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Ghana Shopping and nightlife

Shopping in Ghana

Almost all commodities, including luxury items, can be found in shops and markets in Accra, where the best place to shop around for imported and Western-style goods is the sprawling Accra Mall north of the airport. Most other large towns are served by a few supermarkets stocking a more limited selection of imported goods.

Artefacts from the Ashanti region include traditionally woven kente cloth, and attractive handmade gold and silver jewellery, wooden stools and brass weights formerly used to measure gold. Northern Ghana is famed for its basketwork, and is also a good place to buy earthenware pots, leatherwork, locally woven shirts and Bolgatanga baskets woven from multicoloured raffia. The southeast, around Accra and Koforidua, is famed for its production of glass and bauxite beads, and it is also a good area to seek out older beads, some dating back to the pre-colonial era.

These and other items can be bought at any of several handicraft markets scattered around Accra. A useful one-stop handicraft shop in the city is the misleadingly named National Culture Centre on John Atta Mills High Street immediately east of the old city centre. Modern art and old African artefacts from neighbouring countries are also available at these and other markets in and around Accra and Kumasi.

Good craft shops in Accra include the AACD African Market and Global Mamas in Osu, while the Artists Alliance Gallery (www.artistsallianz.com) near La Beach stocks a great selection of contemporary Ghanaian art. Trashy Bags (www.trashybags.org) is an eco-friendly social enterprise which recycles plastic waste (a big problem because of the lack of recycling and waste management infrastructure) into funky handbags and other products.

Shopping hours

Variable, but minimum hours are usually Mon-Fri 0900-1730, and most shops also stay open over weekends. Many Muslim-owned shops shut for noon prayers on Friday.

Nightlife in Ghana

In Accra, there are a few nightclubs playing international dance music, but many of these tend to be pick-up joints populated by large numbers of prostitutes, and not really suited to the faint hearted. Among the less seedy options are the Firefly Lounge Bar and Republic Bar & Grill, both in Osu, a suburb renowned for its many bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues. It can be more difficult to chase down live music in Accra, but a reliable venue is the +233 Jazz Club near Sankoma Overpass, which is more geared towards listening to music than to dancing, but hosts good live jazz or highlife most nights. Other live music venues, most active at weekends, include Next Door (on the Tema Road past La Beach), the Jazztone Club near the airport, and the Afrikiko Complex on Liberation Avenue.

Elsewhere, the Alliance Française off Liberation Rd invites renowned musicians from all over West Africa for occasional performances. Concerts can be seen at the National Theatre in Accra, while the School of Performing Arts at the University of Ghana in Legon often hosts drama, poetry and cultural dancing shows.

Formal nightlife options are limited outside of Accra, but most larger towns have a few bars where you can chill out over a few beers and make friends with the locals.