Your perfect Accra weekend – Saturday
Time Out's guide to the best shops, restaurants, clubs, live music, spas and bars in Ghana's capital city
Your Saturday itinerary...
9am • Breakfast, swim, massage
You’re going to need to be fortified for this weekend. So we suggest a relaxing, and filling, start to proceedings. The Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel has the best buffet in Accra. Smoked salmon, pastrami, fresh croissants, full English, eggs cooked to your liking, endless coffee – oh and some healthy stuff too. Once you’ve eaten, roll out the door and spend a couple of hours dozing and dipping in what’s also the city’s loveliest pool. And if it couldn’t get any better, follow our example and get a massage too. Bliss.
1pm • Traditional meal in Buka
You may not be that hungry, but Ghana does food very well – you have a lot to get through. Order a lunch of tilapia and banku at Buka. A gorgeously grilled fish and a starchy, gooey banku, made from pounded cassava, to sup up the hot sauce is delicious. It is a positively authentic Ghanaian culinary experience, but beware of the red sauce: it’ll blow your tongue right out of your mouth.
3pm • Absorb some culture at the Artists Alliance gallery
The best place to find an overview of Ghanaian art right now is the Artists Alliance. It’s a vast undertaking by Ablade Glover, Ghana’s most well known painter, in a vast building full of the finest art, all for sale. You’ll find the large colourful depictions of market life, and of Ghana’s rich fishing trade. It’s also a good place to see some older art, as well as the large wild coffins. Everything is for sale, and there’s plenty of smaller items too.
4pm • Learn about Nkrumah
Pay attention, you’ll be quizzed. To see how national heroes are built, stop off at the mausoleum of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president and one of its founding fathers. Across the five acres of land are a museum, statues, manicured gardens and, of course, the mausoleum itself. Look out for Independence Square here too.
5pm • Get a party frock
The world, it seems, is raving about Ghana’s fashion scene. Updates on African prints and Ghanaian Kente cloth are brightening catwalks worldwide. Two of the best places for fabrics are in Woodin and Vlisco, opposite each other in Accra Mall. Stop off at Renée Q on the way for some fabulously lively clothes. Luxury women’s clothing with a vibrant African twist is the mainstay of international hit Christie Brown – a rapidly expanding fashion label by designer Aisha Obuobi. For accessories, no question: Tebazile; Cameron Diaz seems to agree.
9pm • Splurge at Santoku, Accra’s finest restaurant
This restaurant and bar was recently opened in the Villaggio complex in Airport Residential and is, by some way, the best restaurant in Ghana. Think Nobu and you are there – in fact some ex-Nobu had a hand in it. Mixologists will knock you up a Tsuyayaki (Zacapa and sake with cardamom, shiso leaves and lemon grass syrup), before digging into effortlessly elegant dishes such as crispy oysters with creamy wasabi, black cod with den miso or, the signature dish, pan fried scallops with foie gras and orange tobiko.
Midnight • Mix it up at the Lexington
It’s cocktail hour. And that means the Lexington. Sure, they mix a perfect martini or a Cosmopolitan, but tonight is about fun so order their Tea Pot Punch – a rum punch for four, served in a tea pot with cups and saucers. There’ll be a live band or DJ on the decks. It’s about to get lively.
2am • Flirt around Accra’s hottest spot
On a dusty side street off Oxford Street in Osu is Accra’s liveliest night haunt: Republic. It’ll be heaving by now, spilling across the street and beyond. Two DJ will have a spin-off on the outside veranda, while beautiful people flirt, drink, dance and party into the night. Grab a cocktail made from local palm wine and some cassava chips… nom, nom, nom.