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AccraGhana's capital

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Accra Basics

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Photo: Shutterstock, Steve Heap

A salt-kissed sea breeze, a night of dancing to polyrhythmic highlife, a plate of grilled tilapia topped with crushed tomatoes and chilies—these are but a few of the staples of life in Accra, Ghana's capital and largest city. Settled by the Ga people in the 15th century, Accra has been a vital port city for centuries. Today, the city is home to a myriad of ethnic groups from Ghana, not to mention expats from elsewhere in West Africa and beyond.

For travelers, the worthwhile sights and attractions are numerous. Stroll through historic James Town with its aging fort and lighthouse, vestiges of Ghana's colonial period. Shop for vibrant wax print fabrics at Makola Market where you can just as easily have them tailored into dresses and shirts. Dine on traditional Ghanaian cuisine such as fufu, a pounded starch made from cassava and plantain, typically served with light soup, a spiced broth ladled over slow-cooked pieces of goat. And whether it's the traditional rhythms of the kpanlogo drum or the danceable sounds of highlife, don't leave without exploring Ghana's rich music and dance scene.

Accra serves as the ideal introduction to West Africa. Noisy and traffic-filled, it is very much a developing world city. At the same time, visitors will find that creature comforts are never too far away. There are plenty of opportunities to experience traditional Ghanaian culture, but you can also find restaurants serving Western food and entertainment venues playing contemporary dance music.

Accra is quickly becoming a premier tourist destination in West Africa. Worth visiting on its own, Accra also provides easy access to other regions of Ghana, including the beach-filled western coast and the lush hills of the Volta Region.

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