What to buy: Animal art, masks, wooden statues, batiks, local cloths, jewels and much more....
You can find it all in Ghana.
In the big cities, at the coastline, in the national parks and near the tourist attractions you can always find art shops or local artists selling their items.Add to your Trip Planner
Accra, Centre for National Culture
At the Centre of National Culture also known as Arts Centre in Accra you find hundreds of stalls and small shops, which sell all kind of artisan goods from all over the country.
You can find wooden carvings, masks, beads, brass work, leather work, cloth, drums, but also African music and paintings, made by local artists.
Louis a rasta-boy I met at Akuma Village invited me in his Powerful Drums (work)shop. He and his friends showed me all kind of drums and other music instruments, especially by playing them.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Shea Nut: Beauty shop
What to buy: Did you know that Ghana was an exporter of Shea Nut? (Beurre de karite)
This miracle product enters in the composition of lots of European products, main one is Chocolat.
However, Shea nut has also great qualities for skin maintenance:
for pregnant women: prevent from skin scratches and skin distorsions of the belly and breast.
For the face: prevents and cures age signs: all big companies mix shea butter with perfumes, making 1000% of profit and sell that in small boxes. In fact, the main component is often shea butter.
What to pay: 5000 cedis for a bowl in the marketAdd to your Trip Planner
Central Fabric Market of Accra or Kumasi: Cotton Prints Fabrics and Custom Clothes
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.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
arts center,makola.: makola the place to beat
well you can shop at different locations in ghana depending on what you want to buy.when you are after art and craft and antiques you can get it at the art centre situated in accra.if you want to buy clothes and other materials like jewellery,food, cosmetics etc you can get it at the makola market and at all this places you can bargain for the prices.you can start from half of what they call for you.
What to buy: in ghana the special items to shop for are the paintings, crafts and clothings.
What to pay: you can spen as much as you want to depending on what you want to buy.Add to your Trip Planner
Areeba: Buy yourself a SIM-card
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.Add to your Trip Planner
At least not in Accra: Know where to buy your souvenirs
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,-.Add to your Trip Planner
Supermarkets: Buying food can be difficult
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.Add to your Trip Planner
Various: A tailor made garment
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.Related to:
Trade Fairground in Accra
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.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
- Beer Tasting
Accra Art Center: Accra Art Center
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.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Accra Cultural Centre and street stalls everywhere: Crafts
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)Add to your Trip Planner
Various: A favourite past-time
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.Related to:
- Road Trip
Accra Cultural Arts Center: Handicrafts Market
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).Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Aburi is the place to be
Over here you can find several woodcarvers with there shops.
This is shopper’s paradise, believe me.
Shopping over here is a sport at its own, don’t pay the prize they’ll ask.
And let the game begin,……Add to your Trip Planner
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