Accra Ghana for Airports and Visas Accra, Ghana West Africa Saturday, August 18, 2007
Accra appears to be an almost ideal location to base the acquisition of Visas for West Africa. The airport is one of the cheapest entry and exit gates in West Africa and on average can be about 300-400 USA dollars cheaper than either Ivory Coast or Togo.
I have been having a few looks at this page to discover how to get Visas for all the countries to the West and North of Ghana; it looks like I can get almost all of them in Accra, Ghana. http://www.embassypages.com/
I am probably going to apply for the Burkina Faso Visa on Monday and hold off on the Liberia and Sierra Leone. I am thinking it is better to take an upper road loop to Burkina Faso, Mali and on to Senegal, and then come along the coast back to Accra. I think some overland truck campers come this route and I can learn from someone who spent a year researching the trip before leaving.
Getting a Visa can be easy or difficult, Liberia wants three days, and Sierra Leone wants about 7 days, this is 10 days of living in Accra, Ghana. A person has to decide, do I want to invest 10 days into Accra, so far my answer is no, if this were Cape Coast, Ghana I would say yes.
I tried to ask the Sierra Leone Embassy how soon I needed to enter; I could not get by the reception person to find out the answer.
For example, I got the Ghana Visa in two days in Lome, Togo, I then had three months of leeway time before I needed to enter Ghana or the Visa would expire. This leeway time makes getting Visa too soon a problem, I got cheated by Niger and had to pay 40 US for a Visa because they refused to honor a valid Visa Entente because they wanted to ignore how the leeway and use of the Visa worked. The Visa attained in Cote d’Ivoire was good, but the time to cross Ghana before made confusion that helped Niger cheat me. Even the smallest confusion in interpretation and the crossing of a border can erupt into a pay questionable and more or less bribes to get it to work fees.
I need to get a Visa to a country less than one month before I enter if possible and not more than two months if possible to optimize my chance of not having problems.
The Hotel situation in Accra is close to bleak at the under 10-dollar price range, I am paying 80-100,000 for a great private room, with a shared toilet in the double road belt area.
I took a Taxi to the Crystal Hostel, it cost 15 US for a room, and 10 for a dorm bed, then the cost of a taxi back and forth to the embassies would be double the cost and double the time as it is out through a ton of traffic area.
The central beltway or the YWCA area would be the ideal location to get Visas. Anyway, I do it, two people make more sense for rooms in Accra, and I am tempted to think the George something hotel would be the best all around for a couple.
The best reason to be in Accra so far as of today is for the internet, it is Skype.com fast, I can connect my computer and make telephone calls cheap to about anywhere at some cafes. I was all excited because the Crystal Hostel has WIFI, and when I got there is was not on, and not being used, one computer and he said I had to pay if I did more than casually checked my email. The area is more typical Ghana though and would be more cultural than the central beltway, however to me strictly taxi.
I was hoping to find some Hong Kong style, Expat hangouts in Accra, however I have only seen NGO people and it looks like World Vision was building a new building. I am not sure, it seemed like the Crystal was out in NGO central, so maybe the reason for being popular.
I looked at my map; the Airport, Embassies, and Internet are my three reasons to be in Accra, Ghana. I am trying to suss out the city, however somewhere between the airport and the Embassy area would be ideal place to find a Hotel. I would expect to find an Internet café, as they do seem to be most places.
The big bus situation is semi-nuts, it appears I need to take a taxi to find out the cost and times, etc, and if I did that, by the time paid for that and did all the taxi mess, it would be just better to take off and hope to snag either a Tro Tro 15 passenger van and get to Cape Coast quicker in total travel time.
All in all Accra is a modern city; out towards the Airport I saw a mall and some large grocery stores, some huge housing additions. This all looks very modern; all the neighborhoods around the Embassies seem nice, shaded and pleasant.
I would say the Hotel I am in presently, however the Ghana people on the internet threaten me. Senegal may have all the same Embassies, and I think more Western Countries do not need a Visa to enter. I think there are some surfers over in that area also to lend to beach life if it exist in Africa.