Cape Coast is a mere few hours away from the heart of Accra and hence it should really be on your do to list when you’re visiting Ghana. Despite its complex history which makes this location a main point in pan-African history, Cape Coast has a lighter tone and appeal than Accra making it captivating to anyone who wanders there.
Before embarking on your journey, here are a few things that you’d need to know:
- Transportation – Personally it’s best to go by car. If you [by chance] have an acquaintance in Ghana, organize a day trip with them. Ghanaians are gracious hosts and are very accommodating to their guests. This allows for greater flexibility. Alternatively, there are buses such as Intercity STC which are quite comfortable and travel to and from Cape Coast twice a day. With the STC, the timeline between getting there and leaving is quite short so you’ll have to consider overnighting. You can then catch the “tro-tro” (small public van) around Cape Coast.
- When Is The Best Time To Leave Accra for Cape Coast – 5:30am is the best time to leave Accra as the journey is roughly 2 1/2 – 3 hours long. The earlier you leave, the less traffic you’ll have to deal with and the journey would be much smoother.
- When Is The Best Time To Leave Cape Coast – it’s best to leave between the hours of 2:30pm and 3:30pm to reach Accra by 6:30pm. Traffic during the evening is always much heavier than traffic during early morning.
- Plan, Plan, Plan – planning is integral to maximizing your experience. Be sure to find out when times the attractions open, and the distances between each point of interest. Then, you’d have a better idea of which attraction to visit first; and which attractions are walking distances from each other.
Kakum National Park
Made up of seven bridges suspended on trees, the canopy walk is definitely a major attraction. Just imagine “walking” over the forest and having a bird’s eye view of the vegetation.
Despite the many times I’ve been to the Kakum National Park, you forget how high the canopy actually feels. Personally, I prefer to tackle the park first as it’s much cooler in the morning. Not to mention, after an incredibly long drive, it’s great to break up the monotony with a brisk walk through the forest.
If you’re afraid of heights, this is not the tour for you has the walkway hangs 100 feet above the forest floor. Also, the swaying motion of those on the bridge ahead and behind you does make it a little nerve wreaking. To conquer these bridges, I’d suggest that you go last to reduce the swaying that you may feel on the bridge.
The International Stingless Bee Centre
A mere 10 minutes away from the park, this attraction is worth a visit due to its sheer proximity alone. But, on arriving, you’ll quickly realize that this research centre is really quite a gem. The staff are knowledgable and friendly which truly makes the experience enjoyable.
They also sell 100% natural honey as well as other natural products.
Ghana alone is home to 32 forts and castles which have been documented by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Therefore, while in Cape Coast, you should definitely visit Elmina Castle (or the Cape Coast Castle).
The Elmina Castle is known to be one the largest slave forts in the world which was originally built as a trading post by the Portuguese in 1482. Later, the Dutch took it over and it became a focal point in history during the transatlantic slave trade.
It’s truly an emotional experience to be in such a place which carries the pain and the deceit of that time. You will feel the pain as you visit many dungeons for a glimpse of how it might have felt in the past. But it’s important to learn of the history before the transatlantic slave trade, during and after.
Elmina Fish Market
After visiting the castle, take a stroll over to the fishing market which is known to be the largest in the central region. It’s a stone’s throw away from the castle. Unfortunately, we visited on a Tuesday, the day where they spend the entire day cleaning, mending their boats and so on.
But, despite the fishing market being closed that day, it still had a “hustle and bustle” spirit to it. Be sure to visit and cash in on fresh, low cost fish directly from the boats!