Kakum National Park is about an hour from Cape Coast. It would be difficult to find a tro-tro direct, but one should go by the park entrance as these roads are well traveled. The park itself is something of a rainforest preserve with quite a variety of flora. The park is small though, and despite reports that a small elephant herd lives here, we didn't see any animals of size. This park has a canopy walk that is worth hanging around on for awhile. We only spent an hour or so with a guide and some friends from Accra.
The Cape Coast Castle was originally controlled by the Portuguese, Swedes, Danes, and Dutch, before the British took over. With each occupation, the castle was enlarged both in terms of slave exporting capacity and military defense. Much of the recent building on the upper levels must not date back more than a couple hundred years at most. The lower portions and the dungeons appear to be quite old and well used. It almost seems as if the men's dungeon is below sea level is it goes down rather deep into the bedrock on which the castle is built. The women's dungeon is quite a bit smaller and at a higher level, but both dungeons would have been both crowded and unhealthy on the whole. The ramparts still have rusty canons. The museum is informative in a variety of ways regarding tribal culture and slavery. The Castle has great views of the coast and the town. The gift shops at the entrance have garments and other handicrafts worth considering, even if at a higher price than available elsewhere. The bookstore upstairs has a good selection of readings appropriate for those interested in learning more.
The Kakum National Park is a fairly old national park, having been established in 1932 and used for the last fifty years for thee extraction of timber. It is located in Central Region of Ghana, about 20 kilometres north of Cape Coast. It covers 360 square kilometres of Ghana's rapidly dwindling rainforest.
Kakum National Park is a 350 square km national park in the Central Region of Ghana. The park was first established in 1960. The entire area is covered with tropical rainforest.
The Park contains rare animals, like pygmy elephants, forest buffalo, civet cats, a wide array of birds, more than 500 species of butterflies.
Kakum National Park has a long series of hanging bridges known as the "Canopy Walkway". The park contains a restaurant, a Lodge, a picnic area, a camping area and a wildlife education center.
The Canopy junglewalk in Kakum National Park passes over a 330 metres long series of hanging bridges made of ropes. They are connected together by the trees, and are all together the worlds longest and highest hanging bridge. At 40 meters height you walk over the tropical rainforest.
Walking on the junglewalk is quite pricey. Foreigners pay 30 GHC (20 USD), locals pay 12 GHC. See the prices on one of the pictures.
Cape Coast Castle is a large fortification. It was first built by Swedish traders in 1653 as a timber construction, but was later rebuilt in stone. The Danish took over the fort in 1663 before the fort was conquered by the English the year after. The fort was used in slave trade.
The fort became a museum and monument in 1957, when Ghana became independent.
Ghana has one of its most beautiful beaches on the way from Cape Coast to Elmina. Almost all the way has a beautiful seashore view. Brenu beach, located 30 km from Cape coast, is the most famous beach.
The third building in the British triangle is Fort Victoria. This fort is the smallest of all, and is situated on top of a green hill in the west of the city centre. Again, it is officially closed but when you get there you can easily enter it without having to ask someone or without paying for it.
The building was built in 1702 and it was restored in the 1800's. It is a small white building that only has one central room and one line of walls around it. From here you have a great view over the city, the other two forts, the lagoon and of course the blue sea.
Another nice thing to see from here are the birds that fly around and play in the wind.
The biggest tourist attraction of Cape Coast, and one of the most famous of Ghana, is Cape Coast Castle: an impressive remaining of the era of the slave trade. CCC is a place that gives you goosebumps in two different ways, and a definite must-see when you are in the country.
When you first see the castle from the outside, and when you enter it, you will firstly be surprised by its beauty. It is built on a rock in the sea and is surrounded by this blue Gulf of Guinea at three sides. The Dutch first built it in 1637 and later expanded by the Swedes in 1652. Finally it became British property, who had their headquarters here for 200 years. The building has a bright, white colour and the buildings around the large inner square are simply beautiful. Almost all the rooms are renovated already, so you can also have a look inside the marvelous accommodations the British made for themselves.
But: Cape Coast Castle is not only a beautiful place. It is a black page in global history. From here, thousands of Africans were transported to the Caribbean during the centuries of British colonisation. You still can see the dungeons where the slaves were kept like animals, and you can actually feel their presence when you are there. You'll see the "condemned room" where rebellious slaves were punished and "the door of no return" from where they were brought to the ship that would take them to the New World. The tour you'll get here is very good and touching, and makes you see that inside this beautiful building it has been hell on earth for most people.
Entrance costs 80.000 cedis for foreigners, with a discount to 50.000 for volunteers and students. For Ghanaian standards it may be a lot, but it really is an experience you will never forget.
Cape Coast Castle was not the only building that had to defend the city against enemies during the British era. They built two more forts to create a complete protection line around Cape Coast. These forts formed a huge triangle in the centre. One of the points of this triangle is Fort William, after CCC the second biggest.
Fort William is built on top of a green hill that lies in the middle of the centre of the city. Officially it is not open for public, but when you go there you will always be allowed to enter it, even without paying. The tower was built in 1820 as a watchtower. Several wooden stairs lead to the highest platform: the highest point of the city. Today Fort William is used as a lighthouse.