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Exploring Makola Market in Accra

Whenever I crave inspiration, I find solace in the maze of Makola Market, Accra’s largest open-air market. 

Maybe it’s the fact that there are quite literally 50 different things happening around me or the sensory overload that fills me up with guilty pleasure, but I always leave with the inspiration–and goods–I came for.

I’ve been living in Ghana for two years now, and the last time I visited Makola was months ago to go grocery shopping. 

Christina Jane at the market
Join me in this blog post while I share a day of exploring Makola Market and answer FAQs about this well-known market in Accra!

Between constantly having to dodge trucks trying to pass through narrow pathways, kids tugging at my shirt sleeves, and the blazing sun, Makola Market takes a lot of mental and physical energy. 

However, visiting the market gives me a glimpse into the entrepreneurial spirit of Ghana, which never ceases to amaze me. 

Here’s what a day of exploring Makola through my lens was like. 

This blog post may contain affiliate links which means that if you book one of these activities using my link (which I know you will because you loved how helpful this blog post is *wink*I am going to receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting BCJ! 

VISITING WITH A GUIDE: If you are looking to explore Makola Market, but don’t want to go alone, here is a walking tour you can book to still get the full experience!

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Ghanaians walk the busy streets up and down, all while balancing the weight of their sales on their heads. A skill I have yet to master. 

Other merchants secure their spots on the side of the road, laying their goods out around them for prospective buyers to take note of as they pass. 

Those who don’t walk the streets or claim a spot on the roadside wait on standby from their shed-like shops. 

Market in Accra

For some, Makola Market is a day at work. For others, the market serves as a hangout spot where the boys go to casually catch up on life.

It’s easy to get lost in Makola, but I allow myself to, embracing every unfamiliar corner of the market, choosing to go down alleys I’d normally avoid, and allowing my curiosity to lead me on a journey through the market I’ve never been before. 

Exploring the market this way feels like a breath of fresh air. Not chasing or looking for any particular thing, but letting myself naturally encounter what I am meant to. 

I tend to find myself avoiding the crowds in Ghana, but here I walk through them. 

Makola Market feels like a mini town. There isn’t just one particular place for the market as several blocks, the stacked floors of shops, and the streets are flooded with merchants and their goods. 

“Auntie, auntie,” little kids shout at me in an attempt to capture my attention and secure a sale. “Madam, madam,” my age mates and elders follow.

I’ve been here long enough to know that even the slightest eye contact with those trying to get my attention will start a domino effect of unwanted attention my way. However, I respect the hustle too much not to give in, buying a small portion of what it is they have to offer. 

I come across groundnut paste, used to create my favorite Ghanaian meal, groundnut soup, and find myself lost in conversation with the merchant.

The merchant, a woman draped with various African prints opens a giant tub of stored groundnut paste and places 10 cedes worth of the paste into a personal jar for me to take home.

The smell of fresh salmon fills my nostrils, and I can’t help but buy two for dinner later that week. 

Of course, this stop attracts other merchants to me, and before I know it, I’m surrounded, and all I can hear are calls of “Madam” and “Auntie” again. 

Shopping in Makola
The entrepreneurial spirit in Accra is one that has inspired a lot of my own endeavors.

Eventually I manage to back away from the persistent sellers and find myself in an alley with women handling pounds of handcrafted shea butter. 

One of West Africa’s treasures and a commodity northern Ghana is known for, it’s an honor anytime I can get my hands on some. 

As my trip to Makola Market comes to an end, I come across juicy mangoes that immediately catch my eye, and I step off to the side of the curb to see how much they cost.  

After about 5 minutes of waiting in the sweltering heat, my impatience got the best of me, and I began to walk away. 

A lady who must have been watching me grabs me by my arm, takes me back to the mangoes, and packages them herself. 

 This moment reminds me that although people staring at me trigger bits of my anxiety, people sometimes watch to be of service in times of need.  

I open my hand, and in the center lies a crinkled Ghanaian cedi surrounded by pesewas, its currency sibling. 

Ghanaian money
Cash is your best option when visiting Makola!

 I laugh as I can’t believe my impatience almost let me continue my day without these mangoes.  

Today, this mango tastes just a little sweeter. 🥭 ❤️

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Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I get to Makola Market?

You can get to Makola Market by tro tro, Uber, or motorbike. Depending on your location, ordering an Uber to get to the market may be easier. 

I would recommend using a tro tro over Uber in Ghana because they are likely to go into the blocks of the market a bit more than an Uber may be willing to due to traffic. 

Is Makola Market open on Sundays? 

Yes, Makola Market is open on Sundays. However, Sundays are church days for many Ghanaians, so the market will not have as many merchants and will likely be quieter than usual.  

Christina Jane
Makola is usually open early in the mornings – the evening time.

Is card accepted at Makola Market?

Card is not widely accepted at Makola Market. The common payment methods are cash and Mobile Money. It is best to have variations of cash on you and keep it stored while walking around the market. 

How safe is Makola Market?

I have been to Makola Market several times with friends and alone and have never feared for my safety. Your biggest worry should be avoiding becoming a victim of pickpocketing. 

Bring a bag that you can carry in front of you or is sealed if it hangs from your side. Keep your money in a safe place that is not easily accessible. I would also put your phone inside your bag whenever it is not in use or hold on to it tightly so it can’t be snatched at any time. 

When is the best time to visit the market?

I recommend going to the market around 9-10 am. The sun will be more bearable, it won’t be as crowded as it gets in the afternoon, and traffic may be less. You will also spend at least 1 hour in the market as a tourist, allowing you to make the most of your day after.

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Christina Jane Travel Writer

About The Blogger

I’m Christina, a travel writer and blogger from Fort Myers, Florida.

Being Christina Jane is my way of inviting you to join me on my travel ventures by sharing the knowledge gained from my adventures and experiences— both good and bad.

This travel blog is filled with helpful travel tips, information, and is a recollection of the lessons I’ve learned and experiences I’ve had while traveling.

My goal is to curate a space that interconnects my love for travel and transparency and I hope you will join me on that journey. 

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Some posts on this website may contain affiliate links. Meaning if you buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and may even save you money!.

Anything I ever recommend is because I genuinely enjoyed that product/service. I promise to always keep it real with you!

Also, opinions and posts expressed on this blog are of my own accord. 

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