PMGY volunteer in Ghana participants are based in a friendly neighbourhood of Ghana’s second city, Kumasi. The Volunteer House is a 45 minute drive into Kumasi city centre, which is still full of Ashanti traditions and has some interesting sights.
Kumasi is still the heart of Ashanti country and is surrounded by rolling green hills and has a vast and vibrant central market. Close to the market is the city’s National Cultural Centre which encompasses a museum of Ashanti history and you can even try your hand at traditional dance and drumming classes!
Participants generally volunteer on a Monday-Friday basis and the weekends are free to relax or travel further afield. As our volunteers will testify, the wider travel opportunities are extremely important to the whole experience and it is something we certainly recommend. Our local team are able to arrange activities, transport and accommodation but please note this is usually an independent experience outside of the core program.
KUMASI (KEJETIA) CENTRAL MARKET
One of the largest markets in West Africa with up to 11,000 stalls and four times as many people working there, this throbbing open-air market is utterly captivating. Just 30 minutes from your PMGY base this chaotic and buzzing spot is a labyrinth of stalls selling everything you could ever want and quite a few things you didn’t! Kejetia market offers a range of products including gold and diamond jewelry handcrafted by the Ashantis, traditional Ashanti kente cloth, food, spices, grains, and toiletries. Definitely worth a visit.
KUMASI NATIONAL CULTURAL CENTRE
This offers a fantastic insight into the culture of Ghana, particularly that of the Ashanti people. The Centre covers a large area close to the Kumasi Zoo. The terrain is nicely situated on top of a hill, full of palm and banana trees, green lawns and other colourful plants. Inside the walls you find a museum about the Ashanti history, a national library, a restaurant and some stalls with traditional souvenirs (the paintings and woodwork are particularly good). Right in the middle there’s a theatre where you can see traditional dance and music.
BOMWIRE KENTE WEAVING VILLAGE
Kente was the cloth of kings. It is a royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance. Over time, the use of kente became more widespread, however its importance has remained and it is held in high esteem in the Akan family. There are a number of villages that produce this traditional Ghanaian cloth. Asante kente is identified by its dazzling, multicoloured patterns of bright colours, geometric shapes and bold designs. Bomwire Kente Weaving Village is one of the closest places where you can buy kente clothing and learn how it is made.
BOABENG FIEMA MONKEY SANCTUARY
The people in Boabeng and Fiema consider the monkeys to be sacred and in the 70s came together to pass a law prohibiting causing harm to them. The sanctuary holds about 400 Colobus and Mona monkeys. They often come into the village to steal things, but as the people are not allowed to hurt them, they simply get away with it! The sanctuary guides will take you on a tour of the rainforest and local village, where you will see monkeys everywhere. There is also a cemetery in the forest, where the village priests are buried alongside monkeys.
The lakseside is a popular retreat for volunteers at the weekend looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Kumasi, with a range of decent, cheap hotels too. You can take a boat trip, go swimming, or just chill out by Bosomtwi, the largest natural lake in Ghana. The Ashanti consider it a sacred lake and according to traditional belief, the souls of the dead come here to bid farewell to the god Asase Ya. Our local team run medical outreach camps at Lake Bosomtwi on an ad-hoc basis to provide free healthcare to the local community.
BEACHES & SURFING
Not far from Cape Coast you’ll find no shortage of great beaches such as Busua, Anomabo, and Elimina. Busua is a small, laid-back coastal village with surfing at its heart. It is home to the only surf shops in Ghana, and most of the country’s surfers live in the village. With gentle waves, warm water and an absence of sharks, the beach is an alluring proposition for anyone looking to learn to surf in a tropical destination off the usual circuit. More experienced surfers can make easy trips along the coast to find more challenging and unridden waves.
KAKUM NATIONAL PARK
From Cape Coast, it is highly advised that you take a day-trip to Kakum National Park. The 607 sq km of protected rainforest is home to an assortment of animals, including forest elephants, giant hogs, flying squirrels, leopards and various species of monkey. For a truly unique way to experience this tropical rainforest take a short walking safari on the famous canopy walkways. If you fancy something a bit different, you can stay in one of the park’s tree houses overnight for a truly unique experience.
PMGY ORGANISED WEEKEND TRIPS
PMGY operate a number of amazing weekend trips in Ghana. Everything is planned for you and the group is accompanied by a PMGY member of staff who knows the country inside and out, which is the ideal way to travel. As with everything in life though it pays to be organised, so if you have your heart set on any of the trips below and would like to be guaranteed a place please book well in advance of travel.
The weekend trip itineraries for Ghana and any subsequent payments are arranged directly with the local team in Kumasi. Trips are run based on interest levels from volunteers, and this can therefore mean there are sometimes differences compared to the trip dates listed. We do not require any prior commitment or payments until you have started on the program. You can discuss the various opportunities directly with the team once you have arrived in Ghana and once you have met other volunteers on the program.
CAPE COAST WEEKEND TRIP - 2,000 CEDI pp. (LOCAL PAYMENT)
INCLUDES - PRIVATE TRANSPORT, ACCOMMODATION, ALL MEALS & ENTRANCE FEES
Cape Coast is one of the most historical locations in West Africa for its place in the slave trade. It offers an experience like nothing you will ever encounter with its dark dungeons of history and breathtaking view of the sea. This village has so much colour with its endless beaches of fishing trade and coastal culture. Kakum National Park is just a drive north of the sea where you can walk in the treetops of the rain forest.
Busua Beach rates as the best beach in Ghana for its surf. It is one of the cleanest beaches in Ghana with its rich fishing lifestyle! Here we will take a surfing class and surf in the waves of the Gulf of Guinea. Take this time to relax and unwind on the Ghanaian coast!
DAY ONE - CAPE COAST
We will leave early in the morning for Cape Coast. The journey to the sea will take around 5 hours. Upon arrival, we will go to Cape Coast Castle to experience the thrilling feeling of walking the same steps as the African slaves in the dungeons out to the door of no return. Be prepared to learn about the shocking history of Ghana’s slave fortresses and their significance to modern-day Ghana.
Following this, we will go to Hans Cottage Botel for lunch and a chance to see wild crocodiles. After lunch, we will go to Kakum National Park to walk in the treetops at the canopy walk. This consists of 9 bridges that reach 40 meters above the forest floor. To end the day, we will spend 2 hours travelling west to Busua village.
DAY TWO - BUSUA BEACH
The weekend offers a chance for a nice lie-in! If you are up for an early morning we invite you to join us for the opportunity to pull in the nets of the local fishermen. Once the nets are in you can encounter many species of sea life including swordfish and tuna to squid and large manta ray! The day is spent on the beach soaking up the sun. In addition, there are many souvenir shops locally where locals love to show off their work!
Throughout the day, based on the tide, we will take a surfing class. Most volunteers are usually successful in being able to stand on the board by the end of the class! We can’t wait to capture videos of you up on that surfboard in the sea off the coast of Ghana! On the nighttime, we will come together as a group over a bonfire and enjoy some traditional drumming, dancing and singing!
DAY THREE - TRAVEL HOME
In the morning you are welcome to have a beachside meal for breakfast of chocolate pancakes, Spanish omelettes, or whatever available that your heart desires. After walking the beach for one last time we will board the transfer back to Kumasi. We will arrive back to the Volunteer House in time for the evening meal.
MOLE NATIONAL PARK WEEKEND TRIP - 2,000 CEDI pp. (LOCAL PAYMENT)
INCLUDES - PRIVATE TRANSPORT, ACCOMMODATION, ALL MEALS & ENTRANCE FEES
The first day of this adventure is spent outside of Kumasi on the village day experience assisting local farmers as a group in their day’s work of planting cassava, yam, and, uprooting palms.
Following the hard day’s work, you will wake to undertake the journey north. Mole National Park is nothing short of a volunteer’s most memorable time in Ghana. It offers a sensation of thrill and adventure as you encounter the wildlife of Africa in its natural habitat. As a tourist, you are able to become part of the setting there in the jungle. Walk alongside the antelope, wild boar, hundreds of species of birds, monkeys, pythons, and elephants!
DAY ONE - VILLAGE DAY EXPERIENCE
We head to a rural village outside Kumasi where we will venture into the farmland of Ghana. Here we will learn about the local vegetation and how many of the food items we consume are grown. We will assist in the uprooting of a palm tree as we identify its importance in the lives of Ghanaian cooking and cultural traditions.
The local gin is used for the remembrance of the ancestors, the celebration of life at funerals, and the gathering of family for holidays. After going to participate in libation, pouring and drinking of gin for the ancestors, you will be able to taste the palm wine and local gin that you helped to farm!
DAY TWO - MOLE NATIONAL PARK & VILLAGE DANCE
We will leave early in the morning for Mole National Park. The journey to the north will take around 5 hours. Upon arrival, you will check into the hotel located in the centre of the national park. After getting settled the group will have lunch and can relax and/or take a dip in the pool.
In the afternoon, your group will climb atop the jeep for a 2 hour safari. Keep your eyes peeled for all the wildlife and creatures that reside in Mole National Park! Once night falls, we will head to the nearby village of Larabanga to participate in some traditional drumming and dancing of the Northern Region.
DAY THREE - MOLE NATIONAL PARK, WATERFALLS & MONKEY SANCTUARY
Another early morning start is in store as we head out on another 2 hour safari on foot. You will walk through the jungle to encounter first-hand the route taken by many species of antelope. Moreover, you will get to see the monkeys swinging through the trees and the elephants bathing one another in the natural waters of the land. The next stop will be at the Larabanga Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in West Africa. The third stop is Kintampo Waterfalls; here you can enjoy a refreshing swim under the crashing waters. Lastly, the group will take a walk on the wild side as we head to Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary!