Ghana is a small and beautiful West African country with beautiful hinterland, sunny beaches, rich culture, lively cities, welcoming locals, tons of wildlife, and easy access to all parts of the country. Ghana is known as ‘Africa for beginners,’ making it an ideal destination for first-timers.
However, regional flights within West Africa could sometimes be as expensive as flying from West Africa to faraway Europe, part of Asia, or North America. This is a major deterrent to exploring most of these West African destinations.
Do I think Accra, Ghana is the ideal destination for solo travel? Just like most West African cities, my answer is NO! However, if you are looking to explore and spend time with family and friends, then, by all means, visit Accra Ghana but also visit other destinations such as Cape Coast.
Most of what you’ll experience in Accra would be centered around these three things; the history of slavery in the region, food, and music. The people are also very hospitable and kind.
What to Do In Accra, Ghana:
At just over two million inhabitants, Accra is the largest city in Ghana. This capital city is full of character and radiates friendliness. Whether you’re there with a family, or for business, Accra has something to make you feel comfortable.
Accra is home to the National Museum where you’ll find many of the countries historical treasures. You can also visit the National Theatre, International Trade Fair, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial, Independence Square, and W.E.B. Dubois Centre.
At every turn, you’ll find markets, incredible food, wonderful music, and lots of traffic. Don’t forget to shop for quality African prints.
Visit Artists Alliance Gallery-
Created by respected Ghanaian artist, Ablade Glover, the three-story gallery is a treasure chest of Kente clothe, furniture, Asafo flags, masks, and unique metal sculptures. You can see almost every prominent Ghanaian artist represented and most of the pieces are for sale.
Labadi beach is arguably Accra’s most popular beach and is the perfect city beach. You can find great food and cocktails here, as well as local entertainment. It is also great for people watching.
If you are there on the weekend may witness some native drummings, local reggae bands, and plenty of spots for dancing to hiplife – a unique music style that blends hip hop with Ghanaian culture.
Visit Osu Castle-
It also honors the history of slavery; i.e it represents a place in which Ghanaians were sold as slaves and many were killed in the past.
Other interesting facts about the Castle are:
- Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Ghana, resided in the Castle. The room she stayed in, with the bed she laid on was displayed in the castle.
- The castle houses the first chapel in Ghana.
- Osu Castle is now open to the public to access the castle. Photos are allowed inside the castle.
Where should you stay in Accra?
Find a decent hotel on booking.com or an apartment via Airbnb within Osu, East Legon, and Cantonments. I stayed in Osu and was close to the places I wanted to visit.
Ghana has lots of street food which you should try if you are adventurous. I didn’t have pleasant experiences with all of it, however, I tried Ghanian Jollof in an attempt to put an end to the heated war between Nigerian Jollof and Ghanian Jollof.
What to do in Cape Coast:
Cape Coast is one of the popular destinations in Ghana. It is a former European colonial capital and one of the most culturally significant spots in all of Africa.
Originally called Cabo Corso by the Portuguese, the town was once the largest slave-trading center in West Africa. It was here that slaves were brought, locked deep in the town’s intimidating castle, and then loaded onto vessels to the New World.
Today, Cape Coast is primarily a fishing town with an artsy vibe. Old colonial buildings line the streets, perfect for leisurely strolls.
Use Cape Coast as your base for exploring the following:
Kakum National Park-
A visit to Kakum National Park makes a great day trip from Cape Coast. There, you will find 40 mammal species, 300 bird species, and over 600 butterfly species.
The most popular part of the park is the canopy walk. It is a string of viewing platforms that are linked by safe and bouncy suspension bridges roughly 30 metres above the park floor.
For a deeper look into the park, make arrangements ahead of time for a park ranger or guide to take you further in.
The first European slave trading post in Africa was Elmina Castle. Built in the 15th century by the Portuguese, it is located in what is now present-day Ghana and is among the top destinations in Ghana.
Over the centuries, it’s been controlled by the Dutch and the British and primarily served the Caribbean and Brazil slave routes.
You can see the luxury accommodations up top, where the Europeans stayed, and then visit the dungeons below where one cell held up to 200 people.
The Elmina castle is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Monument and is part of the national museum system.