Must see attractions in Ghana

  • Top ChoiceSights in Cape Coast

    Cape Coast Castle

    Cape Coast’s imposing, whitewashed castle commands the heart of town, overlooking the sea. Once one of the world's most important slave-holding sites, it provides horrifying insight into the workings of the trade. Staff conduct hour-long tours, during which you’ll visit the dark, damp dungeons, where slaves waited for two to 12 weeks, while contemplating rumours that only hinted at their fate. A visit to the dungeons contrasts sharply with the governor’s bedroom, blessed with floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic ocean views.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kumasi

    Kejetia Market

    From afar, the Kejetia Market looks like an alien mothership landed in the centre of Kumasi. Closer up, the rusting tin roofs of this huge market (often cited as the largest in West Africa; there are 11,000 stalls and at least four times as many people working here) look like a circular shanty town. Inside, the throbbing Kejetia is quite disorienting but utterly captivating.

  • Sights in Accra

    Jamestown

    Jamestown originated as a community that emerged around the 17th-century British James Fort, merging with Accra as the city grew. These days, Jamestown is one the poorer neighbourhoods of Accra – full of beautifully dishevelled colonial buildings, clapboard houses and corrugated iron shacks – but it remains vibrant. For a great view of the city and the busy and colourful fishing harbour (haze and pollution permitting), climb to the top of the whitewashed lighthouse.

  • Sights in Elmina

    St George's Castle

    St George’s Castle, a Unesco heritage site, was built as a trading post by the Portuguese in 1482, and captured by the Dutch in 1637. It was expanded when slaves replaced gold as the major object of commerce, with storerooms converted into dungeons. The informative tour (included in the entry fee) takes you to the grim dungeons, punishment cells, Door of No Return and the turret room where the British imprisoned the Ashanti king, Prempeh I, for four years.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ghana

    Mole National Park

    It's not everywhere you can get up close and personal with bus-sized elephants. Face-to-face encounters with these beasts, plus roving gangs of baboons, warthogs, water bucks and antelopes – 90 species of mammals in total – are possibilities at this national park, Ghana's largest at 4660 sq km and best as far as wildlife viewing goes. The park consists for the most part of flat savanna, with gallery forests along the rivers and streams. Walking and jeep safaris take place daily.

  • Sights in Accra

    Makola Market

    There is no front door or welcoming sign to the Makola Market. Before you know it, you've been sucked in by the human undertow from the usual pavements clogged with vendors hawking food, secondhand clothes and shoes to the market itself. For new arrivals to Africa, it can be an intense experience, but it’s a fun – if, perhaps, a little masochistic – Ghanaian initiation rite.

  • Sights in Accra

    ANO Centre for Cultural Research

    This arts institution, which takes its name from the word 'grandmother' in Akan, was founded by Ghanaian art historian, writer and filmmaker Nana Oforiatta-Ayim and has just opened a well-curated permanent space for exhibitions and screenings, including a workshop and library. Time your visit for one of the weekly events that focus on a deeper look into the current exhibition.

  • Sights in Accra

    The Studio

    Ghanaian photographer Francis Kokoroko and his friends regularly host cultural events and art talks at this tiny, unbranded studio on the top floor of the Forico Mall in Osu. A young, stylish and interested crowd shows up when documentaries or discussions are hosted about such things as the rise of Hip Life music or how Ghanaian film posters developed their very own style.

  • Sights in Kumasi

    Prempeh II Jubilee Museum

    This museum may be small but the personalised tour included with admission is a fascinating introduction to Ashanti culture and history. Among the displays are artefacts relating to the Ashanti king Prempeh II, including the king's war attire, ceremonial clothing, jewellery, protective amulets, personal equipment for bathing and dining, furniture, royal insignia and some fine brass weights for weighing gold. Constructed to resemble an Ashanti chief's house, it has a courtyard in front and walls adorned with traditional carved symbols.

  • Sights in Ghana

    Kakum National Park

    Tucked away in this small pocket of rainforest are endangered forest elephants, colobus monkeys, 300 species of bird and a staggering 600 species of butterfly. However, the main attraction is the canopy walkway suspended 30m (98ft) above the forest floor. It makes for great viewing (or trouser wetting, depending on your point of view).

  • Sights in Accra

    Independence Square

    Independence Sq, also known as Black Star Sq, is a vast, empty expanse of concrete overlooked by spectator stands of Stalinesque grace. The square is dominated by an enormous McDonald's-like arch, beneath which the Eternal Flame of African Liberation, lit by Kwame Nkrumah, still flickers. It stands empty for most of the year, except for special commemorations. Super churches sometimes get the authorisation to preach here. Across the street stands Independence Arch.

  • Sights in Accra

    Kwame Nkrumah Park and Mausoleum

    This tranquil park is full of bronze statues, fountains and wandering peacocks, with the mausoleum of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first leader, at its heart. It's a pleasant enough place to wander around, but the park museum is rather dishevelled. It houses a curious collection of Nkrumah's personal belongings, including the smock he wore while declaring Ghana's independence, as well as copies of personal correspondence and numerous photos of him and various world leaders.

  • Sights in Accra

    Goethe-Institut

    Goethe-Institut, the cultural arm of the German government in Ghana, is also a popular events venue in Accra. If you’re in town on the first Saturday in the month, don’t miss the market where you can find everything from fresh pasta and organic vegetables to paintings and handicrafts. There is also a small biergarten-style restaurant selling German beer, bratwurst and sauerkraut. Check the programme to see what concerts or movies are on.

  • Sights in Accra

    Labadi Beach

    Come the weekend people flock to Accra's most popular beach to play ball games, frolic in the surf, go horse riding along the sand or party to loud dance music in the bars and restaurants that line the shore. Needless to say, if you're looking for a quieter experience, come on a weekday. Labadi is about 8km east of Accra; to come here, take a tro-tro (minibus) at Nkrumah Circle in Central Accra or along the Ring Rd.

  • Sights in Accra

    Legon Botanical Gardens

    This nature park close to the University of Ghana is the perfect spot to take a break from Accra’s relentless pace, and one of only a few green spots in town. Since a recent makeover, thrills for the whole family are possible: a canopy walkway (C20), a high rope obstacle course (C30), and more traditional activities such as bird watching and biking.

  • Sights in Accra

    Flagstaff House

    This dramatic structure was completed in 2008 amid huge controversy around the tens of millions of dollars it cost to construct. Built to resemble an Asante Golden Stool, it is the office and residence of the President of Ghana.

  • Sights in Ghana

    Wechiau Hippo Sanctuary

    This much-hyped hippo sanctuary on the Black Volta River was initiated by local village chiefs in 1999. Hippos can usually be seen from November to March; once the rainy season (April to October) is underway, however, hippos disappear and the site becomes very hard to reach. Activities (C15 per person per hour) include river safaris, bird-watching, village tours and nature walks. Unless you have your own vehicle, you'll need to overnight at the sanctuary.

  • Sights in Accra

    Jamestown Lighthouse

    For a great view of the city and the busy and colourful fishing harbour (haze and pollution permitting), climb to the top of the old lighthouse near James Fort.

  • Sights in Kumasi

    Manhyia Palace Museum

    Manhyia Palace was built by the British in 1925 to receive Prempeh I when he returned from a quarter of a century of exile in the Seychelles to resume residence in Kumasi. It was used by the Ashanti kings until 1974; the current Asantehene now lives in a modern compound behind the museum. All visits start with a 10-minute video telling the story of Asante people, followed by a tour of the palace.

  • Sights in Accra

    Bojo Beach

    Bojo Beach is so clean and chilled out that you'd never guess it was such a short drive west of Accra city. On arrival there's a small entrance fee to pay, and you'll then be rowed across a clear strip of water to a pristine strip of beach, where there are sun loungers and refreshments. It's a worthy alternative to hectic Labadi Beach.