Essential information about Accra and Ghana for visitors
From tipping etiquette to minimum drinking age... follow Time Out's guide to getting by in Ghana
Addresses. Tricky one. Addresses in Accra can be difficult to define. Relationships to landmarks (some unlikely) are the usual way of identifying locations - this is what will make sense to most taxi drivers.
The city is not well equipped for disabled tourists. If you are not mobile, the only way to get around Accra is by private charter taxi. However, if you hire a driver for the day, it is likely he will offer to drive you for your entire stay. Negotiate a price and by the end of your trip you will have made a good friend.
Embassies and consulates
No 24, Fourth Circular Road, Cantonments (+233 302 741 150, www.usembassy.state.gov). Open 7.30am-5pm Mon-Thur; 7.30am-noon Fri.
Australian High Commission:
2, Second Rangoon Close, Cantonments (+233 302 216 400, www.ghana.embassy.gov.au). Open 8am-4.15pm Mon-Fri.
British High Commission:
Osu Link, Abdul Gamel Nasser Avenue (+233 302 221 665, www.ukinghana.fco.gov.uk/en). Open 7.30am-3.30pm Mon-Thur; 7.30am-1pm Fri.
Canadian High Commission:
42 Independence Avenue (+233 302 211 521, www.canadainternational.gc.ca). Open 7.30am-4pm Mon-Thur; 7.30am-1pm Fri.
No.6, Agostino Neto Road, Airport Residential Area (030 2777 073, http://gh.china-embassy.org). Open 8.30am-12.30pm, 3-5pm Mon, Wed, Fri.
Embassy of Denmark
67, Dr. Isert Road, North Ridge (+233 0302 253 473/4, http://ghana.um.dk/). Open 8am-4pm Mon-Thur; 8am-1pm Fri.
Embassy of Italy
Jawaharlal Nehru Rd (+233 0302 775621/2, www.ambaccra.esteri.it/Ambasciata_Accra) Open 9am-noon Mon-Fri.
Embassay of Japan
Fifth Avenue, West Cantonments (+233 30 276 5060, www.gh.emb-japan.go.jp). Open 8.30am-6pm Mon-Thur; 8.30am-12.30pm.
French Embassy and Consulate:
12th Road, off Liberation avenue (+233 302 214 550, www.ambafrance-gh.org). Open 8.30am-noon Mon-Thur.
German Embassy and Consulate:
6 Ridge Street, North Ridge (+233 302 211 000, www.accra.diplo.de). Open 7am-4pm Mon-Thur; 7am-1pm Fri.
Indian High Commission
No. 9 Ridge Road, Roman Ridge (+233-307020903, www.indiahc-ghana.com). Open 8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri.
89 Liberation Road, Ako Adjei Interchange (+233 30 2214350, http://ghana.nlembassy.org). Open 9am-4.30pm Mon-Thur; 9am-3pm Fri.
Nigerian High Commission
20/21 Onyasia Crescent, Roman Ridge (+233 0302 776 158/9, www.nigeriahighcommissionghana.org). Open 8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri.
Embassy of Lebanon
House F 846/1 off Cantonments Road, Osu (+233 30 277 6727).
Ghana is the best connected country in Africa. There is an abundance of internet cafés in Accra and they are cheap and usually fairly fast. All hotels will have a computer to use, although the wireless network in many leave a lot to be desired.
Your post will have a better chance of getting to its destination if sent from Accra, particularly at the airport. In Accra, the Central Post Office is located on the High Street on the Lutterodt intersection in Usher Town. Office hours are 8am-5pm Monday to Friday and 9am-2pm on Saturday.
Ridge Crescent, behind KLM (+233 302 213 090, www.dhl.com.gh).
Headquarters, Mango Tree Street Asylum Down (+233 302 257 921, www.fedex.com/gh).
5 Agbaamo Link, Airport Residential (+233 302 953 531, www.tnt.com).
It's not too common to tip in bars and smaller eating establishments such as chop bars. In restaurants and where there is table service, a tip of between five and ten per cent is common. In restaurants a ten per cent service charge is often added to the bill. It's not necessary to tip taxi drivers.
It's a little more complicated with guides out of town. It's common to have a tour around Elmina and Cape Coast forts for example, however in our experince in the more organised Cape Coast the tour was included in the admission price, but in Elmina the guide demanded a tip of GH¢10. Always organise the money and even tips beforehand.
The time in Ghana is the same as GMT throughout the year (ie, set your watch to the same time as London, except during British summer time, when Ghana is an hour behind the UK).
Tourist Information centres in Ghana, on the whole, are very welcoming and helpful - if you can find them. The most accessible is a desk in the airport.
Accra Visitors Centre:
Ring Road Central, opposite Kokomlemle Junction. Open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri.
Ghana Tourist Board:
Nsawam Road, Tesano, near the police station. Open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri.
Visitors from the UK, USA, Europe, Australia and Canada need a visa to enter Ghana. UK citizens can now book the visa online (www.ghanahighcommissionuk.com), bypassing half of the tortuous process of having to go to the consular section of the High Commission on Highgate Hill, London N6 5HE (0208 3427500). There are also offices in Glasgow and Dublin. Residents of the United States can get visa information here: www.ghanaembassy.org.
Visitor visas for Ghana are valid for three months, although visas for up to 12 months are granted in certain circumstances; visitors coming to Ghana on business need to present a letter of invitation on application. Visas for Ghana typically take at least seven working days to be processed, although there is a rapid processing service available. Those from countries that do not have a Ghanaian consulate can be issued visas in Ghana providing they have previously informed the Director of Immigration. The costs as of June 1, 2013 are £50 for a single entry three-month visa, £70 for a multiple entry six-month visa. Add another £20 for a 72-hour service and more for a 24-hour turn around.
NOTE: a new law is in place that requires all permanent resident foreign national to have a national identity card issued by the National Identification Authority. It costs $120. This also includes refugee
The Ghanaian currency is the cedi and is marked with a GH¢ sign. One cedi is divided into 100 pesewas. The latest cedi was introduced on July 3 2007 and is equal to 10,000 old cedi. The denominations for notes are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50. For coins it is 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 pesewa and 1 cedi. As of June 2013 GBP£1 = GH¢3.04 and US$1 = GH¢2. It's an exchange rate that has remained remarkably stable over the last few of years.
Accra has plenty of ATMs, but it is always best to take out money from an ATM machine within a bank for security reasons. Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Ecobank, SG-SSB, CAL Bank and Ghana Commercial Bank all have ATMs. Usually only local currency will be dispensed from these machines. It is a good idea to check with your home bank before you go, as to which Ghanaian banks they recommend because affiliated banks will have lower service fees. Taking money out in Ghana can set off alarms in banks and lead to your card being suspended until you call them. You can let them know before you go. Only change/withdraw the amount you need for a few days. Other options for changing money is at the bureau d'change - often signposted as Forex. A couple are listed below.
Lost/stolen credit cards
Use your credit card as little as possible, as credit card fraud is a growing problem in Ghana, although it's not at Nigerian levels yet. Additionally, many hotels and restaurants don't accept cards for payment. For lost or stolen credit cards call these numbers:
Visa 410 581 9994 or 410 581 3836
MasterCard 636 722 7111
American Express 336 393 1111
Discover 801 902 3100
Chase Bureau De Change
Opp. UNDP Office, Danquah Circle, Osu (0302 772 962).
Forbes Forex Bureau
3rd Lane, Off Oxford Street, Osu (0302 781 706).
Qwick Bureau d'Change
Cantonments Road (Oxford Street), opp Barclays (024 405 3705, 024 394 2197).
Trustworthy office on Oxford Street, with rates likely to be better than you'll find in a hotel. It is upstairs in a building opposite Barclay's Bank. There are signs outside and at the top of the stairs.
Gold Star Forex Bureau
Kokomlemle (030 2227409).
Yasole Forex Bureau
Accra Mall ,Tetteh Quarshie (www.accramall.com). Open 9am-7.30pm Mon-Sat; 10pm-7pm Sun.
A popular bureau d'change in Accra Mall.
Emergencies and health care
All available 24 hours:
Fire - 192
Medical emergencies - 193 to call an ambulance
Police - 191
For assistance in finding a private doctor or dentist, contact your embassy for specific enquiries. Pharmacies are easy to come by and are also found within supermarkets. Below is a list of tourist friendly hospitals and medical clinics.
37 Military Hospital:
Liberation Road near Akuafo Circle and 37 Station (+233 302 776 111).
Akai House Clinic:
Number 1, 6th Circular Road, Cantonments (+233 302 784 772/3/4).
Beaver Dental Clinic:
7 Roman Road, Roman Ridge (+233 302 771 785).
Labone (behind Morning Star), Carpet House (Nkrumah Circle).
Ring Road Central, near Sankara Overpass, Adabraka (+233 302 257140).
17 Ridge Road, Opposite Roman Ridge School, Roman Ridge (+233 302 769 680).
North Ridge Clinic:
Off Ring Road, next to Sedco House (+233 302 227328).
35 Aviation Road, Airport Residential Area (+233 302 775 341).
Life Health Care Medical and Dental Centre:
Accra Mall, Tetteh Quarshie (+233 302 823 064, www.lifehealthcare.com.gh). Open 9am-9pm Mon-Sat; 10am-8pm Sun.
Cantonments Road, Osu (+233 302 777 907).
Ghana Police Service, Headquarters. On Ring Road east of Ako, Adjei Junction (+233 302 228 112) Information line: +233 302 761 250.
Opposite NIB Headquarters (+233 302 662 290).
Airport Police: +233 302 777 592.
Greater Accra: +233 302 664 612.