One of the most amazing journeys that we’ve taken was through the wonderful country of Ghana. Located in western Africa, Ghana (which translates into “Warrior King”) sits between the Ivory Coast to the west and Togo to the east, on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea which is part of the Atlantic Ocean.
The country is rich in history and equally rich in fabulous people. Everywhere we traveled, we were greeted by wonderful and hospitable locals. The country has so much to offer…so much so, that if you ask yourself “what to do in Ghana?”, you will undoubtedly have trouble narrowing down an itinerary! If you are considering visiting, one of the many things that we highly recommend is a trip across the coast, not only to learn a bit about the very interesting history of this country but also to see one of the most beautiful and untouched parts of Ghana.
From the capital city, Accra, we went westward along the coast to visit the very historic Cape Coast, known for its part in the slave trade. We took a combination of buses and tro-tros (small private ‘taxis’…get ready to be PACKED IN!) for this journey which are an easy (if you’re not claustrophobic…) and very affordable way to travel. From Accra to Cape Coast, the distance is around 150 kilometers, which takes over 2 hours.
Westward to the Cape Coast…
There are many old forts and castles along the coastal shores, built by different European powers that took command of Ghana throughout the 17 and 18th centuries. One of the major destinations for any visitor (or local who may be learning about the country’s history) is the Cape Coast Castle, which was built for the slave trade by the Dutch in the early 1600s. This impressive castle was also occupied by the Swedes and the British throughout the history of the slave trade. It sits right on the coast and has very impressive views of the gorgeous ocean. Make sure you take a tour as the guides are excellent here and really provide a great background on the history of the slave trade in Ghana. They will take you through the grounds, from the dungeons to the “door of no return” where slaves were sold overseas to places like the Caribbean and Europe, never to return again.
Cape Coast Castle – Old cannonballs
Exterior of Cape Coast Castle
Cape Coast Castle: The room where slaves were bartered for
View of the shore and fishing boats from the Cape Coast Castle
Heading Further Westward to Akwidaa…
After spending a couple of days in Cape Coast, we continued our journey westward to Akwidaa, known for its untouched beaches. This was another 2 hour plus trip (the distance is around 130 km from Cape Coast to Akwidaa) and we found a small bus that easily took us here. The trip to Akwidaa will take you through many palm oil and rubber plantations, and other lush and green areas. Sometimes, it seemed, that civilization was difficult to find here!
We found paradise close to a small fishing village called Busua. The coast near Akwidaa was completely untouched and gorgeous…think miles and miles of endless sand and surf…and nobody to be found. We heard from some of the locals that this is likely to change, as oil has been found off the coast of Ghana and development will likely alter this pristine environment for the worse.
Sunset at Akwidaa Beach
Miles of endless sand and surf, Akwidaa, Ghana
Akwidaa Beach, Ghana
One of the most interesting finds during our peaceful stay in Akwidaa occurred on an early morning run down the endless and desolate beach. After not seeing a soul for miles, we came across a group of fishermen who were bringing in the morning catch. The men set up a large net earlier in the morning and they were in the process of hauling it in from the shore. It took about half an hour for about ten men to bring in this particular morning’s catch. We joined them with the haul (which was tough, tough work!) and we were eager to see what was in tow.
Hauling in the morning’s catch
Men set up the net, crossing the sides of the large net to capture the fish inside
The catch! Lots of small fish that will be salted and dried in the sun
On the shore, watching the men haul in the catch was the cutest little boy who was basking in the sun just enjoying playing by himself in the sand. He was happy just to sit and eat the sand, not really paying attention to all of the hard work that was being done by his family members in bringing in the catch. I loved watching him giggle and hum to himself. What a smile!
Ghanaian Boy on Akwidaa Beach
Our travels across the coast in Ghana were just one of the many reasons why we fell in love with this amazing country. Rich in history, and full of untouched beauty, Ghana’s gorgeous coast is a must-see when visiting western Africa.
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