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Ghana travel guide

About Ghana

They call Ghana “Africa for beginners”, which in many ways is quite the compliment. It’s a friendly and largely safe country, with a list of enticements as long as an Accra traffic jam: for a start, you’ll find sunshine, beaches, wildlife, national parks and a deeply colourful cultural heritage. The long tropical coastline is in some ways the most natural draw card for travellers, but you’re unlikely to come to Ghana for the sole purpose of lying on a beach. There’s too much going on for that.

The capital, Accra, is a vibrant but often misunderstood city, a heaving metropolis of food stalls and football shirts, music and markets, swish hotels and swirling street life. It has few big sights as such, but makes for an engaging introduction to the country as a whole. Further along the coast, there’s just as much to absorb in seaside settlements like Cape Coast, once a slave port but now a cultural destination in its own right. Its dark past is testament to the various European powers that at different times held sway in the region.

Inland, meanwhile, Ghana sets out its eco-credentials with habitats ranging from savannah to dense rainforest and hiker-friendly mountains to relatively arid sub-Saharan plains. Many of the individual national parks and game reserves are rather small compared to some other African countries, but the network is extensive.

In the far north, the plains of Mole National Park are still home to elephants, while in the south the forested Kakum National Park has a hugely popular treetop walkway, not to mention a range of animal and birdlife.

The northern city of Kumasi, the ancient capital of the Ashanti Kingdom, is another major draw. It remains the home of the Asantehene (Ashanti King) who holds court at his palace every sixth Sunday – one of many colourful traditional festivals, full of pomp and pageantry, that can be can still be seen throughout the country.

Key facts


238,533 sq km (92,098 sq miles).


28,210,000 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

110 per sq km.





Head of state:

President Nana Akufo-Addo since January 2017.

Head of government:

President Nana Akufo-Addo since January 2017.

Travel Advice

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Areas where FCDO advises against all but essential travel  

Bawku Municipality

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the Bawku Municipal area in the Upper East region of Ghana.

Find out why FCDO advises against travel to Bawku Municipality.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

FCDO provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Ghana set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Ghana High Commission in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Ghana.

Passport validity requirements

To enter Ghana, your passport must have an expiry date at least 6 months after the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You must have a visa to visit Ghana.

Applying for a visa

Complete the online visa application form on the Ghana High Commission website and make the online payment.

You need to upload your supporting documents (including a yellow fever certificate) and provide hard copies. Print out the form, add supporting documents and send them by post as directed on the website. The visa processing time is 10 to 15 days.

To get a visa in around 3 days, check if you can use the express service available in person from the Ghana Premium Application Centre in London.

Extending your visa

To extend your stay, take the visa extension form and photos in person to the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) office on Independence Avenue in Accra.

Vaccine requirements

To enter Ghana, you must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a yellow fever vaccination.

For full details about health entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Ghana guide.

Registering with the authorities

If you live in Ghana, you must register with the National Identification Authority (NIA) of Ghana and get a non-citizen Ghana card. You must register all foreign nationals aged 6 years and above in your family who are either:

  • permanently resident in Ghana
  • resident in Ghana for at least 90 days in any calendar year

For more information, see living in Ghana.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Ghana. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Taking money into Ghana

You must declare all hard currency, using the declaration form provided on arrival. You can bring in up to a maximum Ghanaian cedi equivalent of 10,000 US dollars.

Do not carry more than 10,000 dollars in value in any foreign currency. The Ghanaian authorities can confiscate the entire amount if you are carrying cash of this value or more.

Dual nationality

Ghana recognises dual nationality. Ghanaian-British dual nationals can register with the Interior Ministry in Ghana and get a dual nationality card. You can produce this card when entering Ghana to show that you do not need a visa.

This guide also has safety advice for regions of Ghana.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.    

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Ghana

Terrorist attacks in Ghana cannot be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreign nationals, such as:

  • northern border areas
  • busy public locations across the country, such as:
    • beach resorts
    • hotels, cafes and restaurants
    • places of worship

Stay aware of your surroundings, keep up to date with local media reports, and follow the advice of local authorities.

Political situation

Demonstrations in the capital Accra are normally well policed and peaceful, but sometimes they occur at short notice and can cause disruption.

Disputes can occur between local tribes. This can lead to inter-ethnic violence and civil unrest. Seek local advice and take precautions in areas where political tensions are heightened. See Regional risks.

Internet access

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is aware of internet outages across Ghana. Services including airport, online payments and online booking may be affected. Voice calls and SMS are intermittently available.


Protecting yourself and your belongings

Cases of robbery, burglary and serious assault have become more common since 2021, and in some cases involve the use of weapons. Foreign nationals have been attacked and robbed at gunpoint. Street crime like pickpocketing and bag-snatching is on the increase in Accra. To reduce your personal risk:

  • avoid carrying large sums of money or valuables
  • use a hotel safe to store passport and valuables whenever possible
  • be alert when withdrawing cash from ATMs, and where possible go by pre-arranged transport
  • be particularly careful after nightfall and avoid walking alone
  • take care of your belongings when arriving at and leaving hotels
  • keep a copy of your passport’s photo page and your visa or entry stamp in a separate place

Safety at beaches

Theft is the main problem at beaches, but there have been isolated incidents of violent crime and sexual assault in areas popular with tourists. Do not visit beaches alone and take care on public beaches.

Safety at airports

There are reports of a small number of thefts of luggage and travel documents at Kotoka International Airport. Make sure your passport is always secure and do not leave your bags unattended. Be wary of offers of help except from uniformed porters or officials. All permanent staff at the airport wear an ID card showing their name and a photo. ID cards without a photo are not valid.

If you’re being collected at the airport, confirm the identity of your driver by asking for ID. British nationals have been robbed by impostors who have approached them around the main arrivals area pretending to be their driver.

Accommodation security

There have been cases of burglaries in areas used by the international community, including Airport Residential, Cantonments, Ridge and Kokrobite, with greater frequency over the Christmas period. Make sure doors and windows are locked and keep all valuables in a secure lockbox. Set the burglar alarm if your accommodation has one.

Vehicle crime 

Attacks on vehicles are increasing, sometimes involving the use of weapons. A British national died in one such attack in August 2021. Take particular care when your car or taxi is stationary in a busy area. Keep windows up and doors locked.

There have been isolated incidents of crime taking place in all types of taxis, including licensed taxis, minibuses (‘tro tros’) and app-based taxi services. Use licensed taxis and check driver ID and the vehicle’s condition before you travel. Some hotels will book transport to pick you up on arrival. Avoid travelling alone in taxis after dark.

Local police have highlighted the risk to vehicles on specific roads in Accra:

  • Graphic Road
  • George Walker Bush Highway
  • Accra Mall Roundabout
  • Awudome Cemetery Road
  • Pokuase-Amasaman Road
  • Teshie-Nungua Road
  • Labadi beach area
  • GIMPA road and surrounding areas
  • Kokrobite beach area

For longer trips outside major cities:

  • travel during daylight hours
  • travel in a convoy of at least 2 vehicles
  • get advice from local police
  • do not stop your vehicle if people at the roadside try to flag you down

Criminal kidnap

There have been reports in the media of criminally motivated kidnapping in Accra, Takoradi and Kumasi, including the targeting of foreign nationals. Kidnaps can be for financial or political gain. If you’re kidnapped, the reason for your presence in Ghana is unlikely to serve as a protection or secure your safe release.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.   


Scam artists target foreign visitors and residents. The scams come in many forms – romance and friendship, business ventures, work and employment opportunities – and can cause great financial loss. Warn your friends and family to be sceptical if they’re asked to transfer funds to you in Ghana. Tell them to contact you to check that you’ve made this request. 

Bank card fraud

Keep your card in sight when paying bills and look closely when you use an ATM in case a skimming device has been attached to it.

Laws and cultural differences

Ghana is a conservative and deeply religious country. Although attitudes are largely modern and progressive, you should show respect for traditional values and morals. 

Dress code

Dress modestly in public. Shorts and t-shirts are acceptable for both males and females, but it is best not to wear anything too revealing.

Wearing military clothing including camouflage is illegal.

Personal ID

It is advisable to carry ID. A copy of your passport’s photo page is acceptable. Keep the original in a safe place such as a hotel safe.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Do not get involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for drug-related offences are severe. Even possession of small amounts of marijuana can lead to a prison sentence of more than 5 years, usually after a long and expensive legal process. Bail is not normally granted.

Class A drugs like cocaine are likely to be laced with other substances. Foreign visitors, including British people, have died after taking these drugs.

Using cameras in secure areas

Photography near sensitive sites like military installations or the airport is illegal. Ask permission if you want to take a photograph of a building where there are guards on duty. Beware of self-appointed officials trying to charge fees to let you take pictures of well-known sites of interest.

LGBT+ travellers

Some same-sex sexual acts could lead to a prison sentence of between 3 and 25 years. Although there are no records of this being enforced, there were arrests at a gathering of the LGBT+ community in 2021. Ghanaian society is intolerant of people of the same sex showing affection in public. Many Ghanaians do not accept that such relationships exist. 

The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill is not law, but its passage through Ghana’s Parliament could increase the risk of violence and other threats (such as blackmail and intimidation) to the LGBT+ community and their allies. Rhetoric by some politicians, religious leaders, and local media can incite violence and psychological abuse of the LGBT+ community. FCDO are aware of reported attacks against LGBT+ individuals.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Family law in Ghana

Ghanaian family law is very different from UK law, particularly when child custody becomes an issue. Ghana is not a signatory to the Hague Convention. This means:

  • the custody process might not be as straightforward as in cases where both countries are signatories
  • you might need to initiate legal proceedings in Ghana for custody or to have your child returned to the UK


While ATMs are common in large towns, they may not be available in rural areas. Many hotels, guesthouses and shops accept credit cards except for Mastercard, which is not widely accepted. Check ahead that you can make payment, and have back-up funds.

Contact your card issuer before you travel in case they put a block on your account.

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

Swimming safety

Swimming is dangerous on the beaches along the southern coast of Ghana due to rip tides and undertows. There are occasional reports of deaths of both adults and children.

See water safety on holiday from the Royal Life Saving Society. 

Transport risks

Road travel

You can drive in Ghana using the 1949 version of the international driving permit (IDP) or a Ghanaian driving licence. Carry your driving documents with you. 

Driving standards

Roads can be in a poor condition, particularly in rural areas. Grass or leaves strewn in the road often mean there is an accident or other hazard ahead.

Street lighting is poor or non-existent. Avoid travelling by road outside the main towns after dark, when the risk of serious road accidents is much greater, and there is a heightened risk of attacks on vehicles (see the crime section). If you choose to drive at night be aware of impromptu police checkpoints. Do not give cash to the police as this can be perceived as a bribe.

Safety standards of taxi services in Ghana are low. Driver training and vehicle standards will vary from providers in the UK. Drivers of ‘tro-tros’ and popular app-based taxi services are not centrally licensed. There is no responsible body that is accountable for your safety.

Outside major towns and cities it’s safer to use pre-booked vehicles from reputable taxi companies. 

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards.


Flooding is common in the Upper West, North East, Northern and Savannah regions during the rainy season, from March to November. Monitor local weather reports and expect difficulties when travelling to affected areas.


Earthquakes and tremors are a risk in Ghana. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

This section has safety advice for regions of Ghana. It only covers regions where FCDO has specific advice.

You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.

Civil unrest in specific local regions of Ghana can build up at short notice and may become violent, sometimes involving weapons. Avoid large crowds and political protests. Take local advice if you’re in an area with heightened political tension. Local police may impose curfews to contain the situation. Curfews usually run from 7pm to 5am but times can vary. The authorities may put out a press release which is usually posted on the Ministry of the Interior’s website.

Bawku Municipality

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the Bawku Municipal area in the Upper East region of Ghana. This is due to the number of violent incidents. The Ghanaian military have deployed additional military to the region to strengthen security.

If you must travel to Bawku, you are strongly advised to contact the regional police headquarters in Bolgatanga town before travelling. Frequent curfews have been put in place in Bawku, with requirements and times changing. Security checks, including roadblocks, are often in effect and you should be prepared to show identification if asked. Be prepared for the security response to change without notice.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 999 or 112 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in Ghana, including:

  • yellow fever
  • malaria

Marburg virus

In September 2022, Ghana declared an end to the Marburg virus disease outbreak that was first reported in July 2022. See more details about the outbreak and more information on Marburg virus and similar diseases


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare in Ghana

Medical facilities are poor outside towns. For serious medical treatment, medical evacuation will be necessary. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

FCDO has a list of medical providers in Ghana

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Ghana.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Ghana


  • 999 or 112 (ambulance, fire, police, coast guard and mountain rescue)
  • 192 (police)

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Ghana and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission in Accra.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Ghana on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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