(CNN) — Slotted into the underbelly of Africa’s northwestern huddle, Ghana is a rustic that is steadily reinventing itself.
Known for its colourful tradition, wildlife and pure magnificence, the West African nation had certainly one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest-growing economies prior to now few years, because of cocoa and a comparatively current discovery of oil.
The financial upturn helped to inject a brand new lease of life into the humanities and style scene, resulting in a lift in restaurant openings.
While Ghana has little question been impacted by the pandemic, the nation stays as eclectic and alluring as ever.
The nation has lengthy been a mecca for volunteers, and there are various hip and reasonably priced lodging choices accessible, in addition to extra high-end hideaways.
A handful of worldwide lodge manufacturers have opened up right here over the previous few years, however touring right here nonetheless feels genuine.
While it is seemingly be some time earlier than many people are ready to take action on account of present journey restrictions — its borders by land and sea stay closed to passenger journey, there isn’t any hurt in planning forward.
From browsing at abandoned seashores, to hanging out with wild elephants, listed below are a number of the prime issues to do whereas visiting Ghana .
Visit Cape Coast Castle
Now a UNESCO World Heritage web site, Cape Coast Castle was certainly one of round 30 “slave forts” constructed by Dutch, Portuguese and British merchants alongside the nation’s shoreline.
The large white stone constructing affords educated guides who take guests all the way down to the awful dungeons the place slaves have been as soon as shackled, and the Door of no Return, the purpose they’d have been crammed into ships heading for America.
Previous guests embrace the Obamas, who got here right here throughout their first go to to Africa after the previous US President was sworn into workplace. Michelle Obama’s roots have been traced again to slaves taken from this citadel.
There’s additionally a unbelievable vegetarian restaurant named Baobab café that serves scrumptious, wholesome smoothies and juices.
Visitors may also head inland to Kakum National Park and swing throughout the rainforest on its 350-meter-long cover walkway.
Try native, naturally grown meals
Be positive to attempt conventional Ghanian dishes like Banku, made by mixing fermented corn and cassava dough in sizzling water.
Jordi Perdigo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Baobab timber are scattered all around the nation, and so they occur to provide one of many world’s most nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich fruits.
This might be made right into a powder, which is great in smoothies, and is claimed to spice up the immune system in addition to combat fatigue.
Ghana can also be stuffed with Moringa timber, a powerhouse of proteins and nutritional vitamins that aids metabolism. A tea or powder might be constituted of its leaves.
As for prime native dishes, kenkey, constituted of corn, is bought in most native “chop bars” and is unquestionably value a attempt.
Banku, cooked by mixing fermented corn, cassava dough and sizzling water right into a easy paste, can also be highly regarded.
However, red-red, a stew of black eyed peas made with crimson palm oil and served with fried plantain, is especially scrumptious.
Check out the shoreline
“Environmentally aware” resort Ko-Sa Beach, positioned close to fishing village Ampenyi, affords beachfront properties.
Courtesy Ko-Sa Beach Resort
Ghana has a piece of tropical shoreline, over 335 miles (560 kilometers) of it, in reality.
There are loads of unbelievable spots to select from near Accra, however the seashores are way more pristine barely additional afield.
Ko-Sa Beach Resort, a two-hour drive east from Accra, is run by a Dutch couple and fits all budgets, with beachfront, historically constructed buildings with thatched roofs in addition to extra reasonably priced choices.
Children from the neighboring fishing villages come right here to promote peanuts and bananas. But their strategy is mild, solely including to the chilled out vibe.
Surf at Cape Three Points
Despite Ghana changing into one thing of a hotspot for surfers, Cape Three Points is likely one of the few locations the place you will not should share the waves.
The wild, rainforest-backed seashore perched on the southernmost tip of the nation, stretches for nearly two kilometers and is virtually abandoned on account of its far-flung location.
Cape Three Points is a six-hour drive from Accra, with the final 40 minutes of the journey alongside a tough observe that may change into troublesome to navigate in the course of the wet season.
Those who do enterprise out right here can catch some extent break, watch humpback whales migrate or simply sway within the hammocks below almond timber whereas sipping hibiscus juice.
Escape 3 Points Ecolodge owned by Akwasi, a Ghanaian-Canadian with a level in sustainable structure, is predicated on the seashore.
Made up of raffia and bamboo-stilted chalets and a dormitory, the eco lodge is electrical energy free and holds compost bathrooms.
There’s additionally a communal seashore shack with desk soccer that is perfect for entertaining children, in addition to a pure swimming pool at low tide.
Remember to rent a surfboard (Mr. Bright’s Surf School in Kokrobite is an efficient place) earlier than you arrive for those who do not have already got one. Surf classes can be found from native Brett.
Discover native artisans and craftspeople
While it is typically mass-produced, there are various folks weavers across the nation who make kente cloths by hand.
One of Ghana’s nationwide cloths, Kente was as soon as reserved for kings and queens, however it’s now way more widespread.
Traditionally related to the Ashanti folks, the interwoven materials with summary designs is usually mass-produced, however folks weavers might be discovered throughout the nation.
Adinkra, one other conventional material, is adorned with symbols, every signifying a proverb or custom.
Kumasi, the capital metropolis of the Ashanti Region, is one of the best place to purchase conventional cloths.
Artisans are rising within the nation on a regular basis, producing new materials and different arts and crafts.
The designer’s handcrafted baggage have been snapped up by US clothes retailer Anthropologie, which noticed her work on Instagram, and are actually bought worldwide.
Stay at a non-profit lodge or hostel
Guests can keep in thatched “Chief Suites” at non-profit lodge Meet Me There.
Courtesy Meet Me There
Ghana boasts varied nonprofit lodging choices.
The most well-known is lodge Meet Me There, positioned up within the mountainous Volta Region between the villages of Dzita and Dzita-Abledomi, a two-hour drive from Accra.
This relaxed property encompasses a beautiful tropical backyard in addition to stilted consuming space that juts into a phenomenal lagoon.
Guests can swim throughout the lagoon, or paddle within the lodge’s pirogue, to succeed in a seemingly endless wild seashore.
The lodge’s holds double rooms or suites — the latter being little thatched cottages painted with adinkra symbols.
Activities accessible embrace boat journeys to the Volta River, visits to native markets or take drumming classes.
There’s additionally the chance to attend an area cult ceremony, which takes place each Friday and is led by a feminine shaman named Mamishie Rasta.
Locals declare she disappeared into the ocean for a number of years and returned with magic powers from the ocean.
Meet Me There is linked to native charity Dream Big Ghana, which helps a group studying heart, sanitation and well being for the neighboring villages.
Meanwhile in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest metropolis, nonprofit hostel Tumi is targeted on giving underprivileged females the talents to supply for themselves.
Started by a Dutch woman named Milou, its income go in the direction of stitching and hairdressing practice for younger and deprived ladies.
Guests can watch them busily stitching vivid African prints within the workshop subsequent door, earlier than the hostel sells their creations.
Small and intimate, with simply two rooms and an eight-person dormitory, Tumi is adorned with large photos painted by native artists and its curtains and cushions are all made on web site.
There’s additionally an outside terrace with picket crates, the place visitor can eat meals.
Tumi Hostel, Kumasi Asokwa Road; + 233 559 002 062
Hang out in Accra
Accra is a metropolis with none main sights, however it nonetheless has nice attraction.
Several areas have been revamped, particularly Osu and the land surrounding the airport, now as stylish and cosmopolitan because it will get.
As for eating places, the Republic is an Accra staple, identified for its dwell music and akpeteshie-based cocktails, a standard sugar cane alcohol, whereas cocktail bar Coco Lounge would not look misplaced in New York.
Then there’s Jamestown, Accra’s oldest district, jammed with a vibrant fishermen’s shanty city and hordes of colourful boats, all in opposition to the backdrop of a crimson and white lighthouse and former fort.
Although there’s a lot to see, vacationers should not be too bold with their plans (until shifting round on foot) as Accra’s visitors might be difficult — vehicles are sometimes caught in jams for over an hour.
Marvel at wild elephants in Mole National Park
Mole National Park is dwelling to African elephants, kob antelopes, buffaloes, baboons and even warthogs.
Ghana’s largest wildlife refuge, Mole National Park is dwelling to round 93 species of mammals, together with African elephants, Nolan warthogs and noticed hyenas.
One of the park’s greatest promoting factors is how shut it permits guests to get to the wild elephants whereas on foot.
It additionally boasts a phenomenal on web site property, Zaina, West Africa’s first luxurious safari lodge.
Guests right here do not even have to depart to get the safari expertise, because it’s doable to look at elephants whereas swimming within the infinity pool.
The lodge is up on a hill, with views sweeping out over a sea of inexperienced Rosewood and Shea nut timber.
Its rooms are spacious and air conditioned East African type safari tents with thatched roofs, with the bulk straight going through a watering gap.
Go procuring in Bolgatanga
Known because the crafts heart of Upper East Region, Bolgatanga is dwelling to a really massive central market.
Here guests can watch cotton fugu smocks being handmade and browse stalls promoting all the things from turtle shells, to dried snakes and porcupine quills.
There’s additionally a craft market with varied outlets promoting Bolga baskets, that are handwoven from dried elephant grass, then dyed to provide a vibrancy of colours, and may solely be discovered right here.
Sleep on rooftops on the Green House
Positioned 30 minutes drive from Bolgatanga, this excellent eco visitor home in Karimenga is owned by visionary native Ibrahim, who’s enthusiastic about mud structure and selling natural farming.
Green House has simply 5 rooms, all historically constructed from mud and clay, and has no electrical energy.
Its flat roofs, synonymous with native structure, might be reached by climbing earthen stairs, so boarders can sleep there when it turns into too sizzling.
Here visitors are inspired immerse with the encompassing communities, with actions equivalent to visits to Ibrahim’s farm, classes on bee maintaining and cooking Ghanaian dishes with Felicia, the visitor home’s prepare dinner, on supply.
Green House;+ 233 24 933 3184
Visit Larabanga Mosque
At round 600 years outdated, Larabanga is Ghana’s oldest mosque in addition to one of many oldest in West Africa.
Situated near Mole Park within the north, the foundations of this putting black and white adobe constructing are believed to have been divinely constructed.
Built with mud and reeds, it is much like different historic Sudanese-style buildings seen all through West Africa, such because the Great Mosque in Djenné, Mali.
Greet the chief in Tongo
The village of Tongo within the Tengzug Hills is known for it conventional shrines in addition to Whispering Rocks, the place boulders are balanced precariously on prime of one another and the wind makes whistling sounds by way of cracks on the prime.
However, one of the fascinating sights right here is the chief’s palace, a big mud compound that homes round 300 members of his household, together with his greater than 20 wives.
In truth, within the north, it is well mannered to greet the chief of any village when you arrive and clarify your plans earlier than you begin exploring. But vacationers should guarantee they by no means stand or sit taller than a chief.