One of the brightest jewels in West Africa’s crown, Ghana is a country blessed with idyllic beaches, cosmopolitan cities and remote nature reserves full of exotic wildlife. It is also a country steeped in history. In particular, the colonial trading forts that still exist along the Atlantic coast stand as a testament to the suffering caused by the transatlantic slave trade. With so much to see and do, knowing where to start can be difficult.
Cape Coast Castle:
Ghana’s Atlantic coast is lined with old forts and castles built by various European powers during the 17th century. Of these, the Cape Coast Castle is one of the largest. It was built in 1653 for the Swedish Africa Company and was originally used as a trading post for the timber and gold industries. It was expanded by the Dutch and the British and served as an important holding station for slaves bound for the Americas. The Cape Coast Castle is now a museum full of information about the history of Ghana, the slave trade and local culture. Tours take you through the dungeons and the “door of no return”, through which the castle’s slaves would once have passed.
Kakum National Park:
Kakum National Park is a dense tropical rainforest in southern Ghana. The forest is home to more than 40 mammal species including forest elephants, forest buffalo, meerkats and civets. The birdlife is fantastic as well with over 250 different species recorded. The highlight of any visit to Kakum, however, is a stroll on the Canopy Walkway. Suspended 100 feet/30 meters above the ground, it crosses several bridges and is over 1150 feet/350 meters long. The walkway offers a unique perspective of the park’s flora and fauna.
Another of Ghana’s beautiful beaches, Busua offers visitors the chance to soak up the sunshine, swim in the Atlantic or feast on freshly caught lobster. It’s also the country’s unofficial surfing capital, with several shops offering surf safaris to the area’s secret spots. Hotels along the beachfront range from basic to luxurious. The Busua Beach Resort is a large, modern hotel with dining facilities, a pool and comfortable beach chalets. The more intimate Busua Inn is run by a French couple whose love of authentic French cuisine is evident at the ocean-view bar and restaurant.
Fufu (cassava, plantain, or cocoyam dough), palm fruit, fish, beans, eggplant, and groundnuts are often eaten alone or combined and eaten over rice, or as ingredients in a stew. Pepper soup is hot and spicy, but loved by most Ghanaians.
It may also be made with plantain, cocoyam, potatoes, yams or cassava. This side dish is traditionally eaten with fish stew containing tomatoes, oil and spices. Yam fufuo – fufuo made with yam instead of cassava or plantain or cocoyam, this soft dough is traditionally eaten with any of the varieties of Ghanaian soup.