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Loud, busy and colourful, Accra is Ghana's capital city on the Atlantic coast. It's filled with history, as seen in the 17th-century architecture from a colonial past through to memorials honouring the country's rise to independence. The white sandy beaches are covered with sun-seekers and local hawkers selling food and souvenirs by day, but become a place of lively bars and clubs by night. Out of the city you can find rainforests to explore in vast national parks.
Hostels in Accra are spread across the city and are a variety of hostels and traditional guesthouses. Find an oasis from the thronging streets at an Accra hostel with tranquil green gardens where you can unwind in a hammock. There's a roof terrace at another – and one place even has an African terrace with cooling air con, painted in bright pink and catering to students. Expect to experience warm Ghanaian hospitality as well as handy free Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfasts.
Accra stretches across many districts, resulting in a huge city. Neighbourhoods west of Mallam and east of Spintex Road are popular with international visitors and filled with hotels. Head to the district of Jamestown to see Accra's past and present collide; the 17th-century fishing port is surrounded by corrugated iron shacks and crumbling colonial buildings as well as a white-washed lighthouse with views of the city from its top. To escape into nature, head to the rainforest of Kakum National Park to gawk at trees that tower to heights of 65m.
The city offers plenty to see and do, from sunbathing on the white sands of palm-lined Labadi beach (also a nightlife hotspot) to hunting for traditional shoes in the bustling Makola Market. Learn about the country's history at Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and Memorial Park, a tribute to the celebrated first President of Ghana who campaigned to liberate the country. For German beer and bratwurst, stop by the Goethe-Institut and watch a concert or movie in its events centre.
Accra's Kotoka International Airport is only 5km from the city's centre but served by a single road, so the journey can take up to 2 hours during peak traffic times. As for getting around the city and between major landmarks, there are a few options. Catch a shared taxi or a tro-tro, which is like a mini bus that runs on a fixed route. You can also jump on a local bus from the main Intercity STC and VIP bus stations on Ring Road West.