Getting around – transport information in Accra
Essential information about travel in Accra
Public transport and taxis
© Daniel Neilson
Intercity buses, known as STC buses (State Transportation Corporation), are comfortable, run regularly and are safe for tourists. Buses heading west and north leave from Obetsebi-Lamptey Circle station, while Tudu station at the north end of Makola Market serves those going east. These buses usually have stops within the city centre, so it is possible to take them to get around.
Taxis are plentiful, and are undoubtedly the best bet for people new to Accra. Most rides will cost around GH¢7-10, but can be between GH¢5 and GH¢15. Some will try it on with GH¢20+ rides which shouldn't happen for journeys within Accra, but be firm, or just get another taxi. There are plenty - as you will notice from the constant beeping to get your attention.
Most importantly, agree the price beforehand, as drivers don't use meters. It's worth mentioning that some taxis will look more like health hazards than legitimate modes of transport. Check for a seat belt. One reliable driver we use regularly is Joseph Addo - call him on 0246 480676.
Most hotels will have taxi drivers working for them. They often use nice cars (or people carriers) with air-conditioning, but they are generally more expensive. Like normal taxis, be sure to agree a price first. If you walk away, they will often come back with a lower price. Companies such as EuroStar Global Limosine (30 Senchi Street, Airport Residential, 0302 736 161, http://eurostarlimos.com) provide luxury cars for airport pick ups, conferences and special occasions.
© Daniel Neilson
By tro tro
Accra city centre is a hectic one. Perilous for pedestrians, one way to get around is to hop on a tro tro, a shared mini van with a set route. Useful routes for travellers are Circle to Osu via Ring Road; Circle to the central post office via Nkrumah Ave; Tudu station to Kokomlemle; 37 Circle to Osu; Makola Market to Osu; and Circle to the airport. But the routes are pretty tricky to understand if you are not used to them. A guy yells the destination and route if it is not on a sign. But any other people waiting will be able to help.
The main tro tro stops are at Tema Station, Nkrumah Circle and 37 Circle. Locals use hand signals when flagging down a tro tro, such as making a circle with the index finger pointed to the ground for Nkrumah Circle. If you shout 'Accra', or point your finger up, drivers should understand that to mean central Tema Station.
Getting around by air
© Will Amlot
Starbow (+233 245 000 000, www.flystarbow.com) and Fly 540 Africa (+233 202 250 208, www.fly540africa.com) link Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi. Antrak Air (+233 307 015300/1, +233 307 025300, www.antrakair.com) serves Accra, Kumasi, Tamale, Takoradi and Sunyani. The new carrier, Africa World Airline (+233 24 243 8888, www.flyafricaworld.com) flies to Kumasi and Tamale.
Arriving and leaving
A direct flight from London to Accra is a seven-hour journey. British Airways runs a daily direct flight from London Heathrow, and Virgin Atlantic flies from Heathrow five times a week. KLM and Air France both fly to Accra via Amsterdam, and other European departures include Alitalia, which flies from Rome, and Lufthansa from Frankfurt, and most recently Turkish. In the USA, Delta flies direct to Accra from New York's JFK International Airport, and also from Atlanta, Georgia. Ghana's national airline International Airlines was suspended in 2010.
Kotoka International Airport
6 miles (10km) north of the city centre. For flight information on arrivals and departures call +233 302 776 171, www.ghanaairports.com.gh.
Accra Airport has undergone renovations in recent years, but it can still be a bit of a headache, with keen porters trying to get your custom and taxi drivers descending upon blatant tourists like ants to a picnic. If you get hassled, say 'no thank you' assertively. Immigration is fairly quick on the way in and you will be given a 60-day visitor's stamp, providing you have arranged a visa in your home country before departure. They have started checking Yellow Fever Certificates before immigration, so be sure to have it in order. Queues can be huge leaving the country going through security, so go with plenty of time.
+233 302 775865, www.alitalia.com
+233 302 214 996/7, www.britishairways.com
Delta Air Lines
+233 302 213 111, www.delta.com
+233 302 213131, www.emirates.com
+233 302 214 747, www.klm.com
+233 302 243 893, www.lufthansa.com
Middle East Airlines
+233 302 230 867, www.mea.com.lb
+233 302 765 880, www.turkishairlines.com
Accra's roads are chaotic. It seems to function on one huge game of 'chicken' and whoever has the wits, wins. Saying that, at rush hour (between 6am and 8am in the morning and 4-7pm in the afternoon), traffic grinds to a halt in most areas downtown.
Cars can still be hired, should you want to brave the roads. All the regular suspects are here and most have an office in the airport, and agents around the city. All major hotels will have an agent too. All hotels will also be able to recommend a trusted driver who will drive you around for the day or length of your stay. This is surprisingly popular at around GH¢15 an hour. Ghana is a left-hand drive country and a current international driving licence is required. Drivers bringing vehicles into Ghana require a 'carnet de passage' and international insurance.
199 Soula Loop, Labine, Accra, +233 302 761 752, www.avisghana.com
12th floor, Heritage Tower, West Ridge, +233 302 665 544, www.europcar.com