OUR GETAWAYS FOR 1 DAY
Living in Accra, one can often get that feeling of being overwhelmed by the chaos of city life: the incessant traffic, noise pollution (make that air pollution as well!), the frenetic pace of always being on the go (it can eventually get to us all) and that’s when we feel the need to “get out of town” for a change of pace and scenery.
Here are some of our suggestions for getaways not more than 2 hours drive from Accra, where you can take some time out for the family, relax and recharge.
Although it falls under the Eastern Region, Aburi is just 45 minutes drive out of Accra. The slight elevation of Aburi lends itself to a somewhat cooler climate, with temperatures a few degrees lower than Accra. It’s a welcome respite from the hustle, bustle and heat of Accra. Most famous for its Botanical Gardens, the cool, tranquil environment is perfect for walking around and admiring the tree and plant species. Also well worth a visit is the local wood crafts market, where you can buy unique and beautifully crafted pieces, and support local artisans at the same time. Biking and hiking in the Aburi surrounds makes for the perfect escape into nature and there are numerous waterfalls to be discovered. Contact Kofi from Ghana Bike & Hike Tours on 024 4209587 and he will arrange your hiking or biking trip adventure.
Aburi is a perfect day trip but if you’re looking to stay overnight or to make a weekend of it, accommodation options range from the upmarket hotel, Peduase Valley Resort (www.peduase-valley-resort.com), to Hillburi, with its guest lodge feel and scenic views of the valley below and across the way (https://hillburi.com/). The Tree House B&B, run by hosts Yao and Aaj, offers a unique guesthouse experience, and is available to book on AirBnB.
Kokrobite is a small fishing village 30 km outside of Accra, known for its surfing, laidback Rasta/hippie vibes and party atmosphere. Certain parts of the road getting there can be bumpy and uneven, but once you’re there, you can enjoy a chilled beach experience. For those who would like to get in a few surf lessons, check out Mr Bright’s Surf Shop and School, based at Milly’s Backyard (a restaurant with beach access). Contact them at www.bigmilly.com or on 024 999 9330.
Kokrobite can get busy on weekends and public holidays. It’s a vibrant and social place, and often hosts music concerts and beach parties.
Kokrobite Gardens restaurant is a real hidden gem, tucked away in a little garden, away from the craziness of the beachfront, this oasis of calm serves up the best Italian – their pizza and pastas are delicious! Comfortable rooms and bungalows are available if you would like to stay over. For enquiries about the restaurant or rooms, call 054 639 2850.
Also worth visiting, if you’re in the area, is the Kokrobite Institute; a creative hub and design campus that runs projects and internships focusing on the creation of sustainable products that have been repurposed. There is also accommodation on the premises for retreats and corporate getaways. Call ahead on their office number on 024 460 8628 to check if the design centre is open for visiting or if you’d like more information on their accommodation options.
Located on the Tema-Akosombo road only 17kms out of Accra, the surrounds of Shai Hills and the Shai Hills nature reserve actually fall under Greater Accra. However you really feel that you have left the city behind when you visit this beautiful region, comprising of savannah and grasslands, interspersed with rocky outcrops. The road trip itself makes for an easy escape into nature for hiking, cycling, abseiling, rock climbing and bird watching.
The history of the area is equally interesting – it is home to the Shai ancestral caves, where the Shai people once took refuge during times of war and conflict. Within the reserve itself, you’ll be able to spot zebra, baboons, antelope, ostrich and a wide variety of bird species.
Gomoa Fetteh: Tills Beach Resort and White Sands Beach Resort
Both Tills Beach and White Sands Beach Resort fall under the district of Gomoa Fetteh, which is around 1.5 hours drive from Accra in the direction of Cape Coast.
Tills Beach Resort (picture) is a more affordable option, with a lovely relaxed ambience, located on a beautiful and clean beach, great for swimming, or simply relaxing on one of their sun loungers. There is also a restaurant serving simple but tasty dishes. Call them on 055 130 5891.
White Sands Beach Resort and Spa positions itself as a private, members-only, exclusive getaway. With beautiful villas (some of which include their very own splash pool), it is on the high end of both the luxury and price scale. It boasts a private stretch of beach, accessed by crossing a small lagoon. There is a restaurant right on the beach, overlooking a bay with small waves good for swimming, especially for children. Their pool area and lush gardens and surroundings are well-maintained and very plush. For information on how to arrange a membership, call 026 305 0500. There is a rate for day visitors (Mondays to Saturday only) . For more information on membership benefits and amenities visit www.whitesandsholidays.com.
Ada (featured image)
Ada falls under the Greater Accra region and is an hour and an half drive from the city. It’s known for palm-lined beaches and estuary islands, as well as for where the Volta River meets the mighty Atlantic Ocean. There are plenty of water sports on offer such as sailing, canoeing, fishing, water skiing, wake boarding and jet skiing.
Many private homes can be seen along the waters edge, as Ada has become a popular weekend getaway for wealthy Accra residents. There is a ferry and boat harbour where one can rent a boat and cruise down the river, admiring the little islands, private villas and beach resorts along the way, and catch a glimpse of the lives of the local fishing communities who live along the water.
Aqua Safari Resort (054 011 0190) is probably the most well known in terms of accommodation, especially as it offers an extensive range of water sports and activities within a serene setting; however there are other smaller and less expensive options available as well. Maks Resort is one such option, with a deck and restaurant right on the water, offering spectacular views of everyday life on the river. Call them on 054 617 9695 for more information.