Accra - Dive into Ghana’s culture and heritage.

Maarten Schafer
4 min readApr 13, 2024


Dive into Ghana’s culture and heritage - CoolTravel - Maarten Schaefer
Dive into Ghana’s culture and heritage — CoolTravel — Maarten Schaefer

Our excursion in Accra kicked off when Kwame, our guide for the day, picked us up from the Labadi Beach Hotel. With a nod and a smile, he welcomed us into his well-kept car adorned with colorful beads, signaling the start of our journey.

Our first stop was Makola Market, a vital part of Accra’s bustling economic life. As soon as we stepped into the market, the chaos enveloped us. The hustle and bustle aren’t enough to describe the scene at Makola. It is massive, fast-paced, crowded, and lively. Traders and vendors sell food, jewelry, clothing, shoes, luggage, handbags, wigs, housewares, and more. Each stall provided a look into the daily life of Accra’s residents.

Makola Market - Accra- Ghana - CoolTravel - Maarten Schafer
Makola Market — Accra- Ghana — CoolTravel — Maarten Schafer

Kwame guided us through the narrow aisles of the market. There, we saw buyers negotiating prices, exchanging recipes, and stalls displaying everything from handcrafted jewelry to Ghanaian Kente cloth. This visit allowed us to see and participate in local commerce, laughing along with vendors who were both stern and good-natured in their dealings.

From there, we went to Independence Square, which symbolized Ghana’s spirit and independence. The square was monumental, lined with statues and symbols of Ghana’s national pride. At Kwame’s suggestion, we climbed to the top of the monument. There, we lined up to take a picture, alternating our group by race, as suggested by Kwame, in a pattern like piano keys — black, white, black, white. This arrangement, thoughtfully proposed by Kwame, symbolized unity and harmony. Taking this picture at the top of the monument, against a backdrop that celebrated Ghana’s sovereignty, was emblematic and captured the essence of our shared human experience in a single frame.

The day’s journey continued as we made our way to the Jamestown Lighthouse, a historic beacon that has stood over Accra’s coastline for centuries. Climbing the narrow, spiraling staircase inside the lighthouse, we imagined the countless ships that had relied on this lighthouse for guidance. Once at the top, the view was striking. We looked over the Atlantic Ocean, watching the fishing boats navigate the waves. The fishermen gracefully maneuvered their crafts, continuing a generations-old tradition of sea harvesting. The lighthouse offered us a panoramic view of Accra’s coastal edge and a deeper understanding of the city’s relationship with the sea — as a gateway to the world and a fundamental element of local life.

Lighthouse Jamestown -  Accra- CoolTravel - Storytelling Expedition West Africa - Maarten Schafer
Lighthouse Jamestown - Accra - CoolTravel - Storytelling Expedition West Africa - Maarten Schafer

As we drove back to our hotel, the experiences at Makola Market, Independence Square, and the Jamestown Lighthouse became part of our Accra story, narrated by Kwame, who did far more than drive us from one point to another. He helped us see and understand Ghana’s culture and proud heritage.



Maarten Schafer

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