THERE IS NO other city like Accra. It’s a place full of life and excitement. There’s so much sprawl, variety and diversion in the city, just like its hugger-mugger markets. It is this tropical jumble that assaults all five senses. The shattering heat, the pulsing music, the smoking grills, the spic’n’span malls, the crashing surf, the cocktail terraces, the chugging exhausts, the pavement hawkers, and swish hotels, all combine to create a frenetic and thrillingly unpredictable city – and that’s why we love it.
Yet, among the discordant urban hum it’s essential to take time to have a break. To take time to reflect, to chat with a neighbour, aimlessly browse a shop, find a quiet spot, share a joke, grab a coffee and read a magazine. These are the bits, the bits in between the daily routine, that make a life. Be sure to take time out. We do, and here are a few of our favourites.
1/ The ocean break
There’s a quiet little rocky outcrop overlooking the Gulf of Guinea we like to head to and have a break. It sits behind the Artists Alliance and offers vast vistas. Fishing boats bob along the waves, looking to catch a fish while we catch our breath. The waves crash and we like to sit and muse. There are spots like this all around the Ghanaian coast, and nothing beats looking out to sea for a break.
2/ The friendly kiosk break
At the end of Oxford Street is a kiosk that offers chocolate, cold drinks and a big smile. Sabine, as the owner is called, has become a friend over the years. A friendly face and a warm smile always greet you as you pop in for your essentials... Now we make excuses to go there just to say hello, talk about how hot it is, and pass five minutes with a lovely person.
3/ The getaway break
Shhhh. What’s that bird call? Silence is needed sometimes, especially when you're listening out for wildlife. One of our favourite places for a dose of the wild is Kakum National Park and the suspended canopy walkway. You’re rarely alone on the walkway, but afterwards, we like to grab a sit spot, stay silent and listen for birds. Is that a hornbill? Or the grey parrot?
4/ The half time break
Nothing beats a weekend afternoon at the football stadium. The singing, the camaraderie, the banter with friends, the celebration of goals and the build up and the cool down. Almost as enjoyable as the game is the half time chat when we open our snacks, watch the guy with the amazing ball skills, or just chat with mates about the game. No matter which team you support, the half time break is great.
5/ The taxi break
On the surface, admittedly, there’s little fun about being stuck in the chugging streets of Accra. Independence Avenue at 5pm is no picnic.. or is it? When the taxi driver is on form, cracking jokes, chatting football, and has the air-con on, it’s time to embrace the delays, relax and make that time your own. It could be the perfect occasion to unwind and be distracted by the funny driver.
6/ The Sunday break
Sunday afternoon, the sun is just beginning its nightly descent into the sea, the breeze picks up, a game of football is being played full tilt in the swash, hawkers sell wrist bands, and someone has Bob Marley playing on a radio. You’re sat with friends, chilling out, soaking up the sun and the vibes, watching Ghana at play. It’s moments like this that make life, life.
7/ Turn up the break
Maybe it’s something to do with the sun, maybe it’s something to do with the laid back attitude, but Ghanaian music tends to be a joyous racket. Whether it’s the latest beauty from Adomaa or a highlife classic, turning up your radio for five minutes to relish in the melody of the song should be done at least once a day. Music is for the soul.
8/ The café break
Buy a magazine, order a flat white, turn off your phone and take ten minutes to browse the latest fashion trends, the world news, or check out the most recent foodie fads. Our favourite Accra cafés for a caffeine fix include the Vida e Caffe chain, Café Kwae and the D-Café.