- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Ghana.
- Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- You should avoid all political rallies, demonstrations and large public gatherings including football matches, as they may become violent.
- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution around Bawku in the Upper East region, Tamale municipality, Yendi district and the area around Bimbilla in northern Ghana because of the possibility of outbreaks of violence over disputes within or between local ethnic groups.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
- organise comprehensive travel insurance and check what circumstances and activities are not covered by your policy
- register your travel and contact details, so we can contact you in an emergency
- subscribe to this travel advice to receive free email updates each time it's reissued.
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ghana for the most up-to-date information.
A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for entry into Ghana.
Ghana is listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. If in doubt, check with your airline.
If you have visited Ghana in the last six days prior to your date of return to Australia, Australian Customs officials will ask you to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on entry into Australia.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers.
Civil unrest/Political tension
You should avoid all political rallies, demonstrations and large public gatherings, including football matches, as they may become violent. In June 2012 violent ethnic clashes erupted in the town of Hohoe in the Volta Region of eastern Ghana. Further violence in this region is possible.
Bawku (Upper East region), Tamale municipality, Yendi district and area around Bimbilla in northern Ghana: We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution around Bawku in the Upper East region, the Tamale municipality, Yendi district and the area around Bimbilla in northern Ghana because of the possibility of outbreaks of violence over disputes within or between local ethnic groups.
We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Ghana. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Conspicuous travellers, particularly women on their own, are the target of opportunistic crimes such as muggings, bag snatching, petty theft and pickpocketing. These crimes are on the increase in Accra and the surrounding area, and are common at markets, tourist attractions and beaches. Armed robberies and other violent crimes, including rape and house invasions have occurred. There have been reports of passengers in taxis being robbed by drivers.
Thefts by individuals posing as airport staff frequently occur at Kotoka International Airport in the capital Accra. Legitimate airport staff wear a current identification card which bears their name and photograph. Cards without photographs are not valid.
There have been reports of individuals fraudulently posing as police officers and demanding money from foreigners.
Commercial and internet fraud is prevalent and often originates in West African countries. Victims have been defrauded and those who travel to the originating country have had their lives endangered. Some victims have been killed. Criminals have been known to seek details of 'safe' bank accounts overseas in which to transfer large sums of money (as a donation or for a percentage of the amount involved). They may also provide fake cashier cheques for 'urgent' shipments of large quantities of goods, request sizeable fees for a fake government contract and extort money from individuals they have convinced to travel to Africa for a business opportunity. If you are a victim of a financial scam, we advise you to obtain legal advice and not to travel to Africa to seek restitution as there is a risk of physical assault from the perpetrators. Our information on International Financial Scams provides more detail on these types of scams.
Some Australian citizens have also been defrauded or had their lives endangered by bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes operating from West African countries. These scams typically result from connections made through internet dating schemes or chat rooms. Once a virtual relationship develops, the Australian citizen is asked by their friend or prospective marriage partner to send money to enable travel to Australia. Once the money has been received, the relationship is usually terminated and any chance of recovering the funds is highly unlikely. You should be alert to any correspondence that mentions lawyers, reverends, priests, gold, or hospital bills resulting from accidents or illness. In some instances, foreigners who have travelled to Africa to meet their friend or prospective marriage partner have been kidnapped and held to ransom.
Money and valuables
Before you travel, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Ghana. Australian currency is not an accepted means of foreign exchange in Ghana. It is difficult to find banks and/or businesses in Ghana which accept credit cards other than VISA. Credit card fraud is common in Ghana. You should try to keep your card in sight when making purchases.
Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
Poorly maintained roads, aggressive driving practices, poorly maintained vehicles, insufficient street lighting, roaming livestock, pedestrians and cyclists pose safety risks, especially when driving at night and outside urban areas. For further advice, see our road travel page.
Police road blocks are common throughout the country and you may be required to show identity documentation, vehicle registration and ownership papers.
Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.
When you are in Ghana, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
Serious offences, including murder, carry the death sentence.
Penalties for drug offences, including possession, are severe in Ghana and carry mandatory prison sentences.
Homosexual acts are illegal and attract a minimum sentence of 7 years in prison.
Possession of pornographic material is illegal.
Wearing military-style or camouflage clothing is prohibited.
Taking photographs of or near government buildings or other infrastructure, including oilfields, can lead to detention.
Only agents licensed by the Precious Metals and Mining Commission may handle import-export transactions of natural resources such as gold, diamonds and precious metals. Transactions without the Commission's endorsement are illegal and/or fraudulent. Penalties include imprisonment.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Ghana and you should take care not to offend. If in doubt seek local advice.
Gay and lesbian travellers should be aware that homosexual acts are illegal in Ghana. Open displays of affection by same sex couples, especially in rural communities, should be avoided.
Information for dual nationals
While the government of Ghana recognises dual nationality, officials may place restrictions on the ability of Australian officials to provide consular assistance to Australian/Ghanaian dual nationals if they are detained or arrested.
Australian/Ghanaian dual nationals may be liable for civil/military obligations. Before travel, Australian/Ghanaian dual nationals should check with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Ghana.
Our Dual Nationals brochure provides further information for dual nationals.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our Travelling Well brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.
Although medical facilities in urban areas are better than in rural areas, all facilities are basic and the standard of care available may be below what you would expect in Australia. Up-front payment is usually requested prior to commencing treatment. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with suitable facilities would be necessary. Medical evacuation costs could exceed $A100,000.
Malaria and other tropical diseases are common in West African countries, including Ghana. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before travelling, and taking prophylaxis against malaria, and to take measures to avoid insect bites including using an insect repellent, wearing long, loose-fitting light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, cholera, yellow fever, hepatitis, bilharzia and tuberculosis) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website. For information on our advice to Australians on how to reduce the risk of infection and on Australian Government precautions see our travel bulletin on avian influenza.
Where to get help
In Ghana, you can obtain consular assistance from the:
Australian High Commission
2, Second Rangoon Close
(cnr Josef Broz Tito Ave)
Telephone: +233 302 216 400
Facsimile: +233 302 216 410
If you are travelling to Ghana, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the High Commission you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
The wet season extends from May to October when flooding may occur, particularly in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions of Ghana. Roads can become impassable. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children page.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities in Ghana we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments.