Accra is a small but busy city, with many things to see both on and off the beaten track. Here are some experiences you should be sure not to miss.
Take in the panoramic view at Skybar
Bar, Restaurant, African
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On top of the iconic Villagio, whose red and green towers loom over the city, sits Skybar, the only place in the city to get an unobstructed 360-degree view of all that is Accra. An upmarket space with an elegant drinks area, as well as a restaurant, it also hosts live bands and the best DJs in town. It’s one of a kind, and booking is essential.
As one of the largest producers of cocoa in the world, it’s a wonder there aren’t more chocolate companies in Ghana. All that is changing, with new brands springing up and people experimenting with all manner of ingredients and flavours. Such is the case with ’57 Chocolate, the brainchild of two local sisters who hold tastings of their handcrafted chocolates out of their workshop in Legon. A fun day out, you can try wonderful flavours such as mocha, coconut and hibiscus, and you can buy the beautifully crafted and packaged products as gifts. For bookings and queries, call +233 504 736 539.
Catch a live music show at Republic
Bar, Pub, African, $$$
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The bustling neighbourhood of Osu always has a lot going on. A prime staple in the area is Republic Bar and Grill, an ever-popular spot, as much for its pub-style atmosphere, finger food and locally brewed cocktails as for its impressive weekly live music selections, from highlife to hiplife. Friendly and cosy, it’s the best place to mingle with a large cross-section of the city.
Ghana’s first museum space dates back to 1957 and features the history of this young nation in three main collection areas: archaeology, ethnography, and art. You can discover the history of Kente, learn about indigenous instruments, jewellery and much more in an engaging narrative set within a peaceful space.
These two spots are highly rated for their Ghanaian food staples: fufu, banku, jollof rice, yam, plantain and beans, as well as much more, including local drinks such as bissap (hibiscus) juice and freshly tapped palm wine. At Buka, enjoy the ambience of its terraced dining and live highlife, and at Country Kitchen be prepared to encounter many politicians, as this open-air space is a favourite among those in government.
A unique Ghana experience, these fantasy coffins come in all forms, only limited by the imagination of the commissioner. Be prepared to see large fish, Bibles, Coke bottles, vegetables and beer bottles to name but a few. Like what you see? You can have one shipped in preparation of your departure to the next life. Or just take a wander around one of these delightfully laid-back artist workshops, which once upon a time prompted former American president Jimmy Carter to commission a coffin in the shape of a cigar.
This enclave has become a symbol of modern Ghana, with its annual Chale Wote Street Art Festival, its mix of old colonial architecture and crazy street-market atmosphere. Take a walk along the High Street and see Accra from a different perspective while taking in the ruins at Ussher Fort and the view of Christiansborg Palace. Climb the lighthouse for the views and pop into Deo Gratias studio, the oldest photography studio in the city. A visit to Jamestown Café for some cultural highlights can be rounded off with drinks at Osikan, a lovely spot for a beer, situated over the crashing waves below.
Explore the W.E.B. DuBois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture
Library, Memorial, Museum
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Located near the American Embassy, this informative museum is dedicated to the life of the great civil rights leader and Pan-Africanist William Edward Burghardt DuBois, and was also his former home. Inside you will discover his personal library and effects. A small museum that gives you a good overview of the life of the man who made a huge impact on African emancipation from colonial powers. The surrounding grounds house the mausoleum, where he and his wife are buried, surrounded by Asante stools, as well as a restaurant, gallery, amphitheatre and a much-needed research centre for Pan-African history and culture.
This museum, named after Ghana’s first president and independence pioneer Kwame Nkrumah, is the ideal place to get an overview of the life of the great man whose burial site is also on the grounds. All of this in an attractive five-acre (two-hectare) park that was once a British polo ground. Guided tours are also available.
A great one-stop shop in Accra for all manner of locally made gifts: from children’s books to jewellery and beads, clothing, paintings, sculpture and antiques. This large space is located in Labadi, in a house perched on rocks overlooking a turbulent city beach. All items are labelled and priced so it’s the perfect stop if you want an authentic slice of Ghana without all the haggling.