Don't Miss Places In Ghana
Ghana was called the “Gold Coast” by the first European traders, because they found so much gold here. Soon, the Europeans were not just trading in gold, but in human lives. For hundreds of years, countless Africans died in misery as they were sent to work as slaves in the Americas. When slavery came to an end in the 1800s, the British took control of coastal trade and invaded the lands of the Ashanti people. There were fierce wars until the whole region came under British rule. The new rulers brought wealth to Ghana through cocoa exports. However, most native Ghanaians did not profit from this trade.
Ghana is a dusty grassland where the dry season lasts from November until March. To the southwest, the rivers flow through rain forests to the hot, sticky coast of the Gulf of Guinea. Most Ghanaians live in the south and belong mainly to the Ashanti and Fante groups, who were among the earliest people to settle in Ghana.
Here is a rundown of the not to be missed places in Ghana…
Bojo Beach (Accra)
Bojo Beach is not too far from Accra, which already gives it an advantage. The beach is clean and you can actually see the amount of houses and people on the beach side going through their daily lives. The food is simple and good and it is best to walk along the beach in the fishing village. It is located at the center of Accra along the Cape Coast behind Bortianor.
It is a gorgeous resort on the Atlantic beach with fine white sand, a small shuttle boat (the use is inclusive of the entrance fee) goes to a peninsula with good restoration and nice service. Every weekend it is well attended and despite being crowded offers absolute tranquility. It is a quiet beach with nice bathroom options, with clean water (a rarity in the Ghanaian beaches) and enough security because across the entire length of the beach there are lifeguards guiding the best bath points. The beach is clean and there is a small cafe on the beachfront and you need not bring your own food and drink except water.
Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park
If you’re going to Accra, it is rather difficult not to see this magnificent park and this great monument. Stop because it's worth it. Apart from the symbolic and intrinsic meaning of the mausoleum in a city so characterized by disorder and bustle, it is an oasis of calm and cleanliness as the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park will leave you speechless.
Besides the imposing tomb, it has large gardens with beautiful flowers, elegant statues, reflecting pool with fountains and more features that will cheer your visit. It is nice, well - maintained, clean and serves as a fitting tribute to the first President of Ghana, Kwane Nakrumah. Peacocks roam the site, making it even more beautiful. If you are in Accra, it is best to roam around the memorial park first before making the actual visit to the late president’s mausoleum.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's Mausoleum
After seeing the monument, gardens and water features dedicated to Kwame Nkrumah, a visit to the mausoleum is a must. The Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's Mausoleum is exciting and moving at the same time. The mausoleum is surrounded by a great water plant in the middle of a memorial park. It is very modern and quite similar to the Flagstaff House.
It's elegant and easy. The coffin stands in the middle under the four legs and stands beside his wife's coffin. It is mandatory for everyone to go into this mausoleum and learn an inspiring and interesting part of Ghana’s history. The site leaves a good impression about the most important political figure of Ghana.
Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity
The Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity was built by British colonizers in 1884. This building is rather small and looks just like an average church, but the service every Sunday morning is a stunner and it looks more like a concert. Visitors are also decked out wonderfully and everything looks great from the inside.
It is a place that truly reflects the British influence during the period of colonial Ghana. There is very little to add, except as varied in its interior design as well as its contrast when compared with the adjacent outbuildings such as an old library, or an avenue full of bank branches.
Aburi Botanical Gardens
The Aburi Botanical Gardens is a wonderful oasis in the middle of the city that is filled with tropical trees and flowers. In this botanical garden it is very pleasant to walk, especially on hot days. It is a great activity to do if the weather is nice. The trees are beautiful (there are very large and exotic ones) and you could easily spend an entire day there basking in its tranquil and quiet corners. To make your tour more enjoyable, take the guided tour who knows the story behind every majestic tree that you will find in this botanical garden.
The botanical garden is located high and free in a beautiful area north of Accra, in the mountains, not far from the first president Nkrumah's residence. It covers a large area, but only a small part is covered with trees and walkways. It is well maintained, and has well marked trails. The small guesthouse makes it possible to stay overnight and there are restaurants with traditional Ghanaian food with good service. The famous helicopter that landed in the middle of the garden is completely broken and ugly, it should be removed. The place also serves as a picnic grove for groups who want to enjoy dining on the lawn between tall trees.
National Museum of Ghana
The National Museum of Ghana is a beautiful museum with interesting pieces. The vivid reconstruction of the "tribal special situations" will make you relive the moments of identification with the people of Central Africa such as Ghana. It is a small museum, but it contains all the significant objects of the traditions of Ghana and West Africa. There are many beautiful masks, some a little hidden unfortunately, and a small path that tells the story and the deportation of slaves. One section of the museum is devoted to musical instruments and cultural history of Ghana. The National Museum of Ghana makes a very good impression. It is not big, but it is very informative.
Most of the exhibits are devoted to the period of slavery state. For more impressions of the country, it is certainly worth a visit. It has interesting sections with exhibits on local customs, as well as parts imported from countries such as Egypt and Greece. It also has an interesting section on children's future greetings and a portion about slave history. The museum is one of the most important place to know Ghana and its colorful political past.
James Town Lighthouse
A visit to the James Town Lighthouse is worth all the time and effort. It is best to tour the fishing village below the lighthouse, with a guide that surrounds the area. Try to climb the lighthouse, the view from the top is spectacular, but the view of poverty around is a bit shocking.
After a visit to the lighthouse, the guide can lead you for a quick tour of the fishing village. It is an eye-opening experience to see their dire situation. A tour of the school is a must, donations are asked for the upkeep of the school but it is not obligatory.
Labadi Pleasure Beach
Labadi Pleasure Beach is a beautiful beach, wide and long, and punctuated by restaurants and bars that gives direct access to the shoreline. While here, you will be constantly stopped by people offering something for sale, once or twice (you need to develop a good tactic here to ward off the hawkers).
Like most beaches in Ghana that are along the city area, it is not ideal for swimming (the sea is flooded with plastic bags). The best way is to visit in big groups and to enjoy a good drink at one of the beach bars overlooking the sea.
W.E.B. Dubois Center
Du Bois is a very interesting man and was one of the first civil rights advocates in the United States. He helped create the United Nations and the Organization of African unity. He was the first black who graduated at Harvard University. After years of service, he was banned from the United States and Ghana's first president welcomed him here. He was given a Ghanaian passport when the US refused to give him a new passport. He lived the last three years of his 95 years of long life in Ghana and was buried here.
The house where he lived in was later made into a museum, which is now called the W.E.B. Dubois Center. After his death, they built a mausoleum for him and his wife in the garden. It's a bit difficult to find the museum because it is poorly signposted and his house is old and worn. The mausoleum is fine and you must pay 3 GHC to get a keen guided tour of the center.
The Green Ranch (Kumasi)
The Green Ranch offers a great experience for a first horse ride with successful initiation; Elodie is really nice and gives good advice to all beginners. In addition, the site is wonderful, relaxing and quiet. The rooms are large, clean and really nice and the tour around the lake is beautiful. The place is divine (equestrian ride) stunning scenery (view on the Lake), owners (speak French, English and Ghanaian) are beautifully generous, thoughtful and caring. You will love the overnight stay around the lake (allow a minimum of 2 days to appreciate the visit). They prepare excellent food (vegetarian and local), the place is clean and quiet (hygiene well kept room, toilets and showers available, very few mosquitoes), the prices are very attractive, and there is really nothing wrong with the beauty of this place as well as the incredible kindness of its owners; Elodie and Kojo.
The setting is beautiful and the ride is idyllic; riding around the lake Bosomtwe mounted on horses named Planet Moon or Eclipse. But the charm of this place is due also to Elodie, the amazing little lady who is passionate about horses, fell in love with the place and mounted the horse riding tour project here. The view from the terrace and rooms is splendid and the hosts are charming and very professional. Elodie welcomes you with a passionate and generous heart. The rooms are nice and spacious and the tap water is drinkable. It is filtered mineral water from their machine. Children are welcome and Elodie is well-trained to oversee the horse riding. The served vegetarian food is delicious; the meals are balanced and cooked with fresh ingredients and a lot of love. The desert is a delightful homemade banana ice cream. Another great feature; the ranch has a small private beach on the lake where the children can have lots of fun to paddle.
Kumasi Fort - Ghana Armed Forces Museum
The Kumasi Fort - Ghana Armed Forces Museum is not that large, but the visit can last an hour or more. There are lots of interesting things to see, especially in the room at the bottom right, which traces the history of the Ashanti military. The room dedicated to the Navy is also worth checking out. If you are passionate about knowing the weapons of Ghana and its military history, then this place is ideal for you.
Cape Coast Castle (Cape Coast)
The Cape Coast Castle is a cornerstone of colonialism and a grim reminder for everyone to not forget and repeat the past. The fort at Cape Coast is the youngest of those built by European settlers on the coast of Ghana. It was also visited by Barack & Michelle Obama a few years ago. It was the place of departure and no return for the many slaves sent to North America. It is still in good condition and well-maintained and very prepared for every guest who wishes to investigate the entire complex. You can hire a local guide who will accompany you to the 45 minute tour with a detailed account of what happened in the castle during the era of the colonizers.
It is a touching sight to visit the big rooms in the underground part without light or any type of service and where slaves were crammed by the thousands. It is also heartbreaking to see the cells where the rebels were isolated and the rooms where the women were kept before being chosen and used by the colonizers. Inside the fort, there is a pagan altar and there are tombs of one of the governors and the wife. You can admire the guns, halls, and shoot the rooms that housed the governor and his family. Besides the so-called door of no return from where slaves were leaving, you can see the beach at Cape Coast, where fishermen networks operate and go fishing on boats made of colored wood. The castle tour is a moving experience, full of emotion. In the background the sound of drums played by local artists on the beach or in the dilapidated houses completes the sad ambience of the Cape Coast Castle.
Kakum National Park
A visit to the Kakum National Park is a nice experience while in Cape Coast, Ghana. The nature park is famous for its suspension bridges in the trees that measures up to tens of meters high making it the famous "walkway" in Ghana. This walkway tour is a thrilling experience, but it is not highly recommended to anyone suffering from vertigo. The bridges are very shaky, but still safe and are really a thrilling sight to admire because of its height.
Being suspended over the jungle is a fantastic experience. If you go in silence you can also see the very shy elephants of the jungle which is quite small compared with the elephants that live in the bush territory. However, the site is beautiful, the scenery is fantastic, and the view from the top is breathtaking.
Elmina Castle (Elmina)
The Elmina Castle is the ideal place to see the horrible glimpse of the slave trade during the era of colonization. The castle is very well maintained and excellently restored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The guide gives a very good overview of the slave trade, the life of the colonists at the castle and the torture of slaves until their shipment. The castle is situated in a great location on the harbor of the small town. The resort is very large and structurally well preserved. As part of the guided tour, you can learn a lot about the slave trade and look into the prison systems, the plight of the slaves and seeing the “gate of no return”, and stirs the emotion or gives you a clear idea on what the slaves had to go through and feel as they pass towards the gate and into the ship. You can visit a number of slave castles in Ghana, castles, but this by far is the one that is most worth seeing. The entire tour involves so much walking, sturdy shoes are recommended. The castle has a small museum and a small shop that complement the lead. Before the castle, there is a fish market which is essential to visit to see the authentic side of Africa.
Ghana is an interesting walk through history with symbolic landmarks that show how brutal and inhumane the slave trade was during the early times of colonization. Aside from its national parks and museums, you will learn a lot about their history from the old slave castles and admire the efforts of the passionate Ghanaians who made a considerable effort to preserve each part to show the drama and reality of being a slave while under colonial rule. It is a terrible part of Ghana’s history, but it is truly worth seeing and listening to by everyone, so that slavery will never be and cannot be repeated ever again.