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Top 10 Places to Visit in Ghana

Where to go in Ghana

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When you travel to Ghana, the best places to visit include the castles and forts used during the slave trade, Accra, Kumasi, the Mole and Kakum national parks and of course Busua and Kokrobite beaches. Once you've decided where to go, check out the best time to visit Ghana, and plan your trip!

Click on the headings for further information about each of Ghana's top attractions.

1. Cape Coast Castle

Ghana, Cape Coast castle
kartlasarn/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Ghana's Atlantic Coast is lined with old forts (castles) built by various European powers during the 17th Century. The Cape Coast Castle was built for the slave-trade and is one of the most impressive of Ghana's old forts. It was originally built by the Dutch in 1637, later expanded by the Swedes, finally the British took control of it in 1664 and turned it into their colonial headquarters. It stayed that way for the next 200 years until they moved the capital to Accra in 1877.

The Cape Coast Castle is now an excellent museum with information about the history of Ghana, the slave-trade and local culture. Tours are a "must"  and will takeyou through the dungeons and the "door of no return".

More about slave-trade tours in Ghana.

2. Elmina and St George's Castle

St George's castle, slave fort, Ghana
© Mark Moxon
Elmina is a picturesque fishing town along Ghana's coast, not far from Cape Coast. It is home to one of Ghana's biggest attractions, St George's Castle. Built by the Portuguese in 1482, it was captured by the Dutch 150 years later and became the headquarters of their West Indies Company for the following 250 years. Gold exports were soon replaced by slaves and the tours through the dungeons will give you a good idea of how gruesome a trade it was. The Castle houses a small museum and guided tours are available. The stark beauty of the white-washed Castle walls contrast deeply with the dark history of this place. Read more about Elmina and the Castle...

Fort St Jago lies across the lagoon from the castle, and is worth visiting for the views it offers of the town and Castle.

3. Accra, Ghana's Capital

Accra, Ghana's Capital City
CC

Accra is a sprawling city with about 2 million residents and one of Africa's safer capitals. Accra has a mixture of modern buildings, shanty towns, occasional castle and lively markets. The central hub is around the Makola Market, just south of the market is the Atlantic ocean.

Accra's main attractions include

  • The National Museum has wonderful displays about Ghana's culture and history including the slave-trade, and Ashanti Kingdom.
  • Makola Market is colorful, bustling, and you can buy absolutely everything.
  • Beaches -- there are some nice beaches in and around Accra, check out Labadi Beach, Coco Beach and Bojo Beach.


More about Accra's Top Attractions...

4. Kakum National Park

Kakum National Park
CC
Kakum National Park is a dense tropical rain forest in southern Ghana. The forest is home to over 40 species of larger mammals including forest elephants, forest buffalo, Mona-meerkats and civets. The bird life is fantastic as well with over 250 species living in the forest. The highlight of any visit to Kakum, is a stroll on the Canopy Walkway that is built 30 meters above ground, crosses several bridges and is over 1000 feet (350 m) in length. The canopy walkway offers a unique viewing perspective of the wildlife and unique plants of the forest. Trained guides are on hand to take you on a tour and provide detailed insight into the medicinal uses of the forest plants. There's a basic campsite for those who want to overnight. Read more...

5. Mole National Park

Elephant at Mole National Park, Ghana
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Mole National Park is Ghana's largest wildlife park and is located in north western Ghana. In Mole you can expect to see buffalo, roam antelope, elephants, warthogs, hyenas and if you're very lucky, leopard. Lions have recently been re-introduced to the park as well. There are also more than 250 species of birds to enjoy. You can opt for a walking safari or a traditional game drive accompanied by an armed guard. There's a motel just near the park headquarters. The best time to spot wildlife is during the dry season from January to March as animals congregate around the water sources. Mole can be reached by public transport, note the roads are not in great condition. Do visit the Larabanga Mosque near the park, the oldest mosque in Ghana.

6. Kokrobite Beach

Kokrobite Beach, Ghana
© Mark Moxon
Ghana has some lovely beaches but the most popular for the last decade has been the beaches around Kokrobite including Langma. Kokrobite is a quick 20 mile (30km) tro-tro ride away from the capital Accra. One of the main attractions here is the excellent Academy of African Music and Art (AAMA) founded by master drummer Mustapha Tettey Addy. The Academy attracts drummers and dancers from all over the world.

You can get accommodation at the Music Academy or head to Big Milly's Backyard in the village (also on the beach). Big Milly's has a friendly bar and restaurant where backpackers, volunteers and Ghanaian Rastafarians chill out.

More about Kokrobite from travel writer Mark Moxon.

7. Kumasi

Kumasi, Ghana
CC

Kumasi is the former capital of Ghana's Ashanti Kingdom in southern-central Ghana. Kumasi is Ghana's second largest city with a population of around 1.5 million. The Ashanti are famous artisans, their gold jewelry and trinkets are famous throughout the world, as is their Kente cloth and wood-carved stools. You can see examples at the National Culture Center as well as various craft villages on the outskirts of Kumasi. The bustling Kejetia Market is worth visiting, the Kente cloth is good value here if you can stomach the chaos. If you're interested to see how the Ashanti Kings used to live, check out the Manhyia Palace Museum. You can meet the current Ashanti king here, he makes an appearance to greet the public every 42 days.

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8. Busua Beach

Busua Beach, Ghana
Basua Inn
Busua is one of Ghana's best beaches and offers the visitor a chance to relax, paddle around in the Atlantic and enjoy some lobster. There are several hotels along the beach front ranging from luxurious to simple. The Busua Beach Resort is a modern, large hotel with dining facilities, pool and beach chalets. The more intimate Busua Inn is run by a French couple. The bar/restaurant on the beach serves excellent French food. The African Rainbow resort is a small family run hotel with 12 rooms, reasonable rates include breakfast.
If Busua is too touristy for you, check out Princess Town a little further to the west along the coast.

9. Nzulezo

Nzulezo, Village on stilts Ghana
Ghana-net.com
Nzulezo is a village built on stilts in the marshy Amansuri Lagoon. Similar in looks and atmosphere to Genvie in Benin. This is a unique little fishing community, far from the hustle and bustle of daily Ghanaian life. You can only reach it by renting a canoe, available from the village of Beyin (about two hours drive from Axim). It takes about an hour to reach the village. Simple accommodation is available in a stilt house, the Ghana Wildlife Society can help you make arrangements. If you are juts planning to go for a day trip, leave early to avoid the midday heat. More information...

10. Lake Volta (Volta Lake)

Lake Volta (or Volta Lake) is the largest man-made lake in the world. A passenger boat, the Yapei Queen runs the entire length of the lake between Akosombo in the South to Yeji in the North. The trip takes about 24 hours one way and departs from Akosombo every Monday. You can book your voyage through the Volta Lake Transport Company. You'll be sharing the boat with some livestock and lots of vegetables, the boat is sometimes referred to as the "yam boat". The sleeping is rough but certainly rewarding for the adventurous traveler. Check out this video clip to get an idea of what it's like.

There are other smaller ferry services on Lake Volta that will take you further north and east. You can arrange transportation in Tamale.

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