December 2014


Touring Ghana – Part 10…

Greater Accra Region

Accra

Finally we get to the Greater Accra Region. The gateway to the motherland and of course home to the capital Accra, the Greater Accra region is the perfect blend of Ghana’s past and present and old and new, offering historical landmarks and locations all in the backdrop of a teeming metropolitan city.

Getting there

As the capital is located in this region, getting here from other parts of Ghana is fairly easy whether you’re coming from by coach, bus or air. Best way to travel around the region is by trotro or taxi (but can be quite expensive)

Where to stay

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Accra has a mixture of luxury and budget accommodation to suit all pockets. Among these are Labadi Beach Hotel, Villa Monticello, Hotel Elegance, Bojo Beach Resort, Mahogany Lodge, Osdahouse Home Lodge, La Paradise Inn among others.

Things to do

For such a small region there’s quite a lot to do in the Greater Accra region. Let’s start with historical sites one can visit. Independence Square is a must – the second largest square in the world after Tiananmen Square in China, it was built by Dr Kwame Nkrumah to honour the visit of Queen Elizabeth II. Also known as the Black Star Square, it has two monuments: the Independence Arch and the Black Star Monument. Another historic place worth visiting is No.22 First Circular Road in Cantoments, where the remains of the ‘father of Pan African’ movement W.E.B Du Bois rests in peace. Also known as the Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-Africa Culture, the house is now a research library and a manuscripts gallery and was where Du Bois spent the last days of his life.

Now one cannot visit Accra without paying respects to the first president of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. Head to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, which also houses a museum that contains the personal belongings of Nkrumah. Another place not to miss is Osu Castle or Fort Christiansborg which served as the government house in the 19th and 20th century. Built by the Swedish in the 17th century, it has served as the seat of government and still is today. Other places also worth a visit are the National Museum which houses a collection of Ghana’s historical treasures and the Centre for Natural Culture in Accra.

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If you’ve had enough of sightseeing, why not relax in one of many of Accra’s beaches? Accra’s beaches are popular with tourists and local alike. Ada Paradise Beach, Krokrobite Beach Resort, La Pleasure Beach, Cocoloco Beach, Ningo-Prampram Beach and Next Door Beach all have activities ranging from polo and water sports to game fishing, music and art performances and bird watching among other things.

Now to get a feel of Ghanaian culture its worth visiting the National Theatre, where the resident theatre groups put on various performances on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The International Conference Centre is also one to look out for: there’re always arts, drama and musical performances as well as fashion shows taking place. And the Krokrobite Academy of African Music and Art offers a combination of beach, music, dance and art with performances every Saturday and Sunday.

Next if you’re up for a bit of retail therapy, you can grab a bargain at the numerous markets and shopping malls in the region. Oxford Street (yes Ghana has her own Oxford Street!) in Accra is the perfect location for any shop addict, with numerous boutiques and restaurants, ice-cream parlours, handicrafts stores and tech stores. Oxford Street also serves as a night market for the night owls among you. For a more local shopping experience head to Mokola or Agbogbloshie markets for beautiful textiles, traditional clothes, shoes, beads, straw hats, woven baskets and traditional jewellery. For carvings and paintings, head to the Loom Art Gallery which sells spectacular carvings, paintings by local artists and textiles.

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Like any metropolitan city Accra well and truly comes alive at night, offering a variety of bars, lounges and nightclubs for your entertainment. Osu is by far the best place to head to, but also the priciest, so be prepared to spend. Other neighbourhoods with good night life are Adabraka, Abeka La Paz, Asylum Down, Teshie-Nungua, and Bukom. Citizen Kofi, Firely, Rhapsody’s, Bella Roma and Venus are some of the best night spots in Accra, whether you want to relax or party. Weekends are extremely busy and crowded as locals and tourists alike are all out to let their hair down. Abrantie Spot is great for live bands playing local music, and Rockstone’s Office is the perfect place for hiplife lovers – the spot is also well known for their chicken and beer parties.

Finally as you travel around Accra, make sure you tuck into some of the delicious traditional and street food the region has to offer. The main dish eaten in Accra is kenkey with hot pepper and fried fish, banku with pepper and fish and red red or yo-ko gari (bean stew) with tatale (fried plantain). Also equally popular are fried yam with chofi (turkey tails) with pepper or shito (hot spicy sauce) and grilled meat or liver covered in hot kebab powder. Wash these meals down with asana (maize beer), palm wine or coconut juice (straight from the tree!) and you’ll never want to come back!

Hope you enjoy your time in the motherland! Happy travelling!

Yaa Nyarko (@Yaayaa_89)

Touring Ghana – Part 9….

Volta Region

Lake Volta

With rolling hills and valleys, rocky outer crops overlooking Lake Volta, lagoons, rivers and waterfalls, beautiful and serene beaches, mangrove swamps and tropical rainforests, the Volta region is home to one of Ghana’s best nature sceneries and one of the few places you can experience almost every tropical climate in West Africa. Boasting a rich diversity of history and culture and a vibrant people, a trip to this easterly part of Ghana is one you’ll unlikely forget.

Getting there

If coming from Accra or Kumasi, then STC buses are the ideal mode of transport to the Volta region, going to cities like Ho, Hohoe and Aflao. Trotros from major parts of Ghana go to these places as well.

Where to stay

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The Volta region has beautiful accommodation that really makes you feel like part of the place. With many hotels, b&bs and lodge houses to choose from, there’s something to suit everyone’s budget. Some of the best places to stay include the Wli Water Heights in Hohoe, Meet Me There in Dzita, Roots Yard in Peki, Biakpa Mountain Paradise in Biakpa, Vilcamba Hotel in Denu and Chances Hotel in Ho.

Things to do

One is spoilt for choice when it comes to activities to do in this part of Ghana as the region has a number of interesting places definitely worth visiting. Start off by exploring the dramatic grottos and caves etched in limestone that dot the region. These include the ancestral caves of Likpe, the grottos of Kpanda in Agbehoe & Aziavi, the caves of Nyagbo, Logba and Alepafu.

Get stuck in the history of the region by visiting the old Keta-Krachi Slave Route which served as a vital slave port in colonial times. Now completely submerged in the Volta Lake, nothing remains of this town except three buildings. Also worth a visit is Fort Prinzenstein in Keta built by the Danish traders in 1784. It served as a dungeon for slaves awaiting transportation to the Caribbean, and still stands today.

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Next, grab yourself a bargain by heading to the Dzemeni Market on the bank of Lake Volta where one can find great quality fabric and beads. It’s also a great place to witness local like as the market also serves as a place to trade mostly basic goods and livestock. Agbozume village is famous for their beautiful hand-woven kente cloth. Here you can witness weavers at work.

If you love a little adventure then get hiking and trekking on some of the numerous hills and mountains that dot the region. Mountain Dzebobo, Adukulu and Mount Afadjato (the highest mountain in Ghana) offer challenging climbs that is well rewarded with some spectacular scenes of the region as well as colourful birds, butterflies and monkeys that habit these mountains. You can also head to the Volta Estuary to see some of the region’s indigenous wildlife. The estuary provides scenic beauty with river and ocean beaches and its sand bars which serves as resting ground for seabirds and endangered species of twitter. Other wildlife reserves worth visiting are the Keta-Angaw Lagoon Basin, Tafi Monday Village and the Kyabobo National Park.

If all the activities above have made you tired then relax in the Keta District, which has some of the most beautiful and clean beaches in West Africa. The best ones can be found in the Volta Estuary Areas from Azizanu to Atiteti, Cape St. Paul in Woe, Tegbi, Anloga and the Kedzi Areas. Another distinctive feature of the Volta region is its waterfalls. Often set in attractive wooded or mountain settings, the waterfalls, such as Wli Falls, in Wli Nature Reserve, Tagbo Falls near Liati Wote, Tsatsadu Falls near Hohoe and a few others make for a spectacular viewing.

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Finally, really get to know the people and culture of the Volta region by getting stuck in many of their festivals held all year round. With over 10 tribes occupying the region, all with their distinctive language and customs, these festivals filled with pageantry and pomp have varying activities such as purification ceremonies, a durbur of chiefs,, singing dancing, kente weaving, drumming and pouring of libation.

Now you can’t say goodbye to the region without trying some of the region’s traditional dishes. A must try is the region’s famous Volta tilapia with akple or akple with okro soup. Equally tasty is abolo with shrimps and ‘one man thousand’ (kapenta fish). Polish these dishes off with a shot of akpeteshie or palm wine and you’ll never want to leave!

Yaa Nyarko (@Yaayaa_89)

 

Touring Ghana – Part 8…

Ashanti Region

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Birthplace of historical figures Yaa Asantewaa and Okomfo Anokye, land of the ‘Golden Stool’ and gold, home of quality kente cloth, the Ashanti region if one of the most important regions in Ghana with a powerful history to match. With historic palaces, festivals filled with pomp and pageantry, unspoiled natural attractions, picturesque villages and wild life parks, a trip to the kingdom of gold is a trip one is unlikely to forget.

Getting there

There are STC buses that travel to the region’s capital Kumasi from all parts of Ghana. For those of you who wish to fly, there are flights from Accra to Kumasi at least twice a day and least once with other major regions with airports.

Where to stay

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Being a major region in Ghana, the Ashanti region has several hotels, guest houses and resorts to suit any budget. Some of the best in the region are Wadoma Royal Hotel, Lake Bosomtwe Paradise Resort, Royal Park Hotel, Sanbra Hotel, Amis Wonderland Hotel, Laposada Hotel and Sweet Vine Hotel. In terms of places to eat there are many restaurants and fast-food outlets providing local Ghanaian dishes and international dishes such as Chinese, Indian and other continental meals. But to get a real taste of authentic local food and drink visit the numerous chop bars available local open air bars and street cafés.

 

Things to do

The cultural heartbeat of Ghana, there’s never a lack of thing to do in the region. I can’t possibly cover all things you can get stuck into so I’ll highlight the main things to do and look out for if you happen to visit this part of Ghana. First of all indulge in some local folkore and myth by visiting the Okomfo Anokye Sword Site, where legend has it that Anokye (fetish priest and co-founder of the Ashanti empire) drove the sword so hard in the ground to mark the city of Kumasi that no one has ever been able to dig it up (Anokye also conjured up the ‘Golden Stool’ from the sky, believed to carry the spirit of the Ashanti nation). Visit the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum to discover Ashanti royalty and its history. There, one can view royal paraphernalia crafted in gold, war mementoes including the ‘Golden Stool’, the ‘Brass Pan of Independence’, famous royal battle outfits and historic photographs. Also worth a visit is the Manhyia Palace Museum, the former residence of past Ashanti kings.

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The capital Kumasi is home to the largest open air market in West Africa at Kejetia so make sure you head there for a bargain. You can also head to the Cultural Crafts Centre to see local carvers, brass smiths, kente weavers, baskets weavers and adinkra textiles printers at work. Alternatively, you can visit the villages where these crafts are made – pottery at Ahwiaa, wood carvings at Ntonso, adinkra cloth-making at Asuofia and Asamang and bead-making at Ampabame. But an absolute must is a visit to the village of Adanwomase, the royal weaving village of the Ashanti king. There, you can take a special tour of the village and learn how kente is woven by the locals.

The Ashanti region is also one of the most beautiful regions in Ghana with unspoiled natural attractions. Digya National Park is a must for anyone visiting this part of Ghana – one can find many species of monkeys and baboons, elephants, antelopes, crocodiles, buffalos, water bucks, wildebeests, warthogs and many more. For the birdwatchers among you visit the Owabi Forest and Bird Sanctuary where you can find migratory and tropical birds and endangered Mona monkeys. Also worth a visit are the Bomfiri Wildlife Sanctuary with its waterfalls and wildlife and Bobiri Forest Butterfly Sanctuary. If you’re looking for adventure then Lake Bosomtwe is the place to go. A picturesque meteorite crater lake surrounded by beautiful fishing and farming villages, the lake basin is ideal for swimming, diving and mountain climbing. Other places worth a visiting are the Obuasi goldmines, Mframabuom Caves in Kwamang, Kumasi Zoo, Pankrono Shrine and the Atiwa Rock Formations.

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Finally when it comes to events and festivals filled with pomp and pageantry, no one beats the Ashantis. Festivals taking place all year round are the Akwasidae Festival (celebrated every six weeks), Papa Festival (March), Kente Festival (July/August), Yaa Asantewaa Festival (August), Mmoa Nni Nko Festival (October) and Nkyidwo Festival (November/December). During these festivals one can witness the procession of the Ashanti king in his magnificent gold attire and local chiefs, sacrificial rituals and drumming and dancing. Before leaving make sure to try the regions speciality dishes – fufu with light soup containing ‘akrantee’/bush meat or snails and ampesi (yam, plaintain, cocoyam or cassava).

Yaa Nyarko (@yaayaa_89)

A Message from the Editor: MFG Blog is a finalist for UK Blog Awards 2015

We Make the Final Shortlist in Most Innovative Category  for 2nd year running!

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It is with great pleasure that I can announce that the Me Firi Ghana blog has made the final shortlist for  UK Blog Awards 2015 in the best organisation blog Most Innovative blog category. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our readers who voted for us. I would also like to thank all of our talented writers/bloggers;  Jermaine Bamfo, Wilma Sagoe, Adwoa Asiedu, Nora Mitersky and Myriam Osei  who continue to produce informative, engaging and relevant content. Our fate is now in the hands of the judges.

All shortlisted blogs will be judged by a panel of respected panel experts in each industry category.  Shortlisted Individual’s and x10 Shortlisted Organisation’s will be Judged by the professional panel out of the 14 industries. The winner’s will be announced at the Awards evening in April 2015

To see whom we are up against see the following link – http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/most-innovative-shortlisted-finalists/

Thanks for your support!

Ben Jk Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)

Touring Ghana – Part 7…

Eastern Region

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With dramatic landscapes and historic relics, home to the Akosombo Dam, Volta Lake and beautiful Koforidua flowers (women) and the birthplace of the Ghanaian cocoa industry, the eastern region certainly lives up to its reputation as having Africa’s most friendliest people

Getting there

The eastern region is easily accessible if you’re travelling from Accra or Kumasi as the capital Koforidua is served by very good roads from these places. The bus journey from Accra is between 45mins to an hour.

Where to stay

Known for its calming and cool temperatures, the eastern region has many great hotels and guesthouses to make your stay a truly relaxing one. These include Beige Village Golf Resort and Spa (New Abirem), the Hillburi (Aburi), Bedtime Hotel (Koforidua), Akosombo Continental Hotel (Akosombo), Capital View Hotel (Koforidua) and Maasankofah Hotel (Aburi).

Things to do

Aburi

The idyllic atmosphere in this part of Ghana makes the eastern region the perfect venue for a relaxing getaway. With its striking landscapes and large areas of lush tropical forests, the region is home to some of Ghana’s best nature reserves.

Start off by heading off to the Aburi Botanical Gardens (opened in 1890) to discover its rich collection of tropical flora which attracts scores of birds and butterflies. Next, go to the Atewa-Atwirebu Butterfly Sanctuary near Kibi, home to one of the largest butterflies in the world, the ‘Papillio Antimachus’. Other wildlife and nature reserves also worth visiting are the Bonsu Arboretum Forest Reserve, Kogyae Strict Nature Reserve and the Bonsu Arboretum Butterfly Sanctuary.

Make sure to also visit the largest tree in all of West Africa, which can be found at the Esen-epam Forest Reserve. Another forest worth visiting is the Dodowa Forest, where one can find the Great Baobab Tree (Adansonia Digitata). The tree displays ‘bumps’ and ‘wounds’ caused by bullets made of beads, beans, salt, black potions and talismans fired by the Shai warriors to declare the Kantamanso War in 1826.

If you’ve had enough of wildlife parks and nature reserves, drink in the spectacular sight of the regions numerous waterfalls. Boti Waterfalls is a seasonal waterfall best viewed in June to August, whilst the Tsenku Waterfall is there all year round, dropping from a height of 250ft. Also worth a visit is the Begoro Waterfalls, made up of many small falls and cascades – makes a perfect location for a picnic.

For a spot of adventure, head on to the Lake Volta, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. One can also find the Akosombo Dam there. If it’s a cruise you want to go on, or partake in some water sports or do a spot of fishing, then the Lake Volta won’t disappoint. The lake also has many fascinating islands such as Dodi Islands – try and explore there if you can.

Discover a little history of the region by visiting the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Farm, the first cocoa farm established in Ghana (Quarshie brought cocoa seeds from Fernando Po Island), where one can still see original cocoa trees planted in 1879. Also worth visiting is the Slave Market of Abonse, where one can see traces of the 17th and 18th century slave market that serves as an important cross roads in the Slave Route. Not to be missed is the Okomfo Anokye Shrine at Awukugua-Akwapim (his birthplace). There you’ll find scattered throughout the towns on the Akwapim Ridge remnants of the legendary priest, such as his hand and footprints permanently etched in solid stone and where he carved out the first ‘oware’ board in stone.

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Other places of interest in the region are the Kwahu Scarp, known for its breathtaking and picturesque villages and home to the Kwahu people, the Krobo Mountains (first home of the Krobo people. One can find relics and building ruins of their first settlement), the beads market in Koforidua, the Umbrella Rock and Ghana’s only commercial diamond mine at Akwatia.

The eastern regions hold 4 of the 10 major festivals that are celebrated in Ghana. These include the Paragliding festival which attracts people from all over Ghana and overseas, the Odwira festival celebrated by the people of Akwapim in September/October and the Dipo festival celebrated by the people of Krobo Odumase and Somanya. Depending on what time of the year you go, you’ll be sure to find festivities taking place.

Now you can’t leave the eastern region without trying some of their tasty food. The diverse tribes that are found in the region are reflected in their cuisine – so anything from fufu to omotuo (riceballs) with light or peanut soup, ampesi or banku and okro stew can be found there.

Yaa Nyarko (@yaayaa_89)   

Spotlight on New Black Stars Coach…

Avram Grant appointed as new Black Stars Coach

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After some thorough reflections and discussions, it is clear to see that a new light has shone admist the cloud of the unknown. It has been reported that Avram Grant has been appointed as the new Black Stars coach after agreeing a 27 month contract according to Ghana’s football association.

Does the name Avram Grant sound familiar? Let’s delve into some history of the newly appointed Black Stars coach.

Grant was the former coach for Chelsea who suffered defeat by Manchester United in the 2008 European Champions League final. He was most recently the technical director at Thai side BEC Tero Sasana. Avant Grant’s credentials include coaching at Partizan Belgrade from 2012 to 2014, during which time he directed the club to their fifth successive Serbian championship. Besides, Grant has international experience having spent four years at the helm of Israel’s national side. Grant replaces Kwesi Appiah who led the Black Stars at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but departed the job in September. It is also believed that Grant will lead the Black Stars in January’s Africa Cup of Nations finals.

GFA President Kwesi Nyantekyi had these generous words to say about the new coach:

Avram Grant is a motivator and an organiser. We needed someone with a certain stature or pedigree who can manage the egos of our players as well as their expectations and those of Ghanaians in general.

“He has managed a lot of top-class players, and coping with high profile players has been the bane of many African coaches. We believe his quality will turn things around for us.”

Who isn’t eager to see the new coach in action and see if he truly is the hailing hero that we’ve all been anticipating for. No pressure Avram Grant. We can only hope that he will be an inspirational force to our dear Black Stars.

Adwoa Asiedu (@AdwoaAsiedu777)

Message from the Ghana High Commissoner: Miss World 2014 ..

Miss Ghana 2013 to represent Ghana Miss World 2014

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The Ghana High Commission in the UK wishes to inform all Ghanaians that this year’s Miss World event is taking place at EXCEL Arena, 1Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London, E16 1XL on Sunday 14th December 2014.

Nadia Ntanu, Miss Ghana 2013 will be representing Ghana at the event. In order to boost Miss Ntanu’s chances of winning the coveted Miss World crown the Ghana High Commission is encouraging our compatriots to attend the event to support Miss Ntanu fly high the flag of Ghana.

Tickets for the event can be purchased from the official Miss World website: www.missworld.com

The High Commissioner  kindly request that you attend this live event and lend your support to Miss Ntanu and Mother Ghana!

Me Firi Ghana (Me_FiRi_GHANA)

Pot of Love coming soon to Vox Africa…

New Dating show to Air this Christmas

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A Brand new cookery dating show filmed in Ghana, pot of love  will be hitting our screens this Christmas on Vox Africa.

Jokes, Laughter, Excitements, Love at first sight, disaster, what to cook or what not to cook to win a mystery man’s heart. Pot of love has a lot to give. It’s a show not to be missed.

Viewers in the UK can watch Pot of Love on Vox Africa, Sky Channel 218 whilst viewers in Ghana can catch it on DStv191. The first episode is scheduled for 10th December at 7.30pm

Check out the trailer below for a preview of what is to come

 Me Firi Ghana (Me_FiRi_GHANA)