Travis Obeng-Casper, the designer behind unisex Afro-Minimalist fashion label AJABENG, shows us his favorite spots in the vibrant city of Accra.
Travis Obeng-Casper: “Accra’s fashion scene has huge potential. I’ve noticed the recent emergence of a young streetwear trend focusing on expressing individualism and breaking free from the mold, which was a source of inspiration when I launched Ajabeng in 2018. We use minimalism to tell our fashion story which traditionally would have centered around African print.
It’s important that we support each other as emerging Ghanian entrepreneurs to show the world we have something worth talking about. We work really hard in this city. There’s a hustle culture which West Africa is known for but we also know how to have a good time, and there are plenty of places to kick back and relax. My advice? Keep it local and enjoy an authentic Ghanian experience. It’s an exciting time to be in Ghana and these spots should give you a taste of the deep joy that I believe is only felt in this part of the world.”
A Day in the Life of Travis Obeng-Casper
9 a.m. — Pancakes & coffee at Jamestown Café
The ideal place to start a busy day is Jamestown Coffee Roasters, serving the best breakfast pancakes in the city. They are also the only café I know in Accra to roast their coffee on site, sourcing beans from the Volta region to the southeast. The café is full of young freelancers and creatives. In the evenings, Jamestown also frequently hosts live shows and gallery exhibitions.
11 a.m. — Morning stroll
If you get a chance, take the opportunity to stroll through Jamestown, the oldest district in Accra, and watch the fishermen frantically pulling in their catch of the day. There’s a certain beauty in the chaos as women prepare traditional dishes like fufu while the fishermen barter and sell their fresh catches.
Noon — Fabric shopping at Makola Market
Makola Market can be intimidating with its large crowds and no real signage, but don’t forgo this stimulating experience that indulges all the senses. I head straight to the fabric section known by market dwellers as ‘China house.’ This is the perfect opportunity to do some fabric hunting. As Ghanian artists, we have to pick from what is available to us, which sets us apart; we are inspired by the lack of resources to reimagine something new.
1 p.m. — Hydrate!
Leaving Makola, coconut stalls are plentiful. Quench your thirst with fresh coconut water for around 3 GHS.
2 p.m. — Lunch
A firm favorite, Palm Moments is a women-owned business in the heart of Osu serving simple yet delicious Ghanian cuisine. I usually order the fish with jollof and fried plantain. The food is always super fresh and has become so popular that founder Tasia Cobbinah opened up a second restaurant in Asylum Down. It’s worth keeping an eye on their social media because Palm Moments often hosts amazing events and live shows.
3 p.m. — Shop local designers
After lunch in Osu, take a drive towards East Legon and check out Viva Boutique, an elegantly designed concept store featuring local designers, including my clothing label, Ajabeng. Viva is always receiving new stock so I often make an effort to visit and check out what’s new.
4 p.m. — Satisfy your sweet tooth
If you’re looking for a sweet treat, Milkbox is the place to be. An ultra-modern French patisserie, you can never go wrong with a slice of their coconut or pineapple cake.
6 p.m. — Long walks on the beach
Labadi Beach isn’t just a party location. Despite the abundance of bars and restaurants, you can escape the noise by taking a sunset horseback ride along the beach. Just a few hundred meters down the coast, the crowds disperse and you’ll have the entire beach to yourself.
8 p.m. — Bar-hopping
Generally, I prefer a quieter, relaxed setting after a busy day, so I tend to choose one of Osu’s local bars for a chance to reflect and relax while dreaming about tomorrow. For a livelier setting, head down to Republic for traditional Kokroko.
Where to Stay in Accra
Close to the hustle and bustle, Osu, Cantonments, and Labrone are great locations for first-time visitors to check out in Accra. Most of the nightlife is situated in Osu, but Cantonments is close by and has an abundance of accommodation due to the amount of embassies in the area.
Know Before You Go
Accra is hot and humid, so come prepared and ensure your accommodation is equipped with air conditioning or a fan. April through June tends to be the season with the highest rainfall, but don’t let that fool you: it will still be hot and humid. Finally, international visitors should make arrangements to be protected against yellow fever before visiting.
Read Before You Go
The Roadmaker is a beautiful collection of works by world-renowned Ghanian photographer, James Barnor. As we continue to build and grow in Ghana, it’s important to see how things were and how Accra has changed over the years.