7 must-see locations in Ghana for historical past, nightlife and out of doors journey

With beautiful seashores, wealthy tradition and vibrant cities, plus a secure democracy and tourism-friendly infrastructure, the West African nation of Ghana is without doubt one of the most fascinating and accessible locations on the continent – it is even been known as “Africa for newbies.” 

Located between Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, this sizzling spot has a colourful conventional heritage to discover – largely by spicy meals, vibrant African artwork and historic colonial sights. Accra is the capital and the nation’s cosmopolitan hub, however there are sights to see exterior town limits as properly, all straightforward to succeed in with nice points of interest. These are Ghana’s greatest locations to go to. 

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Kumasi is greatest for Ashanti custom and tradition

Kumasi is the second-largest metropolis in Ghana, and its individuals – generally known as Ashanti – have a cultural historical past and language which have remained dominant within the area for hundreds of years. To be taught extra about this wealthy heritage, cease by Manhyia Palace.

Now a museum devoted to the Ashanti monarchy and traditions, it was inbuilt 1925 by the British colonial authorities for King Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh I after he returned from practically three many years of exile within the Seychelles (although he refused to maneuver in till the Ashanti had paid for the constructing themselves).

The palace would stay dwelling to the monarchy for a number of generations, till Otumfuo Opoku Ware II relocated to a brand new residence in 1974. 20 years later, it was transformed right into a museum with reveals displaying objects from the royal household, corresponding to wardresses, the customary regalia used throughout royal actions, and speaking drums, which operate as a communication system to have fun and mourn throughout gatherings. Each pulse of the drum has a novel means of chatting with the Ashanti individuals. 

A go to to Kumasi additionally means entry to quite a few celebrations, such because the Akwasidae Pageant,  which happens each sixth Sunday to honor previous kings, invoking their blessings by calling upon their names.

Tamale has arts and crafts and Islamic structure

Tamale is the northern capital of Ghana, and it has an amazing mix of structure each outdated and new, together with fashionable high-rises courting way back to 150 years. 

One spotlight is the Tamale Central Mosque – it has the capability for 1000’s of Muslim worshipers, a whole bunch of whom go to in droves for each day prayers. The mosque is positioned proper within the heart of town, standing out with its green-topped minaret; a step inside reveals a spread of multicolored patterned mats gracefully lining the ground, prepared for prayer.

One other instance of spectacular native structure is the Larabanga mosque, positioned about 116km (72 miles) west of Tamale. Relationship again to 1421, it’s acknowledged as one in every of West Africa’s oldest mosques, inbuilt a Sudano-Sahelian fashion utilizing mud and reeds, with tall white partitions and towers that curve inward. It is a good picture op – most vacationers seize the mosque’s iconic structure from the skin.

Tamale can be identified for its arts and crafts. To choose up distinctive souvenirs or just browse the wares, go to the Nationwide Cultural Centre, the place you’ll discover objects like jewellery, drums and handmade baskets intricately woven from grass, straw and bamboo.

Aburi is greatest for households and inexperienced areas

Situated lower than an hour’s drive from Accra, Aburi has contemporary air in abundance, making it an ideal spot to flee the thrill of the capital and spend a while with nature. 

For a calming day journey, Aburi Botanic Gardens is especially common with households, who come to walk alongside the towering palm bushes and snap an image to commemorate the event – posing by the palms is a signature transfer. 

That includes bushes that arrived within the late nineteenth century from far-flung locales in Central America, Mexico, Malaysia, India and the Caribbean, in addition to orchids, rock gardens and a kids’s park, the gardens additionally embody 13 hectares (32 acres) of uncultivated land, stored in a wild state to take care of ecological steadiness. 

When you’re wandering the grounds, hold a watch out for an array of contributions planted by visiting dignitaries, such because the mahogany tree from Queen Elizabeth II in 1961 and the silver oak from Prince Charles in 1977.

Cape Coast Citadel’s whitewashed partitions bely the darkish historical past inside © Felix Lipov / Shutterstock

Study colonial historical past at Cape Coast

Located on the Atlantic Coast, Cape Coast was as soon as a hub for the transatlantic slave commerce, and Cape Coast Citadel performed a key function, housing these enslaved from the sixteenth to the seventeenth centuries. 

First constructed by the Dutch and later captured by the British, the fort’s whitewashed partitions bely the darkish historical past inside – as US President Barack Obama remarked when he visited in 2009, it’s a website that “reminds us of the capability of human beings to commit nice evil.”

In the present day it is on the UNESCO World Heritage Record, and guided excursions take guests into the dungeons and alongside the ramparts to discover this era of Ghana’s colonial historical past. The West African Historic Museum is positioned contained in the fortress and incorporates a big assortment of ceremonial drums and historical pottery.

A local hiking on a lush trail on Mt Afadjato, Volta Region, Ghana
A climb to the highest of Mt Afadjato rewards hikers with unimaginable views of Ghana and neighboring Togo © Nejah / Shutterstock

Head to the Volta Area for out of doors journey

The Volta Area is dwelling to Mt Afadjato, one of many tallest mountains in Ghana. A climb to the highest takes about two-and-a-half hours and rewards hikers with unimaginable views of each Ghana and neighboring Togo to the east, plus natural world like hippos, tortoises, lizards and butterflies.

Different out of doors points of interest within the area embody a monkey sanctuary and myriad waterfalls, together with West Africa’s highest, Wli Waterfalls, whose clear, gushing waters mark the border between Ghana and Togo. A 30-minute stroll results in the decrease falls, after which it’s an extended climb to the higher falls; there are swimming pools on the bases of each units the place you’ll be able to take a chilly dip, recognizing monkeys within the surrounding bushes and bats within the close by cliffs. 

Cease on the Wli Vacationer Workplace for a information; you’re not allowed as much as the falls with out one. 

Accra is greatest for nightlife and artwork

Ghana’s capital is an open door to the nation’s tradition – a gateway to Ghanaian, artwork, meals and nightlife. Select from elegant nightspots such because the rooftop Skybar25 or the fashionable Bistro 22, tailor-made to vacationers, expats and diasporas that may afford the excessive costs, and eateries providing a extra down-to-earth style of Ghanian delicacies, corresponding to Auntie Muni Waakye and Bush Canteen, which serve native favorites like jollof rice, made with tomato sauce and spices, and waakye, a black-eyed-pea dish.

Within the galleries, you’ll discover pictures of Ghanaian social life from up-and-comers corresponding to Kwesi Botchway and Afia Prempeh, and internationally acknowledged artists corresponding to Serge Clottey and Betty Acquah. Items from Ghanaian and African artists as an entire are captured inside showrooms throughout town – modern artwork at Gallery 1957, older African works at Berj Gallery and rotating visual-art installations on the Nubuke Basis, to call just some. 

Waitress at an open-air bar with coconuts and beer at Aqua Safari Resort in Ghana
Aqua Safari Resort captures the essence of Ada Foah, with waterfalls, ponds and aquariums onsite and peacocks operating free on the grounds © Nataly Reinch / Shutterstock

Ada Foah is greatest for water sports activities

On the coast of southern Ghana, Ada Foah sits the place the Volta River empties into the Atlantic Ocean – a distant stretch of actual property with lengthy seashores and plentiful alternatives for water sports activities. Hire a speedboat to hop from seaside to seaside, or take your time and kayak alongside the palm-lined waterways for a slower-paced expertise. 

Locations like Aqua Safari Resort seize the essence of Ada, with waterfalls, ponds and aquariums onsite and peacocks operating free on the grounds. Take a look at Baffour Falls, the place there are pelicans and a tortoise to be fed.