Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Ghana
Kejetia Market, the commercial heart of Kumasi, is considered the largest open-air market in West Africa. Each day, some 12,000 stalls open for business, selling food, clothing, handmade glass beads, souvenirs, Ashanti sandals, fabric and things you wouldn't even know you wanted until you saw them. Kejetia Market is very much a bustling local shopping hub, and while tourists do visit from time to time, they often find themselves the objects of curiosity. Despite—or perhaps because of—the congestion, jostling, noise and riot of color everywhere you look, a visit to the market remains one of the best opportunities to experience a slide of authentic Ghana. While it’s perfectly possible and reasonably safe to visit the Kejetia Market on your own, enlisting the help of a guide who can explain some of the trade goods and help you bargain for purchases will enrich the experience.
More Things to Do in Ghana
As the second busiest city in Ghana after the capital, Kumasi has developed a thriving nightlife scene, and one of the top hot spots for weekend people-watching or after-dark drinks is Bantama High Street. This stretch of road is lined with open-air pubs serving libations and kebabs, and it’s particularly lively from Thursday through Sunday. While not exactly a chic nightlife destination (plastic chairs and tables along the sidewalk are the norm) it’s a fun and relaxed area to enjoy a drink and the atmosphere of local Ghanaian nightlife.
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 travellers.
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.
Built by the British in 1673, the now decaying Fort James serves as a reminder of former colonial rule. The trading post operated as a prison until 2008, when local investigators discovered the structure, which was built to house just 50 people, was actually holding more than 1,000—sometimes 90 inmates to a single room.
Today the defunct penitentiary attracts visitors looking to learn about the nation’s past and explore the haunting life of those who were convicted, but due to human rights concerns, Fort James no longer serves as a functional Accra prison.
After being enslaved in the western world, a group of about 70 Tabom people returned from Brazil to their home country of Ghana in the late 1800s. Upon arrival they built this empire-era house as an homage to their rich heritage, difficult past and unique traditions. Today, travelers can visit this site where returning families reestablished themselves as members of the community, and learned local languages and traditions, despite speaking only Portuguese.
The home, with its fertile plots of mangoes and cassava, also serves as a museum, with halls that display artifacts and images from the past, as well as outline the impact of the Tabom people on modern-day Ghana. These once oppressed people returned to Ghana with skills and stories, and introduced the art of irrigation, architecture, blacksmithing and tailoring to the residents of Accra.
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