Accra - a chaotic capital of Ghana

Labadi beach
Accra is said to be one of the fastest growing cities in West Africa and also one of the most expensive ones. It's true that the accommodation prices in Accra are more expensive than in the rest of the country. Our accommodation in Accra was the most expensive one for the whole trip, but I would say that the quality was the lowest.

The Independence Square
If you look at our agenda, then you see that we spent just 1 full day in Accra. I must say that it really was enough. Accra doesn't have much to offer to the tourists. It's crowded and covered with trash and none of the sights we visited would make it into my "Ghana must-see" list. Around all "touristic" sights you meet young men who are aspiring artists and try to sell you their paintings. It's quite hard to get rid of them. When you enter the site, you need to pass them and they are already waiting for you when you exit. Some of the guys are actually talented, but most of them not really... One of the main selling arguments for their paintings is that the paintings are washable. I have no clue why I should wash them, but at least it would be possible...

Another thing to watch out for are the guys asking your name. As soon as they find it out, they start making an armband or a key ring with your name on it. And if you refuse to buy it they make a big deal out of it. The easiest is to buy it from one and wear it visibly for the rest of the time in Accra, but also in Kumasi and other bigger cities where the same business plan is in action.

Here is a video how the armband is made:

Ghana.MOV


So what did we do in Accra? We started the day by going to the National Museum which turned out to be closed for the renovation. We still got a guided tour in the small sculpture garden and they allowed us to look into the empty museum building. The sculptures in the garden were not in the best state, but they are all about the culture of Ghana and the guide was explaining the story behind each of them. The guide was doing a good job but the whole museum didn't look very impressive and the renovation works looked more about just painting the walls white than modernizing the whole setup.

Sculpture of a drum player
From the National Museum we headed to the memorial park of the first president. The park is small but quite nice and peaceful place. The small museum in the park desperately needs some modernization. It looks like it hasn't changed at all since it was opened. Unless you are really into the history of Ghana, you can easily skip this place.

Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park
As the park is very close to the ocean we thought we could just walk to the beach and find some place to have a small refreshment. Unfortunately all you can find if you don't go to the private beach are piles of trash (and not so pleasant smells)...

Beach covered with trash and shacks where people actually live or have their small businesses
Having realized our mistake we found our way back through the labyrinth of small craft shops to the main road to get a cab. We agreed with the taxi driver to go to Labadi beach, but he suggested to make a stop at Osu Castle as this is on the way. We got there and had to wait for a guide to come and give us a tour. In the beginning it was just two of us but a little later couple of more tourists joined. They don't charge the entrance fee but you are expected to make a donation in the end. Later we also went to Elmina castle. If I compare the two castles, then Osu castle looks a bit more luxurious inside, but at Elmina you can really sense the history of the slave trade.

Courtyard of Osu Castle. 
Interior of Osu Castle

Cannons of Osu Castle
Our taxi driver waited for us until we finished the tour (for about 45 min) and then we continued to Labadi beach. Labadi beach is a private beach with and entrance fee. In return it's clean but as there are not many white people in Ghana, everyone understands immediately that you are a tourist. This means, that they try to sell you anything starting from souvenirs, food items, hats and sunglasses, art (of course), horse rides, massage, pedicure and manicure. We were even offered drugs. There are lots of restaurants serving sea food with the prices that are at least twice higher than in Accra on average. We did get one grilled tilapia to share with two different sides. The food portions are very generous in Ghana. So sharing one meal is normally enough for two. And grilled tilapia in Ghana is really worth trying.

Horse riding and acrobats


We spent several hours on the beach and then headed back to our hotel in Osu district. Osu district is said to be the most "western" part of Accra with lots of restaurants and bars. I wouldn't call it very "western" but the parties and loud music go on there the whole night. So if you want to sleep, don't stay in Osu. The next morning we started our tour with Jolinaiko Eco Tours and said good bye to Accra.

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