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Cape Coast

Central Region
Cape Coast
Type of Location
About Location

Cape Coast is the capital of the Central Region of Ghana and is also the capital city of the Fante (Fanti) people, or Mfantsefo.It is situated 165 km west of Accra on the Gulf of Guinea.It has a population of 82,291 (2000 census).From the 16th century the city has changed hands between the British, the Portuguese, the Swedish, the Danish and the Dutch.The city's Fante name is Oguaa.

Founded by the Portuguese in the 15th century, Cape Coast grew around Cape Coast Castle, now a World Heritage Site.It was converted to a castle by the Dutch in 1894, then expanded by the Swedes in 1652 and captured by the British in 1664.The British based their Gold Coast operations in the town until they were expelled because of severe opposition to the "window tax" in 1877.Accra became their state.Cape Coast was also where most of the slaves were held before their journey on the Middle Passage.

The crab is the town's mascot and a statue of one lies in the city centre.Fort William, built in 1820, was an active lighthouse from 1835 to the 1970s, while Fort Victoria was built in 1702.Other attractions include a series of Asafo Shrines, Cape Coast Centre for National Culture, the Oguaa Fetu Afahye harvest festival and, since 1992, the biennial Panafest theatre festival.The city is located 30km south of Kakum National Park, one of the most diverse and best preserved national parks in West Africa.Cape Coast also boast of being the first location where soccer was played at in Ghana and Ebusua Dwarfs FC is the darling Club of Cape Coasters.

It is believed that U.S.First Lady Michelle Obama considers Cape Coast as her ancestral home and on 11 July 2009,she took the rest of the first family to tour Cape Coast Castle as part of her husband's trip to Ghana.Cape Coast is the seat of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana's leading university in teaching and research.Cape Vars,as it is popularly called,lies on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

How to Reach

By Air

Kotoka International Airport (IATA: ACC, ICAO: DGAA) in Accra is the nearest airport for Cape Coast.

By Taxi

From Accra the most easiest and reliable means of transport to cape coast and around is to charter a 4wheel drive, a mini van or smaller cars that suits the number of people involved in the trip.Arrange this with Moses specialist tourism personal in Ghana.

By Bus

STC buses pull into the Goil Petrol Station (Pedu Junction), about 5km from the town centre.Buses from and to Accra (C5. 3hrs) and Takoradi (C3, 1hr) go twice a day.There is a daily bus to and from Kumasi (C5, 4hrs).

Key places to visit
Cape Coast Castle, Panafest Theatre, Elmina Slave Castle, Kakum National Park, Janet's Grilled Cheese, Harvest Festival, Victoria Fort, Fort William


Places to Visit

Cape Coast Castle

Is a fortification in Ghana built by Swedish traders.The first timber construction on the site was erected in 1653 for the Swedish Africa Company and named Carolusborg after King Charles X of Sweden.It was later rebuilt in stone.The Castle was built for the trade in timber and gold.Later the structure was used in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.The Castle, or Castle and Dungeon, to give it its official name, was first restored in the 1920s by the British Public Works Department.In April 1663 the whole Swedish Gold Coast was seized by the Danes, and integrated in the Danish Gold Coast.In 1664 the Castle was conquered by the English and was extensively rebuilt by the Committee of Merchants (whose Governors administered the entire British colony) in the late 18th century.In 1844, it became the seat of the colonial Government of the British Gold Coast.

Janet's Grilled Cheese

Next to Ocean View Internet (between the Crab Statue & the Castle, just next to Ocean View Internet towards the Crab). Janet's, advertising "Ghana's best Grilled Cheese," does not serve your average grilled cheese sandwich.Sandwiches are made with Laughing Cow cheese, a fried egg and chopped onions/peppers/tomatoes on fried bread.Delicious and cheap.

Elmina Slave Castle

During the tour of the Elmina Slave Castle, they bring you to a bookstore within the castle filled with reasonably priced books on the castle itself, slavery, important black leaders, and even some books on Ghanaian culture (the Ghanaian cookbook is worth a look).If you need more time to browse, return to this bookstore after the tour.

Kakum National Park

Is a 375 square km national park located in the Central Region of Ghana.The 350 square kilometer park was first established in 1960.It is located 30km north of Cape Coast and Elmina near the small town of Abrafo.The entire area is covered with tropical rainforest.In the park gamekeepers are specially trained in the medical and cultural significance of the local foliage.Kakum National Park contains rare animals, including the endangered Mona-meerkat, as well as pygmy elephants, forest buffalo, civet cats, a wide array of birds, and over 500 species of butterflies.

Panafest Theatre

Is a cultural event held in Ghana every two years for Africans and people of African descent.It was first held in 1992.The idea of this festival is to promote and enhance unity, Pan-Africanism, as well as the development of the continent of Africa itself.Activities that occur at this festival are performances and work in the areas of theatre, drama, music, and poetry, among other things.Also, there are viewing of the durbar of Chiefs, and tours are available to various places of interest, such as slave castle dungeons.

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