Ghana Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving In Ghana
Main roads are generally paved and well maintained with the occasional pot hole on more minor routes which can cause oncoming vehicles to swerve across lanes unexpectedly. Some side roads within major cities and many roads outside cities are in poor condition. The road from Accra to the central region tourist area of Cape Coast continues to be the site of many accidents, as it has a number of bends and slow moving lorries which tend to encourage dangerous overtaking. Travel in darkness, particularly outside the major cities, is extremely hazardous, due to poor street lighting and the unpredictability of pedestrians, bicyclists and farm animals. Be especially cautious around roadside markets where ‘Tro-Tro’ minibuses tend to stop and pull out when you least expect it. Poorly maintained and overloaded vehicles will be encountered regularly.
In towns, watch out for pedestrians who intentionally bump vehicles and pretend to be hit. They then attempt to extort money from the vehicle occupants. Armed robbers have targeted travellers following their arrival at Kotoka airport. They may cause a minor road traffic accident to make a car stop, and to then rob the occupants. If your car is hit by another car it is best to drive to the nearest police station to sort out the incident. I would also always avoid picking up a car at the airport immediately after a flight.
Avoid driving at night, and if unavoidable drive with windows closed and doors locked. There has been an increase in incidents of highway robbery on the road from Kintampo to Tamale in the Brong Ahafo and Northern regions. Travelers along this route should exercise caution.
Travelers are routinely stopped at police checkpoints throughout Ghana, and vehicles and passengers may be searched. Drivers must possess an international driver’s license and you should also carry your passport and rental documents. In my experience, the police will attempt to extract money from travellers at around 50% of stop points, either indirectly asking for a gift or on a trumped up motoring violation. I managed to avoid paying fines/bribes by being friendly and courteous and laughing off the ‘gift’ requests. If faced with an official ‘ticket’ or unofficial fine, I’d go for the fine- in my experience its rarely issued and is used as a bargaining ploy for a bribe. For more info on dealing with the police in West Africa and other countries see my Road Trip Tale -Beware of Bandits in Unform.
In general , driving abroad in Ghana is a lot easier than in many African cities as the roads and driving standards are better, though you should still be cautious and expect the unexpected at all times.
Ghana Car Rental –
Europcar, Alamo , National Avis, Budget, have outlets here. Also usually features on Car rental broker sites such as Argus Car Rental. A word of caution – I used Europcar in Ghana and found that additional costs were added to my ‘guaranteed’ price locally. Europcar in UK later rectified this, but their agent in the country is a franchise who may choose to apply their own charging structure. This may be true of other franchises in West Africa so read your terms and conditions carefully when booking.
Local car rental companies and companies who can arrange rental include –
This company are based in Cape Coast, unfortunately I only have an email address for them-
Many local companies only have an email address or phone number and are listed on this site-
Ghana Self Driving Rules –
Of the big companies only National seem to allow cars to be taken outside Ghana. They say “Only permitted to drive within the Accra district. It is not permitted to cross the border, unless special written permission from the car rental company is provided.”Connect World Group above can arrange for self drive cars to be taken into Togo and Benin. Sputnik charge $150 for a document which includes a brown card, Insurance (not comprehensive), and an international permit for the car valid for one month. You need to persist in emailing them- it took about 5 tries before I got a response.