Tro-Tro's in and around Accra
The most important way of transportation in Ghana is the Tro-Tro. A Tro-Tro is every vehicle that is bigger then a normal car and smaller then a bus. It can be anything: vans, pick-ups, small busses...
Every trip in a Tro-Tro is an adventure. The vehicles always are at least 20 years old, they are extremely uncomfortable, and very, very packed. An a small van they can fit at least 18 people. But the Tro-Tro is the cheapest possible way of transportation, often it is the only way to get somewhere, and it is the perfect way to get to know the real Ghana and the real Ghanaians.
Every town in Ghana has its own Tro-Tro, or Lorry-station. In Accra though, there are at least five of them. It is impossible to tell at which station you need to be for which destination, because there are tens of different Tro-Tro's leaving from Accra. The best way to find out is to ask a taxidriver to take you to the right station. If you are going to Tema, just ask for "Tema Station", when you go to Aburi, ask for "Aburi Station" and so on...
Once you get to the tro-tro you have to buy your ticket, that is very, very cheap. The average price for an hour is about $ 1,-, or 10.000 cedis. Once you have your ticket you can get in and the tro-tro will leave as soon as the vehicle is completely packed. There are no schedules of the departure times, if there are no passengers, it does not drive. Most of the times though, it will leave within an hour after arriving at the station and in Accra normally even within 20 minutes.
From Accra, and of course also the other way, Tro-Tro's leave to these and other destinations:
Kaneshie Station: Cape Coast, Takoradi and other destinations to the west
Nkrumah Circle, or just named "Circle: Kumasi, Tamale and other far destinations to the north
Tema Station or also named "Accra": Tema, Aburi, and other local destinations
Tudu Station: Aflao, Ada, Hohoe, Akosombo and other destinations to the east and northeast
And then there are a few smaller places from where you can get Tro-Tro's.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Taxi's in Accra
The vehicle you will see the most in Accra definitely is the taxi. Litterly thousands of taxi drive around in the city. Most of them are empty. In some areas in the city there are more taxi's then normal cars. Every taxi has a yellow/orange front and back, so they are easy to spot.
A part of these taxi's are used as shared taxi's, on fixed routes, but especially when you only spend a few days in Accra, these routes are difficult to know. In these cases you normally just take a drop-taxi to any place you want. Within the city centre the average price is 20.000 cedis for a trip by taxi, $ 2,-. For this amount you can spend up to about 30 minutes in a taxi: so the taxi's are very cheap.
If you want to go to destinations outside the Ring Road you have to be prepared on paying a little bit more, but for 30.000 cedis you will always get anywhere you want in and around the centre.
- Road Trip
Kotoka International Airport
If you travel to Ghana by airplane, you will always arrive at the only international airport of the country: Kotoka International Airport in Accra. It is situated at only a few kilometres away from the city centre, to the northeast. There are a few important things that are useful to know:
- A very big problem at the airport are all the taxidrivers who try to fool you when you get out of the airport. The arrival hall officially is closed for public, but even inside the airport there are people who try to take money from you. Don't trust anyone you don't know inside or outside the airport.
It's the best to arrange someone to pick you up at the airport, but if that is not possible, you should bargain a lot with the taxidrivers before you enter their taxi. When I once tried to take a taxi back to Accra from the airport, the driver that wanted to take began with the ridiculous price of 160.000 cedis ($16,-)! He made his own list with prices to show me he was honest with me, but after 10 minutes of bargaining I only had to pay the REAL price of 30.000 cedis!
- The other way, from the city centre to the airport the prices are the same as when you leave from the airport. Again, taxidrivers try to get you to pay much more then that, but a price between 30.000 and 40.000 cedis really is the maximum you should pay for a trip like that!
- And the final thing you need to know about the airport is that when you leave the country, most airlines ask you to show up up to four hours before departure! And that while there is almost nothing you can do at the airport: uncomfortable seats and hardly any shops. And to be honest: it is absolutely not necessary to be there that early. If you arrive three hours before departure, it is more then enough.
You can find several tro-tro stations inside the city centre, each station has its own destinations.
You can also try to stop a tro-tro along his route.
The prices are fixed, you only have to bargain for your luggage.
Flights through Accra
First, make sure you confirm your flight from here if you are flying a regional carrier, like Bellview. They have a reputation of "losing" your reservation and then waiting for you to bribe your way on board.
Also, prepare for an experience trying to board your plane. You will not be allowed to go to your gate and through security until you are called. You will be called at the same time as four or five other flights and placed in a single line in a steaming hot corridor. People will cut and your flight will leave late because so many others are in your same predicament. At least that is what happened to me--twice.
Oy, the airport, the airline...
I didn't get a very good impression of the airport at all because I lost my luggage when I took a departing flight from Accra. Really, the fault of Ghana Airways more than the airport. Nevertheless, the fact that it may well have been the worst equipped international airport I have seen didn't help matters. And to top it off, I was feeling rather ill at the time, and did not sleep much before that early morning flight.
In hindsight, the airport was .. functional I suppose, and really not that much worse than other airports of other developing countries. And they were undergoing renovations when I was there, so perhaps they can be forgiven.
In any case, be vigilent, ask questions, and be prepared for anything.
FROM OUT OF COUNTRY, PLANE
THE WONDERFUL TROLLY'S....
SO MANY PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT THESE...BUT I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THEM...THEY COULD GET UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT HEY THEY ARE CHEAP AND YOU MEET GREAT PEOPLE.
ALSO THEY HAVE 'FAST CARS' TO PLACES THAT ARE A ONLY A FEW HOURS AWAY FROM ACCRA. THEY ARE A LITTLE BIT MORE SPENDY BUT GET YOU THEIR FASTER...SEATING ONLY ABOUT 9 PEOPLE.
It is best when you come in...
It is best when you come in with a plane.Transportation
Always travel on STC buses whenever possible. They are more comfotable and a lot safer.
It is best and safe to get around with Accra with the
registered local cabs or the radio taxi cab.
There are Ghana Airways...
There are Ghana Airways flights from Kotoka Airport in Accra to almost every country in West Africa, as well as flights to New York and London. The airport is also served by several major western carriers. The US$20 departure tax is payable in cedis or in US dollars.
Ships connect Tema, 25km (16mi) east of Accra, with ports in Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon and South Africa. By land, there are buses, taxis, tro-tros (minibuses) and pickup trucks that run between Ghana and Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Togo. Border formalities for travellers with visas are usually minimal; greasing a palm or two may speed things up. Watch your pockets at crowded border posts.
Airlink offers low-priced domestic flights from Kotoka Airport, 10km (6mi) north-east of central Accra, to Kumasi and Tamale. Considerably slower but oh-so-adventurous, the Yapei Queen makes regularly scheduled 24-hour passenger runs across Lake Volta from Akosombo, 104km (65mi) north-east of Accra at the base of Lake Volta, to Yeji, more than 200km (125mi) away on the lake's north-western shore. The steamer stops at many villages on the way. From Yeji, ferries continue to Buipe, 100km (62mi) farther north-west, and Makongo, 15km (10mi) east; you can arrange ground transport to Tamale from either destination.
Ghana's road network is in decent shape, though there are some badly potholed stretches between Kumasi and Tamale, and almost all secondary roads are unsealed. You're bound to run into an occasional police checkpoint, though they're usually just angling for a 'dash' (the ubiquitous kickback). Car rental is expensive but available in Accra. Otherwise, most Ghanaians get around in taxis, tro-tros (minibuses) and mammy wagons (generally some sort of converted pickup truck).
Government-run buses connect most major towns and some smaller ones, but their service ain't what it used to be and it's usually better to travel with any of the private bus companies. A comfortable but slow railway system connects Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi in a single-track triangle. Only sleepers need to be booked in advance.
The airport is a very basic...
The airport is a very basic airport. It was being renovated when I was there (Apr '02). Departed on a Ghana Airways flight, and they did not even have the proper baggage tracking strip (the standard sticker strip with a barcode and a tracking number). All I got was a number on a piece of cardboard on a string.
The city itself is not very large, so most of the attractions are withing walking distance. Streets are relatively wide and clean. There were buses, but I did not take any. Taxis do not have meters. I only took taxis when going from central Accra back to the hotel in Labadi, and if I recall correctly, I paid 15,000 Cedis.
You can charter a whole taxi or stop one along his route.
A private taxi is much more expensive than a shared one.
Don’t get in before you agreed a price.