The first word you’ll need to know is ‘chale!’
The Urban Dictionary definition of ‘chale‘ shows multiple meanings. Broadly speaking, it’s synonymous with ‘dude’ or ‘homie’, though it can also mean ‘cool’ – so basically, go at it chale! As you check out of Kotoka International Airport, embraced by smiles from the friendly staff, strut majestically out and grab some coffee at Café Kwae or Cuppa Cappucino.
Grab a taxi easily from the queues of waiting commercial salon cars. Ghana taxis normally have two colour patterns including yellow and yellow on their chassis. Cool Ride or Uber can be spotted via their apps. If you’re a regular in the city, you could do the short walk to the airport roundabout or junction and hop on a tro-tro minivan.
Where to stay
There are a lot of great hotels in the airport area, or you could opt for central Accra. The themed look and comfort that the five-star Kempinski offers is second to none, while Fiesta Royale, Holiday Inn, and Mövenpick are also worth checking out. For those on a budget, Esther’s Hotel boasts warmth and individual charm that most hotels could not possibly achieve in the fast growing Ghanaian urban environment. Drop off your luggage, and move out into the rhythm of Accra.
Want to take in some beach breeze and sea wave action? Then grab your sunscreen. Labadi Beach has artifact stalls, night parties, street food and local gin on its spacious shoreline with sparse coconut trees.
Between Ghana’s Presidential Castle and Jamestown Fishing Harbor, Afia Beach Hotel offers lodging, restaurant and bar, conference facilities, an African art gallery, a tennis court and free WiFI, while La Palm will greet you with extraordinary levels of customer service. Try your hand at horse riding, or grab some palm wine at Tawala Beach for a unique way to relax into beach life, or paddle in the waves at Kokrobite. With the day well spent, you could do Accra by night at Republic Bar, Tea Baa or The Shop, before hitting the sack.
Old city, new life
Start your next 24 hours start in Jamestown, one of the districts of Accra. You can explore what used to be a harbor, marked off at the Mantse Agbonaa junction by a lighthouse which looks over the rest of the town like a towering oracle. Here you can see pirogue boats, boxing gyms and fishmongers cutting up squid, mackerel, flounders and bass, while children swim in the sea and men sing Ga folk songs while mending nets. British Fort James, once a trading post in 1673, stands not far from Dutch Ussher Fort, built 24 years earlier as Fort Crèvecœur. If you had more than 48 hours, you could go see all the 27 European forts on the coast of Ghana. Breakfast at Jamestown Café and try a local lunch at Osikan for a true taste of Ghana.
Over 30,000 traders have second-hand goods for sale at Kantamanto Market. Like most markets in West Africa, Makola Market is dominated by women traders and is vast. You can find fresh produce, locally manufactured and imported goods at Tema station, Malata, Agbogbloshie, Circle and Kaneshie.
Parks and green spaces
The Don Arthur-designed Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum houses the body of the first president of Ghana; Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his wife Fathia Nkrumah, clad with marble and surrounded by river washed rocks. Walk around the scattered fountains, bronze statues and find the wandering peacocks. The 50-hectare expanse of greenery that makes up Legon Botanical Garden recently underwent a makeover, where visitors can do a canopy walk similar to the Kakum experience. Efua Sutherland Children’s Park and Mmofra, meanwhile, are great for the younger ones.
A final thought
Want to grab a great souvenir but approaching the end of your 48 hours? Pay a trip to Accra Art Centre and check out their artsy gifts for friends and family back home. See you again soon!