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Accra

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Accra [1] is the capital city of Ghana.

Independence Arch

Understand[edit]

Accra has a population of 2,291,352 (in 2012). English is the official language of Ghana, but not necessarily the first language for many people. The local language in Accra is Ga, but Twi (pronounced 'chwee'), Ewe (pronounced ayvay), Hausa, and English are also widely spoken. Accra has rich western looking buildings and dusty shanty towns.

History[edit]

Founded in the 17th century by the Ga people, Accra became the capital of the British Gold Coast in 1877. Following Ghana's independence in 1957, Accra became the capital of the newly independent state.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Kotoka International Airport (IATA: ACC) [2] is a major hub, with international connections from North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, along with internal connections to Kumasi, Tamale and Takoradi, and regional connections to virtually every West African country.

From the United States, Delta Air Lines operates four times weekly flights directly from New York-JFK and Atlanta. From there, it is possible to connect to all major North, South, and Latin American cities, and the Caribbean.

Arik Air [3] is a very cheap way to reach Accra from various locations in Africa. Air Namibia also connects Accra directly with Johannesburg and Namibia. Emirates also operates in the country and Turkish Airlines begins its flights on 15th July 2010 and the flights would be on Monday-Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

air viva offers flights to Accra from Kumasi, Sunyani, Takoradi and Tamale.

British Airways operate a daily service to London Heathrow. KLM also operates a daily service to Amsterdam, and from there can connect to almost all European destinations. TAP Portugal has a direct service to Lisbon, Lufthansa runs a daily service to and from Frankfurt, and Alitalia has regular services to Milan; however, inbound services to Accra stop in Lagos first.

From the airport[edit]

There is an official taxi stand. Make sure you find it, if you want a regulated fare. Otherwise, expect to be taken for a very expensive ride. On the upside, though, the expensive/illegal car touts usually put you in a nicer car with a professional driver, and you get to skip any potential taxi confusion—you decide!

Get around[edit]

SUV or car with driver[edit]

The Travel Guide Agent Ghana LTD phone +233(0)249507413 [4] is a new Tour company that rent out cars,minivan in Accra and Tamale and a few cars at the Accra and Tamale airport which can bring you direct to Mole National Park and also anywhere across Ghana.

Accra's best attractions are scattered across a relatively wide area, so if you can afford the modest prices the best thing to do is hire a car and driver to take you around. Travel companies offer drivers who double as well-informed guides, which helps as interpretive exhibits and brochures (if you can find them) leave much to be desired.

If you need an SUV or a sedan there are plenty of affordable options because even the best drivers earn only about US$15 a day in Accra. You can book directly from Avis and local rental companies at the larger hotels, such as the Golden Tulip, La Palm, or Labadi Beach. Cars are available on short notice but if you want a van or SUV it is best to book ahead. Rates for car and driver are about US$9 (Ghana Cedis $US11.25) an hour. For a US$75 you can book a 10 hour day, but fuel is extra. Rates increase if you leave metro Accra, which is fair because poor roads add to the wear and tear on the vehicle. Toyota Land Cruisers are a popular choice and are widely available.

On foot[edit]

Though the city is fairly spread out, Accra is relatively safe to walk around during the day (and night, in many areas). Watch out for open sewers, automobiles, (even in the city) when walking the streets.

By taxi[edit]

Typical Accra taxi cab

To flag a taxi wave your arm with your finger pointed down to the ground. On a busy street you will have many taxis driving past trying to offer you their service by honking at you. There are very few Ghanaian cabs with meters. Never get into a taxi without first asking the fare - you must negotiate how much you are willing to pay before you start the trip. It is generally 3 cedis within the centre of town and 5-7 cedis to the airport or Accra Mall from the center. A rough mileage rate would be 1.5 cedis per mile. Try to ask someone local how much a trip to a certain location usually costs. Also make sure to haggle hard as most taxi drivers will often try to charge three times (or more) the going rate to foreigners. Relax, and don't show urgency. If the first taxi won't come down on his price, wait for another as they are plentiful. Do have an idea of your route, taxi drivers navigate by landmarks e.g. traffic circles, traffic lights, petrol stations [not street names, and make sure you have a local simcard in your phone so you can ring someone at your destination and pass the phone to the taxi driver.

Taxis do not have to be so private, though, and it's exceedingly rare for Ghanaians to hire one privately (although they will assume that foreigners want a private one). The rate is in theory one fourth of a private ride, but, again, foreigners taking a private ride tend to get taken for a little extra. It's more confusing, to be sure, but chances are they are going in the direction they are already headed, and you can just ask if they're going towards a major landmark, especially a market.

The problem with taxis, aside from the constant honking at foreigners, is that they don't know their way around Accra. No really, they won't have any idea where you want to go. They can't figure out maps either. The landmarks used by locals and cab drivers in no way align with those that are relevant to outsiders. Even worse, the cab drivers usually live kind of far outside the city center, and usually aren't even familiar with basic neighborhood names or the biggest attractions like Independence Square! Some useful landmarks that they will know are the major markets, Osu Castle, the Stadium, the financial center (Cedi Tower), the major traffic circles along Ring Rd, and major street names, from which you can try and direct them to where you want to go. Now, if you don't already know your way around, it's tough.

Metered taxi[edit]

The taxis are not metered. The charging system is at the discretion of the driver. She/He will charge based on the distance, nature of the road, heaviness of traffic and perhaps your looks.

Tro Tro[edit]

Trotros are usually very crowded and dilapidated minivans and minibuses that act as the city's public transit system. They are the cheapest way to travel (fare ranges from 30 pesewas to about 1 Ghana cedi), but can be very slow, especially during rush hour.

TroTros travel along well known routes in the city, and stop at various points along the way (some stops have signs, others don't). The trotro system can take some getting used to, but you can ask a local to help direct you to the right route and bus. There are several large bus and trotro terminals in the city and in the suburbs (in Accra: Tema, Tudu, Kaneshie, Circle, etc; American House in East Legon; Madina Market, etc). As a TroTro approaches a stop, a "mate" (the driver's assistant) will usually yell out the side of the window where the TroTro is going. Many people die in trotro accidents every year, however typically those that die in trotro accidents die on highways in rural areas. Accidents causing death in Accra are relatively rare, in part due to traffic congestion.

See[edit][add listing]

  • National Museum. Highly worthwhile, the National Museum offers visitors a look at Ghanaian history and culture from prehistory to the present. Cultural exhibits include clothing, thrones, carvings, paintings, pottery, and a variety of instruments and tools used in various rituals. Each of these is accompanied by descriptions of their significance and meaning, so you can learn a lot if you take the time read them! Historical exhibits feature some of the most influential and important parts of Ghana's history, particularly the slave trade. There is also a fascinating exhibit of the history of the Ghanaian currency.  edit
  • Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. The park was created to honor Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana to its independence from Great Britain and became the nation's first president. Voted as Africa's "Man of the Millenium", he is a highly important figure of the 20th century. In the park you can see a monument dedicated to him, as well as his mausoleum, where he is buried and a small museum dedicated to him. Various trees in the park have been planted by visiting dignitaries.  edit
  • Independence Square. Also known as Black Star Square for the large black star located atop Independence Arch. The square celebrates Ghanaian independence from the British in 1957 and features an eternal flame first lit by Nkrumah himself in 1961.  edit
  • W.E.B. DuBois Memorial Centre, [5]. W.E.B. DuBois was a famous American author and Civil Rights activist who moved to Ghana near the end of his life feeling his efforts to create equality were all in vain and that America would never accept black people. Although the Centre itself is a research library, historical sites and monuments are scattered about amidst the learning centers. The most interesting of them being House Number 22, which is where W.E.B. DuBois resided when he moved to Ghana, and his grave.  edit
  • Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop, Teshie First Junction (along the road, by a TOTAL gas station), 0233-(0)244-11-47-19, [6]. This is the workshop of Seth Kane Kwei who invented the famous design coffins in the 1950's which are carved into shapes that represent something important and relevant to the deceased person, such as a fish, airplanes, etc. You will likely meet Eric Adjetey Anang, grandson of Kane Kwei, who has owned it since 2005 and hear stories about these fantastic coffins. They are used for funerals in the region and are part of many public or private collections of contemporary art around the world. (5.587742°N,0.099610°W) edit
  • The National Archives of Ghana.  edit
  • The Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Artists Alliance Gallery, La Beach Rd (1 km west of La Beach Hotel). Artist-run gallery over 3 floors with sculptures, fabrics and paintings. Covers everything from cheap wooden artifacts for a few dollars to expensive paintings by top artists in Ghana. Big plus is being able to look, browse in a relaxed gallery without being hassled to buy. US$10-US$10k.  edit
  • Ghana's Central Library
  • Osu Castle. Built by the Danes in the 17th century, it has changed hands under many rulers before the Danes were finally able to stake claim to the area and the castle. Before it was claimed by Denmark, it was used for trading precious metals, but once the Danes took power, it became a place to store slaves prior to shipping them. Later it became the headquarters of the Danish Gold Coast. Since that time, it has been used as a government building and when Ghana gained independence in 1957, it became the Presidential House. It remains the seat of government today, although there is controversy because of its ties to the slave trade. Visitors are able to go to the castle however, armed guards stand outside and they typically don't allow photos to be taken. Rules about pictures change sporadically, but it's best (safest) not to try.  edit
  • Labadi Beach - One of the most popular beaches in Accra for tourists. Located between two of Accra's most expensive hotels-- La Palm and La Badi Beach--this short stretch of the Atlantic Coast features several makeshift cafe-restaurants, lots of souvenir vendors, and if you are lucky (i.e. on good weather weekends) an amazing cast of characters who will entertain you with drumming, dancing, pony rides, and acrobatic performances. Some people actually go for a swim, but there's plenty to do on-shore. Don't miss it. (Warning: this is a prime-time venue, one highly "not recommended" after dark.) The beach is 'officially' accessible only from an entrance at La By-pass (Labadi Road) for a fee of 5 Gh¢. If you are a guest at La Palm or Labadi Beach Hotel you can access the beach for free through the back gate. Non-hotel guests can enjoy the facilities - pool, fitness, sauna - for 10 Gh¢ a day at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel.
  • Jamestown - Jamestown is the oldest part of Accra and remains an active fishing center. It is similar in many ways to Zanzibar's Stone Town, though it has not yet been restored, so it is not typically highlighted on tourist itineraries. Despite this, for many visitors, it is one of the most memorable sights in the city and located the oldest hotel in Accra (Sea View Hotel) now reduced to a drinking bar. Jamestown is a short distance west from Independence Square; from the busy street the only real sights are the lighthouse, a prison building housed inside an old colonial fort(James Fort), and the old Customs House. From the lighthouse there is a road which takes you to the otherwise hidden delight: one of the largest working fishing harbors in Ghana. Go early in the morning and see dozens of small boats bring in the day's catch. It's best to find a friendly local guide so you don't miss the hidden alleys, old stone houses, and fantastic cliff-top harbor vistas.
  • University of Ghana - Ghana's largest university is in Legon and is accessible by Tro-Tros to Madina. It's a very charming and quiet place with old trees, a botanical garden (although you should be aware there have been reports of muggings and violent crime taking place in the gardens) and many small buildings surrounded by green grass. The Cafeterias are open to anybody and serve typical Ghanaian dishes.
The lighthouse in Jamestown
  • Nima Tours, Mamobi Gutter (Nima Roundabout), +233 24 627 0095, [7]. All day. Nima is one of the most impoverished areas in Accra, Ghana. Even though Nima routinely suffers from inadequate provisions of basic facilities, housing, water pipes, electricity, and drainage systems, the community continues to grow. Large number of migrant workers from rural Ghana & neighbouring countries find their way into Nima and make it their home. The beauty about Nima is visible and appreciated in the cultural & religious diversity of the community. Nima is a prime example that people of numerous nationalities can actually co-exist in peace. Experience this and much more in a walking tour lasting two hours! Or ask to see other areas of Accra or Ghana.Your Tour Guide was born here & has lived in Nima ever since, experiencing life as a Ghanaian in this impoverished corner of central Accra. It will amaze & enrich you to witness life in Nima. There is so much to learn giving you a wonderful few hours experience of this 'unknown' area of Accra- contact us for a memorable few hours in Nima! From 10GhC. (0°11.5” E 0°12.20” W,5°35” N 5°34”S) edit

Do[edit][add listing]

The La Raceway: a Go-karting circuit, Sports bar and Entertainment Centre is situated behind the Trade Fair Centre, near Labadi beach

Harbin's: a bowling alley in Teshie, about 8 km (5 mi) from the city centre.

Swimming Pools: Sport swimmers find a pool in East Legon at A&C Mall [8] for 12 Gh¢ a day. Those who want to spend a relaxing day at a hotel pool can use the one of La Palm Royal Beach Hotel [9] for 30 Gh¢ a day.

Culture[edit]

Goethe Institut [10] - German institute organizing frequent movie screening and expositions. There is a regular Thursay movie screening.

Alliance Francaise d'Accra [11] - French institute organizing frequent concerts, art performances and expositions.

Accra Expat [12] - the expat webpage informing about the planned events in Accra

Buy[edit][add listing]

Makola Market [13], in Accra's busy downtown, includes a large boulevard and several alleys full of fabric shops with goods such as wax-print pagnes, as well as embroidered and beaded cotton and tulle for special occasions. Look for wax prints from Ghana Traditional Prints (GTP) and the Akosombo Textile Company, which issue a wide range of new designs annually. Another source for such fabric is Woodin, an upscale fabric store with outlets in Osu and at the A&C shopping mall in East Legon, selling a variety of shiny patterned cottons, batiks, and ready-made clothes.

Kaneshie Market is both a transit centre and a great place to shop, offering a very wide variety of mostly traditional goods and items. It is a source for food and household items; beads, hair salons, shoes, handbags, and beauty products, and fabric shops.

For curio shopping, the National Cultural Center, known popularly as the "Arts Center" near the Independence Square is an overwhelming but well-stocked option. Smaller curio markets can be found around the city.

Wild Gecko (near the Tetteh-Quarshie Interchange, off the Kwame Nkrumah Motorway Extension sells a variety of crafts, upscale curios, furniture, and batik clothing. Be sure to check out the extensive collection of Christmas ornaments, including Adinkra symbols carved into dainty souvenirs. Down the dirt road from Wild Gecko are further several smaller but well-stocked pottery and craft stores.

For a more modern shopping experience, options include:

  • The Accra Mall [14], off the Liberation Road
  • The A&C Shopping Mall [15], East Legon
  • Palace Shopping Mall, situated on the Spintex Road
  • Shaaba Shopping Mall, off the Motorway Extension

Eat[edit][add listing]

Eat out at one of Osu's many trendy restaurants. Osu, a suburb of Accra, is known for its nightlife and a wide variety of eateries, hotels, and several options for entertainment.

A concept lifestyle eatery, Café Dez Amis is situated close to Osu, next door to Jubilee House and the French embassy. Offering gourmet coffees, sandwiches and salads, as well as cold fresh juices, and ice cream, it has become a hotspot in town, from 7AM till 10PM. Breakfast and fresh baked breads and pastries are available all day. There is also an outside cocktail bar, serving Mojitos and other cocktails from all over the world.It also has wireless access.

Located in Labone near the Metro TV building, "Maquis Tante Marie" is a restaurant serving a variety of African cuisines in a pleasant garden setting.

Frankie's on Oxford Street in Osu is a popular oasis for tourists in Accra. Offering accommodation, a restaurant, salad bar, ice cream and a bakery/pastry shop.

Other popular eateries in Osu include Livingstone Safari Restaurant, Haveli (Indian Cuisine), Papaye (Fast Food), Asanka Locals(Traditional Ghanaian Cuisine) and Noble House Restaurant (Indian and Chinese Cuisine).

Drink[edit][add listing]

The biggest entertainment precinct in town is the Oxford Street area, in Osu. Home to over a dozen different night venues (most of them tucked up side-streets), there is no shortage of variety. Taxi drivers generally know the location of the following, but if not, just ask a young-looking person on Oxford Street.

Tantra: A late-night (best from midnight to 5am) club, with a 50:50 mix of expats and locals. Plays western style electronic and R&B music. Entry 20 cedis, small beers 5 cedis. You can usually negotiate for a discount on the entry charge.

Duplex: Possibly the most popular venue as of early 2012, 50:50 expats and locals. Similar music to Tantra, free entry, 5 cedi small beers.

Container: One of the original drinking icons, located on Oxford Street. An overgrown "spot" style bar, 90% locals. Good for a couple of drinks in the open air early in the evening, large beers about 3 cedis. Free entry. Street acrobats.

Epo's: Another overgrown spot, 80% locals. Located a couple of blocks off Oxford Street, it feels like a mini carnival. Try the "beer tower", a 3 or 5 litre (you choose) tapped tower of beer delivered to your table. 3 litres for 15 cedis, 5 litres for 25, free entry.

Monsoon: Quality sushi restaurant, also has a smallish bar. Popular with the over 30 crowd, mostly expats.

Bella Roma: A nice Italian restaurant, transforms into a bar/club after 10pm. 60% locals, quite a prominent Lebanese presence. Possible entry fee of 20 cedis.

Duncans: A chilled but popular outdoor spot.

Ryan's Irish Pub: One of the few places in the area where you can order a pint. An option if you want a rest from Africa, but pretty uneventful otherwise.

La Pleasure Beach: Located at Labadi Beach (about 4km from Osu), an outdoor reggae night happens every Wednesday on the beach from 9pm. 10 cedi entry, 5 cedi large beers. 70% locals, foreigners get hassled a little by jewelery/t-shirt sellers, some also offering weed of doubtful quality and origin. It's generally safe, and worth a look on a Wednesday.

FireFly: A nice classy cocktail lounge in Osu near Citizen Kofi. Entry is free and drinks are 4-5 Cedis for a single shot and 10-15 for cocktails. Local and Expat crowd. Plays electronic and pop music here you see a lot of foreign (white) young ladies gyrating with public displaying of affection with the local Ghanaian gentlemen.

There are plenty of other places throughout the city to discover, but this list is good for new visitors.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Fiesta Royale, North Dzorwulu, +233 30 274-0811, [16]. Excellent (slightly lower priced) alternative to the Golden Tulip or any of the other luxury hotels in the airport area. The rooms are very large and very comfortable, the grounds are lovely and they include a swimming pool and fitness center, and the food is also reliably good. It is located a little farther afield than other similar hotels, but it is worth the extra 5min drive to save on the price. Accra Mall is 3min away by car, and there is a taxi stand immediately outside the hotel. USD300.  edit
  • Gye Nyame Hotel, Asylum Down (close to Circle, Ring Road Offices and Osu), +233 30 0222-3321. Great price, more than the basic comforts, and very reliable. Air conditioning, super comfortable bed, hot water, desk and stool, TV and fridge. Nothing broken, and quite clean. Not fancy, but excellent bang for your buck, and great staff. Quiet location is convenient for most activities in Accra - business or leisure. USD55.  edit
  • Le Baron Hotel, No 3 - 4 Akuetey St, American House Area, East Legon, +233 21 520701, [17]. single, double and executive rooms, all equipped with air-con, cable TV and mini-bar. Swimming pool, children's playground, barber shop and beauty salon. From USD110.  edit
  • Meaglent Hotel, 1 Pantang Junction Adenta, +233 30 294-2340, [18]. Air-con rooms equipped with sat/cable TV, private toilet and bath, mini-bar, intercom telephone, wardrobe, instant water heater and internet. Conference room, fitness room/gym, restaurant, and swimming pool. From USD60.  edit
  • PH Hotels Accra, 1st Boundary Rd, East Legon, 84/86, +233 302 517452, [19]. 74 standard, deluxe, superior, and superior deluxe rooms, all of which have an LCD TV, internet, and in-room safes. Swimming pool, business centre, laundry service, and room service. From USD180.  edit
  • Korkdam Hotel, P.O. Box at 49, No. 8 Korkdam Avenue, New Achimota, +233 302 400423, [20]. 55 air-con rooms with sat TV, Wi-Fi, and mini bar. Massage service, travel services, airport transfer, car rental, and complimentary parking. Restaurant and bar. From USD85.  edit
  • Aplaku guesthouse, Aplaku/Kokrobite (8km before Kokrobite at Aplaku-Israel junction), +233 20 011-1345, [21]. Beaches are in walking distance. Airport or other transport is available with reliable drivers and cars in a good condition. €30-40.  edit
  • Elmeiz Place Guest House, No.12 Awula Meeya Street, Dansoman, +233 21 305005, [22]. Bed & breakfast, a charming guest house operating almost entirely on solar power in the comfortable neighbourhood of Dansoman. 2 min drive from Kotoka International Airport. Cosy and modern. USD45+. (0° 12' W,5° 33' N) edit
  • Peace House Guest House and Eco-Lodge, No. 3, 3rd Nautical Close, Old Nautical Rd, Nungua (Pick up from airport available.), [23]. Eco-lodge with 5 double rooms. It is designed as a series of interlinked, informal, spaces on two levels to suit individuals, families, or workshops. Wi-Fi. USD30.  edit
  • Rosa's Compound, Kokomleme/New Town. Nice compound for medium or long-term, rented out by room to international interns (especially Germans). Rooms range from GHC350-450 per month as of late 2010. Some have their own bathroom. Wireless internet access. Laundry facilities. Safe street off main road with easy transportation to town. Rooms well kept and some are very spacious. Housekeeper and security guard at night. Contact Rosalind at rosaquart@hotmail.com  edit
  • The Aknac Hotel, Trasacco Valley (Just 10km from Kotoka International Airport), +233 30 282-4235, [24]. All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, complimentary toiletries, refrigerator, balcony, in room safe, direct dial phone, Wi-Fi access, LCD television and hairdryer. Some of its facilities and services are spa, gym, swimming pool, boutique shop, casino, banquet hall, restaurant, car rental, airport transfer and room service. from USD131.  edit
  • The Rising Phoenix Beach Resort, (behind Ghana Telecom and Anglican Church beside Baden Powell House, right off High Street; Ushertown), +233 244 315416, [25]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. Budget hotel, vegetarian restaurant, bar, nightspot, and ecotourism centre. Tropical gardens from GHC19.  edit
  • Hotel Christianbourg, Dadebu Rd, Osu. One of the cheapest options in the lively Osu district. GHC55 for a comfortable single room with double bed, AC, TV, bathroom. GHC65 for a double.  edit


Cope[edit]

Embassies and High Commissions[edit]

  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, [33].  edit
  • Us-flag.png United States of America, [34].  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Koforidua
  • Cape Coast
  • Kumasi
  • Kakum National Park
  • Bojo Beach - the beach resort in the outskirts of Accra, next to the coastal road to Kokrobite
  • Tills Beach Resort [37] - the beach resort in Gomoa Fetteh, about an hour drive from Accra, on the road to Cape Coast.
  • Labadi Beach is a clean beach not far from the city of Accra.



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