- Download our Moving to Ghana Guide (PDF)
Getting around in Ghana is quite an adventure for new arrivals. The public transport infrastructure in Ghana is relatively underdeveloped, but ongoing work is gradually improving and expanding the country’s railway network.
Driving in Ghana can be just as challenging. The quality of the road network is not on par with the standards that those from Europe or North America would be accustomed to, so expats who do choose to drive in Ghana should do so with caution.
Public transport in Ghana
Public transport in Ghana isn’t very well developed, and most people in Ghana opt to travel by bus rather than train. Although buses are more comfortable, both modes of transport can be unreliable, and delays are common. Patience and a sense of humour are essential when travelling around Ghana.
The Ghana Railway Corporation operates three train lines in Ghana which link Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, as well as some smaller towns and villages. Trains in Ghana are slow. Travelling by train in Ghana is not particularly comfortable, and they are not the most reliable form of transport, as they can be subject to severe delays.
There are several bus companies in Ghana, but the most comprehensive bus services are provided by the Ghana State Transport Corporation (Intercity STC). Intercity STC has standard and luxury buses that operate over long distances. Other prominent bus companies include VIP and Metro Mass.
Expats should opt to travel on express or air-conditioned buses, which are faster and much more comfortable than ordinary services. It is best to purchase tickets in advance, as seats on the more popular routes fill up quickly. Passengers are charged extra for large items of luggage. The fares for bus travel in Ghana are reasonable but vary depending on the route and the bus operator.
- For more on the country's train system, see the Ghana Railway Corporation website.
- Visit the Intercity STC to explore comprehensive bus services.
- For additional bus options, refer to the Metro Mass Transit Ltd website.
Tro-tros in Ghana
Tro-tro is the name given to a shared minibus taxi in Ghana. These minibuses run along fixed routes and charge a flat fare for any stop on a given route. Travelling by tro-tro in Ghana is the cheapest mode of transport. Despite the cost benefits, tro-tros have a questionable safety record and frequently break down. Tro-tro drivers often work long hours, which can result in risky driving behaviour.
Travelling by tro-tro is undoubtedly an experience. Passengers are squashed into the vehicle, along with large pieces of luggage and even livestock. Tro-tros do not run on any fixed schedule.
While travelling by tro-tro in Ghana is an excellent cultural experience and a great way to interact with the locals, they aren’t recommended for long journeys.
Taxis in Ghana
Taxis in Ghana are readily available in all cities. There are different types of taxis, and new arrivals in the country will benefit from familiarising themselves with what is available. There are metered taxis that charge according to distance travelled and private taxis where passengers can negotiate a price with the driver. If using any form of private taxi in Ghana, be sure to settle on a price before embarking on the journey.
Some ride-share and taxi apps have begun operating in major urban centres like Accra. Local apps include Yango, while international apps such as Uber and Bolt can also be used in Ghana. Many people prefer using these apps as it gives them more control over routes and service prices.
- If interested in app-based taxi services, consider Yango Ride App.
- Check out Uber in Accra and Bolt in Accra for ride-sharing services.
Driving in Ghana
The standard of roads in Ghana is variable. The quality of roads on the major routes between big cities such as Accra, Kumasi and Sekondi is fairly good. However, these transition to dirt roads away from the urban centres, and driving conditions can be dangerous. Those driving at night need to be extra cautious because of poor visibility, lack of adequate street lighting, and badly potholed roads.
New arrivals in Ghana should always drive defensively, especially on highways. Be vigilant when driving close to tro-tros as they have a habit of driving erratically with little regard for other road users.
Due to unfamiliar roads and traffic culture in Ghana, many new arrivals prefer to rent a car with a driver. This may be organised by the company the expat works for, but they can privately arrange car rental too.
New arrivals to Ghana should obtain an International Driving Permit. These are usually valid for one year.
For those who intend to be in Ghana for over a year, the process of obtaining a Ghanaian driving licence is fairly straightforward and simply requires presenting a valid international driving licence along with passport photos. Expats will have to take a theoretical testing on Ghana's highway codes and also undergo physical and eye examinations. Driving licences or international driving permits must always be carried when driving.
- To get acquainted with driving regulations, refer to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority of Ghana.
Cycling in Ghana
Cycling is a common means of travel in Ghana among the general population, especially in the north of the country. Car travel has created much pollution, is expensive, and congestion makes it time-consuming and frustrating. These are some of the reasons why cycling is preferable. That said, expats in the south, especially in Accra, may find cycling dangerous, owing to chaotic traffic, the lack of bicycle paths and poorly maintained roads in some areas.
Riding a bike may not be a preferred choice of transport for a daily commute, although it is perfectly feasible for exercise, leisure, a personal hobby, or travelling and experiencing Ghana from a different perspective.
Walking in Ghana
Many people walk in Ghana, although, for expats in large cities, this may be more out of leisure and to get a feel of the environment. When walking, there are several things that new arrivals should be aware of. Not only do some areas not have well-maintained pavements, but traffic can also be unruly, so it’s advised to walk facing oncoming traffic. Another factor to consider is the heat – walkers may get exhausted or sunburnt quickly and should always keep a bottle of water handy.
Air travel in Ghana
Flying is the fastest way to travel between the major cities in Ghana. It offers a way to quickly bridge the geographical distance between cities, with the added advantage of avoiding long hours on the country's variable roads.
Domestic airlines include Africa World Airlines, Passion Air and Gianair. Kotoka International Airport, situated in Accra, and Kumasi International Airport, in the Ashanti region, stand as the two principal air travel gateways in the country.
What do expats say about transport options in Ghana?
"Taxis are very common, but as they do not have meters, I would strongly recommend fixing the price with the driver before taking a taxi. If you find a good taxi driver, I would recommend asking for his name and number, as they will often come and collect you." Read more on how to get around Ghana in our interview with Australian expat Chris.
"Public transport (mainly tros) is very cheap and lots of fun! Just bear in mind that due to hazardous drivers and poorly maintained vehicles it can be dangerous as well..." Read Carsten's interview and learn from his experiences travelling in Ghana as a German expat.
►For an overview of expenses in the country, read Cost of Living in Ghana
►Read Safety in Ghana for information about keeping safe in the country
Are you an expat living in Ghana?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ghana. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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