As the capital city of Ghana, Accra is a likely first destination for those setting out to explore Western Africa. Although it is chaotic by western standards, it is a modern place compared to the other cities in the region.
Safe in most places even after dark (the usual precautions apply), Accra is a great staging post for adventures further afield in this corner of the African continent.
Accra Travel Guide
Cultural Attractions in Accra
Once you get settled in Accra, you’ll want to make a beeline for the National Museum of Ghana. Opened on the occasion of Ghana’s independence from Britain, this institution contains exhibits featuring archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, as well as various pieces of art made by creatives from across Ghana.
Take your time in this place, as there are pieces here that date back to the Stone Age, traditional musical instruments from various Ghanian tribes, and carvings, masks, and paintings from across Western Africa. Budget an entire morning or afternoon so you can fully appreciate this outstanding place.
Next, be sure to pay your respects to Ghana’s first president by visiting Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. With a striking modernist mausoleum as its centrepiece, this beautiful plaza is a worthy tribute to a political leader that helped ensure a smooth transition of power from British colonial authorities to a government led by native Ghanaians.
With plenty of marble inside and no shortage of fountains outside, its grandeur makes this point of interest worth a look on its own.
Learn about the life of a prominent African American (turned Ghanian) academic by dropping by the W.E.B. Dubois Center. The first African-American to receive a doctorate in the USA, and an active participant in the American civil rights movement, Dubois immigrated to Ghana later in his life, acting as an adviser to Nkrumah’s administration before passing away in 1963 at the age of 95.
The home where he spent the last few years of his life is now a museum on the life and times of a man that had a pivotal role in helping shape the Civil Rights Act back in America. Highlights include his personal library, and Dubois’ and his wife’s grave.
Other Attractions in Accra
The heat of the city starting to get to you? Take a trip out to Bojo Beach. Situated on the other end of a three-minute boat ride, the lack of access and the rules put in place by the owners restrict the ability of beach touts to disturb you, allowing you to relax on a paradise beach that is never too crowded.
Bojo Beach is sandwiched between a freshwater lagoon and the open Atlantic, allowing weaker swimmers and families to enjoy a swim without the risks that the currents on the ocean side pose to vulnerable individuals.
With food and drink facilities, as well as occasional live entertainment, you may find it hard to leave at the end of the day.
Those that have an appreciation for green spaces will want to take a day trip from Accra out to Aburi Botanical Gardens. Opened in 1890, the towering palm and rubber trees on this 64-hectare estate will set the tone for your visit from the moment you arrive.
Built originally by British colonial authorities to conduct agricultural research, it later played a big role in encouraging the widespread cultivation of cocoa (the plant behind chocolate) throughout Ghana. In addition to the endemic tree and plant life, keep your eyes open for nutmeg and cinnamon plants, both of which are planted here. Don’t forget to take a picnic lunch with you, as it is a common activity among locals.
Want to get a feel for everyday life in the streets of Accra? Spend some time touring the stalls of Makola Market, and you’ll see residents pulling together food for their meals, buying shoes to replace the worn ones on their feet, and hardware to fix up their homes. The critical mass of people here can be shocking to first-timers, but if you are: welcome to Africa.