When cash is tight, it can be hard to navigate the waters of dating. No need to spend a lot of money to get around the city and have a good time. From indoor ambiance to outdoor picnics and from arty to foodie, here are some cheap and cheerful dating ideas to try in Accra that won’t break the bank but are sure to be a fun time.
Have beers on the beach
A laid-back and casual atmosphere prevails by the beach, as the waves lap against the shore or some good looking rocks – depending on where you decide to sit. Tawala Beach is something of an out-of-the-way spot and their weekly reggae evenings are well attended. Most weekdays and evenings, however, you’ll find this low-lit spot to be supremely peaceful; no glaring lights or pumping music, just you, your darling and the sound of the ocean. If you’re in the Jamestown area, head to Osikan, perched high atop the rocks, for similar, relaxed vibes.
A popular eating spot known for its tasty Ivorian and Ghanaian dishes, as well as a bustling and fun atmosphere, Chez Clarisse is perfect for a dinner date. The platters are huge – ideal for sharing some fabulous grilled fish or chicken – as is their signature offering, atcheke: a grated cassava dish that looks like couscous. You can also opt for the always-popular and charming Ivorian Place behind Accra Mall, where you can sit on breezy tables set right on the street while watching the town go by. Being right in the middle of Osu, both restaurants are a great starting point to a stroll around town afterwards.
Spend the day at Kokrobite
At the weekend, hop on a TroTro (under five Ghanaian cedi) and head away from the city and chill at Kokrobite. If you have a weekday spare, all the better. Snack on beachside kebabs, fried yams and egg bread after splashing around in the ocean, or relax with a drink atop the balcony at Big Milly’s Backyard and watch beach life go by. If you’re in on a Friday, head to Dizzy Lizzie’s for highlife bands and a superb atmosphere, as well as her affordable and tasty menu. On Saturday, be prepared to dance the night away at the all-night Kokrobite reggae party.
Weekends can be sleepy in Accra, which is all the more reason to hit up one of the Saturday markets or food fairs. Free to enter, the Open Air Stock Exchange takes place on the first and last Saturday of the month and you’ll discover the best there is in terms of natural products (shea soaps, moisturisers, baobab and moringa powders), clothing, crafts, and all manner of food – from cakes in jars and jollof, to juices and smoothies, some of which you can sample as you walk around.
Pack a lunchbox or two and take a TroTro up and away from Accra to the verdant and scenic Aburi Garden, perched atop a hill overlooking the city. A romantic getaway, the botanical garden is a delight to walk around inspecting the various flora – as well as escaping the mosquitoes. If you want to push the boat out a little more, hire bikes to explore the area for an exhilarating afternoon.
This large compound in Dzorwulu is not only a pan-African gift shop but also a carpentry workshop, with monkeys and tortoises thrown in for good measure. A gorgeous space to stroll and browse, you can take a time-out on one of the house-made benches to chat, or explore everything from Ethiopian fabric to a map of the Gold Coast circa 1789.
Get to know your paramour while taking in the sights and sounds of this multifaceted market. Trawl through the piles of second-hand clothing, shoes and accessories, snack on cheap and plentiful street food, like kelewele and roasted nuts or mini pancakes, and gaze at the giant snails for sale. If you’re feeling a little flushed, walk round to Vida e Caffé to cool off in the air-conditioning with a coffee or frappe.
Want to know how you can take in a live set at Republic Bar & Grill without paying the door fee? Grab a drink at Duncan’s Bar next door and, if you’re early enough, get a seat with a great vantage point of its next-door neighbour. People aren’t shy about hanging out across the street and Duncan’s isn’t churlish about putting your drink in a plastic cup so you can ‘take it next door’. On nights when there isn’t a door charge, kick back and sample some flavoured akpeteshie (the local spirit) as you listen to a DJ set.
Accra is in love with art galleries and there is no end to the amount of free exhibits you can explore. A great one-stop shop is the Artists Alliance Gallery, which houses books, paintings, sculptures, clothing and beads among other things, in a purpose-built space overlooking the beach at Labadi. ANO is also a great place to browse, discover and discuss all things cultural and, if you want high-end ambience, check out what’s happening at Gallery 1957 at the Kempinski Hotel. With super pricey artwork on display, the gallery is free to enter – thought you may want to grab drinks somewhere else instead. Over at the Nubuke Foundation, you can enjoy the lovely grounds and your pick of art and photography.
For a raucous Friday or Saturday night, eschew the regular establishments with their massive markups and go roadside: the series of Guinness-branded containers opposite Papaye on Osu’s Oxford Street. Music pumps, patrons dance and the atmosphere is casual, friendly and upbeat. Booze is cheap, the tables are plentiful and you’ll find it hard not to move your body to the latest Afrobeat hits.
It may be The Sport of Kings but in Accra it costs nothing to mosey down to Accra Polo Club on the last Sunday of every month to help stomp the divots. The lovely backdrop of the 1929-built club is a peaceful and stylish date location – stick to the cheap drinks and enjoy the ambience.