7 Travel Tips You Should Know Before Coming to West Africa

  1. ALWAYS BARGAIN IN WEST AFRICA: It is always expected that customers bargain with vendors of an item for an appropriate price (a few exceptions include food items and anything with the price noted on it). It is the culture so do not feel awkward about it!
Some Customers Bargaining with a Vendor at the Cultural Centre in Accra, Ghana.

2. TAXIS / UBER ARE FASTEST: If you would prefer to use public transportation instead of a rental, then taxis are definitely the way to go. There are multiple options, including buses and ‘trotros’ (minivans) but taxis will get you where you need to go with minimal fuss.

Taxis in West Africa

3. 220 VOLTS FOR EVERYTHING: If you are coming from a region where the electrical sockets are 110volts (i.e. USA) you will need to make sure your adapters for all of your appliances (phones, computers etc.) can take 220volts as this is the voltage all West African countries use.

Portable Electrical Adapters

4. CHANGE MONEY AT THE FOREX BUREAU: Benin/Togo/Cote d’Ivoire/Senegal currency = West African Franc (CFA). Ghana currency = Ghana Cedi (GHC). Sao Tome & Principe currency = Sao Tome & Principe Dobra (STD). Gambia currency = Dalasi (GMD). The easiest/best way to change money is at the forex bureaus.

Different Currencies that can Changed at any Forex Bureau in West Africa.

5. IT IS HOT ALWAYS: As a tropical region, West Africa usually has temperatures between 21C-32C (70F-97F). At certain times of the year the temperature can be even higher. It is important to travel with appropriate clothing/protection e.g. light cotton clothes, sunscreen lotion, sunglasses, hats etc.

A Typical Sunny Day in West Africa

6. GET A VISA EARLY: Passports can be obtained from your local federal building and should be done 3 months before your departure date. Visas should be obtained 2 months before your departure date. Using a visa service is recommendable.

A Picture of Nigerian and ECOWAS Passports

7. PHONES ARE GSM IN WEST AFRICA: In West Africa the phones use the GSM system so if you want to get a local phone number you will have to buy a GSM chip (not all phones can use GSM chips). You can get a chip from any number of cellular network providers for under $5.

A Phone that uses GSM System in West Africa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *