Ghana travel guide
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.
238,533 sq km (92,098 sq miles).
28,210,000 (UN estimate 2016).
110 per sq km.
President Nana Akufo-Addo since January 2017.
President Nana Akufo-Addo since January 2017.
Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to:
- Bawku Municipality
Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel.
Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Ghana’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
Around 90,000 British nationals visit Ghana every year. While most visits are trouble-free, crime does occur. In recent years, reported crime has increased, particularly over the Christmas period. Criminal activity ranging from petty street crime, to violent crime can occur at any time. The use of weapons is increasing. Take sensible precautions. Be particularly vigilant in public areas, and take care when travelling by road. See Crime
It is mandatory for all foreign nationals resident in Ghana to register with the National Identification Authority (NIA) of Ghana and get a non-citizen Ghana card. See Local laws and customs
Localised outbreaks of civil unrest can occur at short notice, and can become violent (sometimes involving weapons). You should remain vigilant, avoid any large public gatherings and demonstrations, monitor local media for up-to-date information, and follow the advice of local authorities. See Local travel
Terrorist attacks in Ghana can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. See Terrorism
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Coronavirus travel health
Ghana has removed COVID-19 travel restrictions for all arriving passengers in Ghana, however protocols at the airport may be subject to change. Travellers should, therefore, be prepared to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination on arrival. Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Ghana on the TravelHealthPro website.
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kotoka International Airport is open. Commercial flights are operating to and from Ghana. Check with your travel company for the latest information. Land and sea borders have now re-opened.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Ghana.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Most medicines that need a prescription from a doctor in the UK will need one in Ghana. Bring sufficient stocks of prescribed medicines with you. If you have to get a prescription whilst in Ghana you will need an electronic prescription from your medical practitioner – UK prescriptions are normally accepted. Unlike in the UK, you will need to go to a pharmacy to obtain most over-the-counter medicines. Only a very limited selection are available at supermarkets or other stores and you may be offered another brand or a similar generic medicine as an alternative. Where possible, purchase known brands or medicines with a Ghana Food and Drug Administration registration number stamped on the packet. Pharmacies are widely available and are usually identified by a green cross.
For contact details of English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your wellbeing and mental health.
View Health for further details on healthcare in Ghana.
See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
Demonstrations in the capital Accra are normally well policed and peaceful, but sometimes they occur at short notice and can cause disruption. See Local travel.
Most visits to Ghana are trouble free, but criminal activity does occur and can range from incidents of petty crime to violent crime. There was an increase in robbery, burglary and serious assault in 2021, and such attacks can include the use of weapons. There have been cases of violent robberies involving foreign nationals who have been attacked and robbed at gun-point. Street crime like pick-pocketing and bag snatching is on the increase in Accra. Take sensible precautions. Avoid carrying large sums of money or valuables, use a hotel safe whenever possible and be particularly vigilant when withdrawing cash from ATMs. Be particularly vigilant at night (after 6:30pm), and avoid travelling alone.
Attacks on passengers in vehicles are also on the increase. Take particular care when stationary. Keep windows up and doors locked. Some of these attacks on vehicles also involve the use of weapons. A British national died in one such attack in August 2021. Make long trips during daylight hours, travel in convoys, and seek advice from local police before travelling along long sections of open road (see Road travel). Local police also highlight the risk of attacks on vehicles when driving the Tamale-Wa road, at any time of day.
Take care at public beaches and avoid going to the beach on your own. Theft is the main problem, but there have been isolated incidents of violent crime and sexual assault in areas popular with tourists.
Theft of luggage and travel documents occurs at Kotoka International Airport and in hotels. Make sure your passport is secure at all times and don’t leave baggage unattended. Be wary of offers of help at the airport unless 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 are 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 before the main arrivals area pretending to be their driver.
The main locations of risk in Greater Accra highlighted by the police are: Graphic Road, George Walker Bush Highway, Accra Mall Roundabout, Awudome Cemetary Road, Pokuase-Amasaman Road, Teshie-Nungua road, Labadi beach area, GIMPA road and surrounding areas, and the Kokrobite beach area. You should be especially vigilant in these locations.
Make sure you lock windows and secure accommodation both at night and before you go out. There have been cases of burglaries in areas used by the international community, including Airport Residential, Cantonments, Ridge and Kokrobite, with increased frequency over the Christmas period.
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, or can be motivated by criminality. 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.
British nationals are increasingly being targeted by scam artists operating in West Africa. The scams come in many forms - romance and friendship, business ventures, work and employment opportunities, and can pose great financial risk to victims. You should treat with considerable caution any requests for funds, a job offer, a business venture or a face to face meeting from someone you have been in correspondence with over the internet who lives in West Africa.
If you or your relatives or friends are asked to transfer money to Ghana you should make sure that it is not part of a scam and that you have properly checked with the person receiving the money that they are requesting it. If the caller claims to be in distress, you should ask whether they have reported the incident (by phone or e-mail) to the British High Commission in Accra.
If you have sent money to someone you believe has scammed you and are contacted by a police officer for more money to help get your money back, then this is possibly another part of the scam. Scam artists have also been known to use the identity of officials at the British High Commission in Accra. If you receive an email from someone claiming to be an official at the British High Commission, contact the officer using the phone numbers or contact details for the British High Commission.
As a result of occasional local Chieftaincy, land disputes and political tension, isolated inter-ethnic violence and civil unrest can occur at any time across Ghana.
Localised outbreaks of civil unrest can occur at short notice and can become violent (sometimes involving weapons). Avoid large crowds and political protests. If you’re in these areas, you should:
- remain vigilant,
- exercise caution
- follow the advice of local authorities
Local police may impose curfews to contain the situation. Curfews usually run from 7pm to 5am but these times can vary. The Interior Ministry may put out a press release.
Due to the number of violent incidents in and around Bawku, the FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the Bawku Municipal area in the Upper East region of Ghana. 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 also often in effect and you should be prepared to show identification if asked. Be prepared for the security response to change without notice.
You can drive in Ghana using an International Driving Permit or a local driving licence. A UK driving licence is not valid. If you’re applying for a local driving licence from the Ghana DVLA, you must get your UK driving licence authenticated by the UK DVLA. You should carry your driving licence or International Driving Permit with you at all times when driving. An International Driving Permit is usually valid for a year and it cannot be renewed in Ghana.
Roads can be in a poor condition, particularly in rural areas. 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 Crime section). Grass or leaves strewn in the road often means an accident or other hazard ahead. If you choose to drive at night be aware of impromptu police checkpoints. Do not give cash to the police.
Safety standards of taxi services in Ghana are often low. There have also been isolated incidents of crime taking place in all types of taxis (including licensed taxis, ‘Tro Tros’ and app-based taxi services). If you travel by taxi, we recommend you use licensed taxis only, making sure to check driver IDs and the vehicle condition before you travel. Avoid travelling alone in taxis after dark.
Unlike official taxis, drivers of ‘Tro-Tros’ and popular app-based taxi services are not centrally licensed. Driver training and vehicles standards will vary from those expected from similar service providers in the UK, and app-based safety features are rarely monitored centrally. Don’t use ‘Tro-Tros’ outside the major towns and cities.
The FCDO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.
A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network.
In 2006 the International Civil Aviation Organisation carried out an audit of the level of implementation of the critical elements of safety oversight in Ghana.
There have been attacks against ships in and around Accra’s waters. Be vigilant and take appropriate precautions.
Swimming is dangerous on the beaches along the southern coast of Ghana due to rip tides and undertows. There are periodic reports of fatalities, including adults and children.
Terrorist attacks in Ghana can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
Terrorist groups associated with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Islamic State of Libya and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) present a threat in the region. These groups have demonstrated capability and intent by mounting attacks against security forces and civilians in several countries, most recently in Burkina Faso and Mali. While there have been no recent attacks in Ghana, you should remain vigilant, particularly in northern border areas and in busy public locations (including beach resorts, hotels, cafes, restaurants and places of worship) across the country (see Local travel).
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. You should remain vigilant at all times.
There is a threat of kidnapping by groups originating in the Sahel. This includes Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-IM) and Daesh-affiliated groups, who may travel across the region’s porous border. There is a heightened risk of kidnap in areas bordering the Sahel. Terrorist groups have kidnapped foreigners, government officials and civilians in the region for financial gain and for political leverage. Further kidnaps are likely.
Those engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism or business sectors are viewed as legitimate targets. 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. The Terrorism Act (2000) also makes payments to terrorists illegal.
Ghana is a conservative and deeply religious country. Although modern and progressive attitudes also prevail, you should show respect for traditional values and morals.
Dress modestly in public.
Wearing military clothing including camouflage is prohibited.
Don’t become 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 in excess of 5 years, usually after a lengthy 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 nationals, have died after taking these drugs.
Carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times, and put the original document in a safe.
Some same-sex sexual acts could lead to a prison sentence 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 public displays of affection by people of the same sex and many Ghanaians don’t accept that such relationships exist.
An anti-LGBT+ Bill, introduced in 2021, has increased the risk of violence and discrimination targeted at those perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Rhetoric by politicians, religious leaders, and local media can incite violence and psychological abuse of the LGBT+ community. We are aware of reported attacks against LGBT+ individuals. See our information and advice page for the LGBT+ community before you travel.
Photography near sensitive sites like military installations or the airport is strictly prohibited. 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 take pictures of well-known sites of interest.
Ghanaian family law is very different from UK law, particularly when child custody becomes an issue.
This page has information on travelling to Ghana.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Ghana set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Ghana’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.
You need a visa to enter Ghana. See Visas section for more information.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Ghana.
You need a visa to enter Ghana. Ghana’s UK visa service is operating. Visit the Ghana High Commission website to stay up to date and to make an online application.
If you are in Ghana and need to extend your visa, you will need to visit the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) office in person. It isn’t possible to call about an individual case or to book an appointment in advance. Office opening hours are 8 am to 5 pm. The GIS office is off Ako Adjei overpass on Independence Avenue in Accra.
Ghana recognises dual nationality. To avoid visa fees, Ghanaian-British dual nationals should register with the Interior Ministry in Ghana and get a Dual Nationality card. Production of this card at point of entry into Ghana will indicate that a visa is not required.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
You will be expected to present a yellow fever certificate on arrival in and departure from Ghana.
If you are travelling to work in a volunteer programme or for work experience you should be fully aware of the terms and conditions of your stay and be sure that you will be working for a reputable organisation before you commit yourself to travel. You should read further information on how to stay safe and healthy overseas when volunteering.
If you live in Ghana you should register with the National Identification Authority (NIA) of Ghana and get a non-citizen Ghana card. This applies to:
- foreign nationals permanently resident in the country
- foreign nationals resident in the country for at least 90 days in any calendar year
- foreign nationals aged 6 years and above
A non-citizen Ghana card is required to apply for a residence permit, for admission into educational institutions in Ghana, for all financial transactions including opening a bank account, payment of taxes, registration of sim cards, and applications for public or government services, facilities, approvals and permissions. You can complete this registration process at any one of the following places:
National Identification Authority
Near Gulf House
Telephone: +233 (0) 302218080
Ghana Immigration Service
(off Ako Adjei Overpass)
Telephone: +233 (0) 302258250
9 Kakramada Road
Telephone: +233 (0) 302746212
Some branches of CAL bank can also provide this service. You should ask your local CAL bank branch if they’re able to help you. Failure to procure the non-citizen Ghana card constitutes a criminal breach of the law. For more information see the National Identification Authority website.
All residents of Ghana are also encouraged to sign up to the National Health Insurance scheme.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment. Public Health facilities in Ghana are experiencing shortages in medicines and some childhood vaccines. You should ensure that children are up to date with their prescribed vaccines before travel.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. The TravelHealthPro website indicates a high risk of malaria throughout Ghana, including in Accra. Serious tropical illnesses like malaria, Lassa fever and yellow fever occur in Ghana. The Ghana Health Service reported confirmed cases of Lassa Fever in Accra in February 2023. Measures to prevent further spread, including contact tracing and quarantine and rodent control are ongoing.
Cases of Monkey pox have been reported in Ghana with majority of cases concentrated in the Greater Accra region. Measures to prevent further spread, including contact tracing and quarantine, are ongoing. Ghana is implementing 21 days quarantine for all contacts and cases. Ghana Health Services has advised the public to be on the alert and report signs of any of the symptoms to the nearest health facility. More information about Monkey Pox is available from the World Health Organisation. Further guidance can be found on the NaTHNaC website.
On 16 September 2022, Ghana declared an end to the Marburg Virus Disease outbreak that was first reported on 7 July 2022. For more information see Marburg Virus Disease - Ghana (who.int) You can find more information on Marburg virus disease from the World Health Organisation.
There have been reported cases of vaccine derived polio. Polio vaccination campaign directed at children under five years is underway in affected regions of the country. For more information and advice, visit NaTHNaC.
Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations is available on the NHS website. A travel health checklist is available on the ABTA website. You may also wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
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.
There are reports of isolated cases of cholera and meningitis in Ghana; cases may rise during the wet season. You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre.
Ghana is subject to periodic earthquakes and tremors of varying magnitude. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, see the website of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.
ATMs are common in large towns and will accept most UK cards. Credit cards are accepted at many hotels, guesthouses and some shops, but Mastercard is not widely accepted. Credit card fraud is common. Take care when using your cards, and contact your card issuer before you travel in case they put a block on your account.
Travellers’ cheques can be exchanged in large hotels, banks and bureaux de change. Travellers’ cheques from some UK banks are not accepted. Check with your bank before you travel.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.