Mud huts and skyscrapers in Ghana’s capital
Accra is the capital city of Ghana and a cultural melting pot. Follow the dusty roads into central Accra, past shacks selling everything from haircuts to cast-iron gates, and you’ll arrive at a modern metropolis. Elegant 19th century Colonial buildings rub shoulders with skyscrapers, apartment blocks and department stores, in stark contrast to the mud-hutted shantytowns on the city’s fringes. In the wealthier residential areas, you’ll see 2-storey colonial houses, their gardens and verandas shaded by trees and bougainvillea.
Explore Ghanaian heritage at the National Museum, W.E.B. DuBois Memorial Centre and contemporary National Theatre. For quality restaurants, nightlife and entertainment, head for the suburb of Osu. Indulge in gourmet coffees, salads, fresh juices and ice cream at Café Dez Amis or traditional African cuisine in a pleasant garden setting at Maquis Tante Marie. For a breath of sea air, seek out the beaches or visit Jamestown fishing port.
Go for the fine public buildings and busy markets. Makola market is ideal for fabric, clothes and wax prints or shop for curios at the National Cultural Centre near Independence Square. Alternatively, soak up the sun on La Pleasure and Kokrobite beaches, 25km west of Accra.
When to Go?
Ghana enjoys a tropical climate, with the highest temperatures in March and the lowest in August. Daily temperatures average 30˚C. There are two rainy seasons – April to July and September to November – and the harmattan (a dry desert wind) blows between December and March, lowering the humidity. Flights to Accra from the UK are fairly reasonable throughout the year.
How to get there?
Accra is served by Kotoka International Airport which is 5km from the city centre. Direct and indirect flights are available from all major UK airports. The best way to travel around Accra is to hire a car or SUV with a driver – prices are very reasonable. If you choose to walk around the city, look out for open sewers and large potholes.
Don’t leave without seeing Jamestown, an active fishing harbour in the oldest part of Accra. Go early in the morning to watch dozens of small fishing boats bring in the day’s catch. Try to find a friendly guide who can help you find the hidden alleys and cliff-top harbour views. Another popular tourist spot is Labadi Beach, where you’ll be entertained by drummers, dancers, pony rides and acrobats. It will cost you a small fee to use during the day unless you’re a guest of La Palm or Labadi Beach hotels.