Accra, Ghana

Africa | | August 12, 2010 at 2:41 am


Known for its main exports of Cocoa and the Black Stars (the Ghanaian national football team), Ghana’s seaside capital of Accra makes sure you try to keep such important details at the back of your mind as you go to find a beach party or two. Palm frongs dot the beaches, and the gush of waves from the Atlantic are almost inaudible over the music being belted out by enthusiastic DJ’s spinning their own beats. Caught up in the moment, you might be forgiven for believing you are in the Caribbean once the Reggae beats start to ply their rhythm through the air, but what Accra really represents is Africa at its laziest and most laidback. Again, comparisons to the Caribbean are inevitable, but there is one big difference; while the Caribbean plays up its aquatic proximity to the hilt, Accra is almost completely oblivious to the Gulf of Guinea flanking it.

Accra Ghana Africa

The city in itself is almost unremarkable at first glance, but look closer and you might begin to reconsider that opinion. Ghana is quintessential Africa in that it is a work in progress and is chaotic and sprawling as large, unplanned cities usually are, but chew on that thought while wolfing down beachside food washed down with some Guinness. Like a work in progress, Accra is beginning to come along although the metamorphosis from Caterpillar to Butterfly is as yet not complete. In the distance plush seaside resorts are beginning to sprout as this African nation begins to usher in a new era almost unheralded. The most famous of the beaches is Labadi beach, and the promise of fun in the sun lives up to its name. Perhaps then you might just begin to fathom why this was the first stop on the itinerary for the incumbent President of the United States and the First Lady.

Labadi Beach

As more well-informed travelers might have told you, Accra is no paradise, but it is a place buzzing with activity; that of construction projects taking flight before your eyes, that of the roadside vendor hawking a cornucopia of items to any commuter that is fortunate or unfortunate enough to meet their gaze and of roads being constructed to cater to the arrival of tourists in previously unseen numbers. Unlike the strife in most other parts of Africa, Ghana boasts a newly elected democracy that offers security and stability to the country in both the long and short term. The country is desperately trying to throw off the shackles of poverty it had imposed upon itself and this is made apparent in its own silent yet immutable way all over the country.

Africa has deep ties with its history, and not all of it makes for savory reading. Slavery is most certainly one of those aspects that falls fairy and squarely in that category. Cape Coast, the heart of Ghana’s Central Region, was the main place of imprisonment for slaves before they were shipped off elsewhere like cattle. Slaves passed through the ‘door of no return’, given its name because slaves never saw it again and only one in four slaves made it to their destination alive. Far from being a dark story, it was a testament to the fortitude of the Ghanaians that have chosen to rise above their past to craft a new future just as they are fashioning a new Ghana. For many Ghana is a road less traveled. To the discerning globe-trotter, it is an opportunity waiting to be discovered and it will not be long before this populous African country captures the popular imagination.

Accra Ghana Cape Coast

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1 Comment

  1. ted says:

    I think article doesn’t describe the place completely.missing on important points like means of commuting in the city, night life,places to eat , general attitude of peopleor for that matter any important monument or place worth visiting in the city…some more information would do for the article.
    .-= ted´s last blog ..Paris =-.

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