Calling Accra vibrant is an understatement. The capital of Ghana is a heaving affair where life is lived on the streets with markets, food stalls, pumping music and hooting traffic.
Its architecture dates from colonial times, with 17th century castles overlooked by modern skyscrapers. There are endless shanty towns, classy hotels, a smattering of places to view good art, and lots of places to indulge in the local food. Most foreigners travelling to Accra are there for its booming businesses, and you certainly won’t be short of entertainment after the work is done.
English is the official language, but not the first language for many people. The local language in Accra is Ga. The temperature is permanently hot, with June to September promising the best chance of cooler weather, but a higher risk of rain.
TimeGhana is in line with GMT and does not have Daylight Saving Time.
CurrencyThe Cedi is the currency in Ghana and its symbol is GH¢. There are forex bureaus throughout the city, and most big hotels also change money. Stockpile your smaller notes for taxis because the drivers often don’t have change. Hotels and upmarket shops accept credit cards. ATMs are available across the city, so you can withdraw cash as you go.
WeatherAccra has high temperatures year-round, with a minimum of about 23°C. June to September are the cooler months when the main rains arrive. May and June are wet and December to February is the dry season.
ElectricityElectrical sockets can be either the three-square-pinned UK style or the three-round-pin type, with a standard voltage of 230V.
CommunicationsThe city is well covered by the mobile networks. Internet connectivity has improved greatly in recent years, and there are plenty of internet cafes and a few wifi hotspots. BLU Telecommunications has installed free wifi at the Accra Mall.
Public TransportAccra has extensive bus and taxi services, but stick with the taxis. Agree on the fare first because they are unmetered. Most drivers will inflate the fee hugely for foreigners, so haggle before you jump in.
Airport to City Center
Kotoka International Airport is 10km from the city centre and the journey can take 25 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic. There’s an official taxi stand where the fares are controlled. If you go with a random taxi tout you’re likely to be taken for a ride. Several car hire companies have booths there.
The airport is undergoing an upgrade to relieve the congestion and long queues that plague the arrival hall. By the end of 2015 there should be four, not just two, baggage carousels and 26 immigration booths instead of 12. The air conditioning will also be overhauled.