MY GHANA SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
By Lisa Gibson
Shopping – love it or loathe it, it’s something that needs to get done! But don’t fret, we’ve got you covered when it comes to all things shopping-related, whether it’s for necessity or for indulgence!
Our biggest piece of advice on this topic is: do your research by asking around. Reach out to your networks and social circles for tips on where to buy what. After all, word of mouth is often the best point of reference!
With the cost of living in Ghana on the high side, you may experience quite a shock when you first visit your local store to pick up groceries. This is especially true for imported fruits and vegetables, furniture and electronics so it’s advisable to wait until you travel abroad for these – unless of course it’s absolutely necessary that you have it straight away and you’re aware that you’ll be paying much more for it here.
You may also find that the variety and choice is limited in comparison to other countries but on the flip side, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to tropical fruits, woven baskets, and locally sourced products such as Shea butter and coconut oil – which can be super expensive abroad!
Some of our top picks for grocery shopping options include Max Mart, Game, Shoprite, Marina, Koala, Palace and Fairway Mini Market. For organic produce and health food finds, we recommend Farmers Market, Simply Healthy and Thrive Wholefoods.
Shopping for grudge purchases and necessities such, as household cleaning products is obviously very different to trawling for crafts and antique treasures at the Arts Centre (also referred to as the Centre for National Culture). We love strolling through the stalls and narrow passages that make up this maze-like complex. If it’s beads you’re after, head over to Sun Trade Beads in Asylum Down or TK Beads, just a short drive outside Accra.
For a spot of weekend shopping, check out one of the open-air markets. The Green Butterfly Market is held twice a month in Accra – on the first Saturday of every month at the W. E. B. Du Bois centre and then on the last Saturday of every month at Labadi Beach hotel. These alfresco markets sell everything from fresh organic produce to clothing, jewellery, arts and crafts, and much more.
The Dzorwulu Flea market at the Terra Alta outdoor event venue, located at the Abelemkpe junction bus stop, is a monthly affair selling made-in-Ghana goods as well as second hand clothing. Check out www.terraalta.business.site for more information.
There is also a market approximately every 3-4 months at Mint Club in the Meridian apartments in Airport Residential. Check out the Mint Fitness Club page on Facebook to receive notifications of their next market. Get your coffee fix; mingle with friends (and meet new ones) while browsing an array of goods from homemade treats and beauty products, to artisanal jewellery and clothing, (both local and imported).
Negotiating a bargain in the hustle, bustle and chaos of Makola market is a skill that can take some time to acquire but then again, if you plan a visit with local tour guide and market maven, Enyo Bruku of Enyo Bruku Travels, not only will you get some great deals but you’ll also get to experience all the insider tips. Follow her on Instagram to see the amazing Ghanaian travels and excursions she can arrange for you.
We are all for supporting the local artisans who run roadside stalls selling furniture and crafts. Here, there is no fixed pricing so negotiation is the name of the game.
Unlike buying in the local markets where there is room for haggling, grocery stores have fixed pricing. Some retailers offer a discount if you have one of their customer loyalty cards. Imported products will obviously be more expensive, so bear this in mind when you shop. It often pays to take your time while shopping during the beginning stages of settling in while you get your head around pricing and become accustomed to using a new currency (Cedi). The Cedi is pegged to the US Dollar, so fluctuations occur frequently, and will affect prices across the board.
Shopping for clothing might be a challenge in the beginning as there is not much choice when it comes to retail clothing chains however, if you find yourself a good seamstress, it opens up a world of fashion possibilities, thanks to the assortment of brightly coloured fabrics on offer. Why not embrace the wax print trend by visiting either Woodin or Vlisco and picking up some fabric, or even something ready-to-wear. Global Mamas in Osu is great for batik wrap dresses and skirts. They also do kiddies clothing, tablecloths and knick-knacks for gifts. There are also lots of fabulous boutiques and concept stores popping up all over Accra, showcasing both contemporary and designer fashion with an African flair. Charlotte Prive, Untamed Empire, Elle Lokko, Kiki Clothing and Brown Sugar are just a few of our favourites!
For home décor and furniture purchases, top of our list are Orca Deco on Spintex, DAAR Living in Osu and the Velvet Hut Design Studio (www.thevelvethut.com) for home furnishings and pieces made from wood such as shelving, tables and TV consoles.
For cards, gift items, stationery and art supplies, Acrilex in Osu has an amazing selection. Looking for fresh flowers and potted indoor plants? Try Orchidea Flowers, which doubles as a cute coffee shop. Most of the grocery stores, such as Max Mart and Marina Mall, have an indoor plant section where you can pick up something green for your home.
What if there’s something that catches your eye, and you just know you must have it? Our view on impulse buys is: if you really like it, and it’s a price you are willing to pay (and able to afford), we say go for it!! After all, there is nothing worse than pining after something you should have/could have bought!
At the end of the day, you can find just about everything here; albeit at a much higher price than you’re used to paying elsewhere and yes, it will take you much longer to do your grocery shopping as you’ll probably need to visit multiple stores, but once you have your store selection sorted, it becomes much easier! Happy shopping!