Updated: May 29
Calling all Americans and people around the globe. Have you been to Africa? If so, where have you visited? Morocco? South Africa? Yes, these are great places to visit but not the only places in Africa. If you haven’t visited Africa, why not? If you’re like me, places outside of Egypt, Marrakech and Cape Town aren’t on the travel radar because they simply aren’t discussed as vacation options, and frankly, I have often been told, “Africa is dangerous!”
After deciding to embark on an around the world trip, I researched locations in Africa to visit. Did you know that Africa has over 50 different countries and is currently the continent that has the most countries? That meant lots of options for me to choose from. As I was planning my trip, I made a commitment to only visit countries that I had never visited. I visited Morocco and Egypt many years back so for my upcoming visit to Africa, I selected Ghana as one destination. Continue reading as I give you some insight on why you should visit Ghana and what you should do and experience during your trip.
Things to see and do
Kakum National Park
Do you love the great outdoors and a challenge? Then I suggest you visit Kakum National Park during your visit to Ghana. Depending on traffic conditions, a visit to Kakum National Park from Accra will take about 3.5-4 hours. Don’t let that deter you though. Fun and adventure are just around the corner in this wonderful, lush rainforest rich with wildlife. Arrive early to go on a nature hike or if you are seeking adventure, Kakum offers some additional options to quench your thrill seeking thirst. Ready to conquer your fear of heights, try the canopy walk. In pictures, the canopy walk looks awesome against the lush, green tree canopy backdrop, but once you step on the suspension bridges that are 100 feet off the ground, you might get a little weak in the knees. I know I did, but the feeling I felt to complete the walk across the narrow, wobbly bridges was amazing! Move over Laura Croft and Indiana Jones! If you want to take the adventure to another level, inquire about the availability of the treehouses onsite so you can spend a night in the park.
Cape Coast Castle
If you want to visit a place rich in history, you absolutely must visit Cape Coast Castle! A visit to Cape Coast Castle and other nearby castles should be on EVERY American’s travel bucket list to learn about the atrocities performed against Africans centuries ago that created the foundation for America to become the great nation that it is today. When you are standing in the cramped, dark, unlivable dungeons where captured Africans were held against their wills for weeks and months prior to being packed into ships to make the long journey to America never to return to their homeland, you can’t help but feel the pain and question how any human being could treat another human being so inhumanly. For people of color who are descendants of Africans who were captured, tortured and put into slavery, you will better know and understand the true strength of the roots that make up your DNA. For those with no direct African lineage, you will learn a tremendous amount about how the African Slave Trade influenced the history and the development of the Americas and be able to better understand the origins of Americans with African ancestry.
Shai Hills Resource Reserve
Ready for a bit of hiking that has mild elevation changes that get your heart pumping and take you to heights that offer spectacular views of the expansive protected nature reserve? Shai Hills Resource Reserve is the place for you to get some fresh air and a fresh, new perspective! I am not an avid hiker so I opted for a 2-hour tour, but the park offers treks to different areas of the reserve that last 6 hours or more, and they offer rock climbing. My visit to the reserve was relaxing, informative, and gave me an opportunity to get in some exercise. Portions of the hike included some mildly steep inclines over smooth rock which required a romp to aid in the ascent. After reaching the highest point on the route I chose, the guide reviewed the history of the area and answered my questions. After the history introduction, I took some time to enjoy the beautiful views, cooling breeze and amazing photo ops.
For your taste buds
Ghana has many tasty foods to try so don’t be shy about trying new things. The flavor profiles are great, and if you like spicy food, you will be in taste bud heaven. Here are just a few menu items you have to try.
Groundnut soup with fufu
Light Soup with goat and fufu
Goat Kebob with Suya sauce
Garden egg stew with Tilapia (Kobi) and a side of yams
Grilled fresh Tilapia and Kelewele
These are just a few suggestions of things to experience during your trip to Ghana. Make sure you include these on your itinerary along with other activities available in different regions of the country. Ghana is rich in natural resources, natural beauty, and culture so expect to have a great time. If you have never been to Ghana or Africa before, expect that some things will be different from your everyday way of life, however do not let that deter you from visiting. During my trip, I experienced and saw things that were in opposition to my “normal,” but I never once felt unsafe or afraid.
You should proceed with awareness of your surroundings when you go to any new place, but in Ghana I was welcomed at every turn so much so that “Akwaaba” is now a staple in my foreign language dictionary. Akwaaba! Welcome to Ghana!