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Tema (Accra), Ghana

Tema port is about 25 km from Ghana’s teeming capital. The cultures of West Africa share a traditional propensity to be busy. It’s exciting and can be dazzling to newcomers. Accra is a bustling, colorful city where everybody is rather joyfully struggling to get ahead. Enjoy it. The oldest section, Jamestown, is centered around the 17th century James Fort, where the British converted a traditional market for precious metals to a trade in slaves. Climb the red-and-white lighthouse for a view of the busy city. Visit the National Museum to get a glimpse of the elaborate and very ancient cultures of Ghana through exhibits of art and artifacts. Then survey Independence Square, and its memorial to the independent nation’s first leader Kwame Nkrumah.  Once your pulse is up to speed, perhaps venture into the sea of humanity that is the Makola Market. The Artists Alliance gallery contains works in every medium imaginable from the fertile community of Ghanaian artists. The ANO Centre for Cultural Research is another place to discover the rich vein of creativity that runs from antiquity into today’s culture. A more vivid example can be experienced at Labadi Beach, where enterprising entertainers, venders and artists gather to ply their trades among the visitors from neighboring luxury hotels. Like the pulsing, jazzy Ghanaian popular music, the beat of Accra is fast-paced and insistent, but full of joy.