Threat level: Low-Medium
Ghana is a relatively safe country and most visitors should have no trouble. There is currently a heightened global threat of terrorism that travellers from western countries should be particularly wary of. Crime and political unrest are currently present in Ghana in areas like Accra, visitors should take the right precautions to stay safe during their visit.
Recent Security Risk Events
Petty and violent crime are common in Ghana. Tourists aren’t thought to be directly targeted but do get mixed up in incidents on occasion. Theft is the main problem, pick pockets often operate in the Accra mall so be vigilant if you are in this area. There have been isolated incidents of sexual assault involving foreign nationals, avoid walking alone at night.
The George Walker Bush Highway has experienced some accounts of armed banditry. It is advised not to drive after dark and to keep doors and windows locked during travel. You should travel around by private car and avoid walking on the roads as this puts you at an increased risk of being either robbed or run over. Using a motor scooter or bicycle is also very dangerous.
Theft of luggage and travel documents are a regular occurrence at Kotoka International Airport. Be wary of offers of help with your bags at the airport as this might be a cover to steal your belongings. Keep sensitive travel documents on you in person and avoid carrying large sums of cash.
Foreign nationals in Tamale have recently been attacked and robbed by machete wielding locals. It is advised only to travel by foot in this area if you have a close protection officer. If you are working in Ghana and are required to travel in Tamale, this should be provided by your employer.
Ghana is a respected member of the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity. It enjoys strong relationships with many of its neighbouring African countries and also many western nations. The United States is among Ghana’s trading partners, the two countries have a strong diplomatic relationship. Ghana has also been a member state of the Commonwealth since independence in 1957.
Ghana is an active member in many peacekeeping operations for countries such as Rwanda, Afghanistan and Lebanon.
The Northern, Upper East and Volta Regions are susceptible areas to political unrest, you should avoid travel to these areas if possible. You can only drive in Ghana using an International Driving Permit or a local driving licence. Roads are mainly in a poor condition, and standards of driving are also quite poor.
If you are driving in heavily congested areas, remain vigilant to the recent scam by many pedestrians who will bump into the car pretending you have hit them. They will then try and extort money from the drivers as compensation for being hit. Drive carefully and allow pedestrians plenty of room.
Official languages: English Religion: Christianity and Islam Currency: Ghana Cedi
Most foreign visitors including British and American nationals will need to apply for a visa in order to enter Ghana. You will be able to get more information on how to apply for such a visa from your closest Ghanaian Embassy or Consulate.
When you get to Ghana, your passport will be stamped upon entry. It is important that you note the number of days that the Ghanaian authorities have issued on that stamp. It is that which you should base your stay on rather than your visa.
Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the length of your stay.
It is advised that visitors to Ghana are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is essential that you get vaccinated against Yellow Fever as there is risk of the disease throughout the country. It is an entry requirement that you present a certificate proving your immunisation. This should be completed at least 10 days prior to departure.
It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance as medical evacuation to other countries is needed in most serious emergencies. Most medical facilities in Ghana are in very poor condition, particularly outside of the capital city, Accra. You may also be expected to pay for any necessary treatment before doctors will examine you, so ensure that your travel insurance will cover you.
Cholera and Malaria are both present in Ghana. It is highly advised that you take the necessary precautions to prevent contracting these diseases such as taking anti malarial medication and only drinking bottled water.