Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah,...
Greater Accra Region, the gateway to Ghana and home of our vibrant Capital City, is one of the most exciting and distinctive regions. Although the smallest region, it is the most densely populated, containing the two great metropolitan areas of Accra and Tema, the Country’s major industrial and commercial centres. Kotoka International Airport is located about 12km from the centre of the city.
The City of Accra has been Ghana’s capital since 1877, and contains fine public buildings reflecting its transition from a 19th century suburb of Victoriasborg to the modern metropolis it is today. Spreading along the Atlantic coast, the city is well endowed with luxury as well as great value hotels, excellent restaurants and nightclubs. A range of absorbing museums and fine public monuments, modern business and commercial areas, as well as busy markets and tree-lined residential suburbs, is ready to be explored.
Among the highlights of Accra are the National Museum, with its splendid display of exhibits that reflect the heritage of Ghana from prehistoric times to modern times, the National Theatre with its distinctive modern architecture, the Centre for National Culture, Independence Square, the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the fishing port at James Town and Makola Market.
The University of Ghana at Legon is just 14km north of Accra, and its distinctive buildings are set amongst elegant tree-lined gardens that are popular with students and visitors alike.
The Accra International Conference Centre is the lore most conference centre in the Country, and has played host to many international gatherings.
Tema, on the other land, is a new town some 30km from Accra, with Ghana’s foremost commercial port and our large fishing fleet. Its modern industrial zone is one of our major commercial hubs.
The beaches of the Atlantic coast are popular with visitors and Ghanaians alike. Labadi Pleasure Beach and Kokrobite Beach, just 25km west of Accra, are particularly popular at weekends.
Further along the coast is Ada and the estuary of the great River Volta. Here the fine beaches of the estuary and the Atlantic coast provide popular resort areas. Watersports and river trips make this a great place to relax, while the waters off the coast teem with game fish.
The National Museum
Located on Barnes Road, this fine museum houses a fascinating collection of Ghana’s historical treasures. The exhibits housed under the two-tiered rotunda of the museum comprise much more
than Ghanaian Culture alone, and include a collection of the neighbouring West African countries as well as an archaeological department located in a hall ont he first floor.
One of the museum’s ground-floor wings is devoted to temporary exhibitions which can range from contemporary dyed fabrics to traditional and even sacred artifacts such as the celebrated Ashanti
The venue for many national celebrations, dominated by the independence arch and the memorial to Unknown Soldier
The Du Bois Memorial Center for Pan-Africa Culture
A source of inspiration to many, this Centre now houses a research library and gallery of manuscripts, as well as the grave of this famous African-American scholar and his wife.
Somewhere in the recesses of the City of Accra called Cantonments, where the calm air, the cool trees, and the sunshine combine to produce a unique serenity; where the songs of the birds provide a sort of euphoria; there, in that tranquillity, squats a house, No. 22 First Circular Road, which has been dedicated and consecrated to the memory of a man who loved Africa where he traced his roots, a modest man, but whose life and works raised him above ordinary men and placed him among the great men of all time – Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois.
It is the W. E. B. Du Bois, Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture dedicated to the life of a man who spent greater part of his life in the struggle for the emancipation of the black man through Pan Africanism.
A house declared a National Monument by the Government of Ghana where the remains of the man, Du Bois and the ashes of his wife, Shirley, rest in a peace – enshrined, that their memory will live among men and women in this generation and beyond.
But, more significant too, House No. 22 First Circular Road, Cantonment, was the dwelling of Dr. Du Bois during the epoch-making last days of his life, and it was here, on August 27, 1963, that he breathed his last.
The black and white rectangular building sits in the middle of raised walls that form a large magnificently landscaped compound dotted with trees, flowers, pathways, and aquarium, with two gates in the Western and Northern walls.
Inside, the hall is decorated with the portraits of some celebrities of Ghana and Africa. There is also the display gallery for manuscripts, other Du Bois Memorabilia, and research library of his treasured books and other great writers.
A special plaque mounted on a concrete contrivance welcomes the visitor with two inscriptions from the Du Bois poem:
“Children of the Moon”
I am dead
Yet Somehow, Somewhere,
In Time’s weird contraction,
May tell of that dread deed, wherewith
I brought to children of the Moon
Freedom and vast salvation.
I rose upon the mountain of the moon
I feel the blazing glory of the sun,
I heard the song of children crying
I saw the face of Freedom
And I died
Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum
This is the last resting place of the first President of Ghana, who was a famous pan-Africanist.The Centre consists of a museum of his life and works, the mausoleum, and his statue, which stands on the spot
(the Polo grounds as it used to be called) where he declared Independece for the country on 6th March, 1957.
The George Padmore Research Library on Africa Affairs
The George Padmore Institute (GPI) is a library, research and educational centre housing materials relating to the black community of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain and continental Europe. The Institute is named after George Padmore (1902-1959), the Trinidadian writer and dedicated Pan Africanist who became one of the most influential figures in the anti-colonialism and independence
struggles of the 20th century.
Centre for National Culture – Accra
Presents traditional handicrafts in various forms from all over Ghana and West Africa, it includes workshops and art galleries. There is an arts and crafts bazaar and a traditional textile market with souvenirs that have been crafted in clay, wood, leather and metal. There is also indoor market with stalls for footwear, T- shirts and souvenirs University of Ghana at Legon Ghana’s premier centre of higher education, it was founded in 1948. Set in beautiful gardens, including a striking botanical garden, it also houses the School of Performing Arts, the Balme Library and the School for African Studies.
The Markets of Accra
Amongst the most famous markets of Accra are Makola market located on Kojo Thompson Road, and the Osu Night Market, where market stalls are illuminated by hundreds of lanterns and candles.
Makola Shopping Mall
Located at the Accra Central. Has adequate car parking space. The market was recently constructed to replace the old one with the same name. One can obtain beautiful African Textiles, Foodstuffs,
Traditional Cloths and clothes, shoes, cosmetics, etc. It also houses a bank, restaurants, offices, etc. Because of its central location it enjoys a lot of patronage from residents in Accra and tourists alike.
Located near the Timber Market on the Fadama Road. This is another newly constructed market. It enjoys all the facilities as the Makola Shopping Mall. Other local markets found in Accra are the Kaneshie Market Complex located on the Mallam-Odorkor Road, Kaneshie, and the Kantamanto Market also located in central Accra is the capital’s local and largest flea market. Items sold here are mostly imported second hand clothes, shoes and household items.
The National Theatre
The distinctive architecture of this modern building encompasses an important national centre for the performing arts. Programmes are advertised on banners and in the national newspapers.
The Zoo is located at Kanda. When travelling north on the Independence Avenue, past Ako Adjei Interchange and look for Afrikiko Restaurant; turn left and follow the signs leading to the zoo.
The phone number is 021-772553 and it is open daily between the hours of 9:30am 5pm. There is a small, but fascinating collection of many birds and animals indigenous to Africa. Some of these animals
that are worth a visit include monkeys, snakes, lions, leopards, crocodiles, duikers among others. Interestingly, the zoo was once part of Kwame Nkrumah’s estate. His original house (in its original condition) is still located adjacent to the zoo.
The Osu Castle (Christiansborg) – Accra
The Osu Castle (Christiansborg) is unique among the castles and forts. It served as Government House during various periods in the 19th and 20th centuries and continues to play that role today.
The building of the first lodge in the 17th century at Ursu or Osu is attributed to the Swedish African Company. In 1657, the Swedish headquarters at Carolusburg Castle, Cape Coast was captured by the Danish Guinea Company led by Heindrick Caerlof who himself was formerly the Swedish Africa Company’s Commanding Director.
This resulted in all Swedish establishments including Osu lodge passing into the hands of the Danish Africa Company. Caerlof defected to the Dutch in 1659. The Danish Commander of Carolusburg was tricked into believing that Denmark had been conquered. He therefore sold Carolusburg to the Dutch together with the former Swedish establishments including Osu lodge. The Ga
Paramount Chief, Okaikoi, disgusted with their trickery, asked the Dutch to leave Osu. In 1661, Jost Cramer, Danish governor of Fredericksborg, near Cape Coast, acquired land from Chief Okaikoi
for 3,200 gold florins. The Danes built a stone fort to replace the earthen lodge and named it Christiansborg (Christian’s fortress) after the former King of Denmark, Christian IV who had died in 1648.
Shai Resource Reserve
The Shai Hills Resource Reserve is found in the Greater Accra Region, approximately 50km north-east of the capital of Accra on the main road between Accra and the Volta Region. The reserve, which is 5,140ha (51km) in area, was first gazetted as a forest reserve in 1962 and is presently administered and managed by the Wildlife Division of the Ghana Forestry Commission.
New Coco Beach Resort
Located at Teshie-Nungua, east of Accra, it has a serene atmosphere with excellent accommodation. It is a perfect place for relaxation.
Cocoloco Beach is located at Ada Foah – about an hour east of Accra where the Volta River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The area is a natural paradise and a breeding ground for a variety of sea turtles.
The Volta Estuary is also a sanctuary for an enormous number of birds. Cocoloco has camping and accommodation in a number of bungalows built in a traditional thatch style. To get there, head east from Accra and branch right at the Kasseh-Ada junction. If you are coming by “tro-tro” or commercial bus, get out at the last stop and ask a taxi to take you to the Cocoloco Beach Camp Resort near the village of Totimekope.
Korle Beach Resort
This interesting resort is located on the Accra beach road. A budget hotel on Korle Gonno Beach front is becoming popular for holidaymakers.
Next Door Beach Resort
Next Door, an excellent beach resort-complex is a model resort of international standard worthy of mention. The peace and tranquility reigning in the hearts of lovers and people are ever present at this resort. It is simply a pictorial story you need to know and consume as first hand information about this earthly paradise, which is on the Accra-Teshie road.
Homowo Festival in Accra
Homowo (hooting at hunger) is one of the colourful festivals celebrated by the people of Ga (Accra) Traditional Area. it is characterised by rituals such as the sprinkling of “Kpokpoi” (the festival dish) to the gods and ancestors for spiritual protection,procession of twins through the principal streets, traditional drumming and dancing and general merry-making. A month before the celebration, there is a ban of noise making. A climax of the festival is that from 12 noon to 6:00pm any woman, no matter the status, should accept a hug from a man on the festival street.
Asafotifiam is an annual festival celebrated by the people of Ada. It commemorates the victories of their warriors in battle and those who fell on the battlefield. The historic event is re-enacted. There are also purification ceremonies, a durbar of chiefs and firing of musketry. It is celebrated on the 1st Saturday of August in Ada, 71km east of Accra.
It is an annual festival to facilitate the recovery of the Sakuma Lagoon for burper harvest. Preceding the festival is a five-month temporary ban on fishing and trapping of crabs in the lagoon.
On the day of the celebration of the festival, the cheif priest/priestess of the Sakumo lagoon perform some rituals at the banks of the lagoon before the general public is permitted into it.
The climax is a grand-durber of the chiefs and people and general merry-making amidst free-for-all hugging. It is celebrated in the period of March/April by Tema Manucipality
Celebrated in October by the people of Dodowa, this is the annual traditional harvest and thanksgiving festival of the Shai and Krobos in the towns of Odumase and Somanya.
Independence Day – 6th March
The largest national spectacle and display of colour takes place in Black Star Square on Independence Day. Each government service is represented in full ceremonial dress: the army, navy, air force, police, firemen, special presidential forces and a selection of schools and colleges parade in front of the president and invited world leaders as well as 30,000 spectators. This is accompanied by music provided by the military mass band, cultural dancers and school children from the region paying homage to the president and invited.
Shai Resource Reserve
The reserve consists of a very striking and attractive range of rocky hills set in the middle of expansive open and wooded grassland plain. The rocks are visible in many places as impressible and sleep cliffs and large and attractive rocky outcrops. The reserve is fenced to prevent animals from straying out. It consists of a prominent isolated hill ridge of hornblende gneiss surrounded by an area of Accra Plain savannah. There are beautiful scenic views across the Accra Plain from the top.
Shai Hills Resource Reserve is situated in Doryumu in the Dangme West district with Dodowa as the district capital. The Reserve is about 17 km from Accra, the regional capital.
Size: It has an area of 52km2. There are five hills and the highest is 290m. In total, the hills take up 20% of the reserve.
Vegetation: The vegetation is a coastal savannah with dry forest occurring on the slopes.
Key fauna: Kobs, Baboons and Guinea fowls, Francolins, Grey hornbill which are just a few of the 150 birds recorded in the reserve. There are grey duiker, bushbuck, civet, genet, vervet monkey and spot-noised monkey.
Other Features: Ancestral caves (ancestral people of the area hid in during wars in the olden days), Ancestral revered shrine of Dangme Shai people, dams
Tourist Sites: Aburi botanical gardens, Wli waterfalls, Akosombo dam (the power house of Ghana), Christiansborg Castle (Accra), Accra Zoo, National Theatre, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Du Dois Memorial center, Independence Square
Communities: Doryumu, Kordiabe, Agomenda all noted for their Dipo rites. This is a ritual performed for adolescent girls from these communities to initiate from childhood to womanhood.
Festival: Payami Festival celebrated in March
Asafotufiame is an annual festival celebrated by the people of the Ada
Ngmayem celebrated in October by the people of Dodowa
Tourist Activities: Game viewing, Bird-watching, Hiking/ Nature walk
Access: By road is from Accra through the Tema Motorway towards Akosombo, from Madina through Adenta to Dodowa to Ayikuma junction and move straight to Doryumu.
Time for Visit: Throughout the year but gets difficult in the raining season.
Accommodation: Shai Hills Resorts (Shai Hills), Marina Hotel (Dodowa)
Safety Tips: A pair of trousers, t-shirt with a pair of boots is recommended
Don’t lither the reserve
Obey instructions from the guides
Avoid wearing slip ons and sandals
Minimise noise-making as much as possible
Health Facility: Doryumu Clinic (2.5km), Army Clinic (0.5 km),
Dodowa Clinic (16km),
Coastal Ramsar Sites – Densu Delta
This Ramsar site lies just West of Accra. The Densu River which feeds the wetland is about 116 km long, and it has an area of about 2,460 km2. The construction of the Weija dam in 1978, just 8 km inland from the Atlantic sea, reduced the effective catchment area of the Densu Delta Wetland to about 60.5 km south of the dam. The eastern and northern sides of the Wetland are heavily populated. e.g. Dansoman, Kwashieman, Mallam,and Mendskrom. There are about 20 farming and fishing communities/settlements within the Ramsar site. On the average fishermen earned 524,400.00 per person in 1993. In 1994 the average daily fish catch was about 650 kg. The Densu Delta can sustain an annual fish yield of 270 tonnes, generating between 80 104 million cedis annually. This makes the lagoon an important source of livelihood for the people who depend on it. Also, it supports a salt industry which makes millions, of dollars in foreign exchange a year. The-Weija dam which supplies water to half the population of Accra receives its water from the Densu.
Sakumo Ramsar Site
Sakumo lies between Accra and the Tema Township where urban development is within a few hundred meters of the eastern margin of the lagoon. The effective catchment area of Sakumo Ramsar Site is approximately 27,634ha but the water bodies including the lagoon, reservoirs and area liable to flood is 812ha. Economic activities along the lagoon are fishing, farming, industrial development and recreation. It is estimated that fishermen make about 2.2 to 4.8 million cedis annually as income. The fish yield is estimated to be about 114 tonnes with a maximum potential of 120 tonnes annually. The lagoon sustains about 20 – 150 fishermen every day. Studies done in the area since the early 1970s show the potential for fish aquaculture, but there has been no attempt to pursue this enterprise
Songor Ramsar Site
This includes the west bank of the lower Volta River estuary and the Songor lagoon. The lagoon is a shallow dosed one with a surface area of bout 115 km2. The villages within the Ramsar site are involved in coastal fishing and fish smoking for sale to other domestic markets. The lagoon is also the site of an artisanal salt industry dating back to over a century. There were about 8000 people involved in the salt trade in 1991, and the industry continues to expand. The lagoon is also convenient for tourism. Expatriates and Ghanaians go there for speed boating, recreational fishing and bird watching during week-ends and public holidays. About 200ha of the Songor lagoon is also suitable for shrimps pond development.
Source: Touring Ghana
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