Ghana Travel Information

Visas, Health and Safety, When to Go to Ghana

Painted fishing boats, Kokrobite, Ghana
••• Anouk Zijlma

You must have a return ticket to Ghana before applying for a visa. Basic tourist visas are valid for 3 months from date of issue so don't get it too early or it may expire before you arrive. A single entry tourist visa costs $50. Student visa applications must be submitted together with a letter of invitation from the principals in Ghana and or in the student's home country.

Ghana also requires all visitors to have a valid certificate of immunization against yellow fever.

Check with Embassy of Ghana for the most updated information and location of Consular offices.

Health and Immunizations

Ghana is a tropical country and a poor country so you'll need to pack a good basic medical kit for yourself when you go.

Ghana requires all visitors to have a valid certificate of immunization against yellow fever.

Other Recommended Immunizations for Travel to Ghana

  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Diphtheria

More information about immunizations for travel to Africa ...

Malaria

There's a risk of catching malaria pretty much everywhere you travel in Ghana. Ghana is home to the chloroquine-resistant strain of malaria as well as several others. Make sure your doctor or travel clinic knows you are traveling to Ghana (don't just say Africa) so s/he can prescribe the right anti-malarial medication. Tips on how to avoid malaria will also help. For more details on Malaria in Ghana, click on this map from the WHO.

Safety

In general, people are extremely friendly in Ghana and you will be humbled by their hospitality. It's also one of Africa's more stable countries politically and you should be able to travel safely to all areas. But, there is real poverty and you will still attract your fair share of souvenir hawkers and beggars.

If you follow some basic safety rules, you shouldn't have any problems. Accra is actually one of West Africa's safest big cities but you do need to be aware of pickpockets and petty thieves especially around crowded areas like bus stops and markets. It's also not a good idea to walk on the beach alone at night.

Ghana is generally considered to be the best West African country to visit if you're a woman traveling alone.

Money Matters

The cedi is the unit of currency in Ghana. The cedi is broken down into 100 pesewas. Check out this currency converter to find out how many cedis your dollar, yen or pound can get.

The best currencies to bring to Ghana are US Dollars, Euros or British pounds. These will get you the best exchange rate at banks and foreign exchange bureaus. ATM machines are available in major cities but may not always work and only accept Visa or Mastercard. If you're planning on bringing traveler cheques, exchange them in the main cities, smaller towns may not exchange them. Don't change too much money at one time unless you're prepared to accommodate large wads of cedis.

Banking hours are 8.30am - 3.00pm, Monday - Friday.

For more tips on how to bring your cash, see this article.

Note: Tipping is commonplace in Ghana, the word for tip is dash.

Climate and When to Go

Ghana is basically hot and humid all year round. The best time to travel is probably December to April since you'll miss the rainy season. But this is also the hottest time of year and quite uncomfortable in the north of the country since it there's the added bonus of Saharan sand blowing in the air. July and August are good months to travel if you're planning to stay in the south since there's a lull in the rains during this time. 

If you wish to see festivals, August and September are good months to visit Ghana since many communities celebrate their first harvests during these months.

Getting to Ghana

By Air

The direct flights to Kotaka international airport in Accra from New York on North American Airlines were suspended in May 2008.

Direct flights to and from Europe include British Airways (London), KLM (Amsterdam), Alitalia (Rome), Lufthansa (Frankfurt) and Ghana Airways the national airline, which flies to Rome, London, and Dusseldorf.

Several regional African airlines link Ghana to the rest of the continent including the national airline, Ghana Airways, Air Ivoire, Ethiopian Airways, and South African Airways.

Note: To get from Kotaka international Airport to the center of Accra or your hotel, take a taxi, the rate is fixed (currently around $5). Tro-tro's (see below) are cheaper and will also take you to your destination, but you'll be cozily packed in with fellow passengers.

By Land

Ghana borders Togo, Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). VanefSTC buses can take you to the borders of all three countries, and it's best to make inquiries about schedules and routes when you're in Accra.

Getting Around Ghana

By Air

Ghana has limited domestic flights which are often overbooked, late or canceled. You can catch military planes out of Accra airport to Kumasi and Tamale on Ghana Airlink. Ghanaweb mentions several other domestic airlines including Golden Airways, Muk Air, and Fun Air, but I can't find any reliable information about these airlines. Check with a travel agent in Accra for details, or opt for a bus instead.

By Bus

Traveling by bus in Ghana is generally the most comfortable and quickest way to get around. Vanef-STC is the main bus company and routes include all the major towns: Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale, Cape Coast and others. You can catch express, air-conditioned buses in between the main towns of Kumasi, Tamale, Bolgatanga, and Accra. Book your ticket at least a day in advance along major routes and expect to pay extra for your luggage.

Other bus companies operating in Ghana include OSA, Kingdom Transport Services, and GPRTU.

Tro-tros

Tro-tros are minibusses or converted pick-up trucks that ply every route in Ghana. Tro-tros are particularly handy on routes that the main bus companies don't service. While the ride can be bumpy and you may break down, ​tro-​tros are cheap and offer you a chance to get close to your fellow Ghanaian travelers. Tro-tros have no schedules and generally leave when very full.

By Train

Passenger trains used to run between Accra and Kumasi and Kumasi and Takoradi but they have been suspended recently.

By Rental Car

The major car rental companies are all represented in Ghana; Avis, Hertz, and Europcar. The main roads in Ghana are decent but the police checkpoints are numerous and usually require a cash handout (dash) to proceed, which can be annoying. In Ghana, you drive on the right-hand side.

By Boat

Lake Volta is the largest man-made lake in Africa and a beautiful one at that. A passenger boat, the Yapei Queen runs the entire length of the lake between Akosombo in the South to Yeji in the North. The trip takes about 24 hours one way and departs from Akosombo every Monday. You can book your voyage through the Volta Lake Transport Company. You'll be sharing the boat with some livestock and lots of vegetables.

There are other smaller ferry services on Lake Volta that will take you further north and east. You can arrange transportation in Tamale.