Seaside Accra is a melting pot of sophistication and poverty, hustle and relaxation, not to mention numerous ethnicities. Accra locals are always on the go and the markets are inevitably busy and boisterous, but Accra still manages to maintain a down-to-earth, chilled atmosphere. Along the coast, indigenous communities continue to fish in the same style as their ancestors, while in the heart of the city, young Ghanaians peruse art galleries or enjoy delicious seafood. Whether it’s with historical monuments or pristine, laid-back beaches, Accra is a cosmopolitan capital that is sure to charm you! We’ve been charmed, too, and that’s why we can bring you some magically affordable flights from Lagos to Accra!
Accra is the capital of Ghana, as it has been for the last 141 years. It’s birthed independence struggles, world-class boxers and pan-Africanism, all in the last hundred years. To use a popular Ghanaian phrase, Accra is “no man’s land”. It’s home to a multiplicity of ethnicities who have avoided the conflicts experienced by other diverse countries in the region like Nigeria.
Ghanaians are warm, welcoming people who take communal life seriously. They will comment on anything they feel like and happily share everything from a TV programme (it’s common to take your TV onto the street) to food.
Although Accra has a glorious history of independence and a vibrant contemporary scene, the majority of citizens remain poor and hustling is common.
English is Ghana’s official language and most people are able to speak it. However, Twi is the most spoken language in Accra, followed by Ga.
Flights to Accra
There may be two countries between Nigeria and Ghana but Lagos and Accra are just a one hour journey apart.
Best time to fly to Accra
Accra is generally hot all year round but there are still peak and off-peak seasons. Peak season is in September, May and July, while low season falls around November. Low season is your best bet for the most affordable prices.
Kotoka International Airport (ACC) is the gateway to Accra and Ghana at large. Although there are a few security issues you need to be aware of (read more under Health and safety), Kotoka Airport is a sophisticated, comfortable airport that is only getting better.
There are plush business lounges, a variety of cuisine, duty-free shops and other facilities.
It’s a twenty-minute drive from the city centre. The best option is to take one of the airport taxis which run on metres. There are also unmetered taxis available.
Airlines flying to Accra
You can have your pick of Africa’s premier airlines on this route: Air Peace, Air Burkina and Arik Air are just a few of the carriers available.
Visas and Customs
Ghana’s pan-African spirit shows in its visa policy. Nigerians do not require visas to visit Ghana, if their stay is under 90 days. Visitors from other ECOWAS member states (most of West Africa) are also exempt from visas, as well as a few other African countries like South Africa. All African Union member citizens (except Moroccans) can obtain visas on arrival. However, it is always essential that you bring your passport (and that it is valid for a further three months!).
All other nationalities, except a handful of partner states, must apply for a visa before arrival.
Your baggage allowance will be determined by the airline. Once you have made your booking, we will let you know. However, most airlines adhere to the standard baggage policy of three bags. One bag that weighs between 30 and 45kg can be checked into the hold, while another, a smaller 7kg bag, can be taken into the cabin, as well as a small handbag.
As a booming city, Accra has tons of tourist attractions on offer. The best ones celebrate the country’s independence and offer glimpses into an up-and-coming arts scene.
In the 1600s the British built a fort along the coast and the area of Jamestown sprung up around it. It’s a quaint, colourful place that’s home to indigenous fishing communities.
The lighthouse is one of the main attractions of the area, as well as its food scene.
Independence Square is a vast memorial to Ghana’s journey to Independence which was achieved in 1957. It hosts the annual Independence Day parade, when the stands accommodate over 30 000 patriotic Ghanaians. Most of the year, though, it’s lonely and atmospheric.
At the centre is the Independence Monument, a towering plinth for a depiction of a brass soldier, representing the Ghanaians who lost their lives in the struggle for Independence. At the bass of the monument is the Eternal Flame of African Liberation which was lit by Kwame Nkrumah, the country’s first prime minister after independence.
The Independence Arch is another landmark on the square. It’s sometimes called Black Star Arch due to the black star that adorns it, symbolising freedom. Photographs are not allowed.
Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum
Kwame Nkrumah’s name is almost synonymous with independence and pan-Africanism, ideals which he fought to make a reality. He initiated large-scale education initiatives and helped to found the African Union. Although he was overthrown in a foreign-sponsored coup, Nkrumah is still loved in Ghana and Africa.
The Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum is a tribute to this great Ghanaian. It’s a tranquil oasis in a bustling city and, at its heart, is home to Nkrumah’s mausoleum.
There’s also a museum which houses important artefacts, such as the clothes which Nkrumah wore when declaring Ghana’s independence.
Noisy and never-ending, Makola Market is where all the action is at. It’s divided into different departments; one of the highlights is Kantamanto, the clothing market. Created almost a hundred years ago and open from dawn till dusk, this is one amazing, unstoppable market.
Arts and culture centres
Accra becomes more vibrant and sophisticated every year and this is nowhere more evident than in the burgeoning arts and culture scene.
ANO Centre for Cultural Research
A busy hub of screenings and exhibitions, this centre is sure to have something interesting on offer whenever you visit. It’s also home to workshops and weekly events. Most tourists rave about ANO and we can pretty much guarantee that you will, too!
Another artistic gem, The Studio is a stylish, laid-back venue for screenings, talks and even festivals.
Accra’s got a rustically beautiful shoreline, but it’s not ideal for swimming as the water is often polluted. However, if you head a little bit out of the city, you’re in for a real treat!
Labadi is the favourite beach in Accra. On the weekend, the sandy shores are transformed into a hive of activity, with everything from horse-riding to dance parties happening!
Bojo Beach is a much quieter and more quaint experience than Labadi. It’s just outside of the city and there’s an entrance fee but it’s well worth it. Bojo is immaculately clean and tranquil. To access the beach, you are rowed across a bit of water to the beach where there are beach chairs and refreshments available. Delightful ‒ do we need to say more? Go, go, go!
Health and safety
In terms of health, there are a few things you need to consider as you prepare to visit Ghana. All visitors to Ghana must have a yellow fever certificate. It’s also advisable to take vaccinations against Hepatitis A and Tetanus.
It is essential to take precautions against malaria which is a widespread risk in Ghana at all times of the year. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants at night, and sleep under a mosquito net, if possible. There aren’t any vaccinations against malaria but you can buy antimalarial pills in advance.
Bilharzia is also a risk in Ghana’s fresh water sources. This shouldn’t be a problem, though, since Accra has plenty of salty beaches should you fancy a quick dip!
Otherwise, just make sure that your usual vaccinations are up-to-date and consider having booster vaccinations.
Ghana’s generally a stable and safe country, politically, but petty crimes are common: theft, mugging, pickpocketing, etc. Stay alert and keep your valuables in sight at all times. Be particularly cautious at the beaches.
There have been more violent crimes in Accra but tourists are more likely to encounter fraud, particularly at the airport. Criminals pose as airport officials, police officers or drivers and demand money from new arrivals. To avoid such scams, remember that airport officials should always be identifiable by a name tag with a photograph and always confirm your driver’s identity.
Should you attend football matches, remember that photographing the stadium is not allowed.
Cost of living
For a national capital, Accra’s pretty affordable!
- Cheap meal: 1484,65 NGN = 20 GHS
- McMeal at McDonald’s: 1967,17 NGN = 26,50 GHS
- One-way public transport ticket: 22,70 NGN = 3 GHS
- 1 night in a double room, budget hotel: 6276,11 NGN = 84,09 GHS
Getting around Ghana’s capital is an experience that is both annoying and oddly charming. Read on so you know what you’re getting yourself into!
Accra’s a sprawling city and the congestion is so bad that locals will rather leave home at dawn and return at night to avoid sitting in traffic. This makes choosing your accommodation very important!
If you’re asking locals for directions or telling a taxi driver where to go, remember that Accra has few formal addresses. As such, locals use landmarks (anything from trees to shops) to guide visitors ‒ patience is key!
Uber operates in Accra but not quite as efficiently as in other metropolises due to poor GPS and cellular reception.
If you would like to try public transport, there are public buses, as well as shared minibus taxis. Public transport in Accra is something of an experience as well…
Accra adorns visitors with a welcome that is equally vibrant and relaxed. The main attractions tell a tale of a city that has survived ethnic migration, colonialism, independence struggles and unbelievable traffic jams. Accra is an Atlantic tidal wave of art, history and energy that is bound to knock you off your feet and sweep you along its colourful streets! Go with the flow; a cheap flight from Lagos to Accra is waiting for you!