Experience Accra’s Soccer Fever
Soccer is a national obsession in Ghana. While most of the best Ghanaian players have been snapped up by European teams, you may still catch Michael Essien or André Ayew playing during a World Cup or Africa Cup of Nations play-off game. Local Accra soccer team Hearts of Oak play in the Ghana Premier League. If you want to see an intensely fierce match, find out when they’re due to play their arch rivals (Kumasi’s Asante Kotoko) and grab yourself a ticket at the gate. Once inside the stadium, expect lots of drumming, dancing, excellent head gear and colorful face paint.
Soak Up the Atmosphere of Makola Market
Chaotic Makola Market features stalls selling everything from fabrics to beads and souvenirs. Many of the stalls are operated by strong, independent African ladies with marvellous headdresses and a no-nonsense business sense. Ask permission before taking photographs and be prepared to negotiate for the best price as you rub shoulders with local Ghanaians doing their daily shop. The fresh produce stalls are particularly interesting, boasting exotic fruit, vegetables and meat that you’re likely never to have seen before. To get there, hop in a taxi or jump in a tro-tro from central Accra or Usher Town.
Browse Contemporary Art at Artists Alliance Gallery
Those interested in contemporary art will be blown away by Accra’s Artists Alliance Gallery. Huge metal sculptures mix with antique Asafo flags, kente cloth, furniture and fantastic masks. One of Ghana’s most respected artists, Ablade Glover, is responsible for this three-story treasure trove. Every Ghanaian artist worth their salt is represented in the gallery. You can buy most of the art you see here direct from the artist. The gallery ships all over the world and accepts credit cards, while those on a budget can browse smaller items in the well-stocked gift shop. Admission is free.
Explore Oxford Street’s Global Restaurants
It’s all happening on Oxford Street, a busy thoroughfare in the upmarket area of Osu. Here, you’ll find some of Accra’s best restaurants, bars and shops. Stalls selling fake Rolex watches, pirated CDs and soccer shirts line the street and bumper-to-bumper traffic adds to the exuberant atmosphere. Step into Arlecchino Gelateria Italiana for a refreshing ice cream, or choose nearby Country Kitchen for delicious local favorites. Global Mamas boutique sells quality crafts made by a network of Ghanaian women. The street also has plenty of bars and clubs for a raucous evening on the dance floor.
Join the Party at Labadi Beach
Labadi is Accra’s most popular beach. Waterfront restaurants serve ice cold Star lager, delicious fried fish and spicy jollof; and provide a great vantage point to people-watch from. Keep an eye out for little boys performing acrobatic tricks, beautiful young people dancing to hip-life, men on horseback offering rides to shy ladies and rasta groups playing for money. The waves are strong here, so a dip to cool down is more advisable than a long swim. If you prefer a more peaceful setting, head to a luxury resort like Labadi Beach Hotel on the Accra-Tema Beach Road.