Exploring Ghana on a $500 Budget

Exploring Ghana on a $500 Wallet

The Year of Return had sparked a diaspora pilgrimage, drawing family, friends, and even celebrities to Ghana’s shores, many wanted to explore, have fun, and see the country.

Our most recent one is the American rapper Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr popularly known by his stage name Ja Rule.

That’s why I was incredibly happy when my cousin who left this country for the United States of America to further his education flew back home to visit.

He was my trusty sidekick, and I couldn’t wait to show him the wonders of Accra, but he came up with an interesting idea to see how he could explore Ghana on a $500 budget.

Ali’s Return and the Jollof Quest

After a day of rest, Ali was ready to explore the country with his $500 budget, so the first thing he wanted to do was go to the best Jollof spot in Accra, he had a Nigerian friend in the US and they’ve both been debating ‘ Which jollof is better Ghanaian or Nigerian?’.

So I took him to Buka Restaurant located in one of Accra’s vibrant neighborhoods, Osu. As soon as we walked in, the friendly host warmly welcomed us and led us to a table.

Glancing over the menu, I could see that Ali was overwhelmed by the variety of classic dishes like Kontomire Abom, Akple & Ademe Soup, Tuo Zaafi, Edikaikong, Goat Jollof and more.

I ordered Tuo Zaafi and he of course got his Goat Jollof – which was perfectly cooked. Each grain was fluffy and infused with rich flavors and goat meat. I calculated the cost: Jollof—$7.36. Ali’s budget now stood at $492.64.

Makola Market

Since we’re in Accra, Ali wanted to see what he could get at the Makola Market, so we went along Kojo Thompson Avenue, near the Jamestown area.

The market is massive, fast-paced, and crowded. Ali was surprised, we’d been here with our grandmother when we were about twelve/ thirteen years of age, it wasn’t like this back then.

We went through the market and Ali engaged with most of the friendly traders. he bought fresh produce like juicy pineapples, ripe mangoes, and plantains for cooking. we browsed through the stalls because Ali wanted to buy locally crafted beads.

After going through an amazing collection, he picked 3 beautiful locally handcrafted beads as he emphasized that these colorful accessories carried cultural significance and were great for souvenirs.

The last things he bought before we left were traditional fabrics like the Kente, unique pieces of vintage sports jerseys, and colorful African prints which he said add a touch of African elegance.

His wallet lightened: Fresh Produce & Plantains—$2.21, Locally Crafted Beads—$2.06, Traditional Fabrics—$36, Sports Jerseys—$12, African Prints—$33. Total: $85.27. Balance: $407.37.

Bambos Adventure Park

While he was in the US, I sent him videos of many exciting activities and games like paintball, bubble soccer, foot darts, sumo wrestling, and more from Bambos Adventure Park. he booked 4 activities on Gold Coast XP for $106.

The first activity that Ali wanted to try was sumo wrestling, he was still not over our wrestling days when we were young, we both had to don sumo suits, and engage in hilarious and thrilling battles of balance and strategy.

He pushed and shoved, trying to push me outside a marked circle, I also tried to outmaneuver him and wanted to touch him to the ground with any part of his body except the soles of his feet.

His days in the gym paid off and he pushed me out of the marked circle, we went on to play the other games and they were all amazing, we got out of the Bambos exhausted and happy. Ali’s balance? $301.37

Cape Coast Castle

Ali has always wanted to visit the Cape Coast Castle, for this trip, he wanted to see this historical landmark himself.

We boarded a bus from Accra, Kwame Nkrumah Circle to Cape Coast which takes about 2 hours and a couple of minutes for a fare of Ghc100 (which is $7.36).

After getting off at the last stop, we picked a taxi for Ghc 20 ($1.47) to the castle. Ali paid Ghc100 and a tour guide was assigned to us.

Touring the castle took about an hour, from going through the dark and cramped space where thousands of men were held captive before being shipped across the Atlantic, to the ‘Door of No Return‘.

Which was a final point where enslaved individuals walked before being forcibly boarded onto ships. The tour— left us speechless.

After touring the Cape Coast Castle, we made our way to the Ridge Royal Hotel, Ali booked a room for Ghc 2,170 ($147.48), and the hotel boasts a beautiful landscape in a serene environment.

It had a variety of rooms and suites with an outdoor swimming pool, fitness facilities, a restaurant, and free private parking. Balance: $137.7

Aburi Botanical Gardens

The next day, we got to Aburi by bus for Ghc100 ($7.36), Ali wanted to see the Botanical Gardens in Aburi, it was one of the oldest and largest botanical gardens in Ghana.

We saw beautiful things like the scenic area within the gardens that provides a restful setting for visitors called the rock garden, the Tree of Life sculpture – which is an impressive piece of art with carvings of human beings symbolizing the entirety of human life on earth.

ATV Aburi – Quad biking

After admiring nature, we went to the ATV Aburi – to have more Quad biking fun, they had different packages to pick from, Ali took the 2-hour biking session, where he received instruction on how to ride the bike.

Ali got the hang of it and we went on an 18km excursion and an amazing trip to a waterfall in the area for Ghc350 ($25.81).

Aburi Arts & Crafts Village

Later that day we went to the Aburi Arts & Crafts Village, Ali was fascinated by some incredible woodcraft.

The place had all kinds of crafts, from masks to carved animals and more. With over 100+ vendors, Ali had a tough time deciding what he wanted to buy.

After hours of going through some of the shops, he bought an ‘African Animal Kingdom‘ which was beautifully crafted with different animals like the elephant, zebra, and more for Ghc400 ($29.50).

He also purchased an Akofena (Sword of war) which was a popular Adinkra Symbol featuring two crossed swords and represented heroism, valor, and courage for Ghc350 ($25.81), to complete his taste, Ali bought a collection of the Adinkra Symbols nicely crafted from wood for Ghc350 ($25.81). His balance? $23.41

After that amazing time at the Aburi Arts & Crafts village, we picked a taxi back home to Accra, legon for Ghc250 ($18.39).

We had a good day, and Ali’s now had $5 remaining. He enjoyed the delicious jollof at The Buka Restaurant and had fun at Bambos Adventure Park.

He toured the Cape Coast Castle, spent an amazing evening at the Ridge Royal Hotel, relaxed in a serene environment at the Aburi Botanical Gardens, and got to see and buy accessories from the Aburi Arts & Crafts village with a budget of $500.

Depending on your interests and taste, you could do more with $500 in Ghana. But remember that there’ll always be something of interest to you in this country.

From beautiful places to historical landmarks, adventure and wildlife parks, beaches, hotels, and more.

So, this was how my cousin spent his $500 navigating around the country, how would you navigate, where would you go, what kind of food would you like to eat? Ghana’s waiting, come and explore now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *