The up-and-coming capital city of Accra is emerging as a rather trendy, hip destination. Indeed, its flagship district of Osu could probably give Lagos a run for its money in terms of entertainment, nightlife, dining and culture. Accra is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa and it boasts a wealth of museums, galleries, sporting venues and monuments to explore. Those looking for retail therapy should find a suitable cure in the number of malls, boutiques and frenetic markets, such as Makola market, that the city boasts.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Accra
Central Accra – In the centre of the city Independence Square contains the Eternal Flame of African Liberation flanked by a golden arch. First ignited by prominent independence leader Kwame Nkrumah in 1957, the black star on its tip is responsible for the Ghanaian football team’s name. Nearby the pleasurably chaotic Makola market offers traditional spice, local shea butter, Ghanaian crafts and textiles and much, much more.
Osu – Sushi bars, swanky eateries and trendy clubs are the order of the day here. The only austere face you’ll find in this fun-loving district is that of the guards outside the 17th century Osu Castle. This once sat at the centre of the slave trade but today is the seat of the government.
Labadi Beach - One of the most popular beaches in Accra, this short stretch of the Atlantic Coast features several cafes, bars and restaurants and attracts an eclectic cast of entertainers and buskers who put on impromptu performances of drumming, dancing and acrobatic feats.
Jamestown -The oldest part of Accra contains an atmospheric fishing harbour where many small boats continue to bring in the day’s catch. You can think of this area as an unrestored version of Zanzibar’s Stone Town, and it offers a telling contrast to the bright lights of Osu. There are stunning cliff-top harbour views and crumbling colonial architecture, such as James Fort, to take in.
Things to See in Accra
There are a number of excellent museums and galleries to enjoy in the capital. The National Museum provides an informative overview of Ghanaian history and culture from prehistory to the present. For a tranquil break from the busy city visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, created to honour the man who led Ghana to its independence and became the nation's first president. Look out for the plaques that detail the various visiting dignitaries who have planted trees here.
Things to Do in Accra
Sample the local dishes such as red-red (a local dish made with black-eyed peas, salted plantains and sweet, spicy palm oil sauce), or opt to dine in style in the fine eateries of Osu. Party the night away to the beating rhythms of Ghanaian hip-hop, the smooth sounds of jazz or to whatever gets your feet moving in this trendy city’s nightclubs. Shop to your heart’s content in the wealth of malls, markets and boutiques on offer. And, if city life gets too hectic, simply stroll to the beach and lay back on the sands.