A lot like many Nigerians I know, I had never been to Ghana though its only forty-five minutes away. It would also interest you to know that a ticket to Accra cost just a little bit more than a flight to Abuja. So you can see why i was a little disappointed that for someone who professes to be a culture fanatic I hadn’t stepped foot on Ghanaian soil all this time.
Accra is laid back, I would say perfect for rest, relaxation, recalibrating and sight seeing of sorts. For other people that I have spoken to about their Accra experience, they say it was a little too slow for them, but for a high octane Lagos girl like myself, I found the pace just perfect. Of course when you get past the taxi drivers who barely know anywhere, and the memorising of landmarks as a source of direction, you are definitely able to find your groove amidst the Accra rhythm.
There is a certain warmth, and friendliness about the people and the city is relatively safe.
I got a chance to visit their National Museum, which is curated in a way that combines both ethnic and archaeological history, the Kwame Nkrumah memorial park and Omanya house, a three floored art gallery and centre home to an amazing collection of traditional and contemporary African art. I watched Jojo Abot play a sort of Afro- soul fusion at Alliance Francias and spent a few nights in great company by at the Afia village hotel by the beach. There are the arts markets both big and small and that Lagos skill turned art form that is haggling came in handy at every point.
As it was a vacation and conference tied into one, I didn’t get a chance to do the trip to Elmina castle due to time restraints, so at least we have something saved to do for next time.
Accra is littered with hotels, art centers, local craft markets and coconuts. At a certain point, I was almost convinced that the masks and crafts were manufactured in China due to the volume. The city knows it’s potential and understands the value of tourism and it seems has capitalised on it. Something I think we are still yet to do. Its understanding of the need for historical and cultural preservation is a selling point, so is that Akwaaba and Afrocentic spirit that reverberates around the city.
The town is small and most things are in close proximity to each other. Beyond the rush hour period, you can get around town pretty easy. Accra is my kind of place, a place for explorers and wondering souls. Lots of food places to try, whether its native, European or fusion, lots of people to meet, with great and enlightening conversation all shrouded in that laid back vibe. I can best describe it as the African hippie city. Maybe Kigali will be my next stop. Will keep you posted