"On My Way to Africa" Greater Accra Region by jjfighteromaha
Greater Accra Region Travel Guide: 325 reviews and 1,235 photos
I had finally started taking concrete steps for my trip to Africa early November 2011. My destination was the Greater Accra Region, Ghana. I wondered, at times, if I'm the only person to experience heightened stress when preparing to travel. The phone calls, medical checkups, buying last minute items, and trying to find the best ticket prices can be a hassle, at least for me, it seems. I was originally planning to leave December 1st, but I assumed the application process for my visa to Ghana would be hassle-free, but how I was wrong. The people that live in, what we in the West call "developing countries", tend to do things at a slow and deliberate (and frustating) pace. Things aren't "instantenous" like in the U.S. In other words, my visa didn't get back in time, even after spending extra money to "expedite" and Fedex it to the Ghananian embassy overnight (for both, sending and recieving). I sent my application two weeks prior to leaving and I didn't get it back until the day of departure, after my flight left that morning.
The altered plans turned out to be a good thing for me. I was not actually prepared to go due to rushing. I got immunization shots that I later found out I already had when in the military (hopefully my insurance company won't find this out and make me reimburse them). I rushed to the dentist, to my doctor for a physical, etc. I was tired and I didn't even leave yet.
I rescheduled my flight for February 1st, and things are much calmer. I know where I plan to stay, I have any needed immunizations, and I only had to pay about $100 more to reschedule my flight, as opposed to $300 or more. I've also had time to cultivate some online relationships with some natives. We'll see how things turn out. More later.
I tried to ascertain my first impressions of Accra and take in as much as possible as my flight touched down. I noticed while taxiing to the terminal that, parked along the way, were shells of junked airplanes and helicopters that were being kept in the same manner that some “in the ghetto” keep junked cars. Upon exiting the plane almost immediately one notices the heat and the airports lack of air conditioning. The sky and air seemed dull, as opposed to clear. The first official I met was a lady, very dark skinned, with fast, rapid English that I couldn’t’understand, asking each person for records indicating proof of yellow fever immunization. Next is the walk into the main area. The facilities are “still developing”, meaning that the construction and design of the airport is on par with “small town USA” (during the era of the 60’s). The airport was no different than my experience in the Dominican Republic regarding it’s, look, feel, and smell except the people were more dark in color and they spoke a barely understandable English. Accra is a large city with a population well over a million. I suspect the airport doesn’t demand a better facility because most of the population doesn’t have the money to travel as people do in the U.S. I notice men in uniform, but I don’t know the difference between the police, military, or security at this point. They do take fingerprints biometrically, which surprised me.
I was met at the airport by a "rastafarian". Nana Kwame, who is better known as, at least in the area where his compound called "Legassi Gardens" is located, "rasta nana" was standing, holding a sign with my name, waiting for me. He is a native a Jamaica who has also lived in London and the U.S. I got into his SUV for the 20-30 minute dusty, bumpy, and sometimes chaotic drive to the guesthouse. When leaving the airport one will immediately be immersed into the chaotic traffic and the streets lined with vendors and individuals selling all types of goods and food. Upon reaching the Pokause junction we leave the main road and turn into a series of dirt roads leading to the compound. Upon reaching the compound I was not impressed. It seemed dingy and worn. It was hot and I was sweating profusely. I changed immediately into shorts, running shoes, and a t-shirt, which was to be my attire for the duration of the trip. I started to plan my escape for a better place in the city, but I soon abandoned that idea realizing I didn't know my way back or around and that I didn't know anything about how or where the taxi's/"tro tro's" worked, their cost, or destinations. I was stuck, at least for now. I contacted an online acquaintance and begged her to let me hire her as a guide and to let me pay for living space. She put me in contact with her Uncle named Kobi, whom I met the next day. Then I started learning how to navigate my situation. I'm located North of Greater Accra in an area or town called Pokause (Poh kwa say). Pokause is a township with about 20,000 people, according to some sources. Accra is a city with a total metro area population of 4 million.
- Pros:beautiful women, warm weather, exotic experience
- Cons:under-developed facilities, lacking modern sanitation, inadequate or not easily accessible traveler/tourist information
- In a nutshell:Accra is a thriving, undeveloped, large city with an eager populace and unlimited potential.
If visiting Ghana one has to go to tour the castles/slave fortresses. These are located in Cape Coast. Cape Coast is... more travel advice
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