Ghana’s bustling capital city beckons curious travellers with its vibrant art scene, plentiful street food, colourful markets, thriving live music scene and nearby beaches. No matter what you’re looking for in terms of travel experiences, you’re likely to find it in Accra. Here are the best tips from locals for making your stay a memorable one.
Taking a taxi is the best option for getting to and from the airport in Accra, and it is also still affordable compared to most places in the world. Prices are negotiable, but drivers have pretty much fixed their own prices from the airport. You can expect to pay between GHS 20 to 25, but agree on the price before you get in. The ride to the city centre can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on traffic.
All taxis in Ghana have yellow fenders and they are all privately owned. Drivers who are approved for the airport have a blue shirt on. Just note that there are a lot of opportunists around the airport who will want to get you into their taxi for an absurd price or carry your bag or other things. Just be firm and know what you want, where you want to go, and what you want to pay.
There are a few different ways of getting around in Accra. Tro-tros are mini buses that are all privately owned and form the backbone of public transportation in the city. Be warned: they all have different routes and it can be complicated to figure out. They don’t work to a set timetable but leave when full, and you can expect to pay GHS 1 to 3 for a ride. Small change is preferred and the person hanging out the door (called the tro-tro mate) and yelling the destination will collect your money once you’re seated. They can make change, but don’t expect to pay a large bill. Tro-tros run all hours of the day and night.
Taxis are dime a dozen in Accra and if you are having a hard time getting the price you want, just say you will wait for another. Often, drivers will add more for foreigners. Do not let them get to you; joke with them, try to speak the local language, and just smile — all of which can help you get a better price. Everything is negotiable, but you can use the following benchmarks: GHS 4 for a short trip, GHS 8 to 10 for a 15 to 20-minute ride, and GHS 20 to 25 for a ride across town.
Walking is a great way to see the central and old parts of Accra. You will save a lot of cab fare — and often time, as you won’t be stuck sitting in traffic.
Football (soccer) and boxing are the big sports in Accra. Occasionally there are Ghana professional football matches at the stadium and boxing bouts that locals get excited about. Tickets cost anywhere from GHS 10 to 20, depending on where you’re sitting. You can get them at the match usually, or if it looks like a popular match, Koala Market usually sells tickets. There is nothing like watching football in Africa. The fans are very raw, emotion is everywhere, and people will be friendly and excited you are watching their team. It’s a good idea to go about 30 minutes early to the match.
Makola Market should be experienced at least once while you’re visiting Accra, and what an experience it is! This colourful, swirling mass of vendors and shoppers going on for blocks sweeps you up and carries you along, which can sound overwhelming. But go with the flow and keep your wits about you as you take part in daily life in Accra. You can find everything here from food and clothing, to textiles, jewellery, housewares and more.
We recommend checking out the National Museum of Ghana to explore the country’s history. Open since 1957, the museum has three primary collection areas, which include archaeology, ethnography, and indigenous art and crafts. These comprehensive collections are used to weave together the story of Ghana’s rich history and culture.
If you’re craving some beach time in Accra, there are a few places to enjoy the sun and sand. Labadi Beach is the most popular beach in Ghana, located right in the capital. The beach is very popular with both locals and visitors and you can expect a lively atmosphere, music, bonfires and loads of street food to snack on. For a quieter beach experience, Bojo Beach (located just outside of the city), is a great bet. The secluded stretch of sand can only be accessed via a canoe ride across the Densu River.
Get a better feel for Accra with this short video showcasing the city and some of its highlights.
Some music to add to your Accra playlist include Ghanaian artists E.T. Mensah, Rex Omar, Daddy Lumba and Sarkodie.
If you’re looking for some reading material before your visit to Accra, pick up Bradt Travel Guide to Accra for an overview of the country as a whole, and Children of the Street by Kwei Quartey, a gritty crime novel set in the slums of Accra.