Reasons Why You Should Visit Accra at Least Once

<a href=""> Kufuor Gallons in Jamestown | © Kwabena Akuamoah-Boateng/Flickr</a>
<a href=""> Kufuor Gallons in Jamestown | © Kwabena Akuamoah-Boateng/Flickr</a>

Accra may be a small Ghanain city by the sea, but it is big on vibrancy and it also contains a multitude of natural and historical gems that visitors will enjoy. Here are a few of the attractions and activities that tourists should try while visiting.

For the best jollof in Africa

This is, of course, a matter of opinion, and jollof wars throughout Africa have become a very real thing. However, there is fabulous jollof to be had here in addition to other local cuisine including veggie plantain and beans, banku, fufu, and all kinds of soups. Try these at local roadside stalls but for more ambiance and comfort, head to the funky confines of Chop Bar in East Legon or the open air Bush Canteen. In Osu, both Buka and Country Kitchen deliver a wide array of tasty dishes.

The Chop Bar at A&C, A&C Mall, Jungle Road, East Legon, Accra, Ghana, +233 30 397 7843

Bush Canteen, Legon East Road, Accra, Ghana, +233 24 855 5500

Buka Restaurant, 10th Street, Osu, Accra, Ghana, +233 24 484 2464

Country Kitchen, 2nd Ringway, Osu, Accra, Ghana, +233 24 005 0373

For the weekly Labadi beach party

There’s nothing quite like a mid-week city beach party, and that is exactly what people get at the longstanding event at Labadi. Jam-packed and raucous, the beach transforms itself at night thanks to huge speakers that pump out music, flowing drinks, and a party atmosphere that doesn’t fade until dawn.

To hear live music

There’s nothing quite like hearing all manner of Afro-based music under the stars and alongside a happy, sweaty multitude. From the open air amphitheatre of Alliance Francais to the open-aired and always lively Republic Bar and Grill, Accra has many venues where this is possible. Out at the beach, Dizzy Lizzie’s of Kokrobite entertains with its hi life band every Friday. Further down the strip, Big Milly’s Backyard delights with a Burkinabe Koura band before their weekly reggae party featuring hours of hits played by their live band.

Dizzy Lizzie’s, Unnamed Road, Kokrobite, Ghana, +233 20 560 0990

Big Milly’s Backyard, Kokrobite, Ghana, +233 24 999 9330

Republic Bar and Grill, Asafoatse Tempong St, Accra, Ghana, +233 24 631 4044

Alliance Française d’Accra, Casely Hayford Rd, Accra, Ghana, +233 50 128 7814

Because Jamestown’s Street art makes for great photo backgrounds

There is something about Jamestown, the Accra neighbourhood that sits on the edge of the city and seems to almost spill into the sea. Thanks to colonial architecture that has been modernised, the buildings offer a unique mix of old and new. This neighbourhood has become something of the centre of the art world in Accra, and visitors are likely to encounter all manners of quirky, bold, adventurous, and unexpected art at every corner.

Jamestown Light House, Accra, Ghana

There’s a great selection of fabric shopping

The many colourful clothes and haberdasheries everywhere is a reflection of Ghana’s love affair with striking fabric. From street-side stalls to wandering hawkers who sell the bundles they carry on their heads to the solid wares of Printex and GTP and the upmarket selections that Woodin and Vlisco offer, fabric shopping is an adventure in Ghana. Not only limited to selections for clothes, sellers also offer drapes and cushions and even a way to revitalise an old pair of Converse trainers.

Printex, La Bawaleshie Rd, East Legon, Accra, Ghana

GTP, Akasanoma Rd, Tema, Ghana, +233 30 330 4234

Woodin, Oxford St, Osu, Accra, Ghana, +233 30 276 4371

Vlisco, Spintex Road, Accra Mall, Accra, Ghana, +233 30 290 0437

Market fabric

Market fabric | © ESB Professional/Shutterstock

It's fun to get lost in Makola Market
Makola Market

Makola Market | © WorldRemit Comms/Flickr

It’s fun to get lost in Makola Market

A huge, pumping mash up of a market, Makola incorporates so much in all its corners. From the second-hand clothes market (where shoppers can get some surprisingly good finds) to the street vendors selling all manner of homewares, the large warehouse stalls and the requisite produce, Makola is a great place to wander and get lost. Chances of going home empty-handed are low—even for those who didn’t plan on buying anything.

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Because the art scene is alive

With galleries of all kinds springing up and containing such a diverse array of art, art lovers will find a paradise in Ghana. In the plush Kempinski Hotel, Gallery 1957 hosts exhibitions as well as talks from great local artists. The newest arts space, ANO, is providing a new narrative for Ghanaian art as they seek to archive it.

Meanwhile, the annual Chale Wote Street Arts Festival seeks to make art accessible to all and judging by its immense popularity, it is working. Spaces such as the Nubuke Foundation’s display promote and show a wide selection of artists all year round.

Gallery 1957, Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Ministries, Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue PMB 66, Accra, Ghana, +233 30 396 7575

ANO Centre for Cultural Research Centre, Lokko Road, Osu, Accra, Ghana, +233 20 644 3066

Nubuke Foundation, 7 Lome Close, Accra, Ghana, +233 28 910 2163

Because the club scene goes from Wednesday to Sunday

Ghanaians love to dance and this is reflected best in the varied and packed club scene. On Thursdays, people flock to Carbon, set up by Nick Knight of Soho House. Meanwhile, Firefly Lounge is a hotspot on Wednesdays and offers a scene for everyone. On Fridays, head to warehouse space Plot 7 and on Saturday and Sundays, try Twist Lounge or Duplex on for size.

Carbon Night Club, Independence Avenue at North Liberation Link, Airport City, Accra, Ghana, +233 24 844 6464

Firefly Lounge, H P Nyemitei St, Osu, Accra, Ghana, +233 30 277 7818

Plot 7, Osu, Accra, Ghana, +233 50 273 4228

Twist Night Club, Cantonments, Accra, Ghana, +233 30 277 2179

Duplex Club, Harry Sawyer Rd, Accra, Ghana, +233 24 599 9999

You can seek relief from the city in the Hills

The verdant and airy Aburi Hills is a welcome respite from the sometimes overly humid city. Head up to where no mosquitoes fear to tread and enjoy the botanical gardens either by foot or by bike—which can be rented upon arrival. Those looking for somewhere to grab a meal, try Hillburi Lodge with their relaxed garden vibe, incredible city views, and infinity pool, or the smart and stylish Peduase Valley Resort.

Aburi Botanical Gardens, Aburi, Ghana

Hillburi Restaurant, Aburi, Ghana, +233 24 226 0237

Peduase Valley Resort, Ankama Close, Peduase, Ghana, +233 54 012 5554

There are a surprising amount of sporting activities to do in a small city

From polo and horseback riding to rugby, surfing, and street hockey, Accra has many hidden delights for those that are physically active. It’s also a great way to meet people and see the city.

Mr. Bright’s Surf Shop/School, Kokrobite, Accra, Ghana, +233 26 431 6053

Accra Polo Grounds, Airport By-pass Road, Accra, Ghana, +233 54 889 9895

Accra Sports Stadium, Accra, Ghana, +233 24 453 8087