Ride on a wave: Here’s why Ghana should top your vacation bucket list

Brett Davies paced up and down the sloping sands of Kokrobite beach in Ghana, organising surfers from 20 different countries at his annual international competition. Along the beach, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) west of Accra, dotted with dug-out fishing boats, Rastafarians were selling T-shirts and small children were playing in the sand.

Davies, 42, is leading the push to bring surfers to the West African nation as a way to help boost the country’s under-developed tourism sector. The British national already runs a surf school at Kokrobite and has helped to bring surfing to Busua, near the border with Ivory Coast.

“The greatest thing about surfing in Ghana is that we have uncrowded world-class waves that appeal to the beginner and intermediate market,” he told AFP. “Most well-known destinations are very localised and very intimidating to the average surfer.”

At the competition, which was held last month, local reggae boomed from the speakers stacked in the corner of a car-park. In the water, Emmanuel Ansah cut across the breaks, deftly manoeuvring his board, trying to catch the eye of the judges sitting on a wooden platform, looking out to sea.

The 19-year-old from Busua started surfing five years ago and described his first time on the waves as “like having a new girlfriend”. “I was so happy,” he said. Now he, too, wants to see Ghana become a surfing destination in its own right — and one day represent the West African nation at overseas competitions.

Surfers finish their semi-final set, during the annual international surf day competition on Kokrobite Beach, Ghana. (AFP)

Untapped potential

According to the World Bank, 897,000 international tourists visited Ghana in 2015. In comparison, just over 1.1 million went to Kenya and 8.9 million travelled to South Africa. But the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates numbers for Ghana could jump to nearly 1.3 million this year and more than 2.0 million by 2027.

In the last few years travel and tourism have directly contributed $1.3 billion to Ghana’s economy — the equivalent of about 3.0 percent of gross domestic product. Tourism generally focuses on natural attractions like waterfalls and national parks, historic slave forts and cultural activities.

But with some 550 kilometres of unspoiled coastline, watersports on the Atlantic Ocean, off the palm tree-lined golden sands, are being seen as a major draw. “Surfing has a huge potential,” said Ghana tourism specialist Gilbert Abeiku Aggrey. “We have not developed our beaches.

Surfers do flips as they wait to compete in the international surf day competition in Kokrobite Beach, Ghana. (AFP)

“We have not done anything, it’s a raw opportunity for anyone who wants to come.” Attracting surfers is seen as a good way to bring in middle-income earners to Ghana, plugging a growing gap between budget travellers, volunteers and those on business.

Development plan

The high cost of flights and accommodation in Ghana has been blamed for deterring tourists. A stay at a standard three-star hotel in the capital can set travellers back $100 (88 euros) a night, while flights even within West Africa can be eye-wateringly expensive.

The head of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Kwesi Agyemang, said there are plans to start targeting different interest groups and improve regulation. The authority’s work includes targeting other countries for visitors. The government’s National Tourism Development Plan in 2012 noted there were “completely virgin” beaches in Ghana’s Western Region because of lack of access.

The Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project aims to develop nearly 100 hectares (250 acres) of the shoreline with hotels, shopping malls, theme parks, an office and casino. In the 2017 budget, Ghana’s finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta said tourism could help address soaring levels of debt and high unemployment.

Ghana, once celebrated for its rapidly growing economy, saw rates of growth slow to some 3.6 percent in 2016 — the lowest in two decades and well down on 14 percent in 2011. Davies accepted that government help was needed but, whatever happens, he will be encouraging people to ride the waves.


Higher Childhood IQ Linked to Longer Life: Top 5 Foods to Boost Brain Power

While a range of lifestyle factors have been linked to triggering ailments like cancer, diabetes, hypertension among others, experts have now established an unusual link between IQ level and a range of diseases. Experts at the University of Edinburgh in the UK have found that kids with higher intelligence have a lower risk of major causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, and smoking related cancers. The findings also suggested lifestyle factors, especially tobacco smoking, as an important component in the effect of intelligence on differences in mortality.

Close to 30,000 men and women were examined for the same and it was found that higher childhood intelligence was associated with a lower risk of death until age 79. Previous studies have shown that, on average, individuals with higher IQs tend to live a little longer than those with lower IQs. Cause of death included coronary heart disease, stroke, specific cancers, respiratory disease, digestive disease, external causes (including suicide and death from injury), and dementia.


While the Intelligence Quotient of a person rests on genetic predisposition and can be honed by cognitive exercises and brain stimulating activities, experts suggests diet to also play an active role in boosting brain power. Take a look at top 5 food items that can rev up your IQ.


Vitamin C


Citrus fruits are excellent for boosting brain power. Vitamin C has long been linked to enhancing mental agility.

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Nuts and Seeds


Just a handful of seeds may go a long way in boosting brain power. These are also a great source of essential micronutrients and antioxidants.




Load up on your favourite berries! From blueberries, raspberries to the most loved strawberries, they protect the brain against age-related cognitive decline.

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Green leafy veggies


From broccoli, kale, to spinach – green vegetables are full of iron, Vitamin E, K and B9 (folate) which are extremely important for brain cell development, keeping memory related issues at bay.

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Photo Credit: Istock

Whole grains


Regular consumption of whole grains is beneficial for the overall well-being of the body. Grains consumption helps release energy which is used by the brain for proper functioning.