Last year I spent a month in Accra, Ghana. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with friends. However, this post is not about my adventures, its about the beautiful garments I had custom made in Makola market.
If you are reading this and already noting down the location for a prospective future visit, I would recommend taking a few minutes to think about it. I do not think it is a tourist attraction, or for the adventurous type, unless you have a 'guide' or 'bodyguard' present. Ok, maybe I am slightly over-exaggerating, but Makola is not a joke. I went only because I am already accustomed to such environments having grown up in Harare, Zimabwe and visited Mbare which closely resembles Makola. However, bear in mind that I also had bodyguards the first time I visited but not the second or third time. Put simply, if you are not street smart, stay away as situations can change within a split second especially when you don't know where to run to.
Makola is a busy environment, regarded as a the largest market in Accra. From 9am-5pm ( they leave before darkness for a reason, use your imagination) the market is occupied by thousands of people all selling and buying goods and products ranging from toothbrushes, garden equipment, car parts ect . If you want 'anything', yes I mean anything you can find it there.
Despite the initial overwhelming sense of insecurity Makola is a thriving and exciting place to be. There are so many different types of people, things and adventures waiting to happen. The people are very friendly and happy to meet you, but you are always being watched. Makola has the 'cheapest' prices and most 'diverse' selections of African fabrics imported from across the whole continent. You can buy about 10 yards of material for less than £10, yes I said less than £10 your eyes are not deceiving you. On the other hand, in the same market 1 yard can cost you £200 depending on the brand and type of materials you choose to buy.
Ghana is the one the largest exporters of cocoa and gold, but also the originator of the infamous Kente prints and fabrics traditionally worn by nobility and the chiefs from the provinces.
Real Kente is expensive, with earrings the size of a 50pence coin likely to cost £15 and above.
Do not let the location or the shop deceive you. The quality of the materials are the best I have seen since I moved to the UK. Much better than Chinese imported African fabrics. The shop in the photo, located near the bus and taxi station was my favourite shop! As you can see, their materials are beautiful with literally thousands to choose from.
When leaving the market after 4pm, don't expect to rush back to your hotel. I would recommend walking to the next destination because taxi's do not move. You will get very well acquainted with your taxi driver by the third or fourth hour. Everyone tries to leave around that time until 5.