Wasn’t everybody & their mama in Ghana for The Year of Return or nah??? Let me tell you, I had no idea what I had committed to when my cousin Saachi invited me to wander to Ghana for New Year 2019. No seriously, the Year of the Return was not even a thought. We were really going to support her friend’s Afrochella event (like a Coachella but for us by us – celebrating creativity on the continent, African music & cultured cuisine). Plus, I was overdue for a Motherland journey since last time I wandered to Africa was in 2012 visiting South Africa.
Being the planners that we are, we copped our tickets dumb early in July for our December journey and to think I was lightweight complaining because it was $1200. BUT LOOK AT GOD! I had enough points to cover majority of the fare & only had to pay $200 cash – SCORE! Reserving frequent flyer miles for long haul / expensive trips comes in handy #travelmorespendless. And let me count blessing #2 because my fare was a steal compared to the $2000 minimum flights Wanderers were paying to Return to Ghana this past holiday season – y’all see what happens when things get poppin’? Costs a WHOLE arm AND a leg!
What is The Year of Return? 2019 marked 400 years since the first slave ship left Ghana and arrived to Jamestown, Virginia, setting in motion the transatlantic slave trade. Ghana commemorated the milestone by inviting everyone of African descent to “come home,” – resulting in approximately 500,000 people visitors returning to Ghana last year…that’s a lot of people & a lot of revenue generated – brilliant marketing campaign…I’m not mad at ya, Ghana!
While it was my first visit to Ghana, can I tell y’all I really felt at home?! A Ghana getaway just isn’t complete without getting involved in all of this:
1. Partying until 8am to the rhythm of Afrobeats at Sandbox Beach Club, Twist, Carbon & Front Back Members Only Club while balling out of control because the Cedi (Ghana’s currency) stretches more than Miss Cleo stretched those tarot card readings (and I’m not lyin’ here…keep reading and you’ll see how cheap things were).
2. Adrenalin rushing through Makola Market to get a tub of pure African Shea Butter that will last you over a year for 15 Cedis (yes, that’s only a whopping $3 USD still glistening & “f’n up my pillow, f’n up my sheets” – y’all are Ari Lennox fans, right?!). Copping kente cloth and having a Ghanaian seamstress custom make your threads for the low low. And if you’re not built for the Makola mayhem, a visit to the Accra Arts Center will fulfill all your souvenir desires - kente cloth pants/dresses, bookbags, and fans galore!
3. Awakening your taste buds with local Ghanaian cuisine from staples like kontomire stew from Buka which was certainly worth the wait (because things generally run at a slower pace aka Ghanaian time) as well as Honeysuckle for the suya wings! And if you want a real sexy scene, check out Accra’s iconic rooftop venue Skybar 25.
4. Lounge out & people watch at Labadi Beach. While I didn’t swim because unfortunately the water can be murky, it was still a vibe (with HELLA people) and I discovered Palm Wine, a sweet tasty drink of West Africa that is obtained from the sap of palm trees containing amazing properties such as vitamin C, iron & potassium…and a big bottle will set you back just 10 cedis ($2 USD)!
5. Chasing Wli Waterfalls in the Volta Region, the highest cascade in West Africa & one of the greatest travel attractions in the region. Be sure to wear your comfy shoes because it takes about an hour to hike to it but well worth the journey!
6. Walking it out (and holding on to the ropes for dear life) over the canopy bridges that hang 130 feet above ground at Kakum National Park.
7. Celebrating the strength of black culture while visiting the Slave Castles at Cape Coast & El Mina. An emotional roller coaster entering dungeons where hundreds of slaves shared close quarters amidst urinating & defecating on each other as they waited to exit the Door of No Return to be separated from their families and build an America that until this day has never granted us an apology for the cruel & unjust treatment black people have had to endure. Shout out to Sebastian (connect with him on Instagram @sebastiankwamenatettey) who was a phenomenal tour guide & provided a moving narrative that truly had us feeling the bond of our lineage.
Simply being in an environment where melanin is the majority had me on a high! Ghana has the perfect nickname of the Gold Coast because just like the metal it truly is a precious place rich in history & beautiful people who may be commonly identified as descendants of slaves but in fact are more appropriately descendants of strong survivors emitting the highest vibration of brilliant resilient energy.
Were you able to return and what did you most enjoy? Or are you planning a Ghana getaway soon? Drop a comment below and let me know!