Ghana is a vast country, with sights dotted in all corners that you'll want to explore. The important thing to remember is that in reality, it's unlikely that you'll be able to fit them all in. In a typical two-week holiday, you can probably look to explore two regions (discounting Accra, assuming you just spend a night or two there in transit). The most popular region with travellers is probably the west coast, which contains an excellent choice of beach resorts, historical sites and interesting urban centres, as well as offering access to some fine forest reserves. For a combination of traditional cultural sites and good general wildlife viewing, Central Ghana stands out. Here is one potential itinerary:
Days 1–3 – Exploring Accra
Makola Market is just one of the places to explore in Accra’s historic old quarter © benggriff, Wikimedia Commons
Readily explored by foot over a day, the historic old quarter of Accra is studded with interesting landmarks, ranging from the venerable fort and lighthouse overlooking Jamestown beach to the moving Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and wonderfully chaotic Makola Market.
Black Star Arch on Independence Square is not what you'd expect of an African memorial, with its Soviet-esque angular style © Africa Image Library
The main thoroughfare through trendy Osu, referred to as Oxford Street for all the obvious reasons, is flanked by boutique shops, craft stalls and the country’s biggest concentration of eateries, bars and nightspots.
La Beach is your best bet for swimming while in Accra © Ariadne Van Zandbergen
La Beach is Accra’s best swimming beach and a great chill-out spot at any time of day, but Thursday night is party time.
If you want to go a bit further afield, Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site is just under 2 hours west of the capital. It's a reserve listed both as a Ramsar Wetland and an Important Bird Area. Guided birdwatching excursions can be arranged and it is also the only official turtle-tracking site along the coast west of Accra.
Days 4, 5 and 6 – Cape Coast and Elmina
Now a UNESCO site, Cape Coast’s castle was once one of the largest slave-holding sites in the world © Ariadne Van Zandbergen
Some 150km west of Accra, Cape Coast was the first capital of the Gold Coast colony and is dominated by the hulking Cape Coast Castle, nerve centre of the 18th-century transatlantic slave trade. Cape Coast is a fascinating town to explore and is steeped in history.
St George’s Castle in Elmina is the oldest colonial building in sub-Saharan Africa © Felix Lipov, Shutterstock
Just 15km further west and bisected by the Benya Lagoon, its mouth seething with colourful pirogues, Elmina and its castle are the equal of nearby Cape Coast in terms of historical sightseeing. Much of this small town’s fascination lies in the juxtaposition of its grandiose European architecture and modest African village roots.
Days 7 and 8 – Busua
Busua is a focal point for surfing in Ghana © Michal Vogt, Wikimedia Commons
Reached via the regional hub of Takoradi, Busua is arguably the ultimate Ghanaian beach chill-out venue. This backpacker-friendly village is the centre of a growing surfing scene. Busua does also cater to a more upmarket crowd, with the Busua Beach Resort in particular being a popular weekend retreat for expats.
Days 9, 10 and 11 – Kumasi and around
Kumasi is serves as a useful base for nearby sites © Noahalorwu, Wikimedia Commons
Travelling north from Busua into Ghana’s interior, Central Ghana’s largest city is Kumasi. Combining chaotic modernity with cultural and architectural landmarks such as the 19th-century fort, Prempeh II Jubilee Museum and historic Okomfo Anokye Sword, central Kumasi is easily explored on foot and studded with a few great eateries.
Bobiri Forest is home to a butterfly sanctuary that will thrill lepidopterists © Charlesjsharp, Wikimedia Commons
Supporting a wealth of colourful butterflies and localised forest birds, as well as four species of monkey, the Bobiri Butterfly Sanctuary is a well-organised reserve 30km east of Kumasi.
The restored Ashanti shrine in Ejisu gives an indication of how nearby Kumasi would have looked in the 19th century © Joy Agyepong, Wikimedia Commons
The only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Ghanaian interior, the Ashanti Traditional Shrines comprise ten ancient fetish shrines, several of which are still in active use and/or beautifully decorated, the most accessible being the cluster around Ejisu on the Accra road 20km east of Kumasi.
Days 12 and 13 – Lake Bosomtwe
The crater from which Lake Bosomtwe was formed was the result of a meteorite impact © Ariadne Van Zandbergen
The beautiful Lake Bosomtwe, nestled within a circular meteorite crater 35km south of Kumasi, is the largest natural freshwater body in Ghana. Its shores are dotted with affordable resorts and offer superb horseriding opportunities.
Day 14 – Back to Accra
Trashy Bags collects around 200,000 old plastic bags per month © Tomas Prochazka, Wikimedia Commons
Returning to Accra, take this opportunity to visit anything you missed first time around and then do some further exploring. Why not pick up some souvenirs at Trashy Bags, an eco-friendly social enterprise that makes bags from recycled plastic sachets?
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