While many Africans in the diaspora visit Ghana to reconnect with their roots, there is more to the former slave-trade centre. Uyapo Ketogetswe sets off and discovers much to explore in the region.
Forever haunted by the ghosts of the past, Ghana is one of Africa’s most historically significant countries. This former slave-trade centre was the largest in West Africa, receiving workforce from locations as far away as Burkina Faso and Niger.
The slaves were locked up in dungeons and forced to live under harsh conditions for three months before being packed onto ships as human cargo. In 2009, former US president Barack Obama visited Ghana and the slave-forts with his family.
Today, Ghana is a rising tourist hotspot, attracting all types of travellers with its historical background, 500 kilometres of golden coastline, culturally rich lifestyles, and the warmth of Ghanaians.
Discovering The Door of No Return
Between 1482 and 1786, imposing castles and forts were erected along the coastline of Ghana. These beachside castles were the last glimpse of Africa for captured slaves and ultimate stop in many ways.
The “Door of No Return” on the seaboard side of the coastal slave castles was a doorway through which slaves were pushed and loaded onto ships further out at sea, with no shred of hope and freedom.
Ghana’s most sought-after attractions are its UNESCO World Heritage Sites of castles and forts that allow visitors to dig deep into the important chapter of slavery and world history.
At modern day Elmina and Cape Coast, tourists from all over the world, many of whom are descended from ancestors that were displaced by slavery, are guided through the castles as they listen to the horrific stories.
Walking where their ancestors once did, visitors experience the physical history of the slave trade, reliving memories of those who passed through the castle gates and warning everyone against future atrocities.
The Door to a Burgeoning Beach Culture
Now, the “Door of No Return” opens up to bustling ports while the beaches of Ghana are dotted with fishing communities and attractions fanned by blowing breezes and soothed by the sounds of ocean waves thrashing onto shore before peeling away.
Thanks to its tropical climate, Ghana boasts beach weather all year round with the rainy season from March through October.
Transformative development has unearthed the country’s breathtaking beachfront land through a discovery of thrilling sensations, dynamic arts and culture scene, and an impeccable fashion scene style.
Party at Labadi Beach
Labadi Beach or La Pleasure Beach, as it is famously known, is the most popular beach in Ghana. Ideally located in Accra, the public beach offers three kilometres of beachfront with by a variety of attractions and activities.
There are user-friendly facilities including shower rooms and changing rooms, and the area boasts several restaurants and bars.
There are also street vendors. The beach is well patronised by locals and foreigners, and visitors can enjoy a regular show that includes acrobatics, music, horse-riding and more. Here, you don’t come for the waves but rather the people and the vibe.
Escape to Busua Beach
If you’re looking for a remote beach escape, Busua Beach makes for a peaceful destination. Among the cleanest and less populated beaches, coastal waters at this beach are breathtaking, allowing you the opportunity to slow down and appreciate the beauty of West Africa’s coastline.
Despite the effort you have to make to get to Busua Beach, its cool night breeze, magical sunsets and invitingly serene water are well worth the visit.
Seek summer in Kokrobite
Located 27 kilometres out of Accra, the small beach town of Kokrobite is a Rastafarian paradise. Popular with reggae lovers, this lively destination is dotted with coconut trees and bodies swaying to the rhythm of the day.
From sampling on delicious snacks to singing along with local musicians to learning how to play the drums and attending dance classes at the Academy of African Music and Arts, the beach comes to life at night and during evenings with bonfire celebrations.
Reconnect in The Central Region
Featuring an expansive coastline that embraces the Atlantic Ocean and lined with beautiful palm trees, the historically significant Central Region is a popular destination.
Tourists not only reconnect with their roots in the area, but they get a chance to enjoy the Elmina beaches and fishing towns like Anomabo for a perfect getaway. Enjoy fresh seafood, tidal waves, siestas in the shade of palm trees, and scenic strolls on a calm day.
Located in the estuary of the famous River Volta, this beach is 100 kilometres from the capital city of Accra. The picturesque sandy coastal beaches here have become the nesting place for beautiful sea birds and home to an endangered species of turtles.
With a nearby marine, adventure seekers can enjoy skiing, sport fishing and relaxing on the beach.
For more must-know info for your trip to Ghana check out the full article in the latest issue of Sawubona.