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Accra

Travel Guide Africa Ghana Accra

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Introduction

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markedet i accra

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Sprawled along the Atlantic coast in southeast Ghana, Accra is the country's largest city and capital. Over 2 million people live in the city, which is now considered one of Africa's most developed cities. Accra is known for an invigorating nightlife - one of Africa's liveliest - and a range of important national monuments. Old colonial architecture, a reminder of the country's past under the British empire, stands alongside modern resorts, developed to welcome the growing tourist industry. Accra was established in the late 17th century by the local Ga people. It became an significant port, acting as a trading port for Portuguese ships. Accra became the capital of Ghana in 1877.

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Sights and Activities

Accra has a range of historic buildings which are well worth checking out.

Osu Castle

Osu Castle, also known as Fort Christianborg, is located in the capital and the building is the current seat of government. The original fort was built by the Danes in the mid 17th century, although the fort has been reconstructed several times. It has also switched between the hands of several different powers. During British rule the fort was made into the seat of government. Sadly today the fort is not open to the public and photography is limited for reasons of national security.

Other Sights and Activities

  • National Museum of Ghana - Ghana's oldest and largest museum, opened in 1957. Features objects of archaeology, ethnography as well as fine art. Open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
  • Memorial to Kwame Nkrumah - This iss one of the most beautiful memorials in all of Africa. Kwame Nkrumah was an extremely important person to the Pan-African movement and this memorial helps to reflect that. This is a great place to spend a few hours.
  • National Theatre - constructed in the 1990s and funded by the Chinese government, the National Theatre is a distinctive landmark in downtown Accra.
  • Makol Market - Get some shopping down at this great market in Accra, which has everything from power tools to traditional crafts to medicine.
  • Jamestown is the oldest part of Accra. It is still an important fishing harbor. Dubbed a shanty town[1] by some, it's a historically significant part of Accra and is well worth a visit.
  • Labadi beach is considered the city's best beach. There is an entrance fee, unless you're staying at one of the nearby hotels.
  • Ohene Djan Stadium is the city's main sports stadium, seating 40,000. It is prominently located in central Accra. It is one of the four stadiums used for the 2008 African Cup of Nations, and will be the one used for the final.
  • Aburi Botanical Gardens - Take a day trip for Accra to visit these wonderful gardens in a slightly cooler environment then compared to the coast.
  • Densu Delta- About twenty kilometres from the city on the western edge of Accra. There is a delta estuary with sand dunes, mangroves and lagoons. Special for birdwatchers. Also visit the Solo Forest Monkey Sanctuary, where you will find monkeys and butterflies.

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Events and Festivals

Environmental Film Festival

Held annually in Accra, this unique event takes place in the Holy Gardens, which turn into an open-air venue for screenings. The event is attended by thousands of movie-goers in June and features documentaries and various other genres. It is aimed at entertainment and education, but themes vary each year, though they always revolve around the environment.

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Weather

Accra is hot and humid yearround, with temperatures around 30 °C on most days. February to May is a bit hotter, when even nights are very warm at 26 °C on average. Although the rainy season lasts from May to October, there generally is a peak in May/June and another in October, while in between it is relatively dry. Accrra is also drier and sunnier compared to places just a bit more inland.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max32.1 °C32.7 °C32.5 °C32.2 °C31.2 °C29.3 °C28.5 °C28 °C29 °C30.5 °C31.6 °C31.7 °C
Avg Min23.4 °C24.1 °C24.1 °C24.2 °C23.9 °C23.1 °C22.5 °C22.2 °C22.4 °C23.9 °C23.5 °C23.4 °C
Rainfall10.9 mm21.8 mm57.1 mm96.8 mm131.2 mm221 mm66 mm28 mm67.8 mm62.4 mm27.7 mm16.1 mm
Rain Days12561015978732

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Getting There

By Plane

Kotoka International Airport (ACC) near Accra is the main gateway to Ghana. International destinations include Johannesburg, London and Lagos. KLM flies to and from Amsterdam directly. British Airways and Lufthansa fly to London and Frankfurt respectively and New York and Atlanta are served by Delta Airlines. Alitalia flies to Milan. Other airlines and cities served are mainly within the West African region, but Cairo, Washington, D.C., Istanbul, Dubai, Casablanca, Beirut and Johannesburg have flights as well, mostly with their respective national airlines. ASKY Airlines has most services, including Banjul, Lomé, Dakar, Conakry, Freetown, Ouagadougou, Monrovia, Abidjan, Cotonou and Bamako. Domestic services from Accra include Kumasi, Sunyani, Takoradi and Tamale with Antrak Air and CitYlinK.

By Train

There is a rail line connecting the cities of Accra, Takoradi and Kumasi and several intervening towns.

By Bus

STC operate between Accra and Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale, Cape Coast and other main cities and there are fast aircon express services, as well as slower buses.

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Getting Around

By Car

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 La Badi 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.

By Public Transport

TroTros are usually very crowded and dilapidated minivans ad minibuses that act as the city's public transit system. TroTros travel along a well known routes in the city, and stop at various points along the way (some stops have signs, others don't). 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.

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. 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.

There are some taxis with meters in them. These are generally more expensive, but you can be a little more sure about how much they will cost.

By Foot

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 when walking the streets.

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Eat

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).

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Drink

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.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Crystal HostelP. O. Box 56 DarkumanHostel91
Hansonic HotelHansonic Odokor Area (4minutes to Accra Airport)Hostel-
Legassi GardensAddis Avenue Pokuase JunctionApartment67
Paloma Hotel & Suitesbox 3727, Accra Ghana W/A MR. PATRICK MATTOUKHotel-
Pink HostelP.O Box 9732 KIA Asylum DownHostel61
Sikaso Beach HostelPMB 52 Kakramadu Road CantonmentHostel-
Travella LodgeP.O. Box 4715Hostel-
African Royal Beach HotelDTD 51 Beach Drive Nungua Greater Accra RegionHotel-
Meaglent HotelPlot 1 Pantang Road Adenta-AccraHotel-
J2N Guest HouseA8 Almond Road, Lashibi (Regimanuel) Comm. 19 TemaGuesthouse-
El'Orr Castle & the Jazz CourtOff Atomic Hills Estate Road New Ashongman - AccraHotel-
Paintsiwa Apartment5th Lane AvenueHostel-
Meet Me There African Home LodgeDzita Anloga Volta RegionGuesthouse-
Wolton Guest House2nd close Adogon Buade Rd. Nungua Accra box 222 Nungua AccraGuesthouse-
Emperor SuiteF88/6 Labone Crescent, North LaboneHotel-
Chelsea Inn35/16 Jogis Estate Trasacco Valley EstatesGuesthouse-
Osdahouse4 Greve Crescent LaterbiokoshieGUESTHOUSE-
Junior Royal Guest House Inn6TH AMARH DIN AVE. TS443 TESHIE DEMOGuesthouse-
Kalis LodgeH.N.F. 52-53, Damascus Close Community 20, Lashibi, GhanaGuesthouse-
Xi LodgeNii Afotey Brutu II Road Adjinganor, East LegonGuesthouse-
Paradise Lodge23 Gold Street Paradise Residential AreaGuesthouse-
Alisa HotelDr Isert Rd RidgeHotel-
Vacation InnAbavana junction KotobabiGUESTHOUSE-
African Regent - Hotel237/238 Airport WestHOTEL-
Samartine Hotel4th Avenue West 19HOTEL-
Spintex InnNo. 1 Fourth Nii Kwaofio Link Baatsonaa Accra GGUESTHOUSE-
Soriania Hotel69 Spintex RoadHOTEL-
Access Inn178/4 Otswe Street Osu Ako Adjei, Greater AccraHOSTEL-
The HostelHostel-
Accra LodgeNo. 23 Gold Street Paradise Residential Area Pillar 2Apartment-
Jamaica InnP.O.BOX WJ 110 WeijaGUESTHOUSE-

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

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References

  1. 1 Ghana Web

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 5.54009
  • Longitude: -0.20738

Accommodation in Accra

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Accra searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Accra and areas nearby.

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This is version 30. Last edited at 10:38 on Nov 15, 16 by Utrecht. 19 articles link to this page.

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