Uber in Ghana is one of the most reliable forms of transportation the country offers visitors. People are usually thrilled to find out that the popular rideshare app is established in Ghana, making getting around much easier, especially if traveling solo.
However, using Uber in Ghana comes with twists and turns and is not always as simple as it could be.
In this blog post, I’m going to share 10 things you should know about using Uber in Ghana to make navigating and traveling around Ghanaian cities a breeze during your time in the country.
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Specific addresses are not common in Ghana and you may have to depend on landmarks
While you may be used to having an exact address to input into Uber when going places, Ghana is different. Many places in Ghana do not have specific addresses you can put into the app that will help your driver find you.
Uber in Ghana does a great job of recognizing the names of places in the app, so it is often a matter of just typing it in and being set. However, when this is not the case, or you are at a residential address, you will have to depend on the nearest landmark to get a ride to come to you.
This may mean directing your driver from that landmark to you or walking there to avoid any confusion.
If you are unsure what to type in the app or where exactly you are, you can always ask a nearby shop owner to speak to the driver to explain how to get to you or what they type in when ordering an Uber.
Tip: I do not recommend giving a stranger your phone in an open environment, like on the side of the road, where they can take it and go if you are trying to find someone to help you.
I know many people who have had their phones taken this way. Instead, it’s best to find employees and owners inside of shops that can help.
Cash or Mobile Money is highly encouraged and your ride may be denied if you try to use a card
Uber drivers in Ghana prefer cash, so be sure to carry enough cedis to pay for your ride at all times.
If you try to pay with a card via the app, you may notice that your ride keeps getting canceled, as drivers will keep declining your request for a ride if it is a card trip. They will sometimes ask if it is a card trip just to make sure that it is cash.
I have personally experienced drivers driving all the way to me, then canceling the ride when they find out it is a card trip as I am about to get inside the vehicle.
After speaking to many drivers, I’ve discovered that the reason behind this is that the drivers like to have cash in their hands to use immediately for gas, things they may need to buy at the moment, or do repairs.
Also, Uber in Ghana deducts a percentage from the profit drivers make, and card payments not only get received later for most drivers, so the money isn’t given immediately, but that percentage is sometimes taken directly from the card payments.
This means that drivers may never see that money (according to the ones I’ve spoken to!)
For this reason, when using Uber in Ghana, use cash to avoid any delays to your final destination.
Tip: Mobile Money is a system used in Ghana where money is held on the mobile wallets of everyone’s phone. It’s kind of like Venmo or Cashapp, but instead of a third-party app, the money is associated with the actual phone and phone number.
You can pay drivers using apps like Western Union and Remitly via Mobile Money if needed. Though these apps sometimes have delays, I wouldn’t depend too much on them.
Don’t expect to have any AC inside of your cars unless you are willing to pay extra
AC is a luxury when it comes to Uber in Ghana, and depending on where you are from, this may come as a surprise. It was certainly one for me, especially when I learned that the Ubers in Nigeria have AC!
As you can imagine or have experienced, it gets super hot in Ghana. With the amount of time spent in traffic sometimes, having no AC makes all the difference between having a comfortable ride or not.
Uber in Ghana has been updated to include an option to order a ride with AC at an increased fare. Otherwise, if you want AC during your ride, you can ask the driver, but they will likely ask you to pay more or ask how much more you are willing to pay.
Sometimes, the AC doesn’t work in the car, so it’s not possible to have AC, but that is all part of the Ghana experience, so embrace the heat!
Your driver may stop for gas during your ride, but don’t be alarmed if they don’t
One shocking thing about Uber in Ghana is that Uber drivers will stop for gas at a gas station while you are inside the car, and your ride is still ongoing.
It is a normal thing in Ghana. Sometimes, the drivers will ask if you are okay with them stopping; other times, they will just do it without asking and continue the ride.
In Ghana, there are gas attendants who pump gas for drivers, so getting gas should be quick. It should not take any longer than 2-3 minutes and is even as quick as 1 minute most times if payment goes smooth.
The only time it has taken longer than usual is when there are issues with payment between the driver and the gas attendant with Mobile Money. However, as I mentioned earlier, drivers typically use cash, so it’s typically a quick exchange.
At night time, if I wasn’t too familiar with the route, I would say no when drivers would ask to stop just for peace of mind, but I’ve never had a sketchy incident while taking Uber in Ghana when drivers have stopped for gas.
You can also say you are in a rush if you feel weird about it. I am always naturally aware of my surroundings, so I try to stay vigilant and alert when they pull over, even though I have always felt very safe in Ghana.
If I was in the U.S. and my Uber driver pulled over for gas, it would be extremely abnormal and cause great concern for many people, so it is important to know that in Ghana, it is a thing you may experience and is nothing to worry about most of the time!
You may have to give your driver instructions to your destination or use your own Google Maps app
Taking an Uber in Ghana means dealing with the network issues that are prevalent in the country, especially when using a system that depends on an app.
Network and stable WiFi is not one of Ghana’s greatest attributes, so sometimes drivers face issues getting the Uber app to load and function normally.
Unfortunately, for you as the rider, this may mean directing your driver on where to go turn-by-turn or letting the driver use your Google Maps app, which means you won’t be able to use your phone for the ride.
I’ve had to do this a few times. Still, thankfully, most Uber drivers in Ghana are typically very familiar with well-known places and neighborhoods so that they can get to the general area without any issues.
This can be frustrating, especially if you like to enjoy car rides in silence like me most days, but remember to be patient, understand the dynamics of the situation, and be kind so you can get to your destination in the most effective way possible.
Cars that are used for Uber in Ghana are small and often can’t hold many passengers
If you’re coming to Ghana with a group of people and expecting to use Uber to get around, you may want to know that most cars used for Uber in Ghana are very compact and small.
They can usually comfortably take three passengers—one in the front seat and two adult-size people in the backseat.
Uber in other parts of the world can be more luxurious and use larger cars to hold more people, so you may want to adjust your expectations before coming to Ghana!
As someone who has traveled around Ghana often since I moved there alone, it’s more than comfortable for one person to commute from one place to another.
When Uber drivers want to cancel a ride with you they may ask you to cancel
Uber in Ghana is very efficient until it isn’t, and this is one of the reasons you may experience that will show you exactly why.
Drivers may want to avoid picking you up at your desired destination for a variety of reasons or may be taking a long time to come to you.
Instead of canceling the ride, they will ask you to cancel to avoid getting penalized by Uber for canceling too many rides.
If you have another ride-sharing app like Bolt, you can order a ride through another platform and wait it out until the driver is forced to cancel before they can receive another rider.
But honestly, as annoying as it may be, you can just go ahead and cancel the ride if you really need to get somewhere right away.
I think Uber is very aware of what the Uber in Ghana experience can be like and does not really penalize riders for canceling.
I have had to cancel MANY, MANY times and have been worried about this. I even reached out to customer service to make sure my account would not be locked at one point, and it was fine!
It’s not worth arguing with the driver about or stressing yourself out even more, so just cancel when you can and choose peace.
It is normal for drivers to call you before picking you up to let you know they are on the way
Uber drivers in Ghana do have a well-known habit of calling riders to let them know they are coming.
As in literally calling to say, “Hi, hello, I am coming.” LOL. Many people in Ghana find this to be one of the most annoying things about Uber drivers, mainly because they could just start driving, and you would be able to see they are coming in the app, but it is a thing.
Many drivers do this, so as a rider, you won’t cancel, but again, riders tend to cancel because drivers do not always start driving to you immediately.
I’d be very surprised if you come to Ghana, use Uber, and do not get this phone call. It is very much part of the Uber in Ghana experience as well!
Drivers may request to go “offline” on the Uber app while completing your ride
Adding to the list of uncommon things you may experience while using Uber in Ghana, your driver may ask you if it’s okay if they go offline during your trip.
This means they will end the ride on the app by canceling it but still proceed to drop you off at your destination.
When this is done, it is usually because drivers are trying to receive the full proceeds of the ride.
Many drivers have told me that they have to give Uber 20-25% of every ride (which is insane given the economic status of Ghana). So whenever they have a lengthy ride, they will sometimes ask to go offline to make more profit from the ride.
The con to this as a rider is that your app is no longer being tracked in the app, and you are in a stranger’s car.
There are times when I say yes and times when I say no based on my intuition and gut feeling. Ghana is one of the safest countries I have been to, but sketchy things can and do happen, so I am always super alert.
During the day, if it was requested and I felt okay about it (I knew the route, etc.) I would say yes, but at night time, I never allowed my drivers to go offline.
This would be a major red flag in the States, so the first time it happened, I was pretty worried. But in Ghana, it’s something I found to be a thing.
If you find yourself in this situation, trust your gut.
You can use Uber to negotiate getting a ride for longer trips and distances outside of the city
I lived in Accra and would take frequent trips outside of the city, and finding reliable drivers in Ghana can be tricky.
I recommend using Uber to find drivers to take trips to places like Cape Coast or the Volta Region if needed.
Just know that the prices quoted in the app for drivers to take you to these places are significantly low, so most drivers will not accept going for the rate listed.
You will have to negotiate with your driver a higher rate that is fair for both of you. They usually do try to get a fare for going and returning back to the starting city, whether or not you are returning back with them.
There are drivers who are willing to do this because they can essentially make a day’s worth of driving with this one out-of-town trip with you.
You may get a few nos and have to keep requesting the ride a few times before you find someone, but it has not worked out for me.
I have done this many times for out-of-town trips, and it helps with finding a driver on the same day without having to depend on referrals.
Note: The ride will most likely not be tracked by the app, as drivers will want to go offline to get the full proceeds of the trip and not have to share it with Uber.
When I traveled solo, I would just use Google Maps to track the driver’s route and made sure a few people knew where I was going and the time I was expected to arrive.
As you can see, navigating using Uber in Ghana can be tricky if you don’t know what to expect or what to look for, and it can add to the culture shock of visiting or living in Ghana.
Thankfully, you found this blog post, and I have dropped what I know to make your time in Ghana even more of a breeze as you explore the country with Uber.
If you have experienced any of the things I mentioned in this blog post or have any questions about Uber in Ghana please feel free to drop any questions in the comments below!