Chale we dey enjoy oh! (Friend, we are enjoying ourselves!). First of all let me just say I was introduced to Accra in 2005 when my father and mother presented the trip as a graduation gift before I attended my summer at Howard University. I was only there for a week with them but I could never get that city out of my mind. I called it the NYC of West Africa due to the fast paced all night vibe of the city. Fast forward to 2014, I was laying down in my bedroom thinking of a sense of purpose since graduating only brought the realities of adulting and Thats when it hit me; I needed to go back to that interesting place that had me so intrigued. What started as a love affair ended up as my destiny. I went from volunteering in the Eastern region of Ghana, Koforidua, to starting a travel club and introducing my peers who had never ever considered Africa as a travel destination to the motherland. And I haven’t looked back since! This winter I decided to take two months off and escape the madness of American life once again for my mental health but this trip would prove to be a very new experience for me. I usually travelled to Accra in the spring/summer months, but this year was the Year of the Return and I would be full witness to it. The year of the return was a marketing strategy that encouraged African Americans and any black persons in the diaspora to come on back home after 400 years of slavery. I had NO IDEA how massive this campaign was until I realized that literally EVERYONE would be coming to Accra in 2020. December is in Accra was MAD!!! In a good way of course.....well we will start with the good and talk about the bad in just a bit (but there wasn’t too much bad). The Good: The Nightlife and events! Afrochella festival and Afronation festival was popping this year!! Afrochella celebrated African culture. It had been described as Afropunk meets Coachella and was lovely with bright African fashions, various artists, vendors, and list of celebs such as Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodoe freely walking around enjoying the land of their ancestors. It was a beautiful celebration of culture. Afronation was much much more intense. It was a four day music festival on Laboma beach where you could see major Afrobeats artists such as Burna boy, Davido, and Wiz Kid. Let’s not forget Detty Rave in which Rick Ross performed in front of a mass crowd. Accra was POPPIN in December.
There were also a number of parties in Osu such as the All White Party at Little Havana, we spent some electric nights at the super cute lounge “Bloom Bar” which has a quaint rooftop and plays all the latest hits on the radio today. We literally partied for two weeks straight and nobody got burnt out until New Years.
One of my favorite places in Accra to pre-game is Republic Bar and Grill. Not only only because I know the owners, two super cool Lebanese-Ghanaian brothers, but because it is simply a melting pot of locals and expats meeting and greeting without a pretentious or bougie vibe. Republic is a place for artists, intellects, and everyone in-between. The drinks are dope and extremely affordable and it’s a place where everybody knows somebody. I respect what it represents which makes it no surprise that it’s lasted over a decade. Can you tell I just LOVE Republic Bar and Grill? Do you like to dance? You can learn the kizomba and kizsalsa at Afrikiko. These dance crazes are where West Africa meets Latino culture and has its origins in the Latino-inspired Afrobeats of Angola. Kizomba originated in Angola in the 1970s and has taken Accra by storm in recent years, with its sultry moves and hip-swaying. Kizsalsa takes inspiration from where the two dances meet: a sensuous combination. There are also numerous restaurants surrounding the dance floor.
The Food Well I can always count on Accra to feed me morning, noon, and night. Purple Pub is where everyone went either before the night began, or in the middle of the night while partying let’s say 2/3am. They have the best grilled wings on that side of town in my humble opinion. And let’s not forget the special drink that you can only order at Purple Pub for 10 cedis called “Five Fingers” which is probably the only drink you’ll need that night bc it’s sweet but STRONG. Ghanaians are known for their bitters and alcoholic beverages. I also stopped at Kebob stands and ordered an assortment of goat meat and cow meat. They also have pork if you’re into that. When I wanted a quick meal on the go I would order kabob sticks and find a place that sold fried rice or Jollof rice and eat them together. Delicious! One of my favorite little snacks I tried for the first time in Ghana was the street food Kelewele (pronounced Kay-lay-way-lay), a popular Ghanaian dish made with fried plantains and seasoned with spices. The riper the plantain the crispier you’re Kelewele will be. Yummy! You can also find roasted plantains on the street which looks more like a plantain sliced in the middle getting grilled.
On Sundays in Ghana people eat traditional foods such as Rice balls with groundnut soup (Peanut butter soup) and it is delicious!! I had the pleasure of having rice balls at an authentic Ghanaian home which is even better. Fufu and light soup was also a treat! I also had the pleasure of attending the Waakye festival at Mmfrma Place!! Waakye (pronounced waa-chay) is a Ghanaian dish of cooked rice and beans. It is cooked using many of the methods without additional spices and herbs. The rice is cooked with an indigenous leaf and black eyed peas or kidney beans. They had Waakye vendors from all over Accra selling and the food was delicious!! Cheap and plentiful for your belly.
The People I’m not gonna lie. The people here are super friendly and nice. Let’s not forget to mention the men and women here are simply gorgeous! Heads were turning left and right including my own. Ghana citizens are naturally attractive and physically healthy. People here have a sense of pride and just take good care of themselves. I loved watching them in traditional wear on Fridays walking about looking regal or on Sundays dressed with their entire families to the nines. It just made me think how black is soooo beautiful. I met a lot of really cool Ghana women that I got a chance to hang out with too while here which was dope because sometimes it’s hard for women to make new friends because we have a wall up for whatever reason. Shout out to JJ,Awo, Joy and Michelle!! I also met an up and coming Ghanaian filmmaker by the name of Jounide.
The Resorts After the holidays took a road trip along the coast of the greater Accra region called Ada. Aqua Royal Safari was found nestled right within. It had a breathtaking view of the Volta river and was really upscale.
Another resort I visited was in the town of Akusumbo in the Volta. It was called The Royal Senchi resort. Which had a pool that was literally calling my name with beautiful peacocks fluttering about.
The traffic. Period. You could possibly compare it to LA traffic and if you’ve never been to LA then let’s just say that if you were headed somewhere that normally takes 15-20 minutes to get to, it could take you an hour and a half to arrive. This also increased Uber and cab fares and created a few moments of frustration. But... no pain no gain right?