Our towns: Accra, Ghana

Accra is a wonderful city. It is safe (so long as you don't do anything obviously stupid and carry an expensive bag down a dark alley in the wrong part of town). It has wide open boulevards, many places that have excellent live music, fantastic seafood and other goodies at ridiculously low prices, cheap beer (but expensive soft drinks) and a people who's primary threat to you is that your face will hurt from smiling back.

Arriving in Ghana

Kotoka International Airport has recently been renovated and many new features added. But it's still an airport in a developing country. Immigration is efficient (technically there is no visa on arrival but the Immigration officials are used to travelling business people turning up at short notice and so not having been able to get a visa. Ask your sponsor to make arrangements for you, if you are unable to fix your own visa in advance). Visas are required for most people, even those from Commonwealth countries.

The baggage retrieval is reasonably efficient and bags often arrive soon after passengers clear immigration. Customs is efficient and most passengers pass unhindered.

Outside, there is chaos - but this is, in part, because unlike some other countries the greeters are kept at a distance. You will find it difficult to find your greeter. If possible, agree in advance a landmark.

Ghanaians are wonderfully carefree about time. So your greeter may not be there when expected anyway. Take care to arrange your greeter with someone reliable.

You will have to walk to your car but once you are with your greeter you will not be hassled by touts or hawkers.

A lesson from experience: if your greeter isn't there, don't get into a taxi unless you know the area well. A personal experience: after more than 20 hours travelling to get to Accra, our boss, the head of our group, the man who's function is to identify scams a mile away, got into a taxi and in a state of dehydration, exhaustion and couldn't-care-less-ness said "OK" when the taxi driver said the fare was 10 dollars, US. The journey took about a minute and a half. Literally. In fact, it had taken longer to walk to the car than the journey in the car too. He says that he laughed about it, and gave the driver the 10 dollars simply for pulling off such an outrageous scam. The journey, with cab fares as they were at the time, should have cost the equivalent of about 30 US cents.

©2009 The Financial Crime Forum