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For a city that was settled in the 15th century, Accra, on the southern coast of Ghana in western Africa, is incredibly modern. That means you’ll find lots of great restaurants, lively bars, and music venues, but plenty of historical and cultural highlights, too. Travelers looking to relax can sample the restaurants on Oxford Street or lounge on Labadi Beach, while more adventurous visitors can go shopping for traditional Ghanaian cloth at Makola Market or try the goat kebabs. Whatever you do, a trip to this incredibly friendly city guarantees an experience that is equal parts pleasure and education.
The Top 10: What to Do in Accra
1. National Museum:
With its permanent, eye-opening exhibits on Ghana’s history as well as a crop of changing exhibitions, this museum and its onsite restaurant are the perfect way to spend a rainy day in Accra.
2. La Beach:
Accra’s best swimming beach is situated in front of the Labadi Beach Hotel and can be reached easily by taxi or tro-tro; you’ll find calm waters, a handful of inviting, outdoor bars, and a couple of good restaurants.
3. Local fare:
Feast on Ghana’s traditional dishes, like “red-red,” rice and beans cooked in red palm oil and kenkey, fermented maize served in a piquant tomato sauce. Accra also has great street food—don’t miss the deep-fried, doughnut-like fritters called bo froot.
4. National Theater:
A distinctive, modern building that regularly hosts excellent plays and dance performances. Seek out a show, but be sure to also tour the lobby, which boasts an impressive display of traditional Ghanaian instruments.
5. Centre for National Culture:
Don’t be confused by the name—this seafront market is the place to go for locally made handicrafts like kente cloth, traditionally woven in Ghana by Ewe and Ashanti peoples, as well as carvings, masks, and statues from all over West Africa.
6. Shai Hills Resources Reserve:
Baboons, spot-nosed monkeys, and hundreds of different birds gather on this stretch of savanna about ten miles from Accra. Visitors can also explore the area’s ancient caves, which are considered sacred by the Shai people who once lived on this land.
7. Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum:
Set in a lovely garden on the seafront, this mausoleum marks the spot where Ghana’s first president declared the country’s independence in 1957; today the center includes his tomb and a small museum commemorating his life and works.
8. James Town:
One of Accra’s most picturesque spots, this seaside neighborhood with colonial-era houses and small, colorful markets makes for great exploring. Be sure to check out the old fishing harbor on the beach.
9. W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-African Culture:
W.E. B. Du Bois was a key African American protest leader in the early 1900s; he was also active in the Pan African movement and spent his last days at this home in Accra. Today the center in the Cantonments neighborhood houses Du Bois’s remains, his treasured library, and a gallery of his manuscripts.
10. Cocoloco Beach:
About an hour east of the city, this lovely beach is a breeding ground for sea turtles and has been known to draw a wide variety of birds.
When to Go
Accra has two rainy seasons—April to June and September to October. However, bouts of rain typically only last for certain periods of the day; continuous rain throughout the day is uncommon. Temperatures throughout the year range from 70 to 88 degrees Farneheit.