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HOW TO Guide

How To party safely









A sense of freedom, the ease of meeting new people, over-friendliness, stress, boredom, loneliness and numerous other single expatriates feeling the same are some of the many factors which may lead expatriates to going out frequently and eventually drinking excessively and/or taking drugs.


That can put you in difficult or dangerous situations in a country which is not yours and you are not well accustomed to. A number of expatriates get into trouble overseas as a direct result of forgetting about simple safety precautions while partying,  too much maybe.


Ghana has no restrictions on the sale of alcohol (except that they can’t be found in some supermarkets), import taxes are low, imported and local alcohol are widely and cheaply available and this is compounded by your probable high buying power. Accra particularly is a capital with fairly good nightlife, numerous drinking and dancing spots spread around town, including regular new openings, as well as a quite high level of prostitution. So, always think about your personal safety and take appropriate precautions so that your stay in Ghana will be memorable for the right reasons only.

When done reading on the specific advice below, we recommend reading accraexpat.com other pages about Security in this How TO Guide, especially the one about riding in taxis/cars.

Plan before you go out: Decide where and when you are going and what your transport options are, particularly if you are not familiar with the location. If you are catching trotro’s back home, make sure you know up to what time they run frequently so you will not stay on the side of the road for long in the dark. Try to not go and come back alone and don’t drink and drive.


Know your alcohol limits: Limit your intake of alcohol so that you remain aware of your surroundings. If you are drunk, your judgment is affected and you are more likely to take risks and wrong decisions. Like in many developing countries, low-quality hard liquor brands are often used in bars and the strength of alcoholic drinks may differ from your home country. Furthermore, the alcohol content of drinks is not always marked or accurate. Don’t drink and drive, especially in Ghana where normal night driving is already dangerous and police checkpoints are common. Don’t swim either on already dangerous Ghana beaches. Being drunk may also increase your risk of being injured, robbed, assaulted or raped. Your insurance policy may not provide cover if your injury was sustained while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
See this October 2015 "Expats and Alcohol: a problematic pairing" article from the Wall Street Journal.
Learn about Alcoholics Anonymous Ghana in the How To with medical providers page (end of Accra providers).


Don’t use drugs: See accraexpat.com’s How To about drugs".


Protect your valuables: In Ghana, you are not required to carry an ID on you so avoid carrying your passport around. Do not take more cash than you need, credit cards or other useless valuables to bars, clubs and parties. Should you stay at a hotel or service apartment, ensure these valuables are safely secured before going out for the night so that you don’t have to spend time and money replacing things and organizing for your passport to be reissued.


Check prices and services: Before entering or ordering services in a bar, restaurant or other establishment that you or your friends are not familiar with, check that it has readily available price lists for food, drinks and other services it may offer. This is rare unfortunately in Ghana so the least you can do is ask for prices when ordering. If you don’t, you may find yourself with an unexpectedly large bill which you might be forced to pay before you can leave. In Ghana, you will regularly be buying drinks for people you went out with or met there so keep track to ensure that the amount requested is correct. The best practice is to pay for drinks as they are purchased/served.


Beware of drink spiking: Should you accept a drink from strangers, apply the same rule as when you buy yourself: make sure the bottle is opened in front of you or the can is fully closed. If a glass, ensure it it brought to you by a waiter/waitress. Do not leave your drink unattended and should you be unsure about whether your drink is safe, leave it. If you feel dizzy or sick, tell your friends or staff immediately and ask someone you trust to take you to a safe place. Remember to keep an eye on your friends. If someone collapses and is unconscious, seek medical care immediately and don’t leave them alone.
The latest reported related incident was in September 2016 in Kumasi where the drinks of two expats were spiked while they were playing pool. They were later robbed and one of them was killed.


Avoid getting into fights: Ghanaians are overall low-key people and night violence occurrences are rare but excessive alcohol or the use of drugs can increase the likelihood of being involved in violence. If you find yourself in a situation where someone is trying to start a fight with you, avoid retaliating and remove yourself from the situation. 


Store useful numbers in your phone: your embassy’s duty officer number, numbers of the Police stations of your area of residence and of your favorite party areas, your doctor’s mobile phone number, emergency numbers of your preferred hospital or clinic. Carry you international health insurance card with you along with a couple of local and international contact numbers. See accraexpat’s Help Page for Police and other numbers.   


Relations betwen expatriate men and Ghanaian women

Relations between young volunteer and student women and Ghanaian young men


We have chosen to not write on these three subjects as it would have to be politically correct and therefore useless.
These sensitive issues may be discussed during the free "Welcome Orientation Meeting" with the Editor or by writing to help@accraexpat.com.



Always remember that you are not in your own country, in a developing one with large income gaps and that resentment against expatriates, mostly non- Africans, may exist, especially in a partying environment.

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