Accra Central is home to a number of must-see, well-known landmarks and cultural sites, many of which are within walking distance of Black Star Square. Here are 6 must see stops that you can do in a day:
1. James Town – a historic coastal town. James Town is rich in traditional Ga culture, and is also home to the famous James Town Lighthouse, and some of Ghana’s most famous boxers.
2. Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum/National Park – a memorial park dedicated to the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana, where he and his wife are also buried. It is located at the Old Polo Grounds, the site in which Kwame Nkrumah declared independence on 6th March 1957. There is also a museum that details his life, and a gift shop that sell his writings amongst other souvenirs.
The site of the final resting place of Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President, Kwame Nkrumah, is located at the Old Polo Grounds where he declared independence on 6th March 1957.
3. Makola Market – One of the largest outdoor markets in Africa, Makola throws you right into the heart of the hustle and bustle. You can purchase absolutely everything here, my personal favourite purchases are Ghanaian cloth/material (ntoma and kente), pure shea butter, to jewellery.
4. The Centre for National Culture known affectionately as The Arts Centre – Home to rows upon rows of arts and craft stalls where you can buy amazing things such as paintings, drums, clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, everything you can think of! Just remember to haggle whatever price they tell you! I am always spoilt for choice with the beautiful arts and crafts selection at the Arts Centre. An absolute must-visit, just don’t forget to haggle!
5. Osu-Oxford Street: The original shopping hub, the streets are lined with convenience foods, from pizza to chips and burgers, and veering off one of the side roads could lead you to the finest kenkey and fried fish sellers, or Aunties selling rice with an assortment of stews, or an abundance of coconut, mangoes and pineapples. You cannot take two steps without being called to from one of the colourful stalls and kiosks, with a multitude of souvenirs, or some of the braver sellers approaching you with goods in hand. Be prepared to repeat yourself! And be firm but polite.
6. Other close sites: Sites in close proximity include the Accra Sports Stadium, 24th February Road and the Law Courts.
Best time to visit:
Accra is a great location all year round – but if you come to Ghana around 6th March, the independence day celebrations at Black Star Square are a sight to behold! Get there nice and early as its gets very packed! (I got there at 7am and still struggled to get a seat!)
Getting to Accra:
Most major airlines fly to Accra, Ghana including:
South African Airways
Getting around Accra:
Walk – In some areas, such as Central Accra, many landmarks are within walking distance – however bring a bottle of water with as the sun will no doubt be accompanying you.
Taxi – You can hail a taxi from almost any road. They are distinctive as they have a taxi sign on top, and yellow on the sides of the bonnet and bumpers. They should also have a circle on the side with their registration details. I do find however, that the costs of taking taxis on a regular basis does add up over time, so I use all these three modes of transport. Tip: Make sure you haggle the price, and do not be afraid to walk away and hail another taxi if they will not agree to a reasonable price.
Bus – known as a trotro, these are very cheap ways to travel around. They are not for the faint-hearted however lol. To cut transport costs, I tend to take a trotro to somewhere central, such as Kwame Nkrumah Circle or ‘Circle’, then walk or grab a taxi from there. Keep your wits about you if you do choose this option, as some areas are super busy, both in terms of traffic and people.
Uber – Uber Accra launched recently and it’s a great way to get around. Do note however, there aren’t as many drivers as in London for example, so depending on your location you may be waiting a while for a car. In this case, just order earlier than you would normally. Also if you already have an account, note that I was unable to update my number to my local sim number. So if an Uber driver called me, they could not get through, however, I was still able to call them.
Have you been to Accra Central? What did you like most about it and what other sites would you recommend? Please comment below.