Choose from 9 Fun Things to Do in Accra
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Though slightly smaller in size than the iconic Makola Market, Salaga Market somehow harnesses the same energy and intensity of Accra’s largest center for commerce, but in much tighter quarters. Travelers say they can find anything under the sun—from herbal remedies used by local medicine men to handcrafted instruments, brightly colored jewelry, pots, pans and even building supplies.
Wander the stalls of this bustling marketplace and sample some of the steaming hot dishes prepared by the expert hands of local cooks. Then cool off with tall glasses of “palm wine”—a local concoction of creamy condensed milk toffee and pungent herbs that’s a favorite with the women here.
Salaga Market is located near Korle Dudor in Greater Accra. It is less than a kilometer long but still manages to cram a lot into a rather small space. Travelers should come prepared to barter, as the first price offered by merchants is rarely the best or final price.
Address: Ga Mashie Street, Accra, Ghana
From $ 46
Stationed in the heart of Accra, this bustling market’s kinetic vibe has an energy that’s uniquely its own. Whether it’s discarded car parts, fresh produce, pots, medicine, plants or giant land snails, Makola Market sells practically everything under the sun.
The market also holds some historical significance. Established in 1924, Makola was the first wholesale and retail spot in Accra, making it a staple of both community and commerce. In 1979, it was destroyed by the government in hopes of improving local economy, but was quickly brought back to life by citizens eager to trade. Today, Makola is one of the most popular markets in Accra and travelers claim it’s possible to get just about anything, from anywhere, in its hundreds of hot, crowded stalls.
Be prepared to bargain. Locals agree white travelers usually pay more, but traders are ready to barter and visitors should be, too. The market is typically loud and crowded, so keep belongings close and stay aware of surroundings. Travelers in the know recommend hiring a guide—locals call them connoisseurs—to navigate the market chaos.
Address: Kojo Thompson Rd, Accra, Ghana
From $ 46
Opened on the eve of Independence Day back in 1957, the National Museum of Ghana has become a staple for travelers and locals looking to learn more about the rich history, colorful culture and unique traditions of a country and people in the midst of constant change.
Three major galleries highlight artifacts from ancient and contemporary Africa. Historic sculptures are displayed alongside the works of modern West African artists. Travelers can wander the halls decorated with traditional attire and handcrafted instruments, impressive and ornate chiefs’ regalia, and bronze statues from neighboring countries. A unique sculpture garden displays life-size 3-D images of Kawme Nkrumah, the nation’s first president, and other political figures. The library, conservation laboratory and education hall are also popular stops on a tour of the National Museum of Ghana.
The National Museum of Ghana is located at No 2 Barnes Road in Central Accra. It is open from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily with an entrance fee of US$2 for foreign children, US$5 for foreign students and US$7 for foreign adults.
Address: No 2 Barnes Road, Accra, Ghana
Hours: Daily 9am-4pm
Admission: Adults US $7, Students US $5, Children US $2
From $ 62
Travelers in search of Accra’s colonial past will likely find themselves in the streets of Jamestown, a densely-populated fishing village located to the west of Kwame Nkrumah Avenue. The towering lighthouse, built by the British in 1871, is a popular destination among visitors who flock to this part of town seeking a touchstone to history. But visitors say this once thriving neighborhood is now worn down—gripped by poverty, yet still vibrantly alive.
Travelers can climb to the top of the iconic lighthouse, then wander the parameter of Fort James, a former prison built by the British in the 17th Century. These nods to the past prove popular destinations, but visitors say it’s the energy of the town and the sense of community that make this once colonial enclave truly worth a visit.
Jamestown is located east of the Korle Lagoon. Visit the Bukom district, where boxing is a serious business. More than 20 schools line the streets and matches are guaranteed to be worth watching.
Address: Jamestown, Ghana
From $ 41
Some museums draw travelers with displays of indigenous artwork and historical artifacts but the Ussher Fort Museum, located in a former European stronghold, attracts tourists on a quest to learn more about the dark history of West African slave trade. Paintings depict images of the once accepted industry and relics owned by captors and slaves line the halls, haunting visitors.
Since 2007, the Ministry of Tourism and the European Union have worked hard to educate travelers and locals alike on the atrocities rooted in the nation’s history. Exhibits include heartbreaking artifacts like shackles, as well as model slave ships and an homage to abolitionists who fought to end the inhumane practice of slavery.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday, including public holidays, from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Entry for foreigners is US$3 for adults and US$1 for students with ID.
Address: James Town, Accra, Ghana
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults US $3, Students US $1
From $ 41
The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra holds the remains of Osagyefo (the Messiah) Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president and one of its founding fathers. A national park was built in his memory on the site where Nkrumah declared independence in 1957.
Along with the mausoleum where Ghana’s first president and his wife were laid to rest, there are also a number of fountains and statues around the site dedicated to Nkrumah, as well as a museum tracing his life. This features photographs of him with various world leaders, plus a number of his personal artefacts, including his desk, bookcase, and jacket.
The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and memorial park is located in downtown Accra and is open from 10am to 5pm. English-speaking guided tours are available.
Address: Downtown, Accra, Ghana
From $ 62
Spanning about four acres (1.6 hectares) of wetlands just beyond Accra city limits, the slum of Old Fadama—also known as Agbogbloshie—is home to some 40,000 Ghanaians living in extreme poverty. While living conditions are challenging in one of West Africa’s largest slums, members of this innovative community use discarded machinery, appliances, and old computers to forge a living through creativity, ingenuity, and a positive outlook toward improving their neighborhood.
Grasping the dynamics of Old Fadama is critical to understanding the capital city as a whole. While it’s possible to visit Old Fadama alone, a guided walking tour provides a sensitive introduction to the area while ensuring the safety of travelers. With a tour guide from the community, visitors can meet Old Fadama residents, hear their stories, and gain a better appreciation for the inventive ways the community salvages trash into a profitable treasure.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A walk through this community can be an educational experience, offering visitors the opportunity to learn about the area’s history.
- Wear closed-toed shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Some Old Fadama tours donate proceeds to the funding of community projects.
How to Get There
The Old Fadama slum sits on the Korle Lagoon, northwest of Accra’s Central Business District. Due to the nature of the district and the sensitivity surrounding slum tours, it’s best to visit with a tour guide who understands the community and can offer valuable insight into daily life in Old Fadama.
When to Get There
Old Fadama is best visited during the day, when it’s possible to witness the salvaging industries in full swing. In Accra, humidity and precipitation are at their lowest between October and April, making these months the most comfortable time of year to visit.
A Note on the Ethics of Slum Tourism
We are sensitive to the issues and concerns surrounding slums, and we understand that tours of them may not be suitable for everyone. We strongly believe that these tours are educational and allow for a better understanding of life inside Old Fadama.
Address: Accra, Ghana
From $ 39
Better known by locals as Old Accra, the Ga-Mashie district of the city is home base for Ghana’s Ga people, the original settlers of the capital. This relatively small geographic area is rich with national culture, history and heritage, including Ussher Town and James Town. These densely populated fishing villages may be economically deprived, but their iconic structures from the colonial era and kinetic energy make Ga-Mashie a destination for travelers.
The district lies between the Densu River and the Chemmu lagoon, just north of the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can explore the bustling fishing villages, where men are taught to weave nets and hallow canoes by hand. Or visit with the artisans, carpenters, masons and tailors who while away the day using ancient methods and long-perfected techniques. An afternoon in Ga-Mashie puts travelers in touch with Ghana’s age-old traditions, right next to its thriving new economy.
Ga-Mashie District stretches some 100 hectares along the southwest coast of Accra. It is the oldest community in the capital and one of the 11 districts that makes up Greater Accra.
Address: Accra, Ghana
From $ 41
The W.E.B. Dubois Center is the former home and final resting place of American-born socialist, author, and civil rights activist, William Edward Burghardt DuBois, who became a citizen of Ghana in his later years. Dubois campaigned for African-American rights and was often referred to as the ‘Father of Pan-Africanism’.
The center, on the outskirts of Accra, was where DuBois and his wife lived for the last few years of his life, and is where they are now both buried. Along with the couple’s mausoleum, the site features his personal library, as well as a museum with a number of DuBois’ personal belongings on display. Surrounding the mausoleum is a restaurant, an amphitheater and a research institute dedicated to Pan-African history.
The W.E.B. Dubois Center is located off 2nd Circular Road in the Cantonments area of Accra. The center is open from 9am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays.
Address: 2nd Circular Road, Accra, Ghana
From $ 62