Ghana travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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Ghana - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Ghana due to crime.
Safety and security
Border areas often see higher criminal activity and violence.
There is a heightened risk of terrorist attacks in the northern areas of Ghana bordering Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin, and more specifically, Burkina Faso, where armed groups and militias are active.
The expansion of extremist militants and the limited capacity of the Ghanaian authorities to control borders may increase the risk posed by criminals.
Chieftaincy disputes and political tension can sometimes lead to localized violence and unrest.
While possible throughout Ghana, these conflicts most commonly occur in the Upper East, Upper West and Volta regions.
During times of unrest, local authorities may impose curfews.
If you're travelling to an area where unrest is possible or if unrest breaks out where you are:
- monitor local media to stay up to date on the current situation
- follow the instructions of local authorities
- adhere to curfews
Latest curfews imposed – Ministry of the Interior, Republic of Ghana
Crime has steadily increased in the recent years in Ghana, especially in large cities such as Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and their surroundings.
Several violent incidents have occurred in the following Greater Accra neighbourhoods:
Avoid going into these neighbourhoods at night.
Violent crime, such as armed robbery, home invasions and kidnapping, occurs. Thieves often target affluent areas where foreigners live. They sometimes carry firearms. In some cases, they have seriously assaulted their victims for failing to comply.
Armed robberies of vehicles at night also occur and armed attacks have been reported along the Accra–Tema and Accra–Kumasi–Tamale highways.
- Ensure that windows and doors in your residence are secured
- If you are the victim of an armed robbery, don’t resist
- Limit intercity travel to daytime hours
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, is common at crowded markets, beaches, parks and other tourist areas. Attacks by individuals on motorbikes are also frequent.
Theft of luggage and belongings occurs in hotels.
- Ensure that personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone
- Avoid going to isolated beaches
- Avoid showing signs of affluence, such as flashy jewellery and watches
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time. Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Credit card and ATM fraud is widespread.
Be cautious when using debit or credit cards or when making payments at a payment terminal. Connectivity issues may prevent the transaction from going through and you may be charged twice.
- Pay with cash whenever possible
- Pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- Use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- Avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- Cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- Check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
At the airport
At the Kotoka International Airport, thieves sometimes pose as uniformed porters or officials appearing to work at the airport. Official airport employees wear ID cards bearing both their name and photograph.
- Be wary of unsolicited assistance
On the road
On the road, scammers may pose as police officers to stop and demand money from foreigners.
If this occurs:
- Don’t hand over your money or your passport
- Ask for their name tag and Identification number
Local tour operators or hotels may offer you steep discounts for their services. They could be fake businesses.
- Do your research before booking
- Use reliable internationally known tourism agencies only
If you have lost money to such scams:
- don’t attempt to confront your scammers
- seek assistance from local authorities or local legal aid
Be wary of Internet romance or friendship scams via dating or social media websites. Scammers often use fake profiles to target Westerners and steal from them. Once they succeed in building a virtual relationship, they ask for money for various purposes.
If you are travelling to Ghana to meet someone you met online, keep in mind that you may be the victim of a scam. Victims of this type of scams have lost thousands of dollars.
Be also wary of unsolicited emails offering enticing business or financial opportunities, often related to the gold industry.
If you intend to make business in Ghana:
- ensure that any business opportunity is legitimate before leaving; if in doubt, contact Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service
- don’t travel to Ghana with the intention to obtain restitution after losing money to a fraud as confrontations have resulted in assaults
Trade Commissioner Service in Ghana - Government du Canada
Demonstrations occur from time to time in Accra and other major cities. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- follow the instructions of local authorities
- monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country. They are generally good in cities, but poor in rural areas. Most secondary roads are poorly lit. Pedestrians and roaming livestock pose further hazard, especially at night.
Many Ghanaian cars, especially commercial vehicles, are in poor condition and lack standard safety equipment. Drivers often don’t respect traffic laws. Accidents causing fatalities are common. Most often, victims are pedestrians. Traffic accidents are also common on the road from Accra to Cape Coast and Kumasi.
In town, people may try to get you to stop your vehicle. Pedestrians may bang on your car, making it appear as if they have been hit. Drivers may attempt to cause minor vehicle collisions. Crowds gathering because of these types of incidents can become dangerous.
Police roadblocks are common. You could be subject to inspections. Armed security forces may demand money.
If driving in Ghana:
- avoid driving after dark
- keep your doors locked and windows closed at all times
- proceed immediately to the nearest police station to make a report if you are involved in any traffic incident
- always carry a copy of you ID documents, such as your passport, your International Driving Permit and the vehicle registration
Public transportation is unregulated and unsafe. Many buses and taxis are not well-maintained and have poor safety standards.
Most taxis are in poor mechanical shape in Accra. They often lack seatbelts and most of the time, air conditioning is not functional.
Criminals often target foreigners travelling in taxis at night and violent robberies are frequent.
If you have to use a taxi in Ghana:
- avoid hailing taxis on the street
- use only officially marked taxis
- ensure that there is no other passenger in the car
- limit trips to daytime
- always agree on a fare before departure
If you use a trusted ride-sharing app:
- confirm the driver’s identity before getting in the car
- be aware that the driver might only accept cash payment
Privately owned minibuses, known as tro-tros, have a high accident record. They are often overcrowded and poorly maintained. Drivers are reckless and drive at excessive speeds.
Private intercity buses are available and they are often better maintained and safer.
Periodic shortages of electricity and running water can occur, particularly during the dry season, from November to March, although the situation is improving, especially in Greater Accra.
Wildlife viewing poses risks, particularly on foot or at close range.
- Always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife
- Only exit a vehicle when a professional guide or warden says it’s safe to do so
- Only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators
- Closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice
Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common. Several drownings occur each year.
Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities.
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters of the Gulf of Guinea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from Ghana authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Ghana.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
If you reside in Ghana, you must register with the National Identification Authority of Ghana to get a non-citizen card. This applies to foreign nationals:
- aged 6 and over
- permanently resident in the country
- resident in the country for at least 90 days in any calendar year
National Identification Authority – Republic of Ghana
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of yellow fever vaccination for travellers from all countries.
- Vaccination is recommended.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to arrange for vaccination.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is a serious and sometimes fatal infection. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers) or those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Polio - Proof of vaccination required
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended for adults.
Proof of vaccination:
If you are staying more than 4 weeks in this country, you may need to show proof of polio vaccination when you leave the country.
Make sure that the polio vaccination is documented on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. This is the only document accepted as proof of vaccination. In Canada, they are provided at Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres.
Carry the certificate as proof of vaccination.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.
Lassa fever is a risk in this country.
Lassa fever is caused by a virus carried by rodents. Humans get sick when they inhale or come into close contact with feces, saliva, or urine of infected rodents or the blood or bodily fluids of infected humans.
Lassa virus can be very serious. Avoid rodents and rodent-infested areas.
Mpox (monkeypox) is a risk in this country. It is a viral disease that can cause serious illness in some circumstances. Risk is generally low for most travellers.
Mpox spreads in 3 ways:
- from animals to humans through direct contact or by eating or preparing undercooked meat of infected animals or coming into contact with an infected animal's body fluids
- from person to person through close contact, including direct contact with the skin lesions, blood, body fluids, or mucosal surfaces (such as eyes, mouth, throat, genitalia, anus, or rectum) of an infected person
- through direct contact with contaminated objects such as bedding and towels, or by sharing personal objects used by an infected person
Follow recommended public health measures and avoid contact with animals such as rodents and primates to help prevent getting or spreading the infection
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Medical services and facilities
Health care is inadequate outside Accra.
Emergency medical attention and serious illnesses require medical evacuation. Medical services usually require immediate cash payment.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in Ghana.
- Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
- Always keep your medication in the original container
- Carry a copy of your prescription(s)
- Pack them in your carry-on luggage
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Ghanaian law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face up to 25 years in prison. Homosexuality is not socially tolerated.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Ghana.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Ghana.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Ghana, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Ghana.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Ghana by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Ghana to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Authorities can ask you to show identification at any time.
You should carry a photocopy of your travel documents and keep the originals in a secure place.
Minerals import and export
Gold, diamonds and other precious natural resources are subject to strict import and export regulations. Only agents licensed by the Ghana’s Minerals Commission are authorized to handle import-export transactions of these natural resources.
Individuals who commit offences may face prosecution, and penalties include imprisonment.
Smoking is prohibited in public areas. It’s sometimes permitted in private businesses, such as bars or restaurants.
Wearing military clothing or clothing that has military elements is prohibited.
Photography of sensitive installations is prohibited. This includes:
- military sites
- government buildings
- Accra's international airport
Seek permission before taking photos of official buildings and individuals.
Dress and behaviour
Ghana is a conservative society. To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions.
You must carry an international driving permit. You can use it for up to 12 months. After 12 months, you will need to obtain a Ghanaian license.
If you have resident status in Ghana, you should request your Ghanaian license as soon as possible.
All cars must be equipped with:
- up-to-date road-worthy insurance stickers
- a first aid kit
- a fire extinguisher
- a warning triangle
Vehicles with temporary license plates are prohibited from travelling anywhere in Ghana between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Vehicles may be seized for the night and fines imposed for non-compliance.
The currency of Ghana is the Ghanaian cedi (GHS).
There are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign currencies. They must be declared upon arrival and exchanged for local currency at banks or foreign exchange bureaus only.
Upon arrival, you will receive an Exchange Control Form T-5. If not, you should request it. You must record foreign currency and all transactions made while in the country on this form. The T-5 declaration form must show that the money obtained while in Ghana were from an authorized dealer in foreign exchange. Currency transactions with private citizens are illegal. Keep the form in a safe place to avoid trouble upon departure.
The export of cedis is prohibited. Before departure, you must spend unused cedis or reconvert them into foreign currency.
Natural disasters and climate
The rainy season extends from March to November.
Flooding is common in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions during the rainy season. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
The harmattan, a burning, dusty and sand-filled wind, blows in from the Sahara from December to March.
The harmattan can cause disruptions to travel. It can also strongly affect the health of people with respiratory ailments.
- Consult a physician before departure to determine associated health risks
- Monitor local media for up-to-date information
Emergency services exist but may be limited.
In case of emergency, dial:
- emergency services: 112
- police: 191 or 18555
- ambulance: 193
- firefighters: 192
Accra - High Commission of Canada
Sierra Leone, Togo
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada to Ghana, in Accra, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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