Ghana Road Trip

Driving from Lagos to Accra with a Personal Vehicle – What You Need to Know

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It’s taken a while to put up this post but I’m glad it’s finally up now. Because I wanted to write a fairly comprehensive guide, I reached out to several people on Twitter and via email. I asked them to share their experiences driving through West Africa, from Lagos to Accra. Special thanks to Hammond Oluwole and Franklin Mamah for sharing the details used in writing this post.

General Information and Disclaimer

The information presented in this post will differ for each person and each trip. It is only intended for the purpose of trip planning. All prices stated here are either approximate values or exact values at the time of this writing.

I would try to update this post as often as I can or as I get new information. I also encourage you to keep the conversation going in the comment section. If you have travelled driving your own car from Lagos to Accra, please share your experiences, tips, and recommendations with us in the comment section.

If you’re not travelling with your personal vehicle, you can check out this post and this one to give you an idea of what to expect and how much to budget for a road trip to Ghana.

First Edit: December 2018

Documents Required and Costs of Travel Documents

Driving from Lagos to Accra – The Basics…

You need to travel with your international passport and a yellow card certificate. There’s a new process for obtaining a yellow card (post-August 2018). You can read about it here. I’ve also read that the old card would be discontinued next year. So it may make sense to go get a new one.

Driving from Lagos to Accra – Vehicle Documents Needed

In addition to the documents you use for your daily commute in the country, you would need an international driver’s license, ECOWAS vehicle license (not for use in issuing country and valid for a year at  ₦5,000), ECOWAS third-party vehicle insurance (aka Brown Card valid for 3 months at ₦15,000), laissez-passer (this is the travel document that allows you to drive through Benin and Togo, given at the borders) and undertaken (issued at the Aflao border. You’d have to declare your reason for visiting and your duration of stay.)

To issue a laissez-passer, officials at the Benin side of the Seme border would ask for 10K CFA for the first entry and 2K CFA (₦1,300) for subsequent travel. At Lome, you pay 5-6K CFA to the police to register your entry and customs will demand 27K CFA for their laissez-passer.

At the moment, I have no idea how much it costs to obtain the ‘undertaken’ at the Ghanaian border. One thing is for sure though, it will cost you.

What to Expect

Lagos Accra Road Trip

As I mentioned in this post, prepare mentally, physically and financially for the worst. Crossing the borders from Lagos to Accra when you’re not driving your personal car is already a hassle on its own. If you’re not used to the route, your first border crossing might be a total nightmare. You might be lucky (or skilled) to get a stress free pass but you should definitely prepare for the opposite.

Franklin, one of the contributors for this post told me that he had to cut his trip short because of the laissez-passer fee at the Hillacondji border.

I offered 10K (instead of 27K) to the officials on the Togo side of Hillacondji. They refused the money, so I turned back.

I did a quick google search to find out the actual price of this document, but I couldn’t find any concrete information. I, however, did see that in a few cases, if you’re able to strike up a friendly conversation and connection with the police and immigration officials, there’s a chance (a very slim one) that they’ll let you pay a lower fee or even go free. The trade-off will be that you spend more hours at the border.

Accra

A few more things to note…

If you’re travelling with new documents (especially your passport and yellow card), regardless of whether or not you have your old ones, you will be charged fees for a new entry. Hammond also tells me that the Nigerian custom service officials and the Benin police will charge a fee of up to ₦5,000 and 35K CFA respectively to place a ‘seen on departure’ and ‘seen on arrival’ stamp in your Brown Card.

This, he tells me, is necessary to absolve you of the charge of trying to bring in your vehicle illegally on your return. His number one tip is to have enough money for unexpected charges.

Road Conditions

At the time of this writing, road conditions are fairly good but you should expect a few potholes and bad spots here and there (more on the Nigerian side). There isn’t much to write home about regarding views. If you plan to travel by road solely because you want to enjoy the views, you might as well just fly. You won’t be missing anything.

Another thing to expect is payment of toll fees from Benin down to Ghana. You would also have the police and customs officer stop your vehicle because of your foreign license plates. Have your documents handy and present them when asked.

I love accra

Final Thoughts and Tips…

Have journey management procedures in place. Know your route – familiarize yourself with Google Maps before leaving, know the major towns too. It’s an almost straight route along the coastline. The road signs in Benin and Ghana are good, just keep following them.

Take enough breaks and try as much as possible to avoid driving at night. Remember that Aflao border to Accra takes another 4 hours. If you get there late, you should find a hotel close by to sleep in. Lastly, take more money than you think you need to cover unforeseen expenses.

I hope this article helps to plan your trip, driving from Lagos to Accra. If you have any questions, please leave them down in the comment section below. You can also search through my Ghana Archives for other posts around the countries mentioned here.

And if you’ve made this trip with your own car, please share your experience with us below.

Cover Photo by Joshua Oluwagbemiga on Unsplash

21 Comments

  1. Hey, thanks for this.

    Curious to know if I can drive within Ghana (a friend’s car) while I’m there with my Nigerian driver’s license?

    • Hmm, you probably can. My friend told me he was able to drive with one in the US (meaning it’s an international driver’s license). But I’d advice you confirm from your friend just to be sure.

  2. Mutair Olaniyi

    Hi Amarachi,

    Thanks for these insightful write-up, at least it gives an instinct of what could happen on the road. My question is regarding the laissez-passer, is it only in Benin and Togo border that one will obtain it or at all the border on the road before one finally get’s to Ghana.

    Many thanks.

  3. Dear Amarachi,
    Great article.. .I will drive to Ghana with my family this year.. Will definitely share my experience… Thanks for the insightful article.. And I must say you are beautiful..

  4. momentswithfikkys

    Nice post

  5. Wow! What an insightful write-up! Your research is unprecedented…. I have been nursing hope of traveling to Ghana for holiday via road with my personal car thou being there twice by air because my wife is originally from Accra…..The issues of stop-over at the different borders, check-points, toll gate and all that had been the major obstacle preventing me from embarking on road journey to Accra. Even thou my dream is to go with my car but being hindered by the mere imagination of the stress that could be inflicted by the security agencies on the road but I think your article has helped me a lot to have a rethink and inspired my willingness to take the taste of the adventure….So to say, I am a season journalist and I got a single question to ask….In a situation whereby I am traveling with my family, is it necessary for my children and their mother to also possess PP, YC and other identities needed of me or mine would technically cover them up?

    Niyi!

    • Hi Niyi, thanks for your comment.
      All travellers, including your wife and kids, would need valid documents to allow them make the journey. Yours would not be sufficient and failure to have them may be costly. You’ll just give the officials more reasons to extort you.

  6. Chibuike III

    Great job Amarachi!

    Stumbled on your post whilst considering a trip to Obudu.

    Well done.

  7. Good insight l will be coming from England then after two weeks in Lagos intend to do a weekend in Accra.

    I really want to drive along thay coastal road it’s barely 450km but what you gave described makes it see like 10000km.

    Ordinarily it shouldn’t take more than 5 hours,of moderate driving but bureaucratic hurdles have made the time factors stupendous.

    Nonetheless l am always up for adventure .thanks

  8. Thank you Amarachi. I’ll rather get the lassiez passer from the borders. And as regarding the journey, I’ll be doing before the week runs out (with my private car) and I’ll surely share my experience here to help others. Thanks again.

  9. Hello
    Please i’d like to send an email to you, but i cant seem to find a link on your page to that effect apart from posting in the public comment section.
    Do you mind giving your email address?

  10. Thanks a lot for this post. I am actually planning this trip. I got my international drivers licence from the FRSC office in Ojodu Berger, Lagos State. I was told by the officers to procure the international vehicle licence for N6,000 and Brown Card for N5,000 (a month) right there in their office. The most surprising is the fact that I was told to obtain a lassiez passer at N13,000 from the same FRSC office. I want to inquire if the lassiez passer will cover me throughout my journey or just the Nigerian side?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Victor, I think that might be just for the Nigerian side. From my conversations with the contributors for this post, you should get a lassiez passer for the other countries at their respective borders.
      If you’ve made this trip already, please share your experience with us.

  11. Bruce Wayne

    Can you make a post on driving from Nigeria to South Africa?

  12. Dear Amarachi,

    Oh well, this couldn’t have come at a better time, considering that I was planning a road trip with my vehicle for this Christmas and New Year holiday.

    As usual, this was quite insightful from you, Amarachi. Many thanks for the excellent job as always. May you be encouraged and empowered to continue what you obviously love to do best outside your professional works.

    With these tips in your write-up, I would’ve to reconsider going on this trip with my personal car for now at least, this busy period with limited time to plan.

    Once again, thank you and compliment of the season. I hope you have a merry Christmas celebration and my the new year illuminate your life and bless you with joy and prosperity everlasting in Christ Name.

    Cheers!
    Danny.

    • Thanks a lot for your comment, Daniel. Glad you found the post useful. I hope you share your experience when you do go on the trip and hope you have a merry Christmas and Happy New Year too!

I love to hear from you!