Now that I was finally in Africa, I had one short night to relax in Accra, meet up with friends, and then head up the coast to the site of the wedding. After my extended layover in Lagos, I was one of the last to arrive at the hotel in Accra, but it was good to see some familiar faces after a long trip to get here.
Great photo of Independence Arch in Accra by George Appiah from Flickr
I didn’t really take time to explore Accra for the short time I was there. After arriving late, and a little bit of socializing, I went to sleep. The next morning, I had ideas of going to see some of the sights of Accra, but unfortunately I didn’t make it. Too much time catching up with old friends, which was obviously a good thing.
Accra Lighthouse which I did not get to see up close. Photo from Flickr
A group of us needed to get some local currency, Ghanaian Cedis. Some of the more major hotels in Accra take credit cards, but almost everywhere else outside there is cash only. Many places take US$, but the rates are poor.
After breakfast at the hotel, a hotel van full of visitors (obruni in local slang) heading into the city center looking for an ATM. There were a few banks with ATMs in a small area, so after getting dropped off, we dispersed to various ATMs. There are ATMs in larger cities, and if that is not available, many places have a currency exchange. The best rates are for larger bills like $100s.
The van full of obrunis definitely drew attention of the locals, but it wasn’t like some places. The sales pitches were persistent, but not too annoying. Since English is so widely spoken here, someone like me could have a whole conversation with most locals, which was kind of fun. While waiting for the ATM, I enjoyed talking to the guy trying to sell me sunglasses while I was wearing some of my own. It took some convincing, but he eventually got the hint I didn’t need another pair.
This was my first trip to use my Schwab ATM card which does not assess any ATM fees for any withdrawals foreign or domestic. This is something I’ve read about on Flyertalk before, but I took Wanderlusty’s post for me to finally make the jump. I definitely recommend it for getting cash abroad.
After we had cash, we explored the area a little bit, and did some shopping before returning to our hotel where we were meeting a van to take a group of us to the site of the wedding, in Cape Coast. It was only a hundred miles or so, but traveling overland in Africa isn’t like traveling on interstates in the US. Even though Ghana has a pretty well developed road system for West Africa, the trip was more of an adventure than we planned on.
Other posts about my Africa trip:
A Trip of Firsts
Initial thoughts on my trip to Ghana
United 787 Dreamliner BusinessFirst from Houston to Lagos
An extended layover in Lagos Nigeria and a flight on Africa World Airways
Cash only in Accra, Ghana, and Africa in general (this post)
The drive from Accra to Cape Coast with a van full of wedding guests
A stay at the Ko-Sa Beach Resort, Cape Coast, Ghana
Exploring history of the slave trade in Cape Coast
Travel to Kakum National Park and being the only obruni on the bus to Accra
A flight on Arik Air and a longer layover at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos
United 787 Dreamliner Business First from Lagos to Houston