Arriving at Kotoka International airport I’m greeted with “Akwaaba”. I’ve been ‘welcomed’ to Ghana’s capital city, Accra. It’s late at night and I’m tired after a long flight and all I can think of is how welcome a comfortable bed would be. I’m hot and sticky and the air isn’t much better. I make my way through hoards of people jostling to find their transfer bus and then I spot that all too familiar Holiday Inn logo, with my name on it! Within minutes I’m on my way to the Holiday Inn Accra Airport hotel and before I have a chance to take note of my surroundings I’m at the front door. This must be one of the closest Accra hotels to the airport. The lobby is refreshingly cool and such a peaceful space. Thankfully check-in is fast and I head up to my room for a well needed shower.
Next morning I sat overlooking the pool, feeling revitalised, soaking up the sunshine and planning my days ahead. With a few days to spend exploring, I’ve decided to visit some of the city attractions. Akosombo Dam, a short drive away, is also on my list, forming such an important part of the country’s geography. It’s time to leave the familiarity of my Accra hotel and start exploring.
Standing in Independence Square on a mid-week morning, I’m the only person in a huge open space looking out to the ocean. Behind me is the Independence Arch which commemorates Ghana’s independence since 1957. The square is bordered on three sides by tiers of seating, with room enough for a few hundred people. My guide now explains that on the anniversary of independence, 6th March, I would struggle to find a spot to stand in. Indeed on any public holiday celebration the square is packed with throngs of people, united in celebration of their country’s achievements.
Akosombo Dam is significant because it created the mighty Lake Volta, the largest manmade lake in the world. It forms the major transport channel for Ghana and also provides hydro-generated electricity. Standing on the middle of the dam wall I look down at the huge turbines, marvelling at the dam’s structure. The people here are also benefiting from a thriving fishing industry. Sitting at a local restaurant, having my first taste of Black Tilapia, whilst looking across this serene body of water, I can also understand the benefits to tourism.