Ghana, a country on the West Coast of Africa, is one of the most thriving democracies on the continent. It has often been referred to as an “island of peace” in one of the most chaotic regions on earth. It has also shares boundaries with Togo to the east, la Cote d’Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north and the Gulf of Guinea, to the south. A recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea could make Ghana an important oil producer and exporter in the next few years.
The country’s economy is dominated by agriculture, which employs about 40 percent of the working population. Ghana is one of the leading exporters of cocoa in the world. It is also a significant exporter of commodities such as gold and lumber and two years ago joined the league of oil producing nations. A country covering an area of238,500 square kilometres, Ghana has an estimated population of 25 million (2010 population census), drawn from more than one hundred ethnic groups – each with its own unique language. English, however, is the official language, a legacy of British colonial rule.
In 1957, Ghana (formerly known as the Gold Coast) became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to gain independence. After leading the country for nine years, the nation’s founding president, Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in a coup d’état in 1966. After Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana was ruled by a series of military despots with intermittent experiments with democratic rule, most of which were curtailed by military takeovers.
The latest and most enduring democratic experiment started in 1992 and it is what has gained recognition for Ghana as a leading democracy in Africa. Ghana has several tourist attractions such as the castles. Most of the major international airlines fly into and from the international airport in Accra. Domestic air travel is thriving and the country has a vibrant telecommunications sector, with five cellular phone operators and several internet service providers.
Clearly, one of the main attractions of this West African country is its opulent, picturesque beaches. The coastline of Ghana was previously known as The Gold Coast and one can immediately see why. The majority of these spectacular sands are kept in Accra; where all different tastes can be suited.
If you want a more traditional beach experience then perhaps the best would be the Labadi Pleasure Beach. An entrance fee must be paid for this particular experience which might detract slightly from the enjoyment, but for your money you get one of the few beaches in Ghana which is deliberately kept clean, a plethora of restaurants and bars to avail yourself of and, on certain days, performances of cultural music and dancing; mainstream music is often also available to enjoy as well.
Ghana also boasts much more secluded, tranquil beaches. For example, Misty Beach, to be found as one leaves Accra on the way to Tema, is great for getting off the tourist-track. Whether you want to watch the army’s of fishermen leave every morning, or simply relax in the solitude lacking on larger beaches such as Labadi, this could be a great choice.
If you like a more environmental and nature-filled slant on your beach experience, then Cocoloco Beach could be ideal. About an hour’s travel out of Accra, it marks the point where the Volta River merges into the Atlantic Ocean; creating a wonderful natural environment which has become renown for the large variety of sea turtles which breed there, as well as the huge variety of birds which can be seen in the Volta Estuary. Sticking with the Volta, the Ada beach is such sand which merges with the river and provides spectacular, unrivalled views. If spectacular views are what you’re after, then the Kokrobrite Beach, about 30 kilometres outside of Accra, might also interest you. Its serenity is offset by dramatic hills which provide a frame to the large beach; another must for those who like to have their breath taken away.
For those who want to escape even further there is the quite ironically named Alaska Beach which is on the shore of the Gulf of Guinea. It offers a chance to escape the constant on-the-go feeling of the more touristy spots, but doesn’t leave you completely in the wild, with showers, camping facilities and even provision Ghanaian food on demand.