Actually, like the central market of any other large West African city, almost anything can be bought here. But, Kumasi and Accra have a particularly good collection of cotton print and batik fabrics. Clothes can be make for men, women, and children in a day by a large number of tailors. Ready made clothes are also available. It's a wild and crazy place that's not for people afraid of crowded tight spaces. Select the fabric and then find the tailor. Examine examples of the tailor's work and scrutinize the effort, or be ready for an ill-fitting garment. Enthusiastic tailors ready to help are easy to find and can do a quick and excellent job.
What to buy: The batik and cotton print fabrics I bought were of a heavy thread count. I also had to examine carefully the issues of collar and button. as collarless shirts are typical in Africa.
What to pay: From seven to fifteen dollars depending upon your bargaining, their quality, your need for speed, and the difficulty of the job.
Best shop is on the beach. Locals come to the beach without swimwear just buy it there. You can have everything done from your hair, nails, massage, and buy swimwear, tops, tee shirts jewellry, watches, paintings, masks you name it you can get it but do barter hard and strong. If going to the beach for a few days try to put them off until your last day that way you wont be hassled. However, they will remember and will all be back on last day to sell sell sell. I managed to buy a couple of bikinis, 5 tops, 3 skirts and 2 skorts all for €20 - not bad!!!
Trade Fairground is a huge complex with stores, shopping hangars, curiosa stalls, chop bars, restaurants and so on.
You can find here almost everything.
You’ll have to pay a small entrance fee and once you’re inside, everything is a little more expensive than on the streets.
The cultural arts center in Accra provides music and food, and a wonderful market of handicrafts. Each vendor has his own space, and there's a labryinth of vendor booths, so browse thoroughly before buying.
What to buy: Kente cloth, drums of all sizes and types, masks and other wood carvings, traditional mud painted cloth, African bead work, and a great many other things. It's a great place to look around and feel free to bargain (nicely).
Ghana, like all African countries, is a great country to buy souvenirs. The local craft is beautiful and the prices are much cheaper than the normal level in the Western world. But it is wise to think first before you buy something.
The easiest place to buy souvenirs in Ghana is the capital Accra. Here, you will find lots of stalls all around the city and the biggest souvenir-market of the country: the National Cultural Centre. But the best tip I can give you: don't buy your things in Accra! The products they sell here always are bought somewhere else in the country and therefore they are much more expensive than when you would buy it from the source itself.
Of course it takes a lot of bargaining to get to the right price: not only in Accra, but everywhere else in the country too. The main principle is that you should never pay more than 50% of the price that was asked originally. It take a lot of discussing but that 50% always works.
What to buy: What to buy depends strongly on the region you visit. Here is a short list of products that are typically Ghanaian, and the region where you can find the best quality and prices:
- The north of Ghana, around Bolgatanga: straw-products like hats, baskets, fans and other things like key-hangers and bracelets.
- Directly north from Accra in Aburi: wood-carvings. Here you find beautiful statues, masks, wall-decorations and wooden pots for good prices.
- The Ashanti-region around Kumasi: the traditional Kente-cloth. Colourful cloth with traditional patterns are originally from this area.
- The Ashanti-region around Kumasi: beads and everything that is made with it: necklaces, bracelets and the beads itself.
What to pay: Just a few examples:
- A djembe (traditional drum) of 60 cm high: € 22,-.
- A wooden statue of 15 cm high: € 3,-.
- A painting of 40x60 cm: € 8,-.
- One yard of kente-cloth: € 1,-.
- A group of 3 wooden statues of 25 cm high: € 5,-.
When you want to buy some food in Ghana, you should not expect it to be the same as buying food in Western countries. It is not just going into a supermarket and loading everything into your kart. Almost everywhere in Ghana you will not find any supermarkets or even smaller shops where you can get food. Most of the times you have to rely on a market.
An average Ghanaian woman goes to the market on foot, with a big tub on top of her head. This tub is filled with products little by little: stopping at a lot of different stalls on the market. One to buy meat, one to buy soap, one to buy vegetables and so on. There are some small stalls where you can get several products at the same place like canned goods, spaghetti, drinks and instants goods.
After all it can be quite a search before you have everything you are looking for, and it will take a lot of bargaining too. Supermarkets like "we know them in the West" only can be found in the major cities. I found two of them: one in Kumasi and one in Accra. There you can buy all kinds of imported stuff; extremely expensive compared to Ghanaian prices.
When you are planning a longer stay in Ghana, or use your mobile a lot at least, it is wise to buy a Ghanaian SIM-card. The most popular provider in the country is Areeba, which has lots of selling points all over the country, quite a good coverage and most important: very good rates.
When you arrive in Accra, you'd better buy a SIM-card immediately at one of the official Areeba-stores in the city or one of the many stalls you'll find at the sides of the streets. For a new SIM you only pay 60.000 cedis ($ 6,-) and that already includes 100 calling-units. Of course you have to make sure weither your phone is SIM-lockfree or not, otherwise it will cost you extra to make it work.
What to buy: Once you have your Areeba-card, you can recharge it whenever and wherever you want. There are two types of cards sold at the Areeba-stalls at the roadsides: "scratch-cards" and "instant credit".
A scratch-card is a card with a number you have to enter on your phone. It costs 120.000 cedis ($ 12,-) and that gives you 800 units. With the instant credit, the salesman at the Areeba-stall dials a number and charges your phone like that. These instant credits are about very low amounts of money: 5.000, 10.000, 20.000 cedis (as low as $ 0,50). The disadvantage is that they have limited validity, sometimes the credits are only valid for one day.
What to pay: Areeba charges one units per SMS inside Ghana, and 1 units per minute. Inside the country it is very cheap, but also when you use it for calling abroad, the rates are very good.
Bargain when you shop - with a smile and good humour. If you're not prepared to spend time bargaining (quote a much lower price than the one they quote, for added fun....) or to engage with shopkeepers, don't even go near the shops, especially not at the Cultural Centre in Accra! I met a German couple who had naively thought they'd 'take a look', as one does in Europe; well, after half an hour they looked like they didn't know what had hit them!
The Cultural Centre is convenient. You can get everything in one place, though I imagine it's not the cheapest place for any of these goods. You'll find sculpture, masks, baskets from Bolgatanga and Kente cloth from the Ashanti and Ewe areas (the latter quite expensive). They also have a foreign exchange office right outside, should you end up buying more than you thought you would!
In Ghana I got interested in beads for the first time, which I bought mostly in Aburi and from stalls around Accra. But the main place to buy them is the town of Koforidua, not far from Accra.
What to buy: Traditional woven cloth (Ashanti or Ewe kente cloth)
Baskets and straw hats from Bolgatanga
Beads from the Koforidua area
wooden sculpture and masks
Chocolate! (Golden tree chocolate with lemon is very good - but I had no luck locating cocoa pods. Thanks Ina and Thomas for giving me one!)
What to pay: 10 000 cedis for a bead bracelet
300 000 cedis and up for kente cloth (small tablecloth size)
Sewing is a very popular past-time, and you often see people sitting alongside the road, outside their homes or in the market, with an old-fashioned foot-operated Singer machine. Materials can be bought quite cheaply in the markets and transformed into colourful garments for men and women.
Shopping seems to be a great past-time here in Ghana. You can either go to nice, modern ‘supermarkets’ (which are often found in garage forecourts), little shacks along the road or buy from the street sellers, who usually carry their wares in large metal bowls on their heads. The latter is of course the cheapest option.
Youshould make a visit to the accra art center when in Accra, you can buy some souveniers from here for really cheap, if you are ready to bargain. We brought some wodden masks for as low as 5000 cedis. There are really big ones too which are expensive, but then this is the best place to buy in Accra.
Find one of many of textile and material print shops in the centre of market.
Choose the material you like and ask the lady shopkeeper to find you a dressmaker in the tailoring section of the market.
Our shopkeeper found us a seamstress / tailor girl called Violet, who measured my wife
Three hours later both dress & the suit were completed pressed & ready to ware
A wonderfull experience for both of us in tempratures of +30'C
What to buy: Thousands to choose brightly coloured printed fabric
What to pay: $30 for a suit & a dress
Makola market Accra material & sewing section
What to buy: Find yourself a textile print and then go around the corner and pick the patten for the dress or suit you want. then find a seamstress to measure cut and sew up the dress and all in the space of 2 hours.
What to pay: 30$
This is the biggest market you have ever seen and must be the largest textile market in the world.
10,000 traders operate in a 12 hectare area
Getting lost is part of the fun !!!
What to buy: Europeen used car spares
Europeen used clothing
African print material
All the african food
What to pay: All very reasonable
A fine selections of coffins from a coco-pod to a BMW
You can try them for size !!!
Very nice proprietor
We sent him copies of the photos so you may see them hanging up.
What to buy: Made to measure coffin's with beautiful linings designed by yourself or copied from a photograph
What to pay: Up to $500.00
More Regions in Ghana