International Driving Permit Ghana
The country considered to be Africa’s true success story out of many, having a stable democracy and incredible progress – a combination creating joyful energy all over the country. Ghana offers beautiful sunny beaches, rich culture, vibrant cities, welcoming locals, and abundant wildlife, making it the best place for a long-awaited vacation. You’ll need to rent a car to access all of the country easily. However, renting a car in a foreign country means you’re required to carry an IDP.
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
The United Nations Convention on Traffic Rules
The Convention on Road Traffic, commonly known as the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, is an international treaty that promotes the development and safety of global road traffic by establishing uniform rules among the involved parties. The convention addresses the minimum mechanical and safety equipment that must be installed and defines identification marks to identify the vehicle’s provenance. This Convention was prepared and opened for signature by the United Nations Conference on Road and Motor Transport held in Geneva from August 23rd to September 19th, 1949. It entered into force on March 26th, 1952. The conference also produced a protocol on traffic signs and signals. Many Parties have also ratified the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic convention’s most recent convention.
Why do people carry IDPs?
Having an IDP is a legal safety net to ensure that all 150 countries worldwide recognize you to be able to drive. It overcomes language barriers between you and road authorities even if you do not speak the same language, preventing any unnecessary problem or loss of time.
In most nations, the issuance of a driver’s license is recommended. Other countries have not issued IDPs for use together with an American driver’s license. However, people in certain countries may be legally required for an IDP to drive safely. Driving without a valid driver’s ID may be a severe offense.
In most countries, car rental companies will require you to present an IDP to be able to rent a car. Without an IDP, they have the right to refuse to let you rent from their companies.
Driving requirements in Ghana
Foreign drivers holding a driver’s license are usually required to apply for an International Driving Permit in Ghana to be able to drive for up to six months from the date of entry into Ghana. If you stop at a checkpoint while driving, you must show your driver’s license when a law enforcement officer requests. As for the IDP, this indicates that as a foreign driver, you have a valid driving license in your country of origin. With an IDP, getting to your destination is much easier. Drivers over 18 can apply for an IDP if they have held their driver’s license for at least six months in their home country.
Exchange your foreign license in Ghana
Applicants should contact the Ghana Drivers and Vehicles Registration Authority Headquarters, where applicants can obtain an application form for conversion or replacement of a foreign driver’s license. They must fill out all information on the application form. Applicants must ensure that they have both copies and originals of all documents required for submission to complete this process. Traffic sign and rod marking driving test (if needed) will be taken. If the applicant has followed all the above steps, the application will be reviewed by the relevant authorities, and the applicant will be notified to collect their license. After receiving this notification, you can visit the office to obtain your license. The processing time for this procedure is typically three months. The required documents are the following:
- A valid foreign driver’s license (Non-English driver’s license information must be translated by a certified translator)
- Clear copy of passport
- A clear copy of your residence permit (valid for one year)
- A letter from your employer
- Non-Citizen Registration Card (foreigners only)
- Residence permit or dual citizenship registration card
- Please present the original proof of payment
Bushing up on the road rules before getting behind the wheel in a foreign country is always wise.
General Protection and Safety
In a car, it is strictly forbidden to use a mobile phone; currently, these restrictions apply to email, text messages, or Internet information. Make sure you keep your eye open to traffic, especially if there are no signs. Yield to all road repair cars and workers in the construction zone; the flashing yellow light will activate, and all vehicles approaching the school buses should start slowing down and prepare to swerve. Alternatively, move into the right lane if there are multiple lane paths available – if possible – when possible.
Do not park your motor vehicle in a location that may inconvenience the pedestrians. Parking in congested areas, near intersections, highways, bridges, streets with white lines, bus stops, schools or hospital entrances, next to traffic signs, etc., is discouraged.
Motor vehicle registration plates must always be visible, legible, and recognizable. Carry rental documents and a valid form of driver’s license and IDP to traffic authorities.
Use your horn only when necessary and never in quiet areas. Do not install loud, multi-tone, harsh, or high-pitched horns or alarms in your vehicle. Vehicles with modified silencers are also prohibited from driving on public roads.
Motorcyclists have the same responsibilities on the road as drivers of large vehicles. Leave at least one meter of space when you go out. It’s safer not to share lanes with them.
Road signs will guide you. You must obey traffic laws when driving or walking on the road. Traffic laws help ensure safety on the road, as does another driver in the same lane. People should be aware of the primary signs and guidelines that must be followed when driving on highways.
Legal driving age
A person under the age of 18 may not drive. Only the person with IDP is allowed to drive. Drivers without a valid driving license and under the influence of alcohol are not permitted to drive in Ghana. Also, they could get in trouble if they have a valid license, but her IDP is not present.
Overtaking is done from the right side. Do not overtake if you think you may hit other road cars or if you cannot see the road ahead clearly. Suppose you know that the car behind you started passing you when you have not seen; slow down and do not panic.
If your car breaks down, the first thing to do is turn on your hazard lights. This is to let the cars behind you know that your vehicle has broken down, and they shouldn’t expect you to move on. The next step is to bring the car closer to the curb.
You should take an early warning device (a triangular reflector) out before driving and place it approximately 50 meters away from the vehicle so that oncoming cars can immediately initiate a lane change.
Excessive speed is a leading cause of road accidents, and it is highly recommended to adhere to the speed limit of 60-80 km/h. The second cause is lack of concentration due to extended driving distances and low traffic.
Pay attention to traffic signs, especially those that show smooth or sharp turns. You should slow down accordingly.
Driving at night is extremely dangerous. Aside from poor road conditions, many places have poor street lighting and unpredictable pedestrians, bicyclists, and livestock. There is also a high risk of theft.
Ghana’s rainy season lasts from May to October so northern roads can be flooded. So it’s best to plan your trip in this area properly, but if you’re traveling at this time of year, don’t drive on flooded roads. It doesn’t look deep, but looks can be deceiving, and it doesn’t take long for the vehicle to start levitating and being swept away.
Roads in Ghana
Roads across Africa are generally in poor condition, but Ghana’s streets tend to be good. The arterial roads are typically paved and well maintained, with significant improvements between the capital Accra and Kumasi. However, some minor roads in the main cities and many outside the main cities are in poor condition.
The road leading from Accra to the Cape Coast tourist destination in the central region remains the scene of many accidents. Usually, it’s not the road that kills; it’s the drivers driving with speed and carelessness. Be careful while driving.
Car rental in Ghana
With good road conditions, low fuel prices, and many scenic stops along the way, renting a car and going on a road trip in Ghana is an unforgettable experience.
There are many places in Ghana where you can purchase a rental car. Going to the airport is probably the most convenient option, though you can choose from a wide range of car rental companies. Many people are familiar with the available car rental agencies.
You can find kayaks and Vipcars, with Wopecar being Ghana’s largest car rental company. There are many car models; in most cases, the vehicle can run on gasoline and ethanol. However, you should check this with the rental provider.
At the time of rental, the licensed driver or additional driver may be searched by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that issued the driver’s license or may be asked to request to sign a declaration attesting to specific criteria:
- Authorized Driver with a valid license that has not been indefinitely suspended, expired, revoked, canceled, or surrendered.
- In the past 36 months, the authorized driver has not had a single or several negligent driving convictions.
- In the past 48 months, the authorized driver has not had one or more convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) or intoxication.
- In the past 36 months, the authorized driver has not reported an accident or left the scene of the accident.
- The authorized lessor/driver has never owned a stolen vehicle or used the vehicle to commit a crime.
- In the past 24 months, the lessor/authorized driver has not been convicted of at least three driving violations (including seat belt violations).
- Authorized driver does not have three or more traffic accidents in the last 36 months.
The type of vehicle you want would also be assessed by the area you want to travel to. For example, if you want to stay in town, you could be better off with a smaller car. However, if you want to go off-road, an SUV could be a better alternative for you, providing more stability. Car rentals range from $30 to $1000, depending on the type of car.
Top 5 Places to Visit in Ghana
Ghana is a highly privileged land in the Western African region. It’s a country filled with fun adventures. The city contains a cosmopolitan city with exotic animals, picturesque beaches, and fascinating historical heritage. It is known for its beautiful oceanside landscapes and lively individuals.
When you’re near a river, a common occupation for most people is fishing. Like Ghana, Elmina is a fishing village that houses St George’s historical castle. One of Ghana’s most historical sites that you shouldn’t miss is Ghana Cloaca. This is a place that is definitely worth the visit. The white-painted castle walls were constructed by the Portuguese in 1483. It had a dark past as it had engaged in slavery that occurred in the tombs that tourists can still see now. While exploring this picturesque city during the castle, one may talk with the guide and have him explain the historical context of the place.
Mole National Park
Ghana offers many opportunities to visit Accra and enjoy nature and wildlife. But if you are seeking some lovely sights, it’s time to head to Mole National Park. It is Ghana’s largest wildlife park. Various animal species exist, including lions, antelope, buffalo, elephants, hippos, and leopards. The park contains 250 bird species, making them perfect for bird enthusiasts. Depending on the time of the year when you visit the area, you may notice that the park looks radically different with most animals gone. In this wet period, it’ll be tough to get pictures.
Lake Bosomtwe, the only natural lake on Ashanti in Ghana, was built when the meteorite struck the region ages ago. Ashanti believes that when people die, it comes for souls. Lake Bosomtwe is an excellent travel place and is an official pilgrimage site. The lake is approximately 80 m wide and is a great place to relax, hike, picnic, ride horses, cycle, or go swimming.
It’s the heart of Ghana and the country’s largest and most modern city. The city has a two million population, which gives you an incredible sense of vibrancy. Accra boasts an active market and heritage buildings dating from the colonial period. You will enjoy an unforgettable experience while enjoying its historical importance. The city’s economy is booming, and some lovely people can teach you many lessons.
During the Ashanti era, Kumasi was the former capital of Ghana. Kumasi delights tourists, and its large market is flooded with tourists. The area is famous for its gold jewelry, wooden chairs, and kente cloths. Because there are many shops around the area, people who like shopping would like this location. The Manhyian Palace Museum provides excellent information about the Ashanti kingdom’s history. Kumasi is the second largest city in Ghana.
Do I need an International Driving Permit for Ghana?
An IDP is a vital document for driving in Ghana as it’s a translation of your driver’s license and is used to overcome language barriers between police officers and you.
Is Ghana a safe country?
Ghana is not a safe country for night tourists, so avoid walking alone at night. Foreigners are often targeted for theft and robbery, even during the day. Always be aware of your belongings.
Do I need to be vaccinated to travel to Ghana?
However, inadequately vaccinated Ghanaian citizens and foreigners must submit a negative PCR test result at least 48 hours before arrival in Ghana. You must also undergo an antigen test in Ghana, and vaccination will be provided upon arrival.
When is the best time to travel to Ghana?
In many ways, the best time to travel to Ghana is winter in the northern hemisphere. October to April is neither extremely hot nor as cold as the other months, but they are comfortable due to the low humidity.