Accra , GHANA
Distant Guide Akwaaba! Welcome to Accra, Ghana!
Akwaaba! Welcome to Accra!
Your trip starts and ends in this vibrant city, filled with famous food, eclectic art, and friendly Ghanians. Accra sits on the coast of the Atlantic ocean, where families take to the beach, fisherman pull in their daily hauls, and the salty breeze brings in fresh air from the sea. Traffic (and everyday life) is pretty chaotic in Accra, but you’ll get used to it in no time. You’ll forget all about that jet leg once you immerse yourself in Ghanaian culture! But first, get to your hotel, check in.
Kotoka airport is located just over 5 miles from Accra’s city centre. There will be many taxis ready and willing to take you to your hotel. Bargaining starts right away - remember to negotiate a fair price! For more convenience, check with your hotel to see if they offer airport pick up, as many hotels have this service. Now, all that’s left is to check into your lodging.
GET YOUR BEARINGS
One of the best ways of discovering any new city is by simply walking around. And Accra is a superb city for walking! Wander though Osu and get a taste of the city’s hippest area. After a walk, consider taking a tro tro to see where the city’s main landmarks are situated, since you’ll be here for a week. Continue on to Labadi to stroll along the coast and dig into your first meal in Accra. Stop in at any of Labadi’s restaurants for some fresh seafood. After a late lunch, take some time to relax and watch Ghanaian life unfold before your eyes.
Ask your hotel about some of the best spots to drink and dine in cosmopolitan Osu, which is one of the most dynamic cultural areas in all of Ghana. Stroll past chic cafes, busy bars, and unique boutiques and feel the vibrancy in the air while you work up an appetite. Find Buka Restaurant and try fufu (pounded maize flour dumplings), a local staple.
Morning and Afternoon
ALL ABOUT ART
Accra is known for its art - colorful graffiti, and street artists making all sorts of unique art are found throughout the city. You won’t have to wander far in any direction to see Ghanaian style installations. Many of the vast murals make for great photo backgrounds, so don’t forget your camera! After lunch, head to the the National Museum of Ghana. This is a great way to get a quick history lesson and travel back through time. You’ll find an array of cultural crafts and artifacts. The museum boasts and impressive number of Indigenous artifacts, and the cultural exhibits can be very engaging. Don’t miss the exhibits relating to the Atlantic slave trade. Head back to your hotel for a brief rest.
Labadi beach is the place to be, for both foreigners and locals, and especially on weekend evenings! Grab a beach-side seat at one of the restaurants near the shore and get ready for the party to start. Try some locally-made gin or fresh coconut water and a fish fry as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean. Things can get a little rowdy (in good way) late at night on Ghana’s most popular beach.
No trip to Accra is complete without diving into the city’s history, for which there’s no better place than Jamestown. The oldest district in Accra, communities around Jamestown emerged during the 17th century around British Fort James.
Jamestown is one of the poorest communities in Accra and poverty is prevalent. Corrugated shacks and disheveled colonial buildings cover the vibrant neighborhood. Consider hiring a guide to help you navigate through the town and to learn more about its fascinating sights.
Jamestown has a long history with boxing and producing winning boxers. Numerous boxing gyms are found throughout the area, and boxing posters can be seen all over the place. Young Ghanaians compete to become the next best boxing superstar. Try and catch a match, you might just get lucky!
Continuing your day in Jamestown, take a walk along the fishing harbor. Many of the townspeople make a living from the sea. Watch the traditional fishing boats, called pirogues, bring in hauls of squid, barracuda.
As the sky fills with hues of orange, make your way to the red and white colonial-era Jamestown lighthouse, built in the 1930s. A local ‘guide’ might offer to take you up the spiraling staircase for a few Cedi. The panoramic views at the top are stunning, and a great way to fishing off the day.
Tomorrow, you’ll be heading to nearby beaches and dippin’ your toes in the sand. Make sure to get lots of rest tonight! Remember to pack the essentials: water, sunglass, swimming suit, sun lotion, and your camera!
Now it’s time to make a break for it and get away from the hustle and bustle of Accra. The town of Kokrobite is located about 20 miles west of Accra. This quaint fishing village has turned into somewhat of a tourist hotspot over the years.
ARRIVAL BY TRO TRO
In Accra, head to Kaneshie station. You might have to ask which tro tros are leaving for Kokrobite, but some happy passenger will help you. The ride will only cost a couple Cedi, and will take a bit more than an hour. Consider a taxi for a quicker, albeit more expensive option.
After strolling around Kokrobite and having a late breakfast, it’s time to hop in another Tro Tro and head back up the coast to Bojo Beach.
Located between Accra and Kokribite, Bojo beach is only about 25 minutes away. Bojo is a fan favorite - one of the cleanest surrounding beaches, beautiful, and tranquil. The coolest thing about it? Bojo is a little slice in the sun. Literally - it’s located on a tiny peninsula parallel to the mainland.
There’s a small entry fee of about 15 Cedi, which covers your boat ride there and back, and allows you to stay for the day. This little strip of sand can be like paradise on a calm and sunny day.
Be sure to order food ahead of time, as your order has to be taken by boat across two rivers! This is a great place to sip on a cold beer and watch the sun go down after a long day (or after a day filled with relaxing on the beach!).
EVERYBADI TO LABADI
There will be a number of tro tros heading back to Accra in the early evening - it’s as easy as asking a stranger and hoppin’ on. After a day in the sun, you’re probably ready for a nice shower (and maybe some aloe vera). Get refreshed, and then head back to the beach!
You’re feeling rejuvenated and Labadi is waiting. Once more, feel the sand in-between your toes and look out at vast Atlantic ocean as the moon’s glare spreads across the water.
Labadi beach is also known as La Pleasure Beach and for good reason - it’s fun! Bonfires pop up along the beach, as DJs play disco, reggae and pop music to those wishing to dance the night away. Come here any night of the week for a good time, but expect a crowd on the weekends.
A LOCAL’S BREAKFAST
Has all that sizzling street food gotten you hungry yet? Well, no better time to try it than starting your day with it. Accra has the best dining scene in Ghana, and arguably some of the best food in Africa. Breakfast in many parts of the world is light, but not in Ghana. A favorite breakfast in Accra (and all of Ghana) is Waakye - rice and beans. Gulp down a glass of milo, too.
Still hungry? You’ve come to the right spot. But if food isn’t what you’re looking for, don’t worry, Makola market sells pretty much everything you can imagine. The market and the hoards of people coming and going may be overwhelming at first - take a deep breath and carry on! Remember, as a foreigner you’ll likely be overcharged for goods, so bargain hard but with good intentions! Dating from 1924, the bustling, vibrant market is dominated by women traders who sell everything from produce to beaded jewelry, fabrics, pots and pans, and medicine, to name a few. It’s a must see!
DRINKS ON OXFORD
A few minutes at Makola is enough for many first time visitors. By now, Accra is probably becoming pretty familiar to you. For a change of speed from Accra’s fast pace, scout out a good spot to eat on cosmopolitan Oxford street - the shopping capital and beating heart of Accra. This upmarket area in Uso is dotted with many of Accra’s best bars, shops, and restaurants. Since shopping has been tacked earlier in the day, we suggest focusing on the food and drink. If fancy isn’t your thing, Oxford Street is the Kelewele capital of Accra. Kelewele is the Ghanaian version of french fries.
There’s still more art to see in Accra. Be sure to visit some of the city’s renowned galleries. One of the best is the Artists Alliance Gallery on Tema Beach Road, which focuses on sculptures, masks, and furniture, all of which are very representative of influential Ghanaian artists.
After working up an appetite, visit Chez Clarisse on Oxford Street for some delicious, traditional, and nurturing Ghanaian food!
After lunch, hop into a taxi for a short ride to the W.E.B. Du Bois Center, named for the African-American writer, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. A fierce proponent of pan-African culture and unity, Du Bois retired to Accra and spent time in here compiling the Encyclopedia Africana.
Stroll through the museum and you’ll weave through Du Bois’ personal library, bedroom, and final resting place. Du Bois was buried here along with his wife Shirley in 1963.
Your last night - but try not to think about that! If possible, the best way to spend your last evening would be watching a football match between Accra’s Hearts of Oak and their rivals in Kumasi. Football is a national obsession in Ghana, and experiencing the electric atmosphere inside the stadium should be on everyone’s list.
The famous chef and author Anthony Bourdain said he never had a bad meal in Accra. Knowing that, finish off the night with one last memorable a dinner at Buka, and a refreshing beverage at The Republic Bar and Grill.
LEAVING IN STYLE
Depending on the time of your flight you might choose to stick around the hotel and get everything in order. If your flight isn’t until later in the day, get back out there in the Ghanaian heat and make the best of it! Was there something you read about that didn’t have time to do or see? Get out there and do it!
Bring your camera - there’s always time to snap a few more shots and make a few more lasting memories. Head back to Oxford Street for one more stroll and marvel at everything that’s happening. Stay close, though - missing your flight home is not how you want to end one heck of week!