So, you have signed up to volunteer in Ghana.
Now, one of the next decisions you have to make is choosing the town and setting where you will live and volunteer in Ghana.
It’s really hard to pick a “bad” place to volunteer in Ghana. So please do not fret *too* much about the choice.
We have volunteering locations in Ghana ranging from the urban to semi-rural to mudhut!
Here are some more details on the towns and lifestyles of the 4 places to volunteer in Ghana:
1. Cape Coast
If you are looking for a mix of the urban and rural experience, consider volunteering in Cape Coast. The area is very popular with tourists — who visit Cape Coast Castle and Kakum National Park. The University of Cape Coast (UCC) and the massive fishing fleet also dominate the urban area of Cape Coast.
Most volunteers live in Cape Coast city then commute daily to a rural area to work. One volunteer placement is at a school about 25 minutes by car from the city. The school was started by a young Ghanaian man who also has an orphanage in this same village. This placement feels very remote and is really poor even by Ghana standards. It is way off the tourist trails, as opposed to the town of Cape Coast.
On the urban side, the Abura Literacy School, about 10 minutes by taxi from Cape Coast City, has been a popular volunteer placement. The students and teachers at the school are wonderful.
I also like the fact that the principal started this school himself. I always have a special affection for those who take a chance to start their own ventures.
We actually got a flat tire outside the school, and in true Ghana style, the kids came into the alley to watch us fix it — and they all preceded to take a pee break right on the road!
Kpando is one of my favorite towns in the world, not just Ghana (besides Sydney and Saigon). Kpando is off the tourist trails, but enough of a main town that you can meet a wide range of people and have access to modern services like Internet and ATMs.
The population is about 20K. You can walk from one end of main street to the other in about 15 minutes, then you are on an asphalt road that seems to have no end! Until you run into nearby tiny towns like Fesi about 3-4 miles away.
I like the small-town feel of Kpando. Everyone knows each other, and it shows:
One morning one of our Ghana Coordinators left her extra pair of heels in a taxi. We figured they were lost forever. But when we returned to town that night with volunteers, the taxi driver was literally holding the heels out the window and driving on Main Street looking for us. Try that one in New York or Delhi!
Volunteering in Kpando is a popular location. It is the town where we have the most volunteers, so you will be able to easily mingle with other foreigners if you wish. Our Ghana Coordinator has a house in Kpando and I stay with their family on each trip to Ghana.
Kpando even has its own professional soccer (football) team, called the Heart of Lions.
Hohoe is about 15 minutes by taxi from Kpando. Hohoe is larger than Kpando with about 55K people but the former also has a rural feel.
Most volunteers in Hohoe serve at the local community school started by our Ghana Coordinator Mary Afari. She is an incredibly dedicated person. I first met her and her family about 15 years ago. I’ve never met a more sincere and dedicated person helping others. Here is her website: https://www.gmaghana.
On weekends volunteers in Hohoe can take a short taxi to Togo. You will need a visa to enter Togo which you can obtain at the border. While staying in Hohoe, most volunteers also visit Wli Waterfalls which is the highest waterfall in Ghana and second highest in West Africa.
Accra is the capitol of Ghana and its largest city with a population of 1.5 million.
Accra certainly does have all of the trappings of a big African city — dense traffic, hustle and bustle, tons of food options, and ground transport to anywhere. The air pollution in Accra from vehicle exhaust and dust is horrible.
But despite its size, Accra has a small-town feel like the rest of Ghana. You’ll find many outdoor markets, cows and goats walking the streets, dirt roads, rustic roadside bars and restaurants, and roosters waking up the neighborhood at 5 AM.
Most tourists spend little time in Accra. Perhaps a day or two to see some historical sites and to have drinks and lunch a beach resort.
Accra, like many African and Asian large cities (Mumbai, Bangkok, Saigon), absorbs thousands of migrants each year from villages in search of new life in the “big city” via work or education.
Our volunteers in Accra like the diversity of life in the city as well as the endless options for shopping, eating, entertainment and meeting a cross-section of Ghanaians.