11 Things You Can Only Buy In Ghana

Shoes made from recycled plastic
Shoes made from recycled plastic | © Erik (HASH) Hersman/Flickr
Rajaa Banda

The following one-of-a-kind items found in Ghana run the gamut from sustainable and innovative to items that reflect the country’s history and culture and span from north to south. From traditional soaps to crafts and new ways to deal with plastic recycling, these items are truly Ghanaian.

Bolgatanga baskets

Baskets woven by men of the FraFra tribe in the northern town of Bolgatanga, these colourful baskets can be used as large standing laundry baskets, shopping baskets, and smaller handbags. Other items woven by the men of Bolgatanga are pieces of furniture and large sun hats. If Bolga is too far, find many of these men in Accra, where their colourful baskets and items can be seen hanging from trees all over the city.

Bolgatanga, Upper East Region, Ghana

Accra, Ghana

Bolgatanga baskets

Original woven kente

One of Ghana’s national cloths, this heavy cotton fabric comes in a combination of colours—each affixed with different meanings—and has been made on traditional looms for centuries. The original is far superior to the ubiquitous printed kente that is adorned on everything from T-shirts to fabric that can be picked up cheaply and is, in fact, mostly produced in China. Original woven kente is heavy, rich, and is a marvel of craftsmanship and history.

Bonwire Kente Weavers Youth Organisation, Bonwire Centre, Bonwire Kente Village Ejusu Juabein, Accra, Ghana, +233 024 330 1490

Adanwomase Kente Cloth and Tourism, Adanwomase Community, Post Office Box KS5840, Kumasi, Kwabre East Kumasi, Ghana, +233 020 860 5685

Woven Kente fabric

Asanka bowls

Pick up these locally produced clay bowls that come with raised ridged insides. Traditionally used for grinding spices and peppers, they are also used to serve one of the country’s most popular dishes: fufu. It is thought that the soup cools faster as a result of the clay and the ridges.

Makola Market, 5 Kojo Thompson Road, Accra, Ghana

Kumasi Central Market, Kumasi, Ghana, +233 024 311 7490

African black soap

A locally made and organic soap that utilises Shea, honey, and the ash of harvested plants makes a dense and cleansing soap that moisturises the skin, reduces scars and stretch marks, and improves skin tone. The soap has been discovered in recent years by the Western beauty industry, but it’s best to stick to the untampered versions made by local women from a recipe passed down for generations.

Makola Market, 5 Kojo Thompson Road, Accra, Ghana

All Pure Nature, Osu, Accra, Ghana, +233 024 437 0886

African Soap

Fugu shirt

Made from the nation’s other national cloth, Gonja, this fabric that is indigenous to Ghana’s north. Traditionally woven, this heavy cotton that comes in stripes of different colour combinations and is produced in long strips that must then be joined. Over the years, they have gained popularity outside of its Ghanaian origins and can be found in new forms such as women’s dresses and blouses found at the markets and several street stalls throughout various cities.

Ghanaian smock maker

Akpeteshie drinks

Strong, surprisingly clean, locally brewed alcohol, many people are surprised to be hangover free after a night of drinking Akepeteshie. Traditionally brewed as a herbal remedy, it has now spilled into regular life with the popularity of the drinks in one of Accra’s favourite spots: Republic Bar and Grill. There, a delightful cocktail menu mixes flavours such as coconut, hibiscus, and sugarcane, or order straight flavoured shots that are eminently sippable. Those around Ghana’s most southerly tip, pay a visit to Escape 3 Points Ecolodge where they have arguably the best Akepeteshie bar in the country and serve flavours such as honey, watermelon, and sweet apple, all of which are available to buy by the bottle.

Republic Bar and Grill, Asafoatse Tempong St, Accra, Ghana, +233 024 631 4044

Escape 3 Points Ecolodge, Accra, Ghana, +233 026 721 8700

Higher Ground Cocktail

Local beer

Made by Accra Brewery Ltd, Club is arguably Ghana’s most popular and ubiquitous beer being described as refreshing and eminently drinkable. Star is its neck and neck competition, offering more fuzz in its recipe. For truly homegrown beers, look into Ruut Extra. Ghana’s first Cassava-based beer—and super tasty—too, this beer is available at many bars and restaurants.

Star Beer

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