The Ga people around the fifteenth century founded
Ghana's capital, Accra. The city itself is making a comeback,
and has some interesting cultural things to do. You will find
the after hours club scene vibrant and reflective of this
lively, musical population. For shopping in the capital, visit
Makola Market, a lively, colourful bazaar where you
can pick up all your basics, alongside traditional crafts.
Kaneshi Market is another popular retail space for
those on the hunt for bargains. For more information on what
to do and where to stay in the capital, get yourself along
to the Ghana Tourist Development Company on Sanchi
Road in the Airport Residential Area. For a spot of culture,
take a visit to The National Museum of Ghana, where
you can see one of West Africa's best art collections.
If you're into beach life, this is a great place to visit.
Within in Accra itself, you'll find the best area for bathing
is at La Pleasure Beach, the swimming is good, but
watch for the strong undercurrents. Lifeguards are on hand
to assist swimmers in distress. The beach parties here at
the weekend are the place to be, when the cities youth turn
out in force to party. Take a tro-tro from the town centre.
To the east of Accra, the beach at Prampram is arguably
Ghana's best and you can combine this with a visit to Fort
West of Accra/Cape Coast
To the west of the capital, you will find an abundance of
picturesque fishing villages streaked with gorgeous palm-lined
beaches. Find your piece of paradise off-season for the most
serene and quiet spots.
The township of Winneba, situated in between two lagoons,
is host to the annual festival of Aboakyer (a-bo-a-chi-r),
otherwise known as the deer-hunting festival, a sacrificial
offering to the gods for a good harvest, health in the family
etc. Aside from this festival, you'll be hard pushed to find
other things to do in Winneba, so time your visit for early
May. There is a respectable beach and accommodation is available
according to your budget.
The Portuguese built Elmina Castle in 1482, in a region
rich in gold and ivory resources. This area became heavily
competed for in terms of its strategic position for trade,
by other European powers. As the plantations in America took
off, the trade in slaves expanded, and Elmina became the last
place many thousands of Africans would see in their homeland,
for many also it would be the last place they would see altogether,
due to the high death rates incurred during the middle passage
in such abominable conditions. Elmina Castle is one of West
Africa's oldest standing buildings; it means 'the mine' in
Portuguese. It was also the first permanent structure south
of the Sahara built by the Europeans. The castle served as
an outpost for the Portuguese to trade their goods for slaves,
many thousands being kept in the dark, damp dungeons. The
Dutch captured the castle in 1642 after previous unsuccessful
attempts, and other nations that fought to control it included
the English. At the height of the trade, 30,000 slaves were
passing through Elmina each year on their way to the Americas.
This continued for nearly three hundred years in appalling
Other forts worth visiting include Fort St Appolonia in
Beyin, Fort Groot Friederichsburg in Princestown, and
Fort Santa Antonia in Axim.
Brenu-Akyinim beach, a little west of Elmina can be
approached on foot along the coastal track, however, if you
don't fancy the three hour plus trek, transport is available,
dropping you off about 2 miles from the beach. This idyllic
palm-laden setting has beautiful white sand stretching far
along the coast. Breakers sheltering the rougher spots aid
swimming and the beach itself is fairly secluded. Accommodation
is available in the nearby town at Celiamen's Hotel,
which also serves delicious homemade food.
Located in the central region of the country, the Asante
heartland is scenic and hilly, but ideal for travel as there
is plenty to see, and the culture remains strong. The British
colonial legacy is also prevalent here, with majestic buildings,
now worn with time, standing alongside the African traditions
to provide an enticing combination of old and new charm. This
capital of the Asante region should definitely be a stop on
your list. It's a lively centre for local arts and crafts,
in particular the Kente cloth, a colourful woven cloth
used to make the traditional African costumes. Don't miss
the incredible carvings; the stools made in this region are
famous. Keep a hold on your possessions while strolling around
the market as pickpockets target this area. Inexpensive accommodation
can be found fairly easily in Kumasi, however at the higher
end of the scale, luxury accommodation is not so prevalent.
Food in Kumasi can come in the form of the chop bars and street
vendors selling snacks such as plantains, fufu, (yam mash)
and rice. If you have time in Kumasi, check out the local
nightlife, usually consisting of live music, taking place
in some of the bigger hotels. Kumasi also has a good selection
of clubs, which also serve food, and reflect the burgeoning
music scene throughout West Africa.
Around Kumasi, there is much attractive scenery, especially
the rainforests and numerous villages representing typical
village life. You will be able to observe and purchase traditional
crafts in these outlying villages. The Obuasi gold mines,
to the southwest of Kumasi are an exciting excursion, and
relatively easy to get to, although the landscape is rather
Mole Game Reserve
Open throughout the year and set in the northern Tamale
region, Ghana's largest national park occupies 1300 square
miles. You should be able to spot elephants, lions, leopards
and buffalo, among the more abundant species of monkey, antelope
and birds. The Mole Game Reserve is amongst the easiest to
reach in terms of access, and you can hire a local ranger
to guide you through on foot. The best time to visit is Christmas,
when the animals are out and the mosquitoes stay in. Plenty
of repellent is vital at other times. It is possible to stay
on site and you can find accommodation at the Mole Motel,
ranging from basic rooms in chalets to the VIP Lodge. Travel
to the park by bus from Tamale, Kumasi or Damongo, and you
can book early morning walking safaris with a guide for around
C/1500 per hour. These are the best way to get an insight
into the park, as they know where to find the animals and
greatly up your chances of seeing the rare species. Don't
expect to see lions and the like without a vehicle, and avoid
the park altogether in the rainy season.
East of Accra
This incredible village is in fact built on stilts over Lake
Tadane, to the west of Takoradi. The houses are
built on sticks with a wooden walkway connecting them. The
village has adapted to life over water, and you can take a
walk through the reeds and a canoe to the village from Beyin.
Thursday is a sacred day, so visitors are not welcomed then.
It is unsure why the village was built over the water, but
the inhabitants descended from Mali about 500 years ago.