Accra, the capital city of Ghana is the first and last place every tourist or business traveller will experience on entry and exit respectively. On many occasions, travellers may enter and exit Ghana without experiencing the fullness of its beauty and radiance.
Being the capital city makes Accra a business hub with several companies and organizations having their head offices here. Ideally, many tourists will not plan a trip to Ghana around Accra because of the publicity given to other parts of the country.
However, for business travellers who have pretty much just a few hours to come in, do business and head straight out, Accra may be their only chance to have a feel of Ghana’s tourism and hospitality. Take for instance a businessman who flies into Ghana on a Monday night for business meetings. These meetings may continue through the week till Friday night when he has to fly back with his family.
Such a person may just have a maximum of 12 hours to tour Accra and get on his plane in time to fly back home. Jumia Travel, Africa’s leading online travel website looks at how such people can have a feel of the city in just 12 hours.
Let’s just say your flight is scheduled for 10:45 pm. You wake up at 8:30 am and get ready to set off and explore Accra by 10:00 am. Here you go on a 12-hour tour of Accra.
Accra Mall / Max Mart
First of all, before you set off into the hot sunny Accra without any back-up, stop by the Accra Mall or Max Mart supermarket to grab a few things. Some bottles of water, drinks, snacks will be good to keep in that backpack. Ensure your phone battery is fully charged or if you have a tablet or camera, ensure you have a full battery.
Pictures are super important to capture unique memories. Maybe grabbing a hat or cap will also help you endure the hot sun. If you are not in Accra during the rainy season, then you better wear some shorts, tank tops or attires that make you feel free.
Bright colours are better. Accra Mall also represents a one-stop shop for certain items. Because you don’t have too much time you shouldn’t spend too much time here. By now, your watch should read about 11:00 am. Eleven hours to go.
Next stop can be the Arts Centre in Accra. Here, you can get access to a wide range of Ghanaian souvenirs such as Kente, beads, local sandals (‘’Ahenema’’), drums. T-shirts etc. Ghana’s rich art and culture is on display in various shops. There are often cultural dance displays as well here. A good 30 minutes there will be good for shopping. Your friends and family back home need to see a piece of the richness you came to enjoy. It’s midday already, 10 hours more.
Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum
Ever heard of Ghana’s first President? The man who led us to independence? His name is Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and due to his exploits and achievements, a memorial park was built in his memory. It is just about 200metres away from the arts centre and located exactly at the point where Dr Kwame Nkrumah declared independence.
The memorial park also has a museum which houses some of Osagyefo’s personal belongings. A great half hour here will give you deep insight into the rich history of Ghana’s independence and a better understanding of certain events and happenings.
James Town Lighthouse
Built in the 1930s, this isn’t a normal tourist site to visit. However, the tall red and white conical structure in the centre of Jamestown close to the Usher and James forts serves a good transit tourist point. Here you can climb to the summit where you get a panoramic view of the coast and the city in one 360 view.
Pictures from up there are just amazing with good lighting and sky views. A guide is usually on hand to take you through the history and stories surrounding the lighthouse. You may even visit the fishermen closeby to listen to myths and stories from their trips on the ocean. Another hour well spent, 9 hours more to go.
From lighthouses and fishermen, you can then move a few kilometres back to the Osu castle. On your way, make quick stops at the independence arc, the independence square and the Accra sports stadium all of which are a few metres away from each other to take some good memorable pictures.
The Osu Castle Initially called Christiansborg Castle, was built by Danish colonialists in 1659. Over the following hundred years the fort, smaller than the current construction, was juggled between the Portuguese, Swedish and Danish. Sometimes it was taken over by force; other times it was bought.
Osu Castle is a constant and poignant reminder of the slave trade that was largely administered from the building and was often used to house slaves before they were shipped to the Americas. At the moment, the castle is closed to the public but when standing a few metres away, you can see the castle and relate with the history and stories about it.
You can never experience Accra without visiting the beach. One very popular beach in Accra is the Labadi Beach. Close to popular hotels such as the Labadi Beach Hotel and La Palm Royal Beach Hotel. The beach is open all week to visitors with several fun activities on display.
Acrobatics, music, sand art and paintings, as well as various food and drink vendors, are available. You can just relax and enjoy the view, swim briefly or just go horse riding. Whatever you decide to do, the beach is a great place to be in the afternoon.
Enjoy the breeze and ambience for a few hours. Don’t get too comfortable though, you may lose track of time. By now, the clock may read about 4 pm. Six hours remaining.
Legon Botanical gardens
Ghana is a country of diverse natural resources. From the ocean, you may want to see some greens. A trip to the Legon botanical gardens takes you into the land of trees, plants and other fauna. Learn about many local and indigenous plants as well as species of birds and butterflies.
The new canopy walkway also presents a great adventure for you. You can relax in the park to have a late lunch. If you are already feeling tired from the day’s activities, you can rest here for about an hour. It’s almost 6 pm, time to get ready.
By now, you may have forgotten that there is something called ‘’check-in’’ time. You may be having such an amazing time that you can lose track of time. It is important to give yourself enough time to relax and get everything you need ready for the trip.
Get to the airport a few hours before the flight, check in and grab a few items you may need on the flight back. Have time to check and see if you have everything packed and you may not have left anything behind. When it’s time, grab your bags, take one quick look around then close your eyes. Relive the full day in just 30 seconds and then off you go.
You may have come only for business with the idea that there was no time to enjoy Ghana.
Now there you go with super amazing memories and pictures to show your friends and family. Ghana is great, Accra is amazing. See you next time!
Author: Bennet Otoo, Jumia Travel