A Girlfriend’s Guide To 12 Hours In Accra, Ghana

Eightis Photography

A day trip through Accra, Ghana.
Enuma Okoro Dec, 01, 2017

In today’s world of increased remote working and shrinking global footprint, sometimes it’s something as unromantic as work or a long layover that takes us to a new city rather than an extensively planned vacation.

But that doesn’t mean we still can’t make the most of whatever time we find in a new city. Who doesn’t love getting to check out new cities in countries across the world? Raised in four countries on three continents, I’ve been able to travel somewhat extensively most of my life, even going as far as Australia, which honestly feels like the end of the world if you don’t live in Asia.

The more airplane rides I took across oceans, I began to notice how much I appreciated the little city guides I found in-flight magazines. I would pull out my iPhone and jot names of the listed “must-see” cafes and boutiques in European cities. But the more I traveled the more I realized how rare it was to find these little urban snippets for African cities as if the only thing African countries had to offer were visits to tribal villages, rustic game park lodgings or sobering pilgrimages to historical sites.

Instead of “5 Can’t-Miss Boutiques in the Bustling City of Lagos” or “3 Great Spots for Breakfast in Abidjan,” I would find titles like“10 Safety Tips for Visiting Africa” or “3 Sure-Fire Ways to Avoid Malaria While in Africa.”  I wanted and needed something different both in content and practicality.

Having relocated to Nigeria from New York, my own work often takes me to different countries on the African continent. I’ve often craved a guide for 12 -36 hours in different African cities. So, on a recent trip to Accra, Ghana for an African media conference I decided I’d enlist the company of a Ghanaian girlfriend, take my free 12 hours to explore the city and make my own guide. Now let me first give this caveat, Ghana is typically not a country to rush through. As the first African nation to gain independence from colonial hands under the leadership of renowned pan-Africanist and first president, Kwame Nkrumah, it has a fascinating history replete with places to elicit both deep sorrow and rich pride.

Home to the UNESCO Heritage sites like the colonial slaveholding castles of Cape Coast and Elmina, Ghana is also home to beautiful beaches, national parks and the ancient Ashanti Kingdom. But if you’re ever in the capital, Accra, and don’t have the time to make the 2.5-hour drive to Cape Coast to see the Door of No Return or make the 5-hour drive to Kumasi, heart of the ancient pre-colonial Ashanti Kingdom, don’t despair. Here’s something for you.