My name is Caroline Sande and I am the founder of #TravelEatSlay apparel for travelling millennials. When Sam from Sostraveluk first asked me to write a blog post about my recent travels to Africa I was lost for words to say the least. Firstly, I had never written a post before, how was I going to create worthy content without any guidelines to follow. Secondly, I had just returned from a 5 week trip that kicked off in Kenya, then to Zimbabwe and concluded with a 3 week extravaganza girl trip in Ghana, all of this in one post? I decided to focus on the latter trip.
Whether you are a solo, group, corporate traveller or an expat this major West African city of Accra anchored with legacy of the transatlantic slave trade bursts with character and welcomes you with chaos, bright colours and heat.
Akwaaba -meaning welcome
Getting around couldn’t be easier Uber is fully functioning, local taxis are constantly tooting their horns seeking passengers or you can opt for a cheaper not so comfortable way via the local minibus, called the trotro.
Daytime activities vary, it’s safe to say Accra has it all. From beaches to markets down to a happening nightlife. But first and foremost you must start your trip by visiting Accra’s most famous sites. Head to central Accra and stroll around Kwame Nkrumah Park Museum which houses a collection of personal belongings for Ghana’s first president. Then take a selfie at the Independence Square and Independence Arch a monument built to commemorate Ghana’s Independence. If that is not enough, Accra provides you with the chance to get up close and personal with monkeys, snakes and camels at Accra Zoo.
The taste of Accra does not stop there. Submerge yourself in Ghanaian culture and practice your bargaining skills down at Makola market or Arts centre and get the real taste of entrepreneurship. Vendors selling anything from handmade artefacts, colourful Kente/Ankara cloth, raw Shea butter and traditional food dishes.
Being situated by the coast there are wonderful beaches and beach hotels. The fresh Accra coast can be enjoyed at at Labadi beach. Though hectic, it attracts both travellers and locals, loud music, dance competitions and sandy horseback rides all in the spirit of fun. Alternatively, a 25 minute drive from Accra city just off Kokrobite road you will find Bojo beach. After paying a small entrance fee (20 GHc per person) you can enjoy the spacious tranquil heaven.
As the sun sets enjoy a glass of bubbly overlooking the boisterous city via the rooftops of Villagio’s Sky Bar 25. Let your hair down as most tourists flock to areas such as Osu, Labone, Cantoments and East Legon to enjoy the city’s pubs and clubs. The sounds of afrobeats and hiplife music vibrate through the speakers of local chop bars and trotros passing by until dawn.
The top 3 clubs to visit include Twist, Carbon & Sandbox (a club by the beach). For a relaxed approach on Tuesday’s make your way to Republic Bar in Osu for their karaoke night. If you are not keen on exercising the vocal chords, kick back and enjoy your night with a glass of Kokroko (a local drink made with pulverized ice, spirit shot, hibiscus, lime, mint and brown sugar) beats a Mojito any day!!
Out of town
Escape the chaotic city life and feel the cool breeze at Aburi Botanical Gardens in the Eastern Region just 40 minutes from Accra. The entrance to the gardens is a breath-taking palm tree avenue imitating the iconic Sunset Boulevard in LA. Get lost and be one with nature within these enchanted gardens that are home to the oldest tree. Equally ‘The Royal Senchi‘ is a luxurious getaway to relax and rejuvenate. This beautuful resort situated in the Eastern region on the banks of the Volta River only an hour and half from Accra is the perfect “staycation“.
Connect with the past and learn about the slave trade in Cape Coast (Central Region). Just a two hour trip away from Accra, Cape Coast and Elmina castles both offer a guided paid tour of the large whitewashed fort buildings and damp slave dungeons. Understand the dark, unsettling and crushing reality of the slave trade era. Concluding at the “Door of No Return” which led the slaves out of the castle and onto the ships to an unknown fate.
Culinary enthusiasts are spoilt for choice from continental restaurants to high class traditional cuisines. For hearty and authentic food with stylish surroundings I recommend Buka in Osu. Feel the ethnicity and fall in love with the African wax deco at Azmera located in Roman Ridge offering high class dining buffet style. Dishes you must try: waakye (rice and beans), jollof rice, kontomire stew with yam and kelewele (plantain).
If you have a limited budget and a strong stomach every street corner has a chop bar serving food on the go just as good but for half the price.
This capital city is truly fascinating and should be on every young travellers bucket list. It is a combination of culture, history with a welcoming hospitality that helps it remain an undiscovered gem of West Africa, with new experiences at every turn. A piece of you truly remains in Ghana.
Accra is only the tip of the iceberg to what Ghana has to offer. Other cities I wish to have explored include Kumasi and Tamale.
* In order to remain fabulous and “slay” your way through the streets of Accra one must equip themselves with a good mosquito repellent, anti-malarial tablets and have your yellow fever shot as this Western African country is a high risk level of malaria.
* When getting into a local taxi you can check Uber to get an estimate fare. Be prepared to sit in traffic despite you mode of transport.
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