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The Year Of Return

The Year Of Return, What It Means And What You Need To Know

Do you know what the date 20th August 1619 signifies in the history of Africans?; On this day a multitude of able-bodied Africans were forcibly kidnapped from their homes, shackled in dungeons and inhumanly shipped to Virginia, United States of America. This year is exactly 400 years since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. 150 years ago, Ghana originally called the Gold Coast also situated on Africa’s western coastline was the haven of most Slave Trading. Western traders who arrived in ships at these coastlines had loads of goodies mainly food and liquor which they traded in for able-bodied slaves. Slaves who were sold in return for the goods were often captured during tribal wars or simply kidnapped by Slave captors since it was a lucrative enterprise.

So what is the year of return? In simple words, this is the year to mark the return of all people from African descent living in the diaspora to the African continent. A number of these diasporans prefer to visit Ghana because most of these slave-trading historical sites have been preserved. This great initiative was proposed by the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo. As part of the memorial celebrations, some persons of Ghanaian ancestral lineage( Ghanaian slaves who died in Barbados) have been sent home to be reburied alongside their families. Over 750,000 Ghanaian visas have been issued this year compared to the 80000 that was issued last year. If you have longed nurtured the desire of visiting the African continent, especially  Ghana, this is the best time to visit since a host of activities have been lined up to mark this historic event.

This year of return is a special one, you can choose to travel solo or join a group to make this trip, I can assure you that regardless of which approach you to take you will have some mad fun!. Below are a few tips  if you intend traveling to Ghana this December:

Before you travel:

  • If you would love to join a group to travel I will recommend you check out @Tribedash on Instagram and sign up as they have a lot of curated experiences in Ghana for this trip.
  • It’s almost December, and I’m sure you should have gotten your tickets by now, but if you haven’t then brace yourself for the flight tickets. I have personally used Skyscanner or Expedia to find affordable tickets in times like these, I will recommend you create an alert on these websites in order to get alerted when there is a price drop. 
  • If you are already thinking about flights then I presume you already have your visas – you can check out the visa requirements from the Ghana Embassy website in your country. Check out the Ghana embassy in the USUKCanada.
  • Also, if you need a beautiful passport holder, you can check out our Ankara passport holders which can be customized with your name or initials.
  • Remember to get your yellow fever cards, you need to have this on you when you arrive at the airport so please don’t put this in your checked bags. If you don’t have one at the airport you will be asked to take another shot and no one loves injections!
  • Ghana in December is really hot! Like that is the harmattan season, and if you are freezing in the snow now just know that it’s the direct opposite in Ghana, I will recommend you pack warm clothes and wear warm clothes on the plane because it will be another story if you don’t!
  • Accommodation  – It really depends on what your budget is but then you can check out the below: 
    • High end – Movenpick, Kempinski, Novotel, La villa boutique hotel, Olma home and suites, Golden Tulip, Alisa Hotel
    • Middle  – Oriental Hotel( North Legon Haatso), Ecstasy Hotel(North Legon)
    • Apartments – Pearl in the city, Flyover Apartments

You can try out Airbnb as well in Ghana, although I’m not too familiar with the Airbnb situation in Ghana, however, I know people who have used it and they loved it!

When you arrive:

I will recommend that you travel to other regions in Ghana as every region has a different culture, lifestyle, etc. I can assure you that people are nice and welcoming everywhere regardless of the region you visit. If you are going to be in Accra then please pay attention to the following:Where to eat – If you are looking to try the local food, which I suggest you should! Otherwise, what do you have to show for your visit? Then I will recommend the following places:

  • Waakye Joints: Fati’s waakye (North Legon, Wisconsin university area), Anti Muni Waakye (Accra)
  • Chop bar( Where all local dishes are served): Stages( Located at the Haatso/Ecomog intersection in Accra)
  • Kenkey JointsKenkey boutique ( Accra)

If you are looking for something local but a bit high end then you may want to consider Azmera(All local food), Buka(Osu) and Afrikiko. Other places to eat at include:

  • Vegan/Vegetarian food: Green Eats, Pat health vegetarian food center ( Around Elwak stadium)
  • Trendy places: Kukun, Cafe Kwae, Aunty Wangs

Nightlife in Accra: Accra is a very busy place especially in December, to be honest, biggest worry might be where to go as there are many options to choose from:

  • Outdoor pubs – Treasures Pub, North Legon ( Live band, make sure to order the yam chips and Kebab, it tastes delicious!
  • Clubs and bars – HoneySuckle (Osu),  Front/Back (Member club), Twist (Labone), Carbon, Bloom Bar (Osu) and SunCity.

Sites to visit: So if you are visiting Ghana because of the year of return, then the forts and castles built by the European slave traders are a must-see! 

  • CapeCoast CastleElmina CastleFort Christianborg, Ussher Fort and Fort James
  • Other places to visit in Jamestown in Accra, ring a bell? and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial park & Mausoleum
  • Places outside Accra include Okomfo Anokye Teaching hospital especially where the priest’s sword is buried, the Paga crocodile pond, Larabanga Mosque, Nzulezu(a city on water )

Events happening this December: As mentioned earlier, most likely your biggest problem will be choosing what to do because there’s generally a lot of exciting events going on in December. Some of these include:

  • Ghana/Nigeria End of Year ft Afrochella(Dec. 22, 2019, 12:00 a.m. – Jan. 3, 2020, 12:00 a.m. GMT)
  • Afro Nation Festival 2019 (December 27th)
  • AFROFEST Africa ( December 14th)
  • Afrochella + Ghana Cultural Excursion (December 27th)
  • Food Truck Fest Accra(Dec 23rd)
  • Afrochella 2019 (Dec 28th)
  • Waakye Party in the Garden( December 14th)
  • Rapperholic concert – Unstoppable edition ( December 25th)

Do follow @yearofreturn on Instagram to stay in touch with events happening in Ghana during this season. Otherwise, if you would like some more tips kindly send an email to me info@afroish.com

Feel free to share this blog post with anyone who might be going to Ghana this December.

If you are going to Ghana comment below! your expectations?

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