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.
Cape Coast Castle is one of the major tourist attractions in Ghana. Initially constructed as a small trading lodge. Later enlarged and rebuilt to a real castle
Were millions of slaves were shipped through to the Caribbean and the United States.
Elmina is one of the best conserved castles of the Gold Coast.
Built by the Portugueses, it went to the British and then the Dutch.
It is the main and best witness of the starting point of the slavery. Thousands of people were sold to Europeans traders and collected at El Mina.
The castle was also a point of departure for the commerce between the Ashanti's and Europe.
The castle is in very good condition.
Pay a visit to see the conditions of men and women who had no chance. A large part of them were already dead before being in the vessel. They were chained during days under the heat.
In this park you are supposed to see a lot of animals and local flowers and trees. However, the main attraction is the canopy.
You are on a small rope bridge, walking on top of the high trees, sometimes 100 m from the ground.
A big experience!
Don't worry it is very solid, but if you feel vertigo, don't try.
During the week, sometimes too many people and it can take you one hour to cross because of the afraid people, If possible for you visit during the week.
f you are not there before dawn, don't visit the park, there is nothing to see.
At dawn, if you are lucky, you can see some animals.
Cape Coast Castle was built by the British in 1665 on the site of a small Swedish fort from 1653. Since then it has changed hands four times, being captured by the Danish in 1658, and occupied by the Dutch between 1663 and 1664.
From 1667 until 1750, the castle was used by merchants trading in slaves, gold, spices and ivory.
Cape Coast Castle covers an area of 76,500 square feet and was officially opened to tourists in 1974.
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.
I went to Expertravel Agency to arrange for a trip to Cape Coast the following day. It wasn't an easy task, it is better to arrange for the trip with the Agency before you get there. It costs $70 for a trip to Cape Coast and Kakum Park.
We drove our Toyota 4X4 to the cape coast castle. When we got there, I joint the guide of the castle and his tourists. He explained in details the journey of the ‘unwilling immigrants’. One of the tourists was an African-American, completely touched by the story, he asked questions such as: So, the African brothers and sisters didn’t think about attacking the castle and destroying the whole system?
The guide Peter was super patient and explained to him that the Africans were divided and some Africans were traders. They used to go and destroy villages and capture everybody in village and sell them to the white traders.
This magnificent castle is in the heart of the little town overlooking the sea and its strategic position helped defending it (see pictures)
The Dutch converted the building into a castle in 1637 and the Swedes expanded it in 1652.
The castle was captured in 1664 by the British (changed hands 5 times in 13 years), the Brits took control for 2 centuries a and the castle was the headquarters for the colonial administration until 1877 and the capital was moved to Accra which is the current Capital of Ghana.
At the end of my visit to the castle, I was truly exhausted. I was psychologically drained. The horrifying history of slave trading and the brutality of slave traders are overwhelming.
In March 1994, the president of Ghana, Rawlings officially opened Kakum National Park. The park has been created to conserve one of Ghana’s rapidly vanishing tropical rainforests and the rare wildlife it contains.
Prince Eric, this is the name of my guide came to my hotel at 6 am to pick me up, he was a very nice young man with a big smile on his face.
We went to Kakum National Park on our way to Cape Coast; Price said that this is going to be a thrilling experience. I wasn’t sure why a visit to a “park” would be thrilling. Well, I found out when we got there. The park has 7 different bridges, very scary bridges. My experience in Vancouver (Canada) prepared me for this experience, we have a similar bridge. I wasn’t concerned about the height but I saw a Ghanaian woman who was so terrified that she decided to go back. People (all Ghanaians) laughed, cheered and applauded when she turned around and decided to skip the fear test.
The humidity at this point was behind imagination, I couldn’t believe how badly I was sweating.
The park is very beautiful, if are into hiking and a bit of "thriller", don't miss Kakum National Park.
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.
If you got time to go downtown, you should visit the local market.
The colors, sounds and smells you experience over here, are typical Africa.
You love it, are leave it.
Once you’re on the market you can see they sell everything.
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.
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.
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 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.