Greater Accra

GEATER ACCRA REGION, GHANA

Accra Welcomes You

The Ghana Tourism Authority warmly welcomes you to the vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Accra, the Nation’s capital. AKWAABA! Accra is the capital city of Ghana, located in West Africa.

It is also the regional capital of the Greater Accra region, which is the smallest of the ten regions of Ghana, and is the main gateway to the country through the Kotoka International Airport.

You will find Accra a bustling metropolis; an interesting city of contrasts, where the old blends with the new, where tradition blends with foreign cultures. It is vibrant and unique in its own way and beckons to be explored.

The striking feature of Accra today is a city under construction with the rapid growth of high rise buildings, overhead road constructions, and new urban investments of shopping malls and residential apartments.

This is sharply juxtaposed with sprawling townships, old suburbs and old colonial buildings. Old Accra, actually, comprises James Town and Ussher Town along the coast.

Location and Size
Accra is situated on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean), almost on the Greenwich Meridian. It covers an approximate area of 225sq km (87 sq miles) and includes the satellite suburbs of Osu, La, Teshie and Nungua. ‘Accra’ has expanded beyond its borders to include new settlements along its borders towards the north, east and west. ‘Accra’ is also used to refer to the central business district.

Administration

In the field of Local Government, the satellite suburbs have assumed control of their respective jurisdictions and the rezoned ‘Accra’ is administered by the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) under the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council. Areas falling outside the jurisdiction of AMA include the Municipalities of:
Ga West- Amasaman;
Ga East – Abokobi;
Ga Central – Sowutuom;
Ga South – Weija;
La-Nkwantanang Madina;
La Dadekotopon, Adentan;
Ledzorkuku-Krowor Teshie Nungua.

Economic Activities

The metropolis of Accra, the nerve centre of Government Administration, boasts of the Ministries with a large concentration of Public and Civil Servants, Foreign Missions and International organizations, an International Airport, International standard Facilities and Services including Hotels and Restaurants, Casinos, Pubs, Travel and Tour Agencies and Car Rental services, Shopping Malls and Supermarkets, an International Conference Centre and other conference facilities, Art Galleries, Boutiques and Jewellery shops, Hospitals and Clinics.Retail business is carried out in the shopping centres, markets and communities.

Accra also has a light industrial area. Tema, the twin city of Accra, lies about 40 kilometers to the east and is the Port and Harbour city and main industrial hub of the country. Fishing is undertaken by the indigenous people along the coast. There is small-scale farming of vegetables, maize, pepper and cassava especially in the Accra plains.

Temperatures

Accra has a humid and hot temperature (25 to 34 degrees Celsius). It experiences two rainy
seasons from April to July and from September to November. From December to March, the
city experiences dry harmattan winds, which blow from the north of the country.

History and Culture

The city of Accra was founded at about the end of the sixteenth century by a section of the Ga people who left Ayawaso (then the main seat of the Gas) to found this new village. Its rapid development however manifested itself when the British authorities who were then ruling the country moved their administrative headquarters from Cape Coast in the west to Accra in 1877. The choice of Accra was due to its climatic advantages as well as its nearness to the Aburi Mountains that boasted near temperate climate, and where the colonial authorities preferred to live.

Accra saw tremendous development in the 1940s which changed the face of the city altogether. It was declared a city in 1961. Today, it is a major Conference and Conventions destination in West Africa, boasting of international chain hotels, restaurants, entertainment centres and many social amenities and hospitality services.

The Chief of Ga Mashie, the Ga Mantse and other paramount chiefs of the region, symbolize the pomp and pageantry of the culture of the Ga people and the institution of Chieftaincy in the country. The Ga people celebrate the ‘Homowo’ festival in August/September to mark their traditional calendar and to commemorate their past migration events. Homowo is a harvest festival and means ‘hooting at hunger’.

Population & Language

Accra boasts of about 3 million inhabitants largely made up of rural-urban migrants. It is cosmopolitan, with many races, colour and creed of people represented. English is the official language. Local languages freely spoken include Twi, Ga and Ewe.

AKWAABA! You will not fail to experience the traditional Ghanaian Hospitality. Enjoy your stay.

TOURIST SITES
LEISURE

BEACHES

The coast of Accra is blessed with an abundance of beautiful beaches for the pleasure of beach lovers. Ghanaians patronize the beaches in Accra mainly on weekends and on public holidays. Recommended beaches include: La Pleasure Beach, Marine Drive Beach, Korle Gonno Beach and Kokrobite beach.

La Pleasure Beach – This is the most developed and premier beach in Accra, well patronized by locals and visitors in the metropolis.

Kokrobite Beach Resorts, situated in a rustic enclave 25km West of Accra and off the main Accra- Takoradi Highway is Kokrobite, a Ga settlement that sits on the beach. There are beach resorts, including the Bojo Beach Resort. Enjoy the rustic setting.

Weija Dam – Overlooking the Weija lake on the road to the Central Region, is this dam which supplies water to the western parts of Accra. One finds a picturesque landscape of hills. The lake can be developed for watersports.

Water sports and entertainment are well established in Ada, Prampram and Ningo located about 100 km eastwards beyond Tema.

The National Theatre – This ultra-modern Theatre built in Chinese architecture is located on Independence Avenue and is the venue for theatrical and traditional performances.

The theatre offers a variety of entertainments mostly on weekends. Other interesting features include concert halls, balconies, a beautifully landscaped area with fountains, the Theatre Gardens Restaurant specializing in continental and Ghanaian dishes.

There are occasional performances by the Ghana National Dance Ensemble and the National Symphony Orchestra and these are advertised on bill boards and in the national dailies.

Centre for National Culture (Arts Centre) – Your curiosity for the Arts and Culture and souvenir items will bring you to the Arts Centre. The Arts Centre is situated between the Old Parliament House Building on High Street and the National Lotteries Office.

It preserves and presents Ghanaian arts in various ways, through exhibits, workshops and art galleries. The Bulletin Board at the entrance to the Main Hall and banners outside its walls announce current programmes, plays and other cultural events. At the sprawling crafts market are wood carvings, leather and metal ware, beads, jewellery, traditional cloths and garments including the famous kente cloth, the national cloth of Ghana, which is colourful and distinctive and is sold in full length or in small strips.

The price of your choice is subject to bargaining. Places for inter-cultural exchange include Alliance Francaise and the Goethe Institute. Upcoming programmes are advertised in the dailies.

Cinemas can be found at the newly constructed Shopping Malls and TV 3 Executive Theatre, Kanda.

Accra Sports Stadium

It was built in 1952 and houses the offices of the Sports Council of Ghana. It has a capacity for 30,000 people and currently is under expansion to take in facilities for all major sports including, Lawn Tennis, Badminton, and Handball. Football is the most
popular sport and the Accra stadium plays host to major football tournaments.

The resident football club is the Accra Hearts of Oak, the biggest football club in Accra and Accra Great Olympics. The stadium is also used for conventions and congresses.

Visit the following places for more sporting opportunities.

HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL SITES

The National Museum

It was officially opened by the Duchess of Kent during the Independence celebration in March, 1957. Located on Barnes Road, close to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, the National Museum is the repository of the country’s historical and cultural treasures, as well as artifacts from other ancient African Empires. The collections range from prehistoric, archaeological discoveries to colonial antiquities and exhibits of contemporary African Art.

Opening Hours:
Mon – Fri 9:00 am – 4:30 pm,
Sat – 9:00am – 3.00 pm.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park

This magnificent monument on High Street was erected in honour of Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, a great Pan-Africanist who led the country to Independence in 1957. The Monument stands on the same grounds popularly known as Polo Grounds where Ghana’s Independence was declared on March 6, 1957. The Mausoleum is the final resting place of his remains, and that of his Egyptian wife Madam Fathia Nkrumah. It has offices, a library of his historical records and memorabilia. Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00 am – 5:00pm, Sat & Sun 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.

Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois Centre for Pan-African Culture, House No.22, 1st Circular Road, Cantonments – Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois was an intellectual and a great Pan-Africanist, who spent his last years in Ghana working together with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President ofGhana. He died in 1963. Originally, his body was interred near Osu Castle; later his remains and the ashes of his wife Shirley, were transferred to a final resting place dedicated in their honour, known as the Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture – the house where he lived and died.

The Centre has become a great tourist attraction and a source of inspiration to many. It is significant that he died on the eve of Martin Luther King’s historic March in Washington. The Centre houses a research Library and a gallery of manuscripts and works of outstanding Pan Africanists. There are facilities for lectures, workshops and video shows, at a fee.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri 8:00am – 9:00pm,
Sat & Sun 9:00 am – 3:00pm.

George Padmore African Research Library – The Library, established in 1961 is located near the Afua Sutherland Children’s Park in the Ridge Area. It also stores a collection of documents on African Affairs. George Padmore was one of the contemporaries of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The trio – Nkrumah, Du Bois and George Padmore laid the foundations of Pan-Africanism in Ghana.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri – 8:30 – 6:00pm,
Sat: 10:00a.m – 4 p.m

• Achimota Golf Course, Achimota
• Accra Polo Club (Horse racing), near Kotoka International Airport
• Dansoman Keep-fit Club, Dansoman, West of Accra

Osu Castle

Osu Castle, formerly known as Christiansburg, was built in 1659 and named after King Christian V of Denmark. Throughout its history, the Castle changed hands among foreign competitors several times until the early 1920s. It has served as the official residence of Colonial Governors and visiting dignitaries. It became the seat of Government when the colonial administration was moved from Cape Coast Castle in 1877.

The seat of Government is now at the Presidential Palace at Flagstaff House and the Osu Castle is now being re-designated as a tourist site. In its forecourts is the Asomdwee Park where one of the illustrious Presidents of Ghana, Professor John Evans Attah Mills has been interred. Alongside the street to the Osu Castle are some old colonial buildings with rich history of the Danes and their descendants at Osu.

Independence Square

Formerly known as Black Star Square, it is Ghana’s premier parade grounds completed shortly before Queen Elizabeth II’s visit in 1961. It has a seating capacity for 25,000 people on its permanent stands.

The area encloses the impressive Independence Arch and the War Memorial to the Unknown Soldier. Also close by is the Cenotaph in memory of the 28th February shooting incident in which three ex-service men were shot down during a peaceful demonstration for better conditions of service.

Accra International Conference Centre, Osu– A modern Conference Centre built to host the 10th Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in September, 1991. It consists of a 1,600 capacity main hall, balcony, multifunctional halls for conferences, congresses, folk shows, cinema, theatricals, music and rock shows; a press centre, shopping centre, and all modern communication equipment necessary for the smooth functioning of a modern Conference Centre. Opposite the Conference Centre stands the State House Complex, on a small hill in a well landscaped area.

It comprises the imposing ‘Job 600’ building, the Old Kwame Nkrumah Conference Centre, site of the new Parliament House, and banqueting facilities which were built to host the 1965 O.A.U. Conference of Heads of Independent African States. In the environs are the Osu Cemetery and the Military Cemetery.

Supreme Court Buildings, High Street – Built in 1935 in classic design, it is situated near the old Parliament House in pleasant surroundings. The building houses the High Court and Supreme Court. It also has the Circuit court and the Ghana Law School in its precincts. A new and magnificent judicial Court building, Atta Mills Judicial Court Complex, has recently been built at the site of the old Victoriaburg, a Press House

Ghana Library Board – Ghana’s foremost library and head office of Government public libraries since 1950.

Old Parliament House – Built in 1935 as the King George V Memorial Hall, this building was altered and extended to serve as Ghana’s Parliament House. Currently, Parliament House is at the State House Complex, Ridge Area, opposite Accra International Conference Centre.
The offices now house the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

FESTIVALS

Homowo Festival is celebrated in August-September by the Gas. It is marked by the parading of twins in the principal streets and observance of rituals, followed by the cooking and sprinkling of the traditional meal ‘kpokpoi’ to the ancestors. There are interesting activities alongside the traditional rites such as gala nights and crowning of ‘Miss Homowo’, football, beach activities, and a ‘Charlie Wote’ Street Carnival a week after the Ga Mashie version of Homowo.

Other interesting Homowo celebrations take place at Osu, La, Teshie, Nungua and Tema. The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts and The Ghana Tourism Authority have established the Homogenous festival dubbed HOMOFEST to climax the Greater Accra Regional Festivals of the entire Ga- Dangme people, in October. There are also occasional JAMA street carnivals by warrior groups of Ga Mashie.

Kotoka International Airport

This is Ghana’s premier Airport, named after the late Lt. General I.K. Kotoka, the architect and Hero of the 24th February, 1966 Revolution which ousted the first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It has undergone a complete modernization, achieving international standard. Rehabilitation and expansion works are still on-going.

Among other features are a technical control block or tower, a public waiting area, eateries and bars, postal services, duty free shop, forex bureau, Tourist Information desk and Airport Car Hire Services among others. Some Hotels and Tour Operators run shuttle bus services from the Airport to the city. There are about 25 international and domestic airlines flying in and out of the Airport.

University of Ghana, Legon – 14 km north of Accra, on the Airport Road and past Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, is Ghana’s premier centre of higher education – The University of Ghana, Legon – established in 1948. The University of Ghana is a showpiece of Japanese Architecture in a tropical setting. The campus has a peaceful atmosphere with beautiful gardens and tree-lined driveways.

A walk or drive uphill provides an impressive vista of Accra and the Atlantic Ocean. The University’s School of Performing Arts offers music and dancing lessons on request. Other features include the great Balme Library, the University Bookshop, the School of African Studies, and the Great Hall.

Achimota Forest Reserve

One of the two preserved green belts in the urban setting, Achimota forest, near Achimota Senior High School is usually used for camping and hiking and has prospects for housing the Accra Zoo. The other green belt is the Dodowa Forest, about an hour’s drive from Accra, off the Madina-Aburi Road.

SHOPPING

MARKETS

Ghana’s Markets are a ‘must’ for the visitor. Most of them are traditional open air markets which display all sorts of goods, from foodstuffs to textiles and hardware. The most interesting aspect is to watch in admiration the market woman exhibit business acumen and ingenuity and the act of bargaining between buyer and seller. The colours, scents, the crowd and the noise are just overwhelming. Most visitors will join in and experience it all and also buy beautiful textile prints which you will find a lot of Ghanaian women stylishly wrapped in.

Others are the satellite markets of local popularity especially at Osu, Adabraka, Nima, and Agbogbloshie. The Kaneshie Market is the first market complex to be housed in a three-floor building.

The 31st December Market, allocated in the central business district, is a modern traditional market with facilities such as a Post Office, Bank, Information Centre and a crèche where the market mummies send their children while they are busy at work.

The Market was so named to commemorate the 31st December Revolution led by then Head of State, Flight Lt. Jerry John Rawlings in 1981. Recent investments in international chain Shopping Malls include the Accra Mall at Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, Marina Mall, Airport City, West Hills Mall, near Weija, A&C Mall, East Legon, and Osu Mall.

Oxford Street, Osu offers an exciting one-stop shopping experience for a variety of goods and services.
Arts Centre and other Art Galleries – Visit for the purchase of artefacts and souvenir items. Interesting places to shop for curios include: the boutiques of major hotels, Omanye House Art Gallery at La, The Loom, near Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Aid to Artisans at the International Trade Fair Centre, Wild Gecko, Shiashie and many others around town.

SERVICES

ACCOMMODATION/RESTAURANTS/AND NIGHT CLUBS
The region offers a number of up-market and international standard hotels and restaurants
for relaxation, fine dining, nightlife, conferences and events. Also available are affordable
(budget) hotels, and local eateries called ‘chop bars’ and drinking bars.

TRANSPORTATION
Visitors are encouraged to patronize Ghana Tourism Authority licensed car rental services, tourist coaches and Inter-City State Transport Buses. Public transport within the towns and cities is made up of taxis with yellow fenders, and mini-buses called ‘tro-tro’. Prices are usually fixed, although some bargaining can be done with taxis. There are also scheduled internal air services from the Kotoka International Airport, Accra to Kumasi and Tamale in the north.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE
Currency exchange is recommended at forex bureaus and commercial banks around town. A forex bureau is available at the arrivals hall of the Kotoka International Airport.

TRAVEL AGENCIES AND TOUR OPERATORS
Please contact Ghana Tourism Authority for information on licensed Travel Agencies and Tour Operators. Professional tour operators will handle your travel needs across the country and within the sub-region.

Shai Hills Resource Reserve

The only wild life reserve close to the capital city and located 67.2km on the Accra-Tema-Akosombo highway, the Shai Hills Resource Reserve has a total area of 21sq km. Game viewing is done from November to May and among the game found here are baboons, duikers, bush cats, bucks, a wide variety of birds, reptiles and various tree and plant species.

Lodging facilities are available in the vicinity. The Reserve also contains cultural items and relics in the ancestral homes located in the Reserve. Yearly rituals and pilgrimages are made by the Se or Shai people who inhabit the surrounding areas during their yearly festival in September (the Gmayemi Festival) and in commemoration of their stay and final migration from the Reserve.

Further down on the Akosombo Road, and a few kilometers from the Game Reserve is the Twin-rocks located on a hill, which is a sight to behold.

Ada Ada is a quaint coastal town located about a 100 kilometres east of Accra on the Accra-Lome Road. It marks the eastern boundary of the Greater Accra Region. The main occupation of Ada is fishing and its related activities along the coast. The town is also popular for its thriving salt-mining industry and boasts of a breathtaking landscape at the Estuary at Azizanya, where the River Volta (the largest river in Ghana) enters the sea. This touristic appeal has necessitated the planning of a Tourist Village at Azizanya where watersports such as yachting, skiing, boating and fishing take place.

A number of companies and resorts belonging to individuals have developed chalets at the waterfront and are equipped with motor-boats and paraphernalia for engaging in watersports especially at the weekends. The people of Ada celebrate their yearly Asafotufiam War Festival in the first week of August.

Akosombo HydroElectric Dam site

Akosombo is located about a 100 kilometres from Accra off the Tema – Ho Highway at Atimpoku. The Volta Lake is one of the largest lakes in the world, created as a result of the damming of the Volta River at Akosombo to generate hydroelectric power.

Tours are arranged for viewing of the Dam. The township is well planned with excellent views over the dam. The Volta Lake Transport Services offers transport from the south to northern Ghana.

TEMA AND ENVIRONS

This circuit is unique for business and leisure tourists, and all manner of visitors visiting the busy cosmopolitan areas of Accra-Tema who wish to have recreation and unwind. It falls within the eastern corridor of the Greater Accra Region and covers Tema, Ashaiman, Kpone, Ningo-Prampram, Shai-Osudoku, Sege and Ada. The circuit boasts of natural, cultural and historic tourist attractions such as:
• Shai Hills Game Reserve, which is the only Game Reserve close to the capital city, Accra;
• Beaches and beach resorts, and the Volta Estuary;
• The historic Dodowa Forest and township and Kyenku Waterfalls
• Ramsar sites at Sakumono near Tema, and Songor Lagoon at Ada. These are internationally recognized ecologically sensitive areas around lagoons and mangroves that attract resident and migratory birds and marine life such as sea turtles.
• The Greenwich Meridian passing through Tema with a remarkable landmark (a rock in the sea);
• Ecotourism in the historic towns of Dodowa, Ningo-Prampram and Ada;
• Rich and colourful annual traditional festivals such as Homowo, Asafotufiam, Gmayem
• Salt mining at Ada
• The industrial and Port city of Tema, and the fishing harbour
• Farming
• Celebrity Golf Course, near the Sakumo lagoon and the Tema Golf Course on the Tema-Kpone road
All these areas are serviced by Hotels, lodges, night clubs and restaurants of different categories, Car rental companies, Travel and Tourism Agencies, and Community Tourism Information offices.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ATTRACTIONS AND RECOMMENDED ITINERARIES TEMA
Tema, the industrial and Port city, lies 30 kms east of Accra. It is accessed by the Accra-Tema Motorway, the fastest route, or by the scenic beach road that goes through the coastal towns of Osu, La,Teshie and Nungua.

It was established as an industrial and port city in 1961 at the time that the Akosombo Hydroelectric Dam on the Volta River was being constructed to accelerate modernization and industrialisation. The deep water port was vital for the importation of raw materials for the construction of the dam, an aluminium foundary (Volta Aluminium Company – VALCO) and a fishing harbour.

Today, the Port, one of the largest and most important harbours in West Africa, boasts of various industries and manufacturing companies such as Tema Oil Refinery, Valco Aluminium Company, Ghana Textiles Company ( GTP) now Tex Styles Ghana Limited, and other textile companies; a cement factory, GHACEM; food processing and agro-food complexes in flour; fishing and animal feed; a chocolate factory, COCOA PROCESSING Company; and an export enclave named the ‘Industrial Free Zone’; and a number of multi-national corporations including Nestle, Unilever, Air Liquide.

It is also contributing to the development of intra- African trade serving especially the landlocked countries north of the country such as Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.

The township that grew with the establishment of the Port city of Tema mainly housed the workers of the industries that sprung up thereafter. This township is zoned into areas numbered under ‘communities’ i.e community 1, 2 3 etc. and established under the Tema Development Company (TDC).

There are about 25 communities with road links and a railway to Accra. There are three major traditional areas in the Tema Metropolitan Area, namely Kpone, Tema and Nungua. The Government has created new districts including Kpone, Nungua and Ashaiman to fully implement its policies of local governance to the benefit of the entire citizenry.

Tema is bisected by the Greenwich Meridian, (longitude 0) passing through Tema near the harbour, which remains the most important tourism landmark in the city and the Meridian Rock in the sea. This landmark is on the drawing board to be developed. The Port of Tema is the second to be constructed in the country after Takoradi Harbour in the Western end of the country. This Harbour was constructed in 1928 to facilitate shipment of lumber, cocoa and iron ore.