Labadi Beach in Accra, Ghana
What to do while in Accra, Ghana? Visit Labadi Beach.
A Quick Look Back at Accra, Ghana 2011
Accra, Ghana tops the list of one of the most enjoyable vacations I've ever taken. It was a mixed bag of upscale hang outs and local accommodations. Easy to hire taxis will drive you around greater Accra or to some of Ghana's famous but remote sight seeing locations. The nightlife is never dull with some club interiors as impressive and sexy as any in Hollywood or New York. The difference in Accra is that bottle service is about 80-90% less expensive than any of those other cities.
Accra is happening and you feel that energy all around. It is a thriving yet developing city which makes it's less refined notes all the more tolerable. And perhaps, tolerable isn't the word - it makes them, REAL. In terms of value for money, I got the sense that I always paid a fair price for the experiences I was having, which is a key factor to how much I enjoy a trip.
Beyond the city's traffic jammed thoroughfares but closer than the historical castles and national parks, lies Labadi Beach also known as La Pleasure Beach. On our last day in Accra, my friends and I packed a cooler with snacks and headed west about 25km for an afternoon on the most popular shores of Ghana's Atlantic Coast.
Labadi Beach is different than any beach I'd visited before. It's dusty sand constantly flew around as locals played on the shores. Drink stations dotted the long rows of cabana-like-tents that spread along the coast like a buffer, separating the beach itself from the street. Merchants sought to sale their goods, just as they do, walking between cars in the city - mostly stacked high with odds and ends balanced on their heads. They aren't pushy but together make up a walking bodega of sorts.
The most unique experience was hiring a short horse ride along the beach. I suspect that this wasn't unique to Labadi, though for me, it was the first time I'd ever mounted a hoofed anything since my ride on Jake the pony at Disneyworld when I was nine. I can't remember how much it cost, but as a rule in any country who's currency aren't dollars, pounds, or euros, I spend on anything the last day to unload extra cash. There were no waivers to sign or extra hoopla. Once I managed to mount my horse (not any easy thing), the owner guided him across the sands, never leaving my side.
Labadi Beach may not be what most people travel to Accra for, but what kind of holiday is it after all without a beach involved? This is all to say, take a day or a long afternoon and get out of the hustle and bustle of busy Accra. Take a break from the castle hopping and eco-tourism. You can lounge like I did, donning my bikini but never nearing the water, or you can literally jump right in and have a swim.