There are many different ways for you to travel to Ghana by boat but very few involve a direct journey. The main ports are Accra and Takoradi. Both do serve vessels traveling on international itineraries but not as frequently as other major ports on the Western coast of Africa.
Most boats traveling to Ghana are freight ships and finding an alternative, such as a cruise ship, is impossible. The only other option is that you can privately charter a boat from a number of reputable companies all over the world, most of which you can easily find online or in your local business directory.
Traveling on a freight ship to Ghana will not be as comfortable as traveling on a luxurious cruise ship. The main purpose of a freight ship is to transfer cargo and so there is no space on board for any recreational areas beyond the canteen which you would share with the crew. This might make the boat journey to Ghana quite unpleasant. The fact that the journey might be unpleasant is not reflected in the price as the cost of traveling on a freighter ship is likely to be similar to what it will cost on a plane.
Cargo ships tend to travel all over the world and almost all of the major freight operators serve the western coast of Africa even if they do not stop in Ghana itself.
Perhaps the most convenient way of traveling to Ghana by boat is by beginning the journey in one of the neighboring countries. Not only would the journey then also be far shorter it would also be much cheaper. Finding a boat that travels directly to Accra or Takoradi will be far easier in the Ivory Coast or Nigeria, countries that are relatively close to Ghana.
If you are insisting on traveling directly to Ghana and your point of departure will be outside of Africa then you must prepare yourself for a tremendously long journey. Some freighter routes include Amsterdam, Hamburg, Tilbury, Antwerp, Le Havre, Dakar, Freetown, Abidjan, Tema, Lome, Cotonou, Lagos and Douala as ports of call before they arrive in Takoradi, Ghana. The journey might take almost two weeks and involve traveling over 5,000 km, which is close to 3,500 miles.
There are various legal obstacles too. Arriving in some ports you might find that you require a visa to go on shore and without one you might have to stay on the boat until it begins the next leg of its journey.
With such a strenuous itinerary involved there are various preparations that you can make to be sure that the journey will be as tolerable as possible.
Stock up on some sea sickness tablets. Even if you have never suffered from sea sickness before it is possible that you might this time. It is better to be safe than sorry because once you are on board and traveling there will be no pharmacy on the way.
Pack some reading materials. Whether you prefer magazines or books make sure you bring something because the alternative is sitting in your cabin and counting the minutes.
Prepare your visa applications. You might arrive at a port in the middle of the night and the better prepared you are the less stressed you will then be.
There are is a major danger associated with traveling to Ghana by boat. Maritime security is a problem in Western Africa and reports of pirates hijacking boats are not unusual. Pirates usually target oil ships instead of freight ships but until there is an improved naval presence in the sea there will always be an associated risk when traveling by boat to Ghana.
Having an insurance policy that covers you for such a journey is imperative but it is not likely to be cheap. Check the small print of any policy to be sure that you are covered in international waters.
- Photo Credit cargo ship leaving harbor image by Aleksey Kondratyuk from Fotolia.com
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