Road trips? These are more enjoyable when you are fully prepared both mentally and physically. You can visit Accra on a budget and that’s where my Lagos to Accra by road comes in handy. Road trips offer the advantage of viewing the beautiful scenery and saves some of your coins. Why travel from Lagos to Accra by road, though? Accra is a peaceful and beautiful place to visit in West Africa. Ghanaians are hospitable, and Nigerians are “brothers” to them. So, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see my “Accra” fat face.
I usually go to Accra by road from Lagos because I love long road trips – hahaha, no, I’m just broke.
In this post, I’ll provide the relevant information you need to embark on this Lagos to Accra journey smoothly. Your required travel documents, estimated time of arrival, choice of bus, road expectations, and more will also be listed out here. Are you ready?
*I’m your travel guide*
Choice of Transportation Company
When you’re a first-time traveler, you might feel overwhelmed and uncertain of transport companies to trust. And you know for a start that you have to decide on which bus you’ll love to hop on. Just for safety purposes.
In Lagos, a couple of transportation companies do the Lagos to Accra routes on a regular base. You can find some of them on Lagos mainland, Maza-maza, Alaba, or Cele side. They also have station branches in Lagos Island, Lekki, Victoria Island, and Ajah.
Please avoid those transport companies with different names on their buses and their ticket—those that promise to drop you in Accra without documentation.
Note that some of the transportation companies that go to Accra are GIGM(God is Good Motors), ABC Transportation, and GUO. I advise that you have a budget for the whole trip, some extra cash and another extra cash. You can check on the website of these transportation services or call their customer care lines to compare the price and travel time. These findings will help your decision on the choice of the bus to use for your Lagos to Accra trip.
I’ll personally just choose a transportation company with a bus station close to my house. To ease the movement and eliminate any form of stress.
Don’t forget that a good transportation company will provide receipts of payments and advise you when you lack an International Passport.
Personally, I’ve only traveled by GUO transportation, so I’ll focus more on my experience with their service.
*Please this is not a sponsored post, thanks*
Here’s also a chunk of videos I made on my last trip to Accra.
Your Departure Time
Now that you’ve selected a transportation company you can trust. Paid your bus fare and gotten a ticket for your road trip, when do you leave this place called Lagos and set off to our lovely Accra town? Soon.
Most buses leave their Lagos Park by 7:30 am, or 7:00 am. But it’s best to get to the park early, let’s say around 5:30 am or 6:00 am just to sort out seat arrangements, baggage issues and to prevent any stories that touch the heart.
If you have an International Passport, your bus fare will be a decent amount of money. However, if you’re traveling with a National Identity card or a Student ID card, they’ll add extra charges due to border wahala that the bus company will face in the hands of customs officers. On your behalf of course.
Cost of Transportation
Don’t panic; the charge isn’t that expensive. In fact, it’s super budget-friendly. The last time I traveled from Lagos to Accra, I paid about 18,000 naira with my International Passport.
That was in 2019.
The customer service personnel at the GUO Iyana school branch told me that they charge 22,000 naira for those without an International passport.
See? The difference is a few thousand.
Moreover, make sure you budget separate money for your luggage. Because you still need to pay for that because the bus ticket doesn’t cover baggage. Also, avoid excessive luggage- you’ll thank me later.
Your departure time is on your ticket and also screamed at you sometimes after you buy the ticket. Something like this:
“Na 5:00 am sharp we dey komot ohh. Madam if I no see you by that time, you go miss first bus oh”. Abegi wake up early come park oh, I don tell you now.” – Random worker at the bus park.
It turns out that the person screaming about you showing up early on the day of the trip is the same guy that bills you 1,000 naira to put your small handbag in the vehicle’s boot- hilarious!
Also, you’ll need to fill a manifest on the day of departure- please provide the right information because this helps in case of an unseen event. But you’ll have a safe trip.
I guarantee you.
To have a successful and safe trip, you need to travel with an International Passport. If you don’t have one, you can use your student ID card or your National ID card. For starters, if you’re coming from Lagos and you look anything like a “misfit” – I’ll advise you also stack other forms of identification that proves you’re legit.
Misfit: A person with tattoos, piercings, dreadlocks, immoral clothing or any other item the board of Nigerian elders disapprove of.
I mean, from my experience traveling from Lagos to Accra by road frequently, I noticed that they usually delay people without passports that look “sketchy.” They’ll assume you want to commit a crime, and by the time the argument is over, everyone in the vehicle hates you for the delay. You don’t want to be that person, trust me.
Besides, you need to get a Yellow Card, and you can get this online or in their physical office in Lagos. The Yellow Card or the Carte Jaune is an international certificate of vaccination (ICV). The card shows that you are tested and fit for travel, especially in countries with high health risks for travelers.
The WHO – World Health Organization approves this Yellow Card. So if you don’t have the yellow card, you’ll get charged at the border. But the yellow card is cheap, so it’s better to just get it.
Feeding on the road trip is probably my worst and best part of traveling. I love eating and experimenting with new meals but not on a long road trip without adequate restrooms. Some buses provide you with snacks – gala and water. But others will do you the honors of Jollof rice or rice and stew. Anyways, the food just never appeals to me, so I don’t eat “bus food.”
You can take the snacks and biscuits provided or even bring your food along. Please consider other passengers when bringing meals from your home on a trip. I’ll advise you stick to everyday staples like yam and rice or beans but not some weird traditional soup that would make the driver stop and park.
*laughs like Cardi B at Coachella. okurrrr*
While on the road, you’ll see all sorts of meals advertised to you. From roasted snails to roasted plantain(bole), Akara and bread, fried yam, turkey(always tasteless to me), cold drinks and overpriced bottle water.
Yes! You can pay with Naira or Cedis at the country borders. These food vendors on the road side collect various currencies.
Remember, try to buy as you eat– almost like MTN’s pay as you go. I mean, don’t buy lots of food items you can’t consume. It makes your bus messy and wastes your hard-earned coin. Moreover, the bus will take breaks on the trip to Accra. About two food breaks, so you can get off the bus and eat at the restaurant the driver stops at. You can also buy snacks and munch on them- my favorite is plantain chips.
Again, when crossing borders, you can also grab food there. So there’s food everywhere, don’t hoard!.
Another trick for travel eating is to eat more carbs on the road. So I avoid lots of protein because it can cause a tummy ache. Also, I noticed that bananas are yummy and filling. So they’re my go-to travel snacks. Again, to avoid stories that touch the heart, it’s best to stick to meals you’ve tried in the past. Don’t try new dishes if your stomach isn’t that “great.”
When you get to each country’s borders, you’ll need to walk through the country’s border on foot. So your driver will collect your passports and submit them to the customs officers. Usually, for commercial transit, your custom officers at the borders deal with the drivers and the manifest.
So you’ll most likely wait around for the driver to get back and continue your trip. These are some of the borders you’ll cross.
- Lagos – Cotonou Border
- Cotonou – Togo Border
- Togo – Ghana Border
- A fun thing to do while waiting for your driver to finalize the documentation of transit is to take pictures. Yes! Your network is gone by now but your camera is ready for some Instagram hashtags.
- The customs officers come around the bus to ask a few questions. I think this helps to know nobody is being kidnapped- I guess. But sometimes, they perform a thorough check and you’ll need to set aside your luggage and open them up for inspection. The inspection process can get awkward, so I advise you to wrap up personal items well. It helps avoid any form of embarrassment. Sometimes these custom officers can get on your nerves during the luggage inspection, but you need to remain calm and act cool.
Ensure you’re not carrying any contraband goods.
Those abokis that wave money notes in your face when crossing the borders are both a blessing and a curse. You’re going to Accra from Lagos, and you need some cedis to take you to your destination. Buy some snacks or even get some gifts for yourself. Before changing money with these abokis, make sure you confirm the exchange rate. For that, you won’t be needing google because they operate with black market prices.
It’s best to change money with the older or more experienced travelers on the bus. Before then, you can start a conversation with your seat partner to know if they could be of assistance to you. Another trick is to ask the driver directly. But most times on the road trip, the drivers are busy. They’re running around to finish border checks and documentation to arrive at their destination early.
When changing money, consider the exchange rate and bargain with the person. Always keep your eyes on the bus and avoid wandering off from those on the trip with you. Remember to check for fake money, count the exchanged amount in front of the aboki to avoid getting scammed.
Don’t forget that you can always change money in Accra- Circle, Lapaz, or Kwashieman.
Again, contact me if you’re having troubles locating any of these places.
The Journey – Lagos to Accra
I charge my power bank and phones just to have some music and movies to keep me company. You can also take a notepad or your favorite book. Anything that keeps the boredom dead after the political conversation in the bus wanes off. Maybe create a list of activities you’ll love to participate in later.
The journey is fun, based on the transportation company and your fellow passengers. The speed of the vehicle depends on the driver and their driving policies.
Buying African Prints
If you love African prints, then the border is precisely the place for you to grab these colorful items for an excellent price. I noticed that the Ankara sold at the boundaries are at an affordable price. That’s if you compare pricing to Lagos or Accra market.
You get to buy tops, shorts or even dresses and use them as souvenirs. My favorite prints are those traditional Ghana prints, so lovely for a beach outing and leisure periods. You can also buy a sim card that works well in Ghana because when you leave the borders of Lagos. Your network starts roaming.
Traveling with kids
- If you have children you’ll love to go on the long road trip with, I’ll recommend you prep them well. Avoid giving them meals that will cause any reaction during the trip. Some people even give their kids drugs a day before the trip just to get rid of any tummy upset. However, when on the trip, the driver usually makes a stop when a child needs to pee or something urgent. But women are advised not to give their kids too much water. Nobody wants to stop at every 30minutes within a 10hrs + road trip.
- So go with your kids, but make sure they don’t cry a lot in the bus,
The first trick is to buy your ticket two or three days before the trip. When you do that, you’ll enjoy the liberty of choosing the most comfortable seat in the position you want. But if you buy a bus ticket for those big buses(popularly called VIP in Lagos), you’ll most likely be comfortable. The trip from Lagos to Accra can sometimes feel hectic if your seatmate isn’t chatty when you need them to be.
In consolation, those VIP buses have enough leg room spaces to stretch, and most of them carry a charging port to keep your phone alive.
So so comforting.
I love traveling, but you see this restroom thingy? It makes my anxiety spark. I never want to be in a situation where I’m super pressed and need to use the restroom, but the bus isn’t ready to halt just yet. It can be super frustrating. So you should always watch what you eat because you’ll use public restrooms, and the time is limited.
Sometimes, you have to use the bush for a quick pee. Super uncomfortable, I know. I hope that one day, West African road trips will be more organized and make the life of travelers more comfortable.
Check out one of my sad road trips ever.
Estimated Time of Arrival
From my experience, the journey takes roughly ten to twelve hours. The time spent on the road depends on the speed of the driver, the delay from customs officers, and your travel date(Mondays and Fridays are full of traffic). The best day to travel is usually on Sunday.
So sit tight on your Lagos to Accra journey and plug in your headphones. Note down some ideas that you might get and reflect on life for a while. You can update your social media pages too. It’s fun.
Ghana Immigration Form
Now, be aware that Ghanaians call Nigerians “Alata.” So don’t be alarmed if you hear someone refer to you as Alata. You’ll ooze Nigerian sauce if you’re coming from Lagos. Why? Because of the accent!!. Ghanaians will know that you’re Nigerian immediately you say “hi or just breathe in oxygen.
Another thing, please learn to convert cedis to naira just so that you don’t lose money. A lot of Nigerians have made the mistake of assuming 1 cedi is 1 naira. BIG LIE. 1 cedi is like 100 naira just without the zeros. So Ghana’s currency is that simple to understand. Don’t waste your money, please.
For the immigration form, you need to fill an immigration form when you get to the border of Ghana. This form contains vital information about you, especially the location you’ll be staying in for the period of your visit.
When you get to Accra, you’ll find a cheap and decent guesthouse to lodge in just in case you’re a solo traveler.
Again, hit me up. I have a human guide for you.
Last time I checked, you can stay up to 30 days in Ghana without a resident permit. Soon, I hope to visit Ghana and go to Takoradi or Cape Coast. After this coronavirus pandemic melts down- but for now, I’m in the Nonchalant zone.
YUP! and that’s a wrap. If you enjoyed my elaborate travel guide, be sure to like it and share it with your friends. Who knows? They could visit Accra for their next vacation. Feel free to reach out to me and ask questions about your Lagos to Accra road trip.
Let’s collaborate and work together. Cool? Yes, please.
Be fabulous and breathe!
See you in my next post.
*Hugs* from your online weirdo
Have you been to Ghana? Will you love to experience this journey? I can hook you up with a travel guide in Accra. Send a message. Leave your thoughts in the comment section.