Traveling to Ghana took more preparation than any other trip that I have gone on. There was the visit to the travel healthcare center to get the required Yellow Fever shot, and all the time I put into trying to obtain my visa to enter the country. Make sure that you make an appointment to get the Yellow Fever shot several weeks in advance because there is currently a vaccine shortage. Once you get the shot, they will give you a Yellow Fever card for your records. The shot lasts a lifetime, and you must travel with the card to enter the country. Also, it is recommended that you take Malaria pills when traveling to Ghana. You can obtain the Malaria Pills when you go in to get the Yellow Fever shot. There are a few options when it comes to how often you are required to take the pills. Depending on your tolerance, you may want to opt to take medicine once a week for several weeks rather than once a day.
Applying for the visa was another challenge. It took me a little over a month to get the visa. I recommend using an agency to help expedite the process. You can find an agency online as there are several of them. If you do decide to apply on your own, I highly advise against sending your application to the Embassy of Ghana in DC. I had to reapply for a visa after the DC office failed to mail me back my visa and passport. I ended up re-sending in my application to the New York Consulate of Ghana.
Once you arrive at the airport in Accra, make sure you access plenty of Cedi, which is the currency in Ghana. There are plenty of cabs waiting outside, and you should always negotiate the price before accepting a ride. The taxi that I took to my hotel had a price list on hand.
So, what is there to do in Ghana?
I wanted to make sure that I got the chance to experience the local cuisines. Here are my top three restaurants.
The Buka Restaurant: The food at Buka is amazing, and if you are looking for authentic Ghanaian food, then you want to try this place. It is centrally located and has both outdoor and outside seating. They do get very packed, so make sure you go early enough to secure a seat.
Santoku: This restaurant is exquisite. They have a patio that is perfect for cocktails and the best Japanese tasting food that I have had.
Republic Bar & Grill: By far, my favorite restaurant was the Republic Bar & Grill. They have incredible hand-crafted drinks and great Ghanaian food. I recommend going in the evening when they have either a live band or DJ. The restaurant has a great crowd of people, and the prices are very inexpensive.
When you visit Ghana, I recommend visiting as many beaches as possible. Labadi Beach is a popular beach and is located next to the SandBox Beach Club. You have to pay an entrance fee to access the beach from the Labadi Beach Hotel. But they give you a towel and a lounge chair. They also have servers on the beach who serve cocktails. Another fun activity that you can do on this beach is horseback riding. There is no fee, but the handlers appreciate tips. The other beach that I recommend checking out is Anomabo beach. This beach is located 45 minutes away from Accra. Enjoy a drink on the beach and the tides as they come in. If you are looking for a good turn up, then you also want to check out Kokrobite beach. Located an hour away from Accra, Kokrobite is a small beach town. There is a fabulous bar and restaurant called Bah’doosh that draws a pretty nice crowd. There are also plenty of beach activities such as jet skiing and parasailing.
One of the most popular main attractions in Accra, Ghana, is the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, which is 10 Cedis to enter, and if you walk ten minutes down the street, you can stop and take photos of the Independence Arch. I also highly recommend going to a Market in Ghana. You will find some exceptional travel items to gift to friends and family and keep as personal momentous.
Take a dip:
Boti Falls is a two-hour drive from Accra without traffic. This is a must-do while in Accra. Boti Falls consists of two waterfalls, one is referenced as a male waterfall, and the other waterfall is referenced by the locals as a female. Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit to cool off in the water and make sure you leave early to beat the crowd and get the ultimate bad ass photo in front of the waterfall. Two other attractions located near the falls are umbrella rock and the three head palm tree, which is about a thirty-minute to one-hour hike through the forest from the falls depending on how much stamina you have. Bring at least three large water bottles and comfortable walking shoes as well as plenty of insect repellent. I also recommend wearing long sleeve pants as another barrier to keep the insects away. The hike boosts insane views of the forest, and at the end of the walk, you will come across a village called Asiafo Amanfro where the three trunk palm tree is located.
Take a hike:
Kakum National Park, which is one stop on your way to the Cape Coast. The Canopy Walkway is suspended 98 feet above the ground, and the views of the forest are amazing.
Take a history lesson:
A trip to Ghana would not be complete without visiting the Cape Coast. The Cape Coast was a slave castle and commercial fort that is on the Gold Coast of West Africa. The European traders, initially the Portuguese, establish it as a trading post in 1555. It would later be used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Known as the ‘gate of no return,” the Cape Coast Castle was the last stop before the slaves were bought across the Atlantic Ocean.
The Cape Coast is four hours away from Ghana. I was able to join a tour group at the last minute, but you can travel via private car or a passenger bus if you have a large group. However, you decide to journey there, I would suggest setting up the tour in advance and leaving early in the morning to beat the crowd. I highly recommend touring the Cape Coast to hear about the history and the inhuman ways the African slaves were treated.
Accra, Ghana is a country like no other. Great food, nightlife, and plenty of activities to do during the day. The country is so rich in culture and welcoming to visitors. If you consider yourself a travel enthusiast, then Accra needs to be on the top of your travel plans.