The beautiful mother land of Ghana! Where should I begin?!?! Have you ever experienced that feeling of being overwhelmingly overjoyed? Well, this was my experience as I touched the grounds of Mother Africa – Accra, Ghana!
Immediately upon arrival in Accra (the capital of Ghana), I cried with joy and had thoughts of kissing the ground, but I didn’t, lol. Nevertheless, my emotions were that intense. The warm love and greetings at the airport had a sister feeling like a celebrity – Haha. Everyone was so loving, patient, friendly, welcoming and helpful. All I could say was, Mother Africa, I am HOME. While doing so, I recognised that I needed to check my NYC flow at the door, while allowing myself to slow down, take it easy and embrace all that GHANA had to offer.
I was privileged to stay in one of my sister’s homes in Accra, Ghana. What an honour to be able to stay right in the heart of Accra and live like one of the natives each day. And boy, was I humbled by their serious work ethic, their loving spirits, and generosity. And what really resonated was that no matter their social class, everyone was humble and happy right where they are in life. This led to some serious self-reflection. Being born and raised in the American culture, I was very intentional about trying new things and having new experiences while in Ghana.
I was ready to dive right into the GHANAIAN culture. I developed a list of things I wanted to do before my trip. However, since I spent most of my time traveling to visit relatives, I was only able to visit a few tourists attractions, which was okay. This means more fun and things to do during my next visit to Ghana. To support our travels, I connected with my good sister and friend from college Rita Kusi, who now lives back in Ghana. I also connected with the best tour guides 360Gh Tours, who provided the most amazing experience ever. A few places I was able to visit were: The Elmina Castle (tour of the slave trade), Independent Square and Kwame Nkrumah’s Mausoleum Memorial. I also visited a few shopping centres on Oxford Street Osu, as well as the Art Center. Since I love street fairs and love supporting entrepreneurs, I was also invited to attend the first annual entrepreneurial GhanaNie event, which was so much fun. I’m probably leaving places out that I visited, but wanted to hurry and share this post with you. There are so many interesting sites to see like Labadi Beach, Makola Market, Jamestown Lighthouse, Legon Botanicals Gardens, Kalyn National Park and more. If you are thinking of visiting Ghana and looking forward to a great experience with great tour guides, feel free to contact 360Gh Tours or send me an e-mail. What’s cool about 360Gh Tours is that they can cater your tour to your personal interests. Check them out!
In celebration of my journey to GHANA, this trip would not be complete without a photo shoot. I did it for the culture! 😊 And In celebration of my love for fashion and style, my friend Rita Kusi also connected me with Ghana’s renowned twin photographers known as @swagofafricanews. They were super cool, down to earth, fun to work with and they absolutely love what they do. Check them out! If you are someone who likes to feel relaxed yet cute and comfortable while shopping, the skirt outfit is definitely one way to go. This skirt and top barely get wrinkled after washing and this is exactly what I love. How can you go wrong with outfits that are easy breezy and less maintenance?!?! Outfit number two is a dress called Abapaa, which means: good woman. I’ll take that! Many of the prints have a special meaning, so be sure to ask about it when making your purchase. Now, this outfit is a little dressier and could be worn out on special occasions. For example, a celebratory event, a dinner party, date night etc. I really love off-the-shoulder tops/dresses. What’s cool about both outfits is that they can also be worn all year round. For the skirt outfit, simply put on a blazer or cardigan for cooler months and you are good to go.
Another great highlight was visiting two schools, one pre-school and junior high school. Education has a special place in my heart and this was also another goal I needed to accomplish during my travels. When I first confirmed my trip to Ghana, visiting schools was at the very top of my list. To witness the love the children had for learning was just impeccable and beyond words. Upon arrival to each school, the students immediately stood up and greeted us. They sang songs and were simply delighted to meet us as we were so happy to meet them as well. Unfortunately, I lost some of these pics, in addition to others from the trip. However, the memory and experience is one that will last a lifetime.
Overall, the great conversations, various Ghanaian cuisines, spending time with family and friends, meeting and connecting with new people, allowed me to have the most transformative and powerful experience that will last a lifetime. I am simply grateful and feeling blessed for having this wonderful experience.
Are you thinking about traveling to Ghana?
If you are thinking of visiting Ghana, please note that the temperature is hot and I would recommend wearing light and very comfortable/relaxed clothing. This is also a pricey trip, so planning ahead of time is highly recommended. Here are a few more tips to assist with preparing for your travel. You will need to do the following:
1). Purchase your airline ticket.
2). Get yellow fever vaccination from an international travel clinic. Most primary care physicians do not administer this. You should ask your PCP whether they administer this vaccination before contacting the travel clinic. If your PCP does cover it, that great! This also means that your health insurance may cover it. If not, you will pay out of pocket at the travel clinic. Yellow fever is a MANDATORY vaccination you will need for traveling. Once you receive the vaccination, you will receive a yellow card, that will confirm that you’ve received this vaccination. You will be asked to show this yellow card upon arrival into Ghana. You will also be given a prescription to take malaria pills.
3). Hepatitis A shot is required. You can receive this shot from your PCP – primary care physician.
4). You will need to obtain a VISA, which can be obtained at a Ghanaian embassy. The VISA application will need to be completed online first. Then, you will need to print it and take it to your local embassy.
5). Passport- this is required for travel. Please check your expiration date.
Money/Currency exchange – Ghana money is referred to as Cedis. There are several currency locations and banks where you can exchange your money.
Hotel Accommodations: there are many beautiful hotels around to accommodate your needs and also depending on where you will be residing in Ghana.
Skirt: Old. – But you can find similar at @shopzuvva | Bodysuit: (Zara) – Similar here & here | Flats: Old | Red Tassel Earrings: Purchased Here: PinkyPromiseBoutiques.com
Dress: Purchased in Ghana. | Shoes (Old) – Similar here, here, and here | Earrings: Purchased from a Senegalese street vendor. – Similar here & here | Bracelets: Old, but similar ones can be purchased at street vendors or by @designbyyouessentials
Article by Rebecca Quainoo, a siro360 contributor