We visited Accra, Cape Coast, and Kumasi on this trip to Ghana (Can you tell I’m planning future trips already? Hahah!)

Accra has changed so much since the last time I was there. It’s a busy, bustling city with modern streetscapes and cool buildings that tower over updated highways a.k.a. the George Walker Bush Highway.

GeorgeWalkerBushHighwayGhanaDespite the name, I loved zipping up and down the highway from Oyarifa (we could see the mountains of Aburi from our front porch) where we lived into town. Evans got to drive a couple of times too.

Two weeks were just enough time to fit in a dose of adventure everyday with a couple of downtime days.

Our first night set the tone of our visit. We attended a swanky wedding at Ghana’s it hotel: Movenpick. Can I say, this hotel may rival the four seasons? It is seriously top of the line architecturally and interior design-wise for any standard. It was nighttime and these are iPhone pics, so forgive the graininess:

MovenpickHotelGhanaI saw lots of people I recognized, knew and went to school with. It was a fun night! The food was amazing and there were about 400 people there! Evans and I both saw a different side of Ghana that night and began to crawl out of our preconceived notions of what we knew and believed about Ghana. We had never seen the young, hip, urban, swanky side before. We didn’t fathom it existed.

Evans really bonded with the kids at my parent’s school. This happened within the first thirty minutes of us arriving at Manieson Christian Academy; kids just seem to flock to him–like Jesus. He reminded me of a peace corps volunteer.

ManiesonChristianAcadem Ghana School Children

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The day after the wedding was my beautiful friend Nana’s birthday. I met up with her briefly at this raw vegan lounge called Kaya. It is a VERY beautiful serene place that serves raw vegan food like sushi, wraps and pink-tinted raw coconut water and cocktails made with raw ingredients. Delish!
KayaLoungeGhanaThe next day we were off to Cape Coast and Elmina. The scenic coastal drive:

Cape coast GhanaWe stayed at Coconut Grove for the night and we had some nice peaceful time on the beach away from the hubbub of excited family members. Some time to catch our breaths and indulge in an air-conditioned room:

coconut grove ghanaThe historic Dutch Cemetery across the street from my grandmother’s house in Elmina. It’s were the colonial dutch are buried, above it is the Catholic school/convent my great great grandmother Mary, and my great grandmother Janet attended:

Dutch Cemetery, Elmina GhanaApaa Essiffie is our ancestral home:

ElminaDutchCemetaryGhanaGramsdel J is my grandmother’s beach bar in Elmina, on the ocean facing the historic Elmina Castle. “Gramsdel J” is an acronym for each of my grandmother’s eight children and her mother and grandmother. I have fond memories of this place and I was happy to see it again:

elmina Ghana
elmina GhanaBack in Accra, we went up the mountain we woke up to each beautiful, warm, morning and visited Aburi Gardens. It was my first time. The kids LOVED this place, it was cool and shady–Olivia broke free of my arms and ran through the park looking at amazing trees, plants and flowers. Looking at nature like this one has to believe in God.

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AburiGardensGhana

AburiGardensGhana2I visited the infamous Christie Brown studio in Accra. It’s a small studio and I was the only one there that afternoon so I got to try on everything in the front and back of the house!

christie brown ghana designer

Ghanaian designersThen I went to SunTrade. An accessories shop owned by a Hungarian lady who is an African bead connoisseur. She is exhibiting at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art as we speak. She was leaving for D.C. the same day I was returning. I got to meet her and she was so excited to learn that I interned there. Her work is simply amazing! I had to leave the store in a hurry to avoid buying everything!

GhanaTheGood74I also visited Omanye House that day. A three level art gallery that housed sculptures, and beautiful fine art. I wasn’t supposed to take pictures but it was so amazing that I had to sneak one in:

GhanaTheGood76 Omanye House Ghana

The view from inside the building:GhanaTheGood77Lastly the night scene in Accra is happening. We visited many places in Osu, and others but most notably there is an afropolitan event that happens often hosted by young, urban, hip returnees. This one was at a swanky boutique hotel called Villa Monticello. The vibe was buzzing with natural hair, glowing skin and live music by a sister who could SANG. She crooned Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley and a couple of her own songs along an acoustic guitar:

afropolitanlifevillamonticelloGhana

We went to a posh hookah bar called Sheesha Lounge. I couldn’t tell if I was in Miami or Ghana.SheeshaLoungeGhanaRepublic was my favorite though. Right next to my favorite banku joint, Dunkins. Republic serves cocktails with crazy local ingredients like grain alcohol (akpeteshie)–the hard stuff–like moonshine–that puts hardened farmers on their backs. But Republic did it right with amazing mixes and an afropop vibe to match!

Republic Lounge GhanaWe had a blast together. In between each destination are stories just waiting to be told. I’m afraid I’ll be talking about Ghana for a while on the blog. But I’m sure that’s what you want to read about anyway…if not, let me know in the comments.

That’s it for now, look out for part 2; the people we met.

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