Grow your own groceries in Accra
It doesn’t take much time living in Accra to learn that you need to be diligent about washing your fresh veg. or fruit if you’d like to avoid a grim case of gastro. But, watching my salad ingredients bobbing about in their salt and vinegar rinse one day, I pondered, “Why is this the case? What makes veggies so dirty here in Accra compared to elsewhere?” Then, I read an article in a local newspaper recounting the results of a scientific study that had tested vegetable samples from a number of major vegetable markets in Ghana (the markets that typically supply your local roadside veggie stand). Nearly 80% of the samples were “fecally contaminated and carried fecal coliform populations.” Yuck! To add to that, another study had found that, “vegetables consumed in Accra had more than a dozen chemicals, all above tolerable percentages, and these have serious health consequences for consumers.” With that information and the rising prices of imported veg combined, I didn’t need much more convincing… it was time to start growing our own! But, where to start? Well, as Angeli Olorunsogo of Fat & Flourishing Botanic Organic Farmacy explains, “No space is too small. You can plant in the ground or in containers, in your yard or on your balcony, horizontally or vertically… the options are endless!” Driven by her passion for healthy living, author and raw food and vegan lifestyle advocate, Angeli teaches beginner and experienced gardeners alike how to grow their own organic (clean, toxic-
Classics in the Park with Nii Kwate Owoo
Africa Film Society's free outdoor film showcase 'Classics In The Park' will feature legendary Ghanaian Filmmaker, Nii Kwate Owoo for its 5th edition. Slated for January 28th, 6pm at Akola Boni Park in Osu, Nyniba Estate, the award-winning director Nii Kwate Owoo will be available for a Q&A after the screening of his short film ’You Hide Me' (1971) and co-directed feature film 'Ama' (1991). Nii Owoo is renowned for his rich narratives on African culture and spirituality. His short documentary 'You Hide Me' exposed the theft and concealment of African artefacts in the basement of the British Museum. The film garnered worldwide acclaim for its controversial subject matter and was subsequently banned in Ghana for fear of harming the relationship between Ghana and Britain. Nii Owoo made his feature film debut with Ama: An African Voyage of Discovery, which he co-directed with Kwesi Owusu for Channel 4 television in 1991. Ama explored themes of African traditional storytelling in the context of contemporary Britain. It premiered in Ghana to a packed audience. Africa Film Society seeks to preserve and promote Africa's rich cinematic legacy while cultivating new filmmakers and nurturing an audience for their work. Through our ‘Classics In The Park’ initiative, we are bringing free outdoor cinema to communities focusing on early African films (1950s - 1990s).
Time Out Meets: H.E. Francois Pujolas
Why were you interested in working in Ghana? What were the cultural aspects you were looking forward to? For me, Ghana has always been a fascinating country, a reference in Africa for democracy and economic development. As a diplomat, I wanted to work in Ghana to be a part of the process of regional integration in West Africa. Culture can and must play a major role in this regard, for instance on the linguistic side to bridge gaps between French speaking and English speaking countries in this region. Has it lived up to expectations? The Ghanaian people are friendly and welcoming; working in Ghana is therefore very interesting and rewarding in terms of interactions and positive thinking. Furthermore the Ghanaian society and economy are open, vibrant and dynamic, and offer many opportunities for partnerships and cooperation. Working and living here is simply great! Where do you take people out to eat? Accra is an international city. This reflects in its gastronomic offer: of course it won’t come as a surprise that I like and support the French restaurants in Ghana such as Le Tandem or La Chaumière, and also all those which took part in the ‘Goût/Good France’ event last March. I must admit, I also like to invite my guests to various places and enjoy other cuisines as well: Indian, Japanese, Italian and Ghanaian of course. Some of my favorite restaurants: Urban grill, Santoku, Mamma Mia and the restaurant at the Lou Moon Lodge, Takoradi. We also like homemade Ghanaian
Surfing in Ghana
Over the Christmas Holidays 2013, Busua Beach hosted the Busua Beach Boardriders Surf Championships. Surfing in Ghana is still a young sport, but it's a sport that is growing fast. Busua Beach Boardriders Club is the only surf club in Ghana. It started to help the local surfers of Busua improve their skills of riding the waves, introduce the sport to the younger generation, raise money to buy equipment, and for the surfers to travel to foreign countries to compete. In Busua there are around 16 local surfers ranging from the age of 7 to 24. Some of the surfers have travelled to South Africa, and to Ghana's neighbouring country Cote d'Ivoire to compete in surfing competitions. The Busua Beach Boardriders Club hosts three events per year to decide the overall surfing champions. The final competition was held on the 27th, 28th and 29th of December 2013. This year we had surprise visitors, a Ghanaian surfer from Fete and two young surfers from Togo. The local surfers from Busua were surprised to see these young surfers, as far as they knew they were the only surfers in Ghana. Unfortunately the waves were small but big enough to hold the event. Due to the demand of up and coming youth surfers, during the contest we were able to hold three Categories - Under 16, Junior and Open. 2014 looks to be a big year for surfing in Africa, this September will see a historic surfing event being held in Sierra Leone. The Africa Surf Invitational surf contest will be held at
The best of Accra
Accra's top 7 hotels with swimming pools
Deciding on a hotel in Accra? Bear in mind that the city can get hot. Really hot. And while exploring Ghana's capital is incredibly rewarding, sometimes all you'll want to do is laze by a pool in your swimsuit. Take a dip, keep the kids entertained and relax with Time Out's round up of the city's best hotels with pools. And if you're just looking for a place to visit for the day, these pools are available for the use of hotel guests and members of the public alike.
Accra's cultural highlights
National Museum of Ghana
The National Museum is home to some of Ghana’s most absorbing historical finds. The museum, opened by the Duchess of Kent in 1957, gives an opportunity to travel through the country’s history from both an archaeological and ethnographic perspective. Much of the display is dedicated to indigenous art and crafts: there are regalia, musical instruments and the all-important royal Asante stools. Other displays include Asante gold weights, currency, instruments, textiles and leatherwork. Slighty hidden away is the chair used in Kwame Nkrumah’s inauguration and the chair of the last British governor, rescued from Christianborg Castle. An exhibition about the slave trade is essential viewing, outlining the era’s brutal history, and showing poignant relics such as shackles. There’s also a gallery with pieces by Ghanaian artists.
WEB Du Bois Memorial Centre
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an African-American civil rights activist who became a citizen of Ghana in the 1960s. He was known as the ‘Father of Pan-Africanism’. The centre, where he and his wife once lived, and where they are now buried, houses his personal library, a small museum with a handful of personal effects such as his graduation robes. The couple’s mausoleum is surrounded by Asante stools, a seminar room, a restaurant, a gallery, an amphitheatre and a research centre for Pan-African history and culture.
Independence Square and Independence Arch
With modernist and Soviet- influenced lines, the stands around Independence Square can seat 30,000 people. The vast area, built under Kwame Nkrumah, is designed for huge events and military marches, but it is usually empty except for a few soldiers sheltering from the sun. The only times the square comes alive are at commercial events such as concerts and fashion shows, which take place throughout the year. Even if there’s not much happening it’s worth wandering around just to marvel at the sheer audacity of it all.The Independence Arch, at the centre of the busy roundabout, is also known as Black Star Square, thanks to the motif that dominates the arch. The sculpture is a nod to Ghana’s acclaim as the ‘Black Star of Africa’: it was an inspiration to other African countries vying for independence and the Flame of African Liberation, lit by Nkrumah, still burns strongly nearby. Please note that there are (seemingly unwritten) laws about taking photographs and we strongly suggest that you don’t take photographs of any part ofthe area.
Where to take kids in Accra
The best weekend escapes
Aqua Safari Resort
We were rather taken aback by Aqua Safari. It faces out to the estuary of the River Volta, a mile or so upstream from the ocean. From an open-sided restaurant and bar you can see Ghana’s island-dwelling folk crab-fishing and clam-diving in the water. The forward-thinking owners offer guided tours to the islands for boat-building and basket-weaving workshops – there’s also a lot of water to play around in on a jet-ski or one of the pontoons. Game-fishing excursions can be arranged too. Best of all is the option to spend a lazy couple of hours exploring one of the most beautiful areas of Ghana by boat. The whole river environment gives a relaxing and slower pace of life; a stark contrast to Accra two hours away. The rooms are well-appointed, and large chalets all have sizable and impressive common areas and kitchens. There’s also a small pool if you don’t fancy a dip in the river. There’s a new, large conference centre with all the modern amenities you’d need.
A complete guide to Mole National Park
To find Ghana's best wildlife, it's Mole National Park in the north of the country where you need to head. Here's our guide to the park. Mole (pronounced Mo-lay) National Park is Ghana’s biggest wildlife sanctuary. There are 93 mammal species in the park, including buffalo, warthogs, hippos and several antelope species. For practical purposes, one of the places to stay is Mole Motel (027 756 4444, www.molemotelgh.com), the only hotel inside the park. Situated on the edge of an escarpment and looking out over a waterhole, it’s somewhere where monkey-watching becomes just another part of breakfast, lunch or dinner. In the dry season, it’s not uncommon for elephants to pay sneaky visits to the hotel’s swimming pool. A new luxury residence is about to open called Zaina Lodge (030 393 8736, www.zainalodge.com). This ecolodge is located in Mole National Park. Facilities will include an infinity pool, open bar fire pit and 25 rooms with private balconies and outdoor showers if you choose! The park office next to the motel acts as the meeting point for localised game waland looks over two waterholes (on which elephants tend to be the main draw), or 4x4 tours much deeper into the Mole Park. Despite the hotel and park office, there’s very little in the way of tourist infrastructure. This is seen by many as a positive thing, and one consequence is that it’s become an important place for scientific study, particularly in relation to poaching and sustainability. Two hours from th
Colours of Elmina
Is there a more colourful vision in Ghana than Elmina's fishing port on a clear morning? This masculine little town subjects the visitor to a whirl of sights, sounds and smells like nowhere else on the coast. The clatter and chatter of the fish market is a world unto itself and truly a sight to behold - a swarming rainbow palette of batik dresses and football shirts offset by great tubs of crabs, squid and mahi-mahi, all dominated by the painted hulls of newly returned pirogues, themselves strewn with flags and washing. When you factor in a supporting cast of goats, chickens and wheeling birds of prey, not to mention the oven-door heat blast, it's quite a scene.
Cape Coast Castle
You’ll most likely be aware of Cape Coast Castle already (Barack and Michelle Obama visited in 2009 to much fanfare), as it was here that some of the worst atrocities of the slave trade era were committed. The city was founded by the Portuguese in the 15th century, and the solid white bulk of the castle acted first as a fortified base for overseeing the export of gold and other goods before ‘market forces’ initiated a move into human trafficking. A tour of the site today makes for a harrowing, but undeniably salutary, visit. Thousands upon thousands of West African men and women were imprisoned within the castle’s scratched dungeon walls – in truly horrific conditions – before passing the ‘Door of No Return’ and being shipped off to the Americas, the majority of them not surviving to reach their final destination. To establish a clearer understanding of the crushing reality of the period, the 45-minute guided tour (included in the ticket price) comes highly recommended. There’s also a museum on site. The Castle is now listed as a World Heritage Site, and gazing down today from its old ramparts at the late-afternoon hubbub of fishermen and red-dust footballers, it’s hard not to be stirred by the human cost of its past.