The West African country of Ghana
has much to offer visitors, from fantastic food, beaches, wonderful wildlife
and a fascinating history. Here is our round-up of the most unique experiences you can have while you’re there.
Sleep in an ancient German fort
Perched high on a cliff overlooking a pristine and rarely trodden beach sits Fort Gross Frederiksburg in Princes Town, built as headquarters of the German-owned Brandenburg Africa Company between 1683 and 1684, with a view to capitalising on the riches of the Gold Coast. Nowadays, for those in the know, it can be used as a rest house that sleeps up to 10 people and, on a clear night, beds can be set up on the large terrace, not far from the cannons, overlooking the sea with an awesome view of the night sky. you can also enjoy a dinner of locally-caught seafood, prepared by the caretaker. A beautiful experience.
Fort Gross Frederiksburg +233 3321 32529
Surf at Cape Three Points
Surf culture has taken off with gusto in the last few years in Ghana, with all beaches delivering their singular waves. The consensus among surfers is that the best waves to surf are along the Western region, particularly at the most southern tip of Ghana at Cape Three Points peninsula, where whales are often spotted and a turtle sanctuary is nurtured. A brisk walk down a secluded beach will take you to the rocks where the waves are earned by a long paddle out in pristine waters, and you are rewarded with a long ride in. A must for all surf enthusiasts. Surfing trips can be planned by Mr. Bright’s Surf School
or with a resident at Escape Three Points Ecolodge
Drink Ghanaian cocktails
Akpeteshie is a Ghanaian staple, a particularly potent form of gin or rum that is brewed locally and usually taken at a roadside joint in straight shots in different herbal forms, said to be beneficial to different parts of the body. If it’s your first time, you may think it’s a bit strong for you, but there is an alternative! At Republic Bar and Grill, they make delicious cocktails from these in-house brews mixed with gorgeous tropical flavours such as fresh coconut, hibiscus, ginger and pineapple. Freshly tapped palm wine from local trees is also available. Expect the drinks to be strong though, so go slow!
Catch a boxing match at Bukom
Bukom, a small pocket of Jamestown, has an international reputation for producing more world champion boxers than any other. Boxing is big here and local bouts can be seen in rough hewn arenas or at the specially built boxing arena; both locations are atmospheric and noisy. It’s a location that’s off the beaten track, but if you like boxing, it will be exhilarating and memorable. Contact the Ghana Amateur Boxing Federation for more details.
Bukom Boxing Arena, Jamestown
See ancient loom-weaving at Bonwire
The art of fabric weaving across Africa goes back some 3,000 years and Kente, the distinctive cloth attributed to the Ashanti people, has its roots in the 17th century. The traditional thick woven cotton cloth was adopted by the Asantehene (Chief of the Akan people) as official costume for special occasions, naming ceremonies, funerals and marriages. When Ghana gained independence in 1957, it was declared a national cloth. There are more than 50 different types of Kente, still spun on a traditional loom operated by the weaver’s hands and feet simultaneously. Go back in time and visit Bonwire, where the looms have operated for centuries and pick up an authentic piece of Ghanaian history.
Bonwire Kente Weaving Village +233 24 330 1490
Do the canopy walk at Kakum
One of only two canopy walks in the whole of Africa, this one at Kakum national park teems with varied species of bird and monkey in this rainforest reserve that offers a rare glimpse of untouched wildlife in a rapidly developing country. Also home to a large herd of forest elephants, Kakum is a rarity not only in Ghana, but in the entire continent.
Kakum National Park +233 20 042 0831
Climb Mount Afadjato
Climb Mount Afadjato
The highest mountain in West Africa sits atop lush forest and multiple levels of waterfall teeming with fruit bats. It is no easy hike to the top, or doing ‘the loop’ as it is called. Expect a minimum of four hours for the more agile and up to six for those slightly slower. Take good hiking shoes and be prepared for varied terrain: from slipping slopes to clambering around tree roots and overgrown passes. A guide is a must, as is plenty of water, energy and a good camera to capture all the lushness along the way, including the upper part of Wli Falls which, if accessed early in the morning, is secluded and magical.
Visit the caves at Shai Hills
Natural Feature, Park
Visit the caves at Shai Hills
A small savannah reserve located on the edge of the city is well-known for its wildlife: antelope, deer, rare bird species and the numerous baboons that line the roadside and interact with tourists (and sometimes steal their belongings). Further inland and requiring a gentle hike is the eerie cave system used by the Shai people until the end of the 19th century and is well worth a look: strange tunnels, overhanging rock areas, massive blocks of stone and high lookout precipices were used as defences for the Shai against other warring tribes, as well as the English colonists.
Cycle in the Aburi Botanic Gardens
Sitting in the fresh hills above Accra is Aburi Botanic Gardens, a flora preserve that was opened in 1890 by the then governor who brought in methods of sustainable cocoa and rubber production that are still used in Ghana today. A delightful space, every species is dated, named and explained by manner of blue plaques, with many mature trees harking back to the 1890s. Other more quirky features include a decommissioned air force plane that is always fun for children to play around. Wide avenues are ideal for walking and also give space to explore the large area by bicycle. A relaxing day out away from the noise of the city, yet only a short journey away.
Aburi Botanical Garden +233 27 777 3674
Take a canoe around Akosombo
Lake Volta is the largest man-made lake in the world, created with the flooding of the Volta river basin. Nowadays, the area around the dam reveals some beautiful landscapes with the river teeming with hotels and restaurants and the lake used by the locals for fishing from their canoes, navigating the small islands that dot the water along the way. Negotiate with a fisherman and spend a few hours winding down tributaries in the low bottomed vessels as the fish jump out of the water beside you, and you will feel like you’ve gone back 100 years: peaceful.