Ghana is one of the most popular gap year destinations in Africa, and little wonder. Along with a varied landscape, it’s a settled country with a stable democracy, and one that’s keen to modernise. You’ll find an intriguing mix of traditional West African and old colonial, all updated with a busy modern twist. This gives it a unique character, exemplified by the brightly coloured traditional clothing seen alongside Western suits in the cities.
Because Ghana is near the equator, it offers an amazing array of terrains to explore while you travel. You can find adventure in deep tropical forests, where the wildlife includes everything from the fearsome forest elephant to darting colobus monkeys, or relax on the miles of gorgeous beaches, where an alternative surf scene comes with the hot climate you need to enjoy it properly.
Safe, friendly and rapidly modernising, Ghana is a great place for students to travel. As well as outdoor activities, it has a rich history, including a dark past as one of the points in the triangular slave trade, which can be explored at Cape Coast, the centre of the trade. There’s a thriving music scene here too, particularly in the capital, Accra, where old-school hi-life mixes with hip hop and Afro reggae to make hip-life.
Going to Ghana as a student volunteer is a great way to make a contribution to a developing country, and you’ll see real results even on a short visit. You can care for children in orphanages, help out with volunteer work on healthcare projects or teach in local schools.