Kumasi Market in Ghana
Kumasi Market in Ghana

We were dreaming about cheese, coffee shops, paved roads, and bars to dance and sip on something other than beer.

After numerous border crossings, where officers seemed always to find some trivial problem that required money (bribe) to make it disappear (yes, we’re talking about our experience at the Gambia border), rolling into Ghana was a border crossing like never before.

Crossing into Ghana from Ivory Coast

We pulled up at the border on the 25th of December. It was Christmas day, and everything seemed to be in full swing.

Not only that, there was loud cheerful music coming from somewhere, could it be?

Yes, not only was the music blasting from outside the immigration office, but in front of it was a middle-aged officer in uniform in a full dance routine surrounded by others who were also feeling the beat. We stumbled past him, not sure if we should join or not, but the mood was definitely contagious.

We approached the immigration window to get our passports and visas stamped when yet another officer came swinging by; she was dancing and seemed to be recording it all on her iPad.

Okay, now it was time to join in.

So here we were, dancing with the Ghanaian immigration officers to the tunes and waving to the camera.

Ok, Ghana, I could see we would have a good time in this country. First impressions are everything; this was a fantastic welcome to the country.

Immigration in Ghana
Immigration at the border of Ghana – so much fun!

Hello, English!

As a former British colony, Ghana’s administrative language is English. This was a game-changer for us after weeks of getting by with terrible French.

We could talk to anyone, and we soon learned that the people of Ghana are some of the nicest and friendliest we have met in West Africa.

They seem to have an easy-going attitude and confidence; they know how to enjoy life. Music is heard everywhere, and people are always ready to dance.

Ghana
English is the official language of Ghana and it certainly makes our travels easier here.

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Exploring the Coastal Forts

Travel is the best education. We not only get to learn about countries we know little about, but we also rediscover history. We were looking forward to seeing the fortress in Elmina and Cape Coast. Both can be visited as part of a tour led by a local guide at each sight.

The impressive Cape Coast fortress used to be the largest slave-trading centre.

Slaves from neighbouring countries and today’s Ghana, were brought here and locked up in dark, damp dungeons awaiting their fate. They were eventually shipped across to the Americas.

Listening to the horrifying stories told by our passionate guide has made this one of the most memorable experiences.

Exploring Elmina Castle in Ghana
Exploring Elmina Castle in Ghana

Kakum National Park and Kumasi

The Kakum National Park is not known for its wildlife but for its canopy walk—a series of viewing platforms connected by elastic suspension bridges 30 metres above the ground.

Determined to beat the crowds of visitors (domestic and international), we got up before sunrise to have this place to ourselves. And we did. We had no luck seeing any wildlife but walking above the rainforest was still a great way to spend the morning.

Our sleeping arrangements in the park were also unique! We stayed in a tree house. My childhood dream came true.

We continued to the north to see the former capital of the Ashanti Kingdom. Known for its huge market, we happened to be here on Saturday, so it felt like the entire city was one busy market!

A visit to the cultural centre not only provided an escape from the busy streets, but we finally got to taste some typical Ghanaian dishes in a pleasant restaurant in a garden.

Kakum National Park in Ghana
Kakum National Park in Ghana

Finishing in Style in Accra

Our last stop in Ghana was its bustling capital, Accra. This was the most developed city since we left Morocco a few months ago.

Suddenly, we were spoilt for choice. There were restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars! After a delicious Lebanese dinner, we decided to check out the nightlife.

It was the day before New Year’s Eve, but the bar was packed – people here love to enjoy a good time.

Of course, Accra turned out to be the perfect place to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We drank a local cocktail made out of palm wine and sang along to the DJ’s tunes.

The fireworks were announced at midnight; just like that, we said hello to 2019!

Where to Stay in Accra?

Everyone has different budgets for travelling the world. We’ve stayed in both budget and mid-range hotels during our time spent in Ghana. Our favourite area to stay in Accra is Osu.

This location is close to bars, restaurants, and things to do. Our recommendations are listed below.

Budget Accommodation Sharp Guesthouse – Single rooms from USD 36 per night, including a great breakfast. It has a great location, free Wi-Fi throughout the property, and is very clean. This is a great place to meet other travellers.

Mid-Range AccommodationVan Der Salle – Apartments for two people from USD 70 per night. Great location, A/C, kitchenette, fridge and wifi. This accommodation gets excellent reviews and tends to book out quickly. I would recommend booking this one ahead of time.

Mid -Range AccommodationThe Ritzz Exclusive Guest House – Rooms from USD 75 per night. This guesthouse is in a fantastic location and customer service and staff are very attentive.

High-End Accommodation – Number One Oxford Street Hotel & Suites – An excellent hotel with all the amenities you’d expect for a very comfortable stay.

VIEW MORE ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS IN ACCRA

As you can guess, our time spent in Ghana was full of great times. We hope you enjoyed learning more about this vibrant country in Africa.

Travel Tips for Africa

We’ve got some comprehensive blogs about travelling in Africa – what a massive continent this is! Have you ever wondered how many countries in Africa are there? 54 or 55? We cover them in depth in our Ultimate Africa Bucket List.

Don’t miss our recap of our travels across West Africa in 2019 for even more helpful tips. If you’re unfamiliar with this region’s cuisine, we wrote a post about the 8 most delicious West African foods we tried along the way. 

It’s worth reading these 17 ESSENTIAL Things to know before travelling to West Africa, and our ESSENTIAL Packing List for Africa may be helpful to you.