Ghana, known as West Africa's Gold Coast during the colonial era, is better known for its lovely beaches, lively nightlife, good roads, variety of landscapes and friendly people than for dramatic scenery or wild animals. But these assets make Ghana a safe and fascinating introduction to West Africa.
Although it was once a center of the slave trade, Ghana became the first modern African country to win its independence. Ghana's people are well-educated, and it has good schools, a thriving press and one of the highest economic growth rates on the continent. Moreover, Ghana has managed not merely to retain a strong sense of national identity and pride but actually to boost its economy and infrastructure.
Ghana is also home to a fascinating variety of historical and cultural sites, the best known of which, are the European-built castles and forts along the coast. Just as interesting, however, are the ancient mud mosques found in the north (especially Larabanga), the more secular adobe architecture of Sirigu and Wa, the kente-weavers and fetish shrines of Ashanti, and the traditional villages of the eastern highlands.
Other notable sights include the likes of Boabeng-Fiema, with its troops of colobus and mona monkeys, and the sacred crocodiles of Paga, whose caretakers feed them by hand.
Attractions in the capital city include the National Theatre, an Oriental abode for musicals, plays, dances etc, the National Museum which boasts of a huge collection of traditional art, The Centre for National Culture which exhibits and sells crafts, kente and other traditional cloths. The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, on the High Street, is a fitting tribute to the first President of Ghana. Finally the Makola Market on Kojo Thompson Road is the outlet for the wares of the neighbouring villagers who display them in the large and busy open-air market.
Aburi situated in the Akwapim Hills is located 38km (24 miles) to the north of Accra. The Botanical Gardens, planted by British during their colonial rule is a nature lover’s delight with its admirable collection of subtropical plant life. One gets a whiff of the refreshing climate from The Sanatorium (now a rest house), built there in the 19th century.
A water lover’s paradise, this popular resort is located at the mouth of the Volta. The zone is safe for swimming and a delight for those who love fishing for they are sure to catch some barracuda and Nile perch. Tourists can avail of the facilities in a luxury hotel built there. For the bridwatchers, the salt marshes of the Songow Lagoon have great scope. Shai Hills Game Reserve
You can tour this small reserve some 50km (30 miles) by road from Accra, on horseback.
Central & Western Region
The castles and forts that dot the central area of Ghana which flanks the Gulf of Guinea is reminiscent of the slave trade that flourished in the region.
Cape Coast Castle, built in the 16th-century and later reconstructed and enlarged, was the seat of British administration in the then Gold Coast until 1877 when administration moved to Christiansborg Castle in Accra. Yet another castle is the Castle of Elmina translated ‘the mine’, in the Western side. The first Portuguese settlement in Ghana was Elmina. This huge that largely remains intact, is the location. of one of the first Catholic churches in sub-Sahara Africa is located in this massive 15th-century fort, that remains mostly unspoilt.
Fort St Jago was a vital defence landmark atop a hill its vantage point offering great views of both Elmina and the Atlantic Ocean. Cultural shows are often performed at the castles and guided tours are available. UNESCO has declared Fort St Jago and Cape Coast Castle as World Heritage Monuments.
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