When I’ve told people that on this trip I was going to Ghana, I got all sorts of questions from “Will you be safe?” to “Where is that?” Here are some answers.

Ghana is in West Africa, next to the Cote d’Ivoire. During colonialism it was known as the Gold Coast and is still recognized for its gold as well as its cocoa. It is hailed as one of the best places for first time travelers to Africa. Ghana is also known for its vibrant music and friendly people.

Ghana is about the size of Oregon. The coastline has no natural harbors, and the Volta Basin is the country’s premier drainage system. The Volta became the world’s largest artificial lake under a project by Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president when the country won its independence for British colonialism in 1957. It was the first independent state created from African colonialism since the end of WWII.

While everyone loves gold and cocoa, another hisotrically popular item to trade in Ghana is not so well looked on now: slaves. Like many other societies at that time, Africans had slaves. The Portuguese actually brought African slaves to sell to other Africans initially. However, soon the transatlantic slave trade spurng up, and a whole new beast arose.

While Europeans were present on the Gold Coast starting in the 1471, the region didn’t become a colony until 1902. This occurred after the British had fought for decades against the Ashanti, the strongest tribe in the region. Today Ghana is considered a stable democracy having achieved two shifts of power peacefully.

In fact, almost every guide book will tell you this is the place to go travel by yourself as a single woman in Africa. So yes, I’m very safe.

For more about Ghana, stay turned!