Oct 11, 2018

My love affair with Ghana

I am often asked, “Besides Ghana, what’s your favorite country in Africa?” Each and every time my response is, “Ghana!” 🙂  My love affair with Ghana is real.  It all began in the summer of 2014 after I reached out to a random stranger whom I saw on a CNN program. (You now know that’s my thing!) After securing an internship, I booked a one-way flight to Accra to allow flexibility of traveling around the region. I dashed through Hong Kong Airport only to be interrogated once I arrived at the airlines counter for check-in. “You cannot have a one-way flight to Ghana” they said. “Where is your return ticket?” “You need to purchase or show means of purchasing a return ticket.” I removed my credit cards from my wallet and placed them on the counter before replying, “I am not going to stay there forever.” What I did not know then was that a few months later, I would be a flight risk.  I seriously flirted with the idea of staying past my visa expiration date and becoming an illegal Ghanaian resident. 🙂 My only deterrent was that I had one more semester of business school before graduation.

Accra was my introduction to West Africa but I promise that this is not the reason for my bias. I just love that place like cooked food. My first summer there was epic.  Ghana was playing in the world cup and the energy was insane. I had taxi drivers saying, “Madame I cannot take you there, de match ‘bout to start.” 🙂 I quickly realized that I would need to move around the city before or after soccer matches. Drivers were ending trips mid route to cheer Ghana on. Did I already mention that the energy was insane? – I mean, that’s when I officially became a Ghanaian! haha

At the end of that summer, I realized that I didn’t do much site seeing but made lots of new friends. At that time, my only journey outside of Accra was to Cape Coast but I knew I would soon return.  Eight months later I was back in Ghana for a few months. By this point my tailor had relocated so, I traded Makola Market for Kaneshie Market when I realized that the cost of local fabric there was the same if not better than at Makola. My shopping experience was also less overwhelming so now I only visit my aunties on the top floor of Kaneshie Market when fabric shopping.  You must experience Makola market at least once but if you are in the vicinity, check out Kaneshie Market as well to decide what suits you best.

I am an island girl who grew up eating plantain (pronounced; plantin not plantaaaain 🙂 ) so I felt at home immediately.  In Ghana I chose to have plantains for breakfast lunch and dinner – kelewele, fried plantains, roasted plantains, plantain chips. I had plantains paired with things I had never thought of before.  Ghana Jollof (*insert cough) reminded me of Caribbean pelau so I was constantly on Jollof overload.  Once I discovered their light soup with Tilapia and grilled Tilapia, those dishes were on rotation every day. Not that there weren’t other delicious dishes to choose from but I like what I like. 🙂  I would queue at roadside restaurants for grilled tilapia and made sure I had enough to take home for breakfast. Tea Baa in Osu is one of my favorite places to hang out while I am in town. Lunch there would often turn into dinner and a night out.  It’s not just the food and local tea infused cocktails that kept me there for an extended period of time – the music, the vibes, and the energy of the owner makes you feel like family. (Are you going to trust me – or trust me?)

I discovered White Sands Beach during one of my stints in Ghana so going there is always on my itinerary each time I‘m in town. If you are not a guest at the hotel, you can pay a reasonable fee for a day pass to access their panoramic swimming pool and enjoy the beach. There is also a seaside restaurant with plenty of yummy seafood options. If you have not made it to Africa, Ghana is a great place to start. The people are kind and there is so much to do and see. I frequently visit Ghana and this was my hub for my West Africa tour so more on Ghana to come….

  1. Your writing is as beautiful as you are, Audra. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading it. Ghana loves you right back…*M

  2. I was very happy to find this website. I want to to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely loved every part of it and i also have you book-marked to check out new stuff on your site.

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