If you African-American, Jamaican, Trinidadian or otherwise of African descent - there has never been a more exciting time to travel to Ghana.
The Year of Return announced and proclaimed by Ghana's President Nana Akufo Addo, is a call to action for Africans in the diaspora to come home 400 years after the first ship carrying enslaved Africans landed in Jamestown, Virginia.
There are TONS of things you can do in Ghana from nightlife to historical sites and of course the food - but we wanted to focus on experiences that specifically focus on connecting to your roots and defining a new relationship with the continent and its people. Here is our roundup of the best Year of Return tours.
1. Visit Cape Coast and Elmina Castles and have a Traditional Naming Ceremony
Going to the "slave castles" is a must for anyone travelling to Ghana. There are actually more than 40 castles and forts connected to slavery and the colonial period but Cape Coast and Elmina are by far the largest and most poignant reminders remaining.
This tour goes beyond the standard history tour and brings your connection to the present through a traditional Akan naming ceremony led by a healer.
2. Explore The City That Kwame Nkrumah Built
More than a city tour, see Accra through the lens of the man it's now synonymous with - the one and only Kwame Nkrumah.
Discover why African leaders and Pan Africanists like Maya Angelou and WEB DuBois were drawn to this city, visit historic sites, and walk in his shoes. You'll even get an exclusive look at non-public areas of the Nkrumah Memorial Mausoleum that you can't get anywhere else.
3. Get in Touch With Ga Culture at The Shrines of Jamestown
The Ga tribe inhabits Jamestown, their King resides here as do many spiritual elders. The community has nearly 20 shrines tucked within it and this experience takes you deep into the culture unravelling the spiritual truths that guide this community every day.
4. Learn The Culinary Traditions of the Fulani Tribe
The Fulani are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa. Living in what is now Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea, and Mali, they are known for their ornate jewellery, beautiful women, and nomadic dining tradition.
Fatmata Binta, a recognized chef of Fulani descent living in Accra, will help you experience cuisine the Fulani way. You'll be treated to three courses inclusive of dessert, music, and good vibes that you'll always remember.
5. Cultural Drumming Masterclass
Most of us know that the drum is the heartbeat of Africa and it's an instrument and sound that lived on despite slavery. It's the bass line sound to hip hop, reggae, soca, and other diasporan rhythms that link us back home.
Nana Boadu’s drumming masterclass teaches you how to play authentic Ghanaian sounds and gain knowledge of the culture while moving and vibing throughout your class.
6. Discover The Meaning Behind Traditional Masks and Ornaments
Masks are synonymous with celebration in many African tribes, especially in the West. Learn the meaning and purpose behind them and explore artefacts used in pre-colonial times that give you a window into life on the continent before colonization and slavery shifted the landscape.
7. Explore African Literature at A Self-Run Library
Did you know that most bookstores in Accra stock Christian literature? Finding books by African authors is actually quite difficult, let alone older works by those in the diaspora.
Look no further than Libreria to shift that paradigm. This library founded and seeded by a Brit with Ghanian lineage is stocked some of the greatest books by black writers of all time. Take it all in, learn more about new authors, and enjoy a chef-prepared meal to accompany the conversation.
8. Discover Jamestown, the Oldest Neighborhood In Accra
Explore Jamestown, Ghana's oldest neighbourhood and the home to West Africa's largest street festival. You'll see the impact of British colonial rule in this stronghood of Ga culture.
This experience offers an inside look into an area working to find its place in the ever-changing surroundings of Accra. Parts of Jamestown is suffering economic blight but the community is still striving - you'll learn and discover from someone born and raised here while respecting the people you'll meet.
9. See the birthplace of Kente in Kumasi
Kumasi is the heart of the Asante Kingdom (also known as Ashanti). It is the seat of the palace and the homeland to some of the most influential Ghanaians in modern times.
This experience explores the cultural heritage of the Asante, takes you inside the royal court, and introduces you to the natural beauty of Asante land. Every 6 weeks this experience also includes a visit to the Akwasidae festival hosted by the Asantehene.
10. Visit an artist exploring identity in her work
Zohra Opoku is a German/Ghanaian multidisciplinary artist living and working in Accra. With a keen and disciplined eye for textile and design, Opoku employs installation, sculpture, and photography at the helm of her practice.
She conceptualizes West African traditions, spirituality, the thread of family lineage. You'll see first hand how Zohra creates her work, get insights into pieces, and then have the opportunity to join her for intimate studio visits with her contemporaries who have chosen Accra as their base for inspiration and creation.
11. Follow the journey of music from Highlife to Afrobeat
Palm wine, vintage records, and karaoke - that's just the beginning. Join Sharifah our resident culture vulture on a journey through Accra that focuses on the music that originated here.