Cape Coast Castle | Ghana Travel Tips & Reviews | Africa Point
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Cape Coast Castle
Cape Coast Castle, Cape Coast, Ghana
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Cape Coast Castle

Snapshot

The darkness is absolute – not even a sliver of daylight penetrates the thick underground walls.   The heat is unbearable and there is little air in this small dungeon, crammed with far too many wretched souls.  They stand, side by side with no space to lie down or even to sit as they wait for the inevitable moment when they will be fetched and led through the Door of No Return. Welcome to Ghana’s real-life house of horrors – the Cape Coast Castle.

 

Best Time to Visit

You can visit the Castle all year round.
 

How to Get There

2.5 to 3 hours drive from Accra.
Check out the full details below
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Chilling Cape Coast Castle

The pleasant name of the place belies the litany of outrageous inhumanities that took place behind these walls.  This is where greed and gluttony caused ordinary people to round up their own tribesmen and sell them into slavery for a few handfuls of silver.  It is estimated that more than 12 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic to North America, the Caribbean and South America in what has to be the largest forced migration of human beings in history. Conditions were appalling and more than a third never made it across the ocean.  Millions of them were “processed” through the notorious Slave Castles on Ghana’s coast, of which Cape Coast Castle is the most infamous.  The Castle is now a museum and shrine to all the souls who lost their lives there – come and be chilled as you walk for a moment in their footsteps...

 

 

A Little Background

The Cape Coast Castle was never intended to be a slave processing centre, as you can discern from the architecture.  The structure was originally a fort built out of wood in 1653 by the Swedes for use as a trading post on what was then known as the Gold Coast of West Africa (now Ghana).  The region was rich in gold and timber and the Castle was built as a market place for trade in these commodities. The Castle occupies a most strategic position on a sheltered part of the coastline, and many rival European occupations followed.  Eventually the British captured the fort and rebuilt it as a Castle in 1760.  By that time however, slaves were the principal commodity and around 70,000 slaves were exported to the New World each year.

 

 

The Dungeons 

The Dungeons were a place of true Hell on Earth for all those unlucky enough to find themselves there – many did not survive the imprisonment, dying from various diseases and malnutrition before they could be shipped off to the New World.  It is a sombering experience to visit the dungeons and imagine yourself in such a situation. In addition to the general dungeons there is also the “Condemned Cell” – a windowless small space where any resisters where locked up and left to starve or suffocate to death.

 

 

The Door of No Return 

When their turn came the unfortunate slaves were led through a dark series of tunnels to the notorious Door of No Return.  Stepping across the threshold gave them the last glimpse of their beloved homeland before they were forced through the door into the bowels of their waiting ship.  Today you can step through the infamous Door and No Return onto the beach beyond as the water level no longer reaches the Castle.  You will be able to step back inside – they were not that fortunate.

 

 

Other Attractions at the Castle

The Cape Coast Castle is also home to the West African Historical Museum which contains a growing collection of West African art and cultural artefacts such as ceremonial drums, old muskets, ancient pottery and some of the original shackles from the slave trading days.  You can also walk around the ramparts of the Castle and admire the Dalzel Tower and the many cannons that were used to defend the Castle from marauding fleets.  You will also see Palaver Hall, where the slaves were traded.   There is also a small bookshop on site.

 

The Castle is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public every day of the week, with the exception of Mondays, from 09.00 to 17.00 hours. The guided tours take around 45mins and the guides are very happy to answer all your questions.  Once you have completed your tour you can spend some time watching the local fishermen pull in their catch or take a walk along the long and lovely beach.

 

 

Other Activities in Cape Coast Town

Batiking Workshops

Try your hand at creating a Batik masterpiece, learning how to use wax and dyes to produce a one-of-a-kind original fabric.  4hr lessons are available every day.

 

Drumming and Dancing Workshops

Do you have rhythm?  Prove it by joining one of these great outdoor music workshops.  Workshops available every day except Wednesdays.

 

Ghanaian Cuisine Workshop

Add a new dimension to your culinary prowess by learning how to use the exotic fragrant flavours of West Africa.  After you have seen how it is done you will get to taste what you’ve helped prepare.  Workshops are available every day.

 

Bead-making and Head-wrapping Workshops

Learn how to make beads by hand and how to liven-up your wardrobe with African West Coast Chic!  Daily workshops available.

 

 

How to Get There

You can reach Cape Coast, the town in which the Castle is situated, by road from Accra in about 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on traffic.  There are 4 buses a day to this very popular tourist attraction, or you could drive there yourself if you have a hired car.

 

 

Best Time to Visit

You can visit the Castle all year round.


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