My dear friends, i should break it to you: no matter how we would like to think of a journey to Africa as a spontaneous decision, it requires a serious planning at a decent time frame. Even if you belong to the people, who don’t worry much for the “details”, you will be “harassed” by the countless questions of your close environment so much, that you would like to start planning only to get rid of those annoying (but at the same time somehow significant) questions.
I started from the basic ones first.
- When do i have free time to travel to Ghana? The answer was during the summer. Or should i say our summer, because in Ghana June-August is their “winter” period. That means that it is raining a lot , although it is hot. It should be interesting! I was informed through a youtube video that in africa it is not a common picture to hold an umbrella in the rain! Take a look at Ghana’s climate.
- Then of course i had to get a passport, for i hadn’t traveled out of EU before. The procedure is basically simple. You need to have some ugly pictures taken, where you are not allowed to laugh. Pay an amount of 80 euros in tax service. Apply for it. After a week or so it is ready. (for more details click here.
- When my passport was secure in my hands, i had to book my tickets to Africa! This search to the best value for money and airline company was painful for my poor head. At last i booked tickets from Athens to Cairo and from Cairo to Accra (the capital of Ghana), since there is no straight flight from Greece to Ghana. It cost 550 euros. Not that bad
- Then i had to take care of the health issues. There is a service (ΚΕΕΛΠΝΟ) in Greece that is in charge of the travel medicine. They informed me that i had to be injected by some vaccines and take antimalarian treatment. In order to travel to Ghana the yellow fever vaccine is mandatory. In Greece two of the vaccines are made by a public service. Those of yellow fever and typhoid fever. The rest had to subscribed by a doctor. I visited several doctors, regarding the subscription of the vaccines and the health exams, but sadly noone was willing to “accompany” me in my journey. Fortunately, i found a doctor who, although hadn’t got a precedent of someone going to Africa, showed intrest to help me. I had a check up ( blood tests) and I did the last shots of some vaccines of childhood ( tetanus, diphtheria, polio, meningitis). When it comes to antimalarian treatment they gave me two options. Either a pill – called Lariam– once a week, which might give me bad reactions as nightmares, or Malarone, that is to be taken every day during the stay in Ghana, one day before and a week after. Because I would not fancy waking up in the hostel during the night out of nightmares, I got the second choice. I will come back to it after i try those pills.
- Last days i visited the consulate of Ghana in Greece about the visa issue. I was bewildered to start with because at the adress where the consulat should have been i saw a big marine company. It proved to be inside the companys office! So there i had to fill a simple application, give some more ugly passport pictures, provide the letter of acceptance from the NGO and pay sixty euros. Details of two persons in Ghana were also needed. Oh! and the passport of course. The visa should be ready in five days.
- Another important tip for a traveler is to get a travel insurance so that will be able to visit a private hospital in case of emergency (or other morbid things).
Let’s do this!