If you have missed my recent Ghana adventure – please check out my first post on running in Accra in search of Black Star Square, and my second on all my runs in the Eastern Region including an epic run over the famous Adomi Bridge. Our original plan was to leave Senchi on Saturday just in time to board the night flight to Gaborone (via Johannesburg). Unfortunately, we could not get the Covid PCR Test done in Senchi or Atimpoku which meant we needed to travel back to Accra on Friday evening after work so we could take the test at the Airport Clinic and pick up the results before checking into our flight on Saturday. The 70km trip from Senchi to Accra took over two hours and by the time we took our Covid test it was past 8pm.
So, quite unexpectedly, I found myself in Accra again with a second chance to find Black Star Square. When my alarm went at 05:40, I had a pounding headache and decided to lie-in. When I finally woke up, I realised it would be too hot for me to attempt a run to Black Star and back. Instead, I decided to get a taxi to Black Star and then walk back along the route I would have run. Getting a taxi was not easy – the hotel said they couldn’t call a taxi for me and I didn’t have a local sim card to do it myself. I also didn’t have local currency and the ATM outside the hotel wasn’t working. So I downloaded the Bolt app (similar to Uber) and in two minutes there was a cab at the door! The driver took me to Black Star Gate. I started my Garmin.
I was so excited to be here! Black Star Gate is part of Independence Square now known as Black Star Square. On top of the gate sits the Black Star of Africa which represents Africa in general and specifically Ghana. The Gate has the inscription “AD 1957” and “Freedom and Justice”. The black star is also on Ghana’s flag and Ghana’s football team are known as the Black Stars.
Black Star Gate and Square were commissioned by the revolutionary leader Kwame Nkrumah after he became President, to celebrate his nation’s newfound independence from Great Britain. Once I had walked around the Gate, I crossed the road to the Square. Two men were selling sunglasses at the entrance and another one greeted me politely and asked to show me his beautiful canvas paintings. The square was massive and there were many people sleeping in the stands. They never bothered me or anyone else but I wondered what their stories were.
Once satisfied, I walked left onto 28th February Road and then towards Liberia Road where I was to go right. At this junction, I spotted The Law Court Complex.
There were several ministries in this area. It reminded me of the Government Enclave in Gaborone which is home to most of the ministries and Government departments – I saw Finance, Gender, Social Welfare and many others. I continued quite comfortably knowing I was headed in the right direction. Just to be sure though, I stopped a man pushing a wheelbarrow of coconuts to ask if I was close to the National Theatre. He assured me I was. Construction of the National Theatre of Ghana began in 1989 and it was finally opened in December 1992. It is quite a unique building and the photos don’t do its neat curvature justice.
From here, I went onto Independence Avenue. This road was lined with several different African Flags. I didn’t see Botswana and wondered what the criteria was! I spotted the World Trade Centre – Accra which is a “doorway to a world of global trade opportunities for companies in Ghana and the West African sub-region as well as a soft-landing pad for international commercial interests seeking to take advantage of exciting opportunities in Africa”.
There were several huge commercial banks in this area, many of which I hadn’t heard of. I also saw the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and a very interesting building with a statue that turned out to be the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints alongside its missionary training centre. I was struck by the number of people lying on the streets. As in Black Star Square none of them bothered me but again it was sad to see.
Crossing the Ako Adjei intersection was a mission. It was very busy so I walked left for a little bit and then crossed over and made by way back to Independence Avenue. I then realised I was walking along the wall of the Norwegian Embassy. Sadly, as with other embassies in the area, I wasn’t allowed to take any photos. The intersection walls had the loveliest murals.
I was now on Liberation Road with one must-see building left – the Golden Jubilee House, the Presidential Palace. Completed in 2009, this is the residence and office of the President. It is built on the site of a building that was constructed and used for administrative purposes by the British Gold Coast Government. Previously called The Flagstaff House, it was renamed Golden Jubilee House by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on 29 March 2018. The building’s shape was inspired by the Golden Stool of the Ashanti people. It is made up of four buildings connected at the top with an air bridge. The base of each building tapers towards the top where there is an iron framework which curves at the edges to give the stool its seat.
In Botswana, we are not allowed to take photos of the State House (President’s residence) so I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to do so here. I took one quick photo but would have loved to take the one in front of the gates with Ghana’s flags flying so brightly in front of the Palace. From here, I headed straight to the Hotel and called it a day with 9km walked on the streets of Accra. I promised I would take you to Black Star one day, but didn’t realise it would be this soon! But there you have it – my walking tour of Accra, Ghana’s bustling capital city. I had a quick lunch and shower and then it was off to the Airport for my flight back home!
I hope you enjoyed walking with me in Accra! Do you walk as part of your fitness routine? Have you heard of Bolt before?
I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running. Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.