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You may fall in love with Accra, but it won’t be at first sight. The capital of Ghana is a sprawling, noisy, mostly traffic clogged and often frustrating place – making much like any other capital city really. It’s also situated on a beautiful swathe of the Atlantic Coast, has a budding but dynamic contemporary arts scene, red hot nightlife, good connections to the rest of the country and fabulous food, from enticing open air chophouses to the best French haute cuisine. You’ll need to hang around a while to get a handle on it all, but once you do you’ll find plenty of diamonds in the rough.
Most visitors make a beeline for Osu, a colourful and buzzy central neighbourhood where most of the city’s hotels, bars and restaurants are clustered together. ‘Oxford Street’ (in reality Cantonments Road) is the main drag, a lively string of stalls selling kente cloth, Bob Marley t-shirts, wooden sculptures and assorted tat. About halfway down you’ll get more confident about brushing off the hawkers, or nip into the side streets where you’ll find more laid back shopping in start-up boutiques dealing in fair trade and increasingly, daringly original fashion using local fabrics.Read more
Whilst Osu can provide some western-style comforts, you should dig deeper into Accra’s history by visiting ramshackle Jamestown – the oldest area of Accra that was once the centre of Portuguese rule before the country was colonised by Britain. Whilst the beach at Accra is not safe, nor often clean enough for relaxed swimming, chi chi resorts and pristine, palm-lined beaches can be found at nearby Labadi. Other must sees include Makola Market for wax print cloth and bead shopping, the Arts Centre for traditional arts and crafts and the Artists Alliance Gallery, a pristine showcase for modern art and sculpture, woven fabrics and antiquities.