buy everything we need in Ghana. So in other words, anything that you’ll have to buy over there isn’t really necessary here… Unless the people from the projects actually ask for it. In other words, sponsored items are nice since you didn’t spend on it, except maybe energy to carry it to here.
But please let the sharing be done by the local leaders/ projects. I know it’s nice to give everybody a balloon or toothbrush in person… But it doesn’t help in terms of sustainable tourism.
And if you managed to raise funds from friends and family, we really appreciate it!! But it’s nice to spend the funds here, so that you are not only helping the project, but also the local entrepreneur…
- passport with visa and a photocopy
- bank card/credit card(don’t forget to change it to world card)
- your mobile banking device
- print out of your ticket
- yellow card(vaccination booklet)
- travel insurance
- shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, bodylotion, but only for the first (few) days
- sun screen
- mosquito repellent with high concentration of DEET, however the low concentration can be bought here
- after bite soothing cream
- shaving cream and razor blades(the blades can be bought here as well)
- lip balm if you come during dry season
- medicine if needed, painkillers can be bought here as well
- plasters and iodine
- contacts lenses and fluids, spare specs, reading glasses
- disinfectant(small, can also be bought here)
- hair brush/comb
- hair bows
- no hair-dryer
- nail clipper/file
- Cap/sunglasses/hand bag or small backpack. For any of these things, if you don’t like the one you have at home…. You can buy them in Ghana as well.
Clothing(minimum you should bring to Ghana, if your luggage is big and you like carrying more…. Go right ahead)
- pair of long trousers
- 2 long sleeves or 1 vest and 1 long sleeve
- 5 tops(at least 1 with short sleeves)
- 3 shorts/skirts
- a dress/blouse for nicer events/church
- a black or dark brown dress or blouse(big chance you’ll get invited to a funeral)
- 2 pairs of socks
- flip flops
- something to sleep in
- 2 (small)towels, no need for a heavy and big beach towel
- wash cloth
- mobile phone+charger
- tablet/laptop/camera if you like
- no world plug
- Bradt travel guide
- entertainment if you like(music, games, books etc)
- earplugs if you like
- torch light
- sewing kit
Please note that this list contains only the necessary items, feel free to pack other items as well!
If you have any comments/additions/questions please let us know in the comment section or mail us!