A Visit to Cape Coast and Kakum National Park

Since the day we landed in Ghana, we were very much excited to see places and meet people that were much heard about. After a week of engagement with project works at Enactus Ghana, we planned to visit Cape Coast, a historically important coastal city located in the Central Region of  Ghana. We embarked to Cape Coast in the morning of November 2nd accompanied by Elsie Klu, Program Manager of Enactus Ghana, her husband Joseph and their little boy. Curious as we were, we kept asking questions about sights and scenes. Elsie and Joseph poured in mouth-watering explanations and histories of towns and villages as we passed through. Though the day was very hot and we had to stay in long traffic jams, Joseph’s experienced and smooth driving and the sumptuous traditional food on the way eased our journey. One of the interesting things on the way was to pass through an area called Buduburam in Kasoa, a Liberian refugee camp turned into a settlement. A little further on our way, we were stopped by the traffic police. Joseph had to go talk to them and when he returned, we asked him why we were stopped. He replied that they stopped us for alleged over speeding. He added that they would not stop had we (foreigners) not been there in the car and further said he had to tip them and the case was over. This made us a little disappointed at the behavior of the police. The journey continued.

We reached Cape Coast in the afternoon. We took our lunch in a cafeteria inside Cape Coast University. We drove through the big University area, which looked well managed. Then we headed to Kakum National Park, which was an hour drive from there. The little rain on the way had made the atmosphere cool. We got to the Park around 2 o’clock. After buying the tickets, we entered into the forest. Although it was not new to us to see forests and wildlife, we were very much curious to walk inside. The reason behind it was the Canopy Walk is only found in Ghana in the whole of Africa. After a little walk uphill, we got to the much anticipated place.

Bhabi enjoying the canopy walk

Bhabi enjoying the canopy walk

Climbing up some steps to the canopy walkway, we began to walk. It was very thrilling to walk in the walkway. The canopy walkway looks like a suspension bridge, built with ropes tied to huge tall trees, with a narrow walkway made of wooden planks supported by long rods. It is 350 metres long and connects 7 tree tops. The canopy walk was so shaky that we had to tightly hold the ropes on both sides of the canopy. The shouting from other visitors on the walkway added further excitement to it. The drizzle had made the walkway slippery which made our walk further adventurous. We enjoyed our walk on the canopy hanging high above the thick forest. Overall, canopy walk was fun.

We left Kakum National Park and drove for Elmina beach. We reached Elmina town and headed to Elmina Beach Resort. We had a very pleasant time at Elmina Beach Resort. The roaring sea tides and the golden horizon during the sunset at the beach made our time truly enjoyable. It was more delightful while playing with the cool splashes of the tides. After enjoying the moment abundantly, we took dinner with some chilled beers. Then we left the Resort for our night stay in a hotel in Cape Coast.

Madhab playing with the tides

Madhab playing with the tides

The next morning, we headed to the Cape Coast Castle. As the Castle is the place bearing tormenting colonial history of slavery, we were impatient to be there and see it up close. After we reached there, we were accompanied by a tour guide and led to different sections of the Castle. His realistic but emotional narration of incidents that occurred in the Castle during the colonial period made our tour really meaningful. Among the most disturbing things were the visits to the dark dungeons built to imprison the slaves, which are without outlets for excretions and have only a few small holes for ventilation. In these dungeons slaves used to be kept from a week to three months before they were shipped to America and the Caribbean. The most nerve-wracking thing to know was that up to 1,000 slaves used to be imprisoned in three congested cells inside the male dungeon. Though the number of slaves used to be smaller in the female dungeon, the stories were the same for them too. The tour of the ‘cell’ and its story was even more upsetting. The slaves who would go against the British colonizers were locked inside the cell and starved to death. Seeing all this, it was not unusual to have a strong sense of contempt towards the colonizers.

On the way to the dungeon with the tour guide

On the way to the dungeon with the tour guide

With Elsie at Cape Coast Castle

With Elsie at Cape Coast Castle

The reality of the castle was a complete contrast with the scenery outside where hundreds of men, women and children were freely enjoying fishing and sailing boats. We could not miss the chance to capture all these sights on our cameras. Thanking the tour guide for his knowledgeable explanation of the colonial history, we bid adieu to the Castle.

The Cape Coast Castle in the background

The Cape Coast Castle in the background

On our return, we saw a crowd of vendors selling eclipse glasses as there was a solar eclipse on the day (November 3, 2013). We also bought a few glasses and headed to a place for our lunch. Every now and then, it was interesting to see the sun getting smaller and finally looking like a thin sickle cell making the day dusky though for a short while. After enjoying the hot but tasty fish soup for our lunch, we returned to Accra.

Our tour to Cape Coast and Kakum National Park is indeed an unforgettable one!

– Bhabi Neupane & Madhab Bastakoti, Humber Youth Leadership Team, Ghana, 2013 

To read more about YCI’s programs in Ghana, click here. To read more blogs from our volunteers in Ghana, click here. 

YCI is currently recruiting for a number of projects this Winter – check out our Program Calendar for more information!


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