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Opinions of Saturday, 1 August 2009

Columnist: Jessica Mulcahy

Ghana's unmissables ... 9 things to try, visit and see

Star beer – Truly one of the best beers in the world, this brew is an Ashanti beer brewed in Kumasi and is an essential part of the Ghana experience.

National Museum – This museum located in Accra, the county’s capital, is filled with the country’s history and traditional art coming from the Stone Age to the present day. A small gift shop offers not only the same local crafts that can be found anywhere, but one of a kind paintings from local artists ranging from ten to a few hundred dollars depending on size. They are open 9-5 every day except Christmas, and guided tours are available.

The Cedi Bead Factory – Beads, which are an important symbol of the Ghanaian culture, are made here by hand in the traditional way. They offer tours and lessons on bead making as well as many other crafts, and their onsite store offers their beautiful merchandise at the lowest price you will find it. Bracelets and necklaces cost about $3-$6 and loose beads cost just a few cents. The National Arts Center – Located in downtown Accra, this open air market is a huge bazaar of craft booths run by locals. The grounds are filled with around 100 stalls of artists selling anything and everything Ghana. Here there are carvings, t-shirts, instruments, jewelry, masks, batik, kente and more. Many artists work from their booths providing a show and a store, and the already low prices are further negotiable. Most items are under $10 with many being under $5. Palm Wine – This drink made from palm tree sap, can be served distilled or not, and is only made in Africa and some parts of Asia. Whether it suits your taste or not this drink is definitely at least worth a try.

Senchi Resort – This waterfront property is native, yet comfortable for foreign travelers. The waterfront property offers boat rides, water sports, camping and a restaurant and bar. Private chalet’s cost $40 for a single and $50 for a double, and are equipped with air conditioning, TV, phones and mini bars. This is a great spot for travelers looking for a cheap place to relax and immerse themselves in authentic local culture.

Golden Tulip – This luxury hotel is the place for travelers who want to see Ghana, but also have a luxurious home to return to at night. The hotel offers several great restaurants with local and European style food as well as a lounge, pool, casino and business center. The hotel prides itself on world class service and rooms cost a few hundred dollars a night. For those wanting to be more authentic or frugal, this is a great oasis for just a meal or evening getaway.

Shangri La- Also located in Accra, this hotel houses a restaurant with great food. Try their pizzas if your homesick for American food, or opt for something local. Small tables, couches and chairs in the back of the lobby serve as seating for the restaurant, which usually has a pretty fun crowd partying. The hotel also offers a pool and large rooms for guests, many of whom are local Ghanaians on weekend holidays.

Black Star Square – This national square houses a large arch, row of national flags and bleachers and is used for national events like the Independence Day celebrations. It sits right on the water and is a beautiful monument to Ghana’s freedom.

Jessica Mulcahy is an Examiner from Charlotte.

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