Things to see and do in Ghana
Attractions in Ghana
Catch a show at the National Theatre
Watch a concert, play or dance at Ghana's National Theatre in the Victoriaborg district of Accra. A modernist masterpiece built by the Chinese as a gift to the country in 1991, the building is the base of the National Dance Company, National Symphony Orchestra, and National Theatre Players.
Chill out on the banks of the Volta River
The village of Ada Foah, with its picture-perfect location at the Volta's mouth, is the site of supremely chilled beach resorts, and one of the country's two official turtle-viewing sites. Anglers have the chance to catch barracuda and Nile perch. About 60km (37 miles) north, the stretch of river below Akosombo Dam is lined with resorts catering to all budgets.
Climb the battlements at Elmina and Cape Coast
The castles at Elmina and Cape Coast are the most impressive of the 20 plus forts and castles lining Ghana's coast. Both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Elmina was built overlooking Benya Lagoon by the Portuguese, and was long a stronghold for the Dutch, while the British-built Cape Coast castle was once at the heart of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Cross Africa’s first canopy walkway at Kakum National Park
Situated just north of Cape Coast, this important rainforest reserve is home to a variety of monkeys and antelopes, as well as some lovely forest birds. Visitors can view wildlife at tree level from a wobbly but spectacular 333m-long (1,093ft) canopy walkway, the oldest construction of its kind in Africa.
Explore Ghana’s natural wonders
Bird enthusiasts should head to Owabi Forest Reserve and Bird Sanctuary, located close to Kumasi, to track some of the 161 species recorded there. Further to the northeast is the Bomfobiri Wildlife Sanctuary, containing the spectacular Bomfobiri Falls. The salt marshes of the Songow Lagoon are also a must for nature lovers.
Get up close to monkeys at Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary
This tiny community-protected forest is the best place in Ghana for close-up encounters with two handsome monkey species – the Lowe's mona monkey and black-and-white colobus monkey – both of which are held sacred by the local villagers, who go as far as holding funeral rites for the animals when they die.
Haggle for souvenirs at Makola Market
Handicrafts including carvings and traditional textiles are for sale at the slightly dowdy Centre for National Culture. For an altogether more entertaining shopping experience try your hand at haggling at the busy Makola Market, which is attended by traders from Accra's surrounding villages. The Osu Night Market is illuminated by hundreds of lanterns and candles.
Hike to the summit of Mount Adaklu
Located 12km (8 miles) from the town of Ho, Mount Adaklu is one of Ghana's loftiest mountains at 600m (2000 ft) high. The guided hike to the summit not only promises the chance to see colourful local birds and butterflies, but also sees profits returned to communities nearby.
Join in at a tribal festival
Filled with traditional drumming, dancing and feasting, each region has its own annual festivals for the affirmation of tribal values, the remembrance of ancestors and past leaders, and the purification of the state in preparation for another year. One of the most spectacular is the Adae Kese festival celebrated by the Ashanti in and around Kumasi.
Make the most of the capital, Accra
Stroll around Accra's Independence Square, dominated by its Independence Arch, before heading to the gardens around the mausoleum of Ghana's first president Kwame Nkrumah. History buffs can continue on to Osu Castle and Jamestown lighthouse, while art lovers will find a large collection of Ghanaian art in the National Museum.
Marvel at the Wli Falls
Situated close to the Togolese border east of Hohoe, the waterfall at Wli – part of the Agumatsa Wildlife Sanctuary – is reputedly the tallest in West Africa, and certainly among the most spectacular. Visit in the late afternoon and wait for the tens of thousands of bats that nest on the surrounding cliffs to launch themselves skyward.
Paddle out to Nzulezu stilted village
Best visited in the rainy season when water levels are at their highest, this unique stilted village lies in the heart of the bird-rich Amansuri wetlands. It is most easily reached by dugout canoe from the beachfront village of Beyin near the Ivorian border.
Relax on the beach
Between them, the Atlantic coast beaches of Labadi Pleasure beach, Kokrobite beach, Coco Beach Resort, Dixcove, Busua and Ada offer laidback vibes, swaying palms, and spectacular breakers on almost deserted sandy shores. Strong currents can be a problem, so speak to the locals before heading for a swim.
See traditional architecture at Larabanga Mosque
Situated about 3km (2 miles) south of the main entrance to Mole National Park, this picturesque whitewashed mud-brick mosque is built in the peculiar Sahelian style of the region. Reputedly dating from 1421 and one of Ghana's oldest mosques, Larabanga is also known for its mystic stone.
Stalk Ghana’s wildlife at Mole National Park
The largest and one of the best-equipped game reserves in Ghana is home to elephants, various antelope such as roan, bushbuck, waterbuck and kob, and elusive populations of lion and spotted hyena. It is serviced by a decent and quite affordable hotel, and visitors can explore either on foot or in a 4x4.
Take a surreal look at Ghana’s fantasy coffin makers
The carpentry workshops of the world famous Fantasy Coffins can be found in Nungua, about 30 minute drive east of Accra. Among the Ga people it is fashionable to be laid to rest in a coffin that bears a relationship to what the deceased did in life, and visitors can see those coffins being crafted here.
Take in local traditions at Sirigu
Among the best organised and most rewarding of the numerous community tourism programmes, Sirigu is renowned for its curvaceous adobe architecture and brightly painted house exteriors that are typical of culture in Ghana's northern region, as well as the skill of its craft people's basketry and pottery.
Unwind on Busua’s beaches
This backpacker-friendly village on the west coast is arguably the ultimate Ghanaian beach venue, as well as supporting a nascent surfing scene and some great seafood eateries. The stunning beaches run for about 15km (9 miles) west to Cape Three Points, and are lined with several rustic and isolated budget resorts, including the legendary Green Turtle and newer Ezile Bay.
Visit Kumasi’s Ashanti legacy
The ancient Ashanti capital and Ghana's second city hosts several sites of interest, including Manhyia Palace (home to the Ashanti king), the Armed Forces Museum (housed in a 19th century fort) and the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum. Outside the city, a dozen scattered fetish houses, collectively a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site, are all that remains of traditional Ashanti architecture.
Watch your fingers in Paga
Set right on the border with Burkina Faso, Paga is known for its sacred crocodiles, which live in two pools close to the town centre, and are so tame that they allow visitors to touch them. Paga is also the base for visits to the poignant Pikworo Slave Camp and the impressive traditional architecture of the Paga Pia's Palace.
Ghana Tourist Board in the UKAddress: 104 Highgate Hill, London, N6 5HE
Telephone: 0181 342 8686.