From the sky, Ghana is a bundle of green on the west coast of Africa, bordered by golden beaches and the warm blue of the Atlantic.
Go east and you'll hit low mountains, waterfalls and national parks that beg for hiking boots.
The country has a darker history too: once the bastion of West Africa's slave trade, Ghana's historic coast offers plenty of moments for reflection.
Ghana has been through a lot in the past few centuries, from Ashanti rule (1670 to 1902), through Portuguese, Dutch and British control and finally independence from Britain in 1957.
Slave ships once departed its turquoise waters for America, carrying thousands of West Africans who had been locked in the bowels of the haunting 17th-century castle in the central city of Cape Coast.
Ghana can't compete with major safari destinations such as Kenya or South Africa, but it has spectacular bird life, snorkelling and opportunities to spot turtles and humpback whales.
Sunbird Tours (01767 262522; uk) offers a 14-day group tour in November to spot bird species such as jacanas, blue-headed bee-eaters and yellow-headed picathartes, costing £2,470 per person, excluding flights.A small population of African elephants lives in the north, close to the border with Burkina Faso.You can visit them at Mole National Park, where wardens lead walking safaris that wind past watering holes.Although Ghana's ride to the present has been fraught with post-independence struggles and development hurdles, last year its economy was the fastest-growing in the world, thanks to recently discovered offshore oil (found in 2010), gold mining and a growing fair trade cocoa industry.Accra, one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa, is starting to rival the Nigerian city of Lagos for entertainment, dining and art.In the district of Osu, sushi bars and sultry clubs pipe out West African hip-hop; construction is under way all over the city and shiny new apartment blocks go up next to traditional "chop bars" serving spicy Ghanaian dishes such as red-red and fufu.