In Ghana the climate is tropical, with a dry season in winter, and a rainy season in summer, due to the African monsoon. The rainy season lasts from May to September in the north, from April to October in the centre, and from April to November in the south. On the contrary, along the east coast the rainy season is shorter and goes from April to June, with a break in July and August, and a slight recovery in September and October.

Climates in Ghana

The rainiest area is the south, where precipitation is above 1,500 millimetres (60 inches) per year, and even more so the small west coast area, where it reaches 2,000 mm (80 in) per year. The driest areas are the north, where the rainfall amounts to around 1,000 mm (40 in) per year, and the eastern seaboard, including the capital Accra, where it drops below 800 mm (31.5 in). Anyway, as we have said, in the north there's only one rainy season, which reaches its peak in the summer months, while in the coast the rainy season is divided into two.

Northern Ghana

In the centre and north, winter is hot: daytime temperatures are usually about 35 °C (95 °F) in December and January, even though the air is dry and nights are cool. Sometimes at night, however, the weather can get a bit cold in the centre-north, with lows around 10 °C (50 °F).
From the desert, a dry, dust-laden wind blows, called Harmattan. From February to April, the temperature increases further, easily surpassing 40 °C (104 °F).
Here are the average temperatures of Bolgatanga, in the far north.
Average temperatures - Bolgatanga
Min (°C)192225262523222222222019
Max (°C)353739383633313031343635
Min (°F)667277797773727272726866
Max (°F)95991021009791888688939795

Then comes the monsoon. In March in the centre and in April in the north, early showers and thunderstorms may occur, usually in the afternoon or evening, which become more substantial, exceeding 100 mm (4 in) per month in the following month (ie April in the centre and May in the north). Due to thunderstorms and clouds brought by the ocean currents, the temperature gradually decreases, and from July to September, when clouds and rains are more frequent, it drops to around 30/31 °C (86/88 °F), but on the other hand, air humidity increases.
The rains cease in October in the north, and in November the centre; with the dry wind from the north, hot and sunny conditions return. At the end of the year, rainfall totals 1,000 mm (40 in) in the north and 1,200/1,300 mm (47/51 in) in the centre, where as we have seen the rainy season is longer.
Here is the average precipitation in Tamalé, located in the north-central.
Average precipitation - Tamalé
Prec. (mm)2950901201301301902151001351054

The sun in the center-north shines all year round, except in the rainy period, when the sky is often cloudy (in the far north the sun shines a little more often).
Sunshine - Tamalé
Sun (hours)8988875458109

In the south, the winter is a bit less hot, so that the daytime temperatures are about 31/32 °C (88/90 °F) in December and January, and reach 34 °C (93 °F) in February; here there is almost no warming in spring, because the rains begin as early as in March.
Here are the average temperatures of Kumasi, located in the south.
Average temperatures - Kumasi
Min (°C)202222222222212121222221
Max (°C)323433323130282829303131
Min (°F)687272727272707070727270
Max (°F)909391908886828284868888

The rainiest month is June, with 225 mm (9 in); from mid-July to mid-September the rains decrease a bit, and then they resume from mid-September to early November. In the south, total rainfall reaches 1,400/1,500 mm (55/60 in) per year, even though to the east of Lake Volta and to the south-west of Kumasi the rainfall amount is even higher.
Here is the average precipitation in Kumasi.
Average precipitation - Kumasi
Prec. (mm)25651351401902251157517020095301465

In the south the sun does not shine very often, because even in the short dry period a bit of cloudiness can form, while from July to September the sky is normally cloudy.
Sunshine - Kumasi
Sun (hours)677765323576

Lake Volta

Along the east coast, where the capital Accra is located, the climate is a bit different: the winter is similar to that of the rest of the south, that is, less hot but more humid than the north. Sometimes, however, the dry Harmattan can arrive even here. Here are the average temperatures of Accra.
Average temperatures - Accra
Min (°C)232424242423232222242423
Max (°C)323333323129292829313232
Min (°F)737575757573737272757573
Max (°F)909191908884848284889090

In spring, the rains arrive earlier, with the first showers already in March, and a peak in June, when precipitation reaches 200 mm (8 in) per month. But later the rains fall sharply, so much so that in August just 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain fall, because the so-called "Intertropical Convergence Zone", moves to the north. Nevertheless, from June to September, the sky remains usually cloudy. In the coast, as well as in the rest of the country, the summer months are the least hot of the year, though the humidity is high, actually here it is even higher than in inland areas, due to the proximity to the sea, but on the other hand the sea breeze blows, reducing the feeling of stuffiness. In September and October, the rains resume a bit, but they do not reach 100 mm (4 in) per month. In Accra, only 790 mm (31 in) of rain per year fall, and basically the only very rainy months are May and June, and sometimes the first half of July.
Here is the average precipitation in Accra.
Average precipitation - Accra
Prec. (mm)15357580145195501540804020790

In summer, in Accra the sky is often cloudy even in the period when rainfall decreases, from July to September.
Sunshine - Accra
Sun (hours)777775556788

Along the west coast, the rains are much more abundant, and from May to mid-July they become really heavy, reaching even 500 mm (20 in) per month; the summer break is evident here as well, and runs from mid-July to mid-September, but then the rains return substantial, although they do not reach the peaks of the first part of the rainy season; the rains linger on until December, so that here the only relatively dry months are January and February, apart from August. In this area, the rainfall can reach 2,000 mm (80 in) per year.
Here is the average precipitation in Axim.
Average precipitation - Axim
Prec. (mm)356512516532548017580100165130651910

The sea in Ghana is warm enough for swimming all year round, although it gets a bit cooler from July to September.
Sea temperature - Accra
Sea (°C)272828292927252425272828
Sea (°F)818282848481777577818282

When to go

Generally, the best time to visit Ghana is winter, from December to February, because it is the driest and sunniest: the weather is generally good, although it's hot during the day in the centre-north. In the north, the best time is from November to January, because in February it gets even hotter. In November, in the south the last rains occur, and even in December on the west coast. So the best month to visit Ghana as a whole is January.

What to pack

In winter: in Accra and the coast, light clothes for the day, a light sweatshirt for the evening, scarf for the wind-borne sand and dust. In the north, light clothing, a sweatshirt and a light jacket for the evening, scarf for the desert wind.

In summer: tropics-friendly, light clothing of natural fibres, umbrella, a light sweatshirt and a light raincoat for the rain showers.