translated from French by Anna Infantino
photos: © Anne-Marie Giroux
We’ve always wanted to go to Africa and Ghana was a country we knew little about. Without knowing why, we decided to go for a visit and find out firsthand how the people live. We arrived at the Kotoka International Airport in Ghana’s capital city Accra at night and, me, I had a fever. They stopped me from going through the security check to screen me for the Ebola virus. I got a little bit scared but only for a minute.
After about five minutes, that felt like 10, they returned my belongings with a big smile and I joined my partner Yves down the corridor to pick up our luggage.
Where to stay in Accra
Less than 30 minutes later, we arrived at Pink Hostel, the perfect place to stay. They had arranged for a taxi to pick us up from the airport and drove us directly there and throughout our stay, the staff were very friendly and helpful. I woke up the first morning feeling great and over the next four-and-a-half days, we met fellow travelers from Canada, the US, Europe and a troupe of about 10 traditional African dancers who were staying at the hostel while on tour.
Where to eat in Accra
What to do in Accra
As an artist, I wanted to visit the National Museum of Ghana but when we arrived at the site we learned that the museum was closed to visitors as it was under renovation. We quickly realized that there was a garden full of sculptures so we decided to take a walk around the grounds. We don’t know who the artists are or when the pieces were created but it was well-worth the effort to see the artwork. See photos of the National Museum of Ghana sculpture garden.
We then decided to explore the city and met Prince Owusu, a very nice resident of Accra. Thanks to Prince, we got to visit the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park, named after the father of independence of Ghana, on our first day. Prince also helped us to cross the Osu district at nightfall on our second day and to visit Jamestown, Accra’s oldest district on our third day. Go on a guided tour of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park via our photos. It’s a serene nature sanctuary in downtown Accra.
We went to buy fabrics at Makola Market with Steven, the friendly taxi driver we met at the Pink Hostel! A great way to discover the city! On our way back, the chief of security of the hostel brought us to his friend, a tailor, to get measured for some shirts for Yves. Within 24 hours after taking Yves’ measurements, we were presented with two beautiful tailor-made African shirts with fabric that we bought at the huge open market in the city. See what it’s like on the way to Makola Market through our photos.
With the help of Prince and his best friend Anim, we visited Jamestown, the oldest part of the city of Accra. Animals roamed freely near the beach. On our way to Jamestown we spotted two pigs running around together and a beautiful goat.
Prince and Anim guided us into the Ussher Fort, which was used for the slave trade in Ghana. During the visit, it was tough not to feel the suffering of human beings who were sent on ships as slaves to their death or until they reached their destination in a strange land across the ocean. We arrived in front of a very dark and small cell and they showed us a long metal instrument that they explained, was used to torture and kill people. It was hard not to feel the horror. At that point I started to cry. It is also in this same fort that Kwame Nkrumah was imprisoned before becoming the First President of Ghana. Visit Ussher Fort through our photos.
After visiting the fort, Prince and Anim brought us to the beach. On Sunday, everyone is on holiday!
Our last day, time to say goodbye to all these beautiful people we had the pleasure of meeting. This trip has been unforgettable! Au revoir Ghana!
For a tour guide in/outside Accra, you can contact:
Prince Owusu: firstname.lastname@example.org or Anim Forson: email@example.com
by Anne-Marie Giroux, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Photos from 2016