A practical foreign exchange and currency guide on sending money and travel to Ghana
Hailed as West Africa’s golden child, Ghana deserves its place in the sun. One of Africa’s great success stories, the country is reaping the benefits of a stable democracy in the form of fast-paced development. And it shows: Ghana is suffused with the most incredible energy. Travel north and you’ll feel like you’ve arrived in a different country, with a different religion, geography and cultural practices. The beauty is that this diversity exists so harmoniously, a joy to experience and a wonder to behold in uncertain times.
The currency is the Cedis. ATMs are virtually everywhere, with almost all accepting Visa. Exchange bureaus are found in most major towns. Other than that bring only cash or traveler’s checks to exchange into cedis. There are forex bureaus everywhere in Accra, and many of the bigger hotels. It is difficult to find banks and/or businesses in Ghana which accept credit cards other than Visa. Sad to say, credit card fraud abounds in Ghana. It happens all too frequently. Not even in the big hotels should you consider using your credit card. Try to keep your card in sight when making purchases if you must use your credit card.
If you are planning to drive in Ghana, an international driving licence or international driving permit is accepted for periods up to 12 months. Beyond 12 months, you will need to get a Ghanaian driver’s licence. Poorly maintained roads and vehicles, aggressive driving practices, poor street lighting, roaming livestock, pedestrians and cyclists pose safety risks, especially when driving at night and outside urban areas.
Buses are preferable to tro-tros (minibuses) for long journeys as they tend to be more comfortable and reliable. There are bus services to all of Ghana’s main towns and cities. Intercity STC is Ghana’s main long-haul bus company. After near collapse, during which rival company VIP took much of its business, it’s back on its feet again, with new routes and a fleet of swish new buses.
While there is no passenger ferry network in Ghana, the Akosombo–Yeji cargo ferry accepts a limited number of passengers on its once-weekly service and is an adventurous way of reaching Tamale (you can pick up transport to Tamale from Yeji). The journey takes a minimum of 35 hours, depending on the punctuality of departure, the number of loading stops and the condition of the engine.
Don’t drink water from the tap ever. You can purchase bottled water from most any shop, or pure water sachets from hawkers on the street. A bottle of water is about .50 cents a liter and a sachet is about .3 cents a bag. Don’t buy water called “ice water” which is just chilled tap water in a tied plastic bag.
Ghana has some pretty restrictive laws to keep in mind. Such as: Taking photographs of or near government buildings or other infrastructure, including oilfields, can lead to detention. Homosexuality is illegal and criminalised as a misdemeanour in Ghana, punishable by imprisonment of up to three years. Same-sex marriages are not recognised by law. There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Ghana. Take care not to offend. If in doubt seek local advice.
The only immunization you are required by Ghana to have is for Yellow Fever. All the others are optional, and at your discretion, so talk to your doctor or travel medicine clinician about it. The necessity or otherwise of the optional immunizations may depend on how long you intend to stay, and whether or not you plan to stray from the cities off the beaten path.
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Ghanaian cedi.
24 Nov 2021
09 Sep 2021
08 Dec 2020
09 Dec 2016
11 Dec 2011