The Greater Accra Region is where most travelers arrive in Ghana. After landing at Kotoka International Airport in Accra and checking into Novotel Accra City Centre or a similar hotel, there are many sites to visit in this bustling city. Accra offers an exciting nightlife, museums, historic monuments, busy markets, gorgeous beaches, and restaurants that reflect the many cultures of Ghana. Accra is the modern gateway to one of Africa’s ancient lands, and the hub for a perfect vacation.
The Central Region is home to two of the most popular historical destinations in Ghana: Elmina and Cape Coast Castles. PANAFEST is likely the most famous festival in the Central Region; a week-long cultural event devoted to Pan-Africanism. There are many beaches in the Central Region, including Brenu Beach, Sir Charles Beach, and Gomoa Fetteh Beach. The Central Region is also known for fishing villages, rain forests, the Fante people, the architecture of Posuban shrines, and handcrafted ceramics and woodcarvings.
The Ashanti Region houses the largest ethnic group in Ghana, and is one of the few matrilineal communities. Kumasi, the capital city, is the second largest city in Ghana and is located in the south-central part of the country. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that gold mining in the Ashanti region began on a large scale. Many festivals take place in the Ashanti region throughout the year. The most famous is the Akwasidae, held every six weeks. There is a procession of royals and their entourages through Kumasi’s streets to the palace, where the king meets and greets his subjects.
Ghana National Parks
Kakum National Park is a largely undisturbed rainforest. In it you will experience tropical plants, wildlife, and a canopy walkway like none other – it is suspended about 100 feet above the forest floor for a spectacular view.
Mole National Park is a natural reserve where you can see antelope, monkeys, buffalo, warthogs, and occasionally lions and elephants. Tourists can visit this park either on foot or in a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
Ghana Wildlife Sanctuaries and Reserves
Shai Hills Resource Reserve is filled with granite-covered hills. Various animals can be seen here, inclucing kob, bushbuck, oribi, primates, and over 160 species of birds. The most important traditional shrines of the Shai people are located within the reserve, and numerous archaeological sites can be visited on the hillsides. Shai Hills is located in the Greater Accra Region.
Buabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary is home to the endangered Colobus and Mona monkeys, which live in harmony with the people of the village. The people of the villages of Buabeng and Fiema revere the monkeys; this sanctuary was established to help protect them. When a monkey dies, a ceremony is held and he or she is buried in a coffin. If you arrive in the village before 9 am, you can see the monkeys come into the villages for breakfast, then go to the schoolyards to play. The sancturary is located in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Agumatsa Wildlife Sanctuary is on the Ghana-Togo border, in the Volta Region. The spectacular Wli falls are located here; the water cascades over a 400 m (1,300 ft) cliff. A large colony of bats live in the cliffs of the sanctuary, and they can be seen flying en masse in the evening. Every November, an Agumatsa Waterfalls Festival is held to thank God for the water, which is used in many aspects of daily life.
Ghana Botanical Gardens
Aburi Botanical Garden is dedicated to saving plant diversity, and maintaining natural reserves. The gardens offer a staggering array of plants, which attract dozens of beautiful birds and butterflies.
Kumasi Central Market is one of the largest open air markets in West Africa with over 10,000 vendors. This is the perfect place to buy just about anything you need, including cloth, wood carvings, and food.
The Centre of National Culture, also known as Arts Centre in Accra, offers hundreds of vendors, selling wooden carvings, masks, beads, brass and leather crafts, fabric, drums, African music and paintings by local artists.
Ghana Historical Sites
Elmina Castle, built in 1482, was the first permanent structure south of the Sahara built by Europeans, and the first slave castle to be built along the west coast of Africa. Elmina Fort, or Fort São Jorge da Mina, was elevated to the status of castle because it was the seat of authority for the Portuguese. The castle has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.