Ghana can boast of 3 Castles and 47 forts dating back to pre-independence and they stand tall to date with 2 in Central Region and 1 in Greater Accra, namely: Osu Castle, Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle.
As I indicated in a previous post, these foreigners came to Gold Coast just to trade and that explains why all forts and castles were built by the sea for easy transportation when their ships arrived. Once the slave trade ere set in motion there was a rush for territorial control especially in the coastal towns as control over them meant power to ship in and out easily. The castle was built in the year 1610 by the Swedish and but opened in the year 1653 but it was captured by the Danes, Dutch and then the English took over in the 1660s. The castle served as a home for the colonial masters, to trade in slaves and to educate. Join me as I share with you my experience.
As I always point out to you the times are estimated based on your mode of transportation and your set off time.
- From Somanya – 3 HOURS 49 Minutes.
- From Dodowa – 2 HOURS 15 Minutes.
- From Kumasi – 4 HOURS 9 Minutes.
- From Sakumono – 3 HOURS 24 Minutes.
- From Kaneshie – 2 HOURS 34 Minutes.
- From Accra Mall – 2 HOURS 46 Minutes.
- From Achimota – 2 HOURS 40 Minutes
Central Region is slowly becoming a second home, due to how often I ply the road for various reasons. So there was nothing new about the traffic. I rather now travel at dawn, to escape the heavy traffic and I slept throughout till it was time to alight at Aggrey Memorial S.H.S. As I stated earlier, the plan was to visit 3 places at a time.
The only difference was the arrival time from Central Region since we did all 3 in a day and got stuck in the evening traffic at Gomoa heading to Budumburam.
It’s fast becoming a problem for me at each tourist site I visit. Food is very important; be it snacks or heavy meals there should be a food vendor on site where visitors can patronize after touring but it seems they are being reluctant about it. After all the hot sun kissing our skins and ascending and descending in the castle, I had hopes of buying food but to my disappointment, it was just a souvenir shop I saw which meant we had to go outside to get food. I strongly suggest you pack snacks or go to a nearby restaurant like we did or a street vendor for food. We do not pack food because we travel in public transport so all we take are snacks.
Unlike our Elmina Castle tour guide, the tour guide here was a charismatic person and I enjoyed every bit of the tour to the end. We began our tour with the male dungeon which had 3 chambers with a small opening on the roof serving as ventilation. It was times like this that I was grateful for nose masks because even with them on the stench of human blood and other things were unbearable.
From there we moved to the female dungeon which was much smaller compared to that of the males. Like all castles, the females were raped by the masters, gave birth to mixed raced children and these children were either taken out of the country to be educated or educated in the school in the castle to become middlemen as the foreigners did not understand our local language which made communication difficult.
Our next step was the cells where the troublesome and hardened slaves mostly males were kept for trying to rebel against them. This was done to serve as a deterrent to others, again most slaves sent to this cell died in the cell with no food or water it was made to kill you. Although some were released, they were already half dead so to speak.
She later led us to the door of no return where once you walked out from your location would never be known as your identity lost. The ship came every 3 months to take the slaves who survived, they would be chained and marched through the door of no return onto the ships. Some ended up working on plantations and some did hard laboured jobs.
Then we climbed upstairs to the marketplace where trading of slaves took place. It is a big open space close to the master’s office. Here slaves were sold to the highest bidder to be used as they pleased.
From there we moved to where the weapons were, which stands tall till date facing out into the sea. These were to be shoot at any enemy ship as they were at war with other countries for control of the Gold Coast.
The sea breeze at the Cape Coast Castle was amazing. I felt the chilly air on and in my afro since I let my hair down. Again, I must commend the staff at the Cape Coast Castle for keeping the building neat and painted and also their neat washroom. At the grounds of the Cape Coast Castle are souvenir stalls filled with African printed bags and clothing. The Castle is a beautiful place with views to calm you down after the tour.
GHANAIAN ADULTS – 5 Cedis
FOREIGN CHILDREN – 5 Cedis
FOREIGN CHILDREN WITH ID – 30 Cedis
ADULT FOREIGN – 40 Cedis
Like many other indigenous places, they accept cash only.
It is a child-friendly place and also for family and friends and good for commercial and personal shoots. For an extra price, you pay for it but aside from that, there is not much to be entertained on. You just need to be your source of entertainment.
Thankfully I was not overwhelmed by the history of the Cape Coast Castle because I prepared mentally and emotionally before for tour and also because I took history and government as elective subjects back in secondary school. The only difference was standing on grounds that is filled with pain, anguish, fear of the unknown, loneliness, hunger, anger, and human remains. That notwithstanding I felt a breeze of hope as I stood beside the weapons and took in the sea breeze, a luxury my ancestors never had.
Through colonialism, we have mixed-raced Ghanaians with interesting surnames like Harrison, Hammond, Anderson, Peterson etc. The and Ga people have a lot of these names.
To sum it up, the trip was worthwhile and should add Cape Coast Castle to your bucket list.
Good to see you have fun and educating people about West African culture