staubige Straße in Spintex

My first day in Accra, the capital of Ghana

Finally in Accra the capital of Ghana. Experience with me the first impressions and how my adventure in Ghana begins. Also experience how I meet an old known friend. Moreover read how I got wasted the first evening in the hottest bars in Accra.

After the long flight I had to sleep properly. I really needed that after all the experience of the last day. Although “sleep” here in Ghana is not so easy. Most Ghanaians seem to go to bed early and get up early. And with early I mean EARLY. Between 8 and 10 pm you go to bed in Ghana. Between 4 and 6 o’clock you get up again. So mostly even on your free days it is like that.

Getting up – my first morning in Accra

When the first rays of sun gently tickled my face, I woke up. Outside, I heard the birds singing, I heard the sounds of the neighbors, and I heard roosters crowing, too. I felt almost as in the good old days, at home in my little village in southwest Germany. With the difference that I was here in the capital Accra. Good – not in the center but in the Greater Accra region, the so-called exurbs of the capital of Ghana. Accra has more than 2 million inhabitants together with this exurbs. Nevertheless, the city is still very native here and there. Native was also my first shower in Ghana. Usually you shower with cold water in Ghana. A bathtub is not included in the standard equipment. Baths and hot water are often found only in hotels and are listed as luxury goods in Ghana. Even the middle class has, despite beautiful modern houses, no warm water. If you want to enjoy a warm shower, you have to boil water. Often, next to the shower, there is a container to collect water, in case the water is not coming. However, since I am here this has been very rare. Then you shower from with the bucket as the so-called bucket shower. Out of the bucket you can also enjoy the hot boiled water. The bucket shower is quite common among the poorer population in Ghana. Most of them also have to carry the water to their houses. Besides that Ghanaian are also used to shower with soap instead of shampoo and shower gel. Brrrr – I hate it actually to shower with cold water. Those who know me, know, I shower rarely warm. I shower hot! But I wanted the adventure. So my first cold shower lay behind me. In the meantime I have gotten used to it.

Shopping and eating on the street market in Madina

Next, Perry and I wanted to go shopping. Perry, by the way, is a good friend whom I met in 2014 on my first trip to Ghana. For shopping you can either go to the nearest Aunt-Emma-Shop around the corner, to one of the numerous street markets or into one of the malls. Discounters or large trade chains are only rarely found here in the capital Accra. At least this is my impression. The little shop around the corner had unfortunately no fresh vegetables. So we decided to go to the next street market which is located in Madina. Madina is a lively suburb in the Greater Accra region. When we got there I was struck by even more new impressions. Many people. Lots of noise. Plenty of dust. The sun was burning from the sky. Food, clothes, electrical appliances, everything is offered. There we bought fresh food like yam, tomatoes, onions, garlic and pineapple. But most importantly, I also needed a local SIM card. As a blogger this is essential for survival. Apart from this, to stay in contact with Germany is otherwise simply too expensive. I’m pretty sure my parents and friends were already waiting for a sign of life. A SIM card costs 3 Cedis. This is less than 1 €. For another 5 Cedis (about 1 €) you can call for nearly 30 minutes to Germany. I think this is comparable to other European countries. Well, but only if it is a landline.

We ended up eating something on the market in one of the numerous Chop Bars. A Chop Bar is roughly comparable to a street diner. Often there is also something for sitting. If you want to eat very cheap you will find it there. But beware, hygiene is often ignored in many Chop Bars. Stomach problems are then pre-programmed, especially during the first period. A meal currently costs in a Chop Bar in Accra around 3 to 10 Cedis. These converted into Euro is about 0.50 to 2 € each meal.

Wasted in Osu – My first evening in Accra

After the shopping and the food in Madina we went on to Spintex. There lives a friend of Perry. I knew him already from 2014. He had been very happy to see me again. So he received us with a big smile. He could not believe I was back in Accra. Therefore, he gave me a big fat hug. To celebrate the day or better the night we went all together to Osu. This district is best known for its main street, Cantoments Road, which is also called the Oxford Street. In line with the British original, you will find countless international restaurants, small clean Chop Bars with Ghanaian food, hotels and shops for shopping. The street actually has a slightly European touch. In the night the Oxfordstreet changes into a party mile. Just right to celebrate my arrival in Ghana. We started in a side street opposite the Republic Bar. There I got my welcome drink. In the truest sense of the word this one had it in it. But this one pack a punch.

The name of the drink: Wengeze. Wengeze is a bit comparable to a herbal schnapps. But extremely bitter, I can tell you. Furthermore, a lot of alcohol is included. As I was writing this text, I got more information about this type of drinks. Some of the local herbal schnapps are often including a secret ingredient. I am shocked. Which secret ingredient might that be? Who knows what I had drunk. A ground skull or tusks maybe? A short research on the internet provides a remedy. A whole group of these so-called Bitters (herbal schnapps) with names such as “Wengeze”, “Shocker”, “Amen”, Adabraka and “Atemuda” are available. They are also considered to be an aphrodisiac. A user at Twitter wrote: “There’s some local bitters called Wengeze, do not ever drink that shit. I just dey root root since Friday night.“ Which means like, “Do not drink the stuff.” Since Friday night I have a permanent erection “. Help – what could be that secret ingredient? I was curious, so I went for more research. On another website I finally find the answer: cannabis with the active ingredient THC seems to be contained in some of these drinks. Wow – I had not expected that. Now you asked how it worked for me? Shame on you! For all who have already been happy, the statement of the twitter user, I can unfortunately not confirm. However, after three drinks that evening I felt already very drunken. It was something that surprised me. Whether it really contained THC or simply an extreme amount of alcohol, this will probably remain a secret forever.

Anyway that evening was a complete success. After the Wengeze shot we went over to the Republic Bar. The address is 3rd Lane Oxford Street Osu Accra. This is a small bar with a large outdoor area. If you want to meet somewhere Europeans, then there. There is a regular cultural exchange in the Republic Bar. At many tables you can see there sitting mixed colored groups enjoying the evening. Ghanaians and Europeans at one table. Martin Luther King would be proud and I mean it! Especially at the weekend the outdoor area is quite crowded. Later some even danced on the street. If you get hungry there at a later hour, you will find some food bars opposite the Bepublic Bar. Especially the kebab I can recommend. In addition to the usual ingredients they pack the fries inside the kebab roll.

Finally we went to the Shisha Lounge. The Shisha Lounge in Accra is also located in Osu in 14th Lane. It is a mixture of a restaurant and a dance bar. Very modern with indirect lighting and attractively furnished. I can really only recommend it. The restaurant seems to be a pizzeria. Unfortunately I could not try the food in the Shisha Lounge. From the open restaurant you can watch the pizza bakers during their work. Just from the optics I would recommend the pizza immediately. It looked very delicious. Further in to the back you will find the dance bar. Here people dance to modern Ghanaian songs until the early morning in a small space. There are of course also seating arrangements. As the name of the bar already suggests, you can also order a shisha there. That’s exactly what we did. Of course, we also ordered a drink. The mood got better and better. Was it because of the secret ingredient? Who knows. All the more surprising it was when suddenly … Jana stood in front of me again a third time. The lady I met on the flight to Ghana. Jana? Here in the capital Accra with over 2 million inhabitants. How unbelievable is that, I had asked her. She came with her Ghanaian boyfriend and some girlfriends. But as I wrote in my first blog article, a German saying says: You always see a person 3 times in life. Unfortunately after that evening I never saw Jana again until today. We all had a fantastic evening together.

Conclusion: On my first day I could gain many new impressions and had a great start in my personal Ghana adventure. If you are looking for an adventure then here surely you might find it. But beware, of the cold shower in the morning. Using a cell in Ghana is cheap. The food in the Chop Bars with less than 2 euro is also cheap. Besides, you now know about Wegenze and the other Bitters. So be careful. If you want to go out in Accra, then OSU is exactly the right place. This is also reflected in the prices. The prices in Osu are almost at a European level.

I hope you liked my article. Have you ever been to Ghana? Or in another African country? Did you have similar experiences? Then just write me about the commentary.

Bye for now.


Ben Diaz –

Join the discussion

  • Nice story. Can see however that it was a new experience for you. I am originally from Holland but have lived in Ghana since 2004. Am used to the cold showers 🙂 and a friend of mine is the producer of Wengeze, promise you, no marijuana inside…..

    • Hello Sanders,

      Wow it seems you have lived in Ghana for a long time. That sounds interesting. So I am sure you got a lot of experience. Yes the cold shower is standard in Ghana – brrrr. Well one can be glad that the temperatures mostly don’t go below 23 degree 🙂

      What a pity – now you have solved my mystery.