Up pretty early to get a start ahead of what we were told was likely to be pretty heavy traffic out to the Cape Coast. Our plan was to see two forts/castles which had been major shipment points for slaves headed to the americas. After around a 2.5 hour drive, we came to Elmina Castle, built by the Portuguese as a trading post in the late 1400s which later became a slave trading post. The view from a short distance away:
After parking, we walked towards the castle. A view of the fishing boats right outside the castle:
Inside the castle courtyard:
We had to wait about 10 minutes, but shortly a tour was given which lasted about 45 minutes and was very informative. Highly recommend waiting for the tour if you come all this way. View from atop the castle:
Another shot of the fishing boats from a bit higher up. Amazing how many there were!
Immediately after walking out of the castle, we were surrounded by a gang of teen boys who had seen us go in. We’d given our names when asked, and they had painted some large seashells with their e-mail address and a message welcoming us to Ghana. It was hard to resist donating a little to them, and of course, promising to e-mail them some time. As far as touts go, it was a pretty good deal they had going…and got me to actually loosen up and donate a little to their “football club.”
Leaving the castle, we passed a woman selling fish. Mmmmmm fish 😉
Oh, and if you get your passport and visa pictures done by this guy they’re sure to look presidential!
From there, we drove approximately 30 minutes back towards Accra and stopped at the other major fort, Cape Coast Castle. A view inside the courtyard:
…and just in case you didn’t get your picture taken like him at the first castle, he actually visited Cape Coast Castle a few years ago:
Another shot of the courtyard:
View from on top of Cape Coast Castle:
Another view of the courtyard:
…and another shot from the top.
Afterwards, we stopped at a small cafe next to the castle to get a few bottles of water and some snacks. The side benefit is it allowed us to lose the touts who were intent on selling us something when we left. We dashed straight from the cafe to the car and made a clean escape.
One of the things I love most about anglophone west Africa is the fun place and business names. I mean really, who would get a good haircut when they could get a “decent hair cut”:
…or “decent fast food”
We got back to Accra late afternoon, and had a bit of down time before heading out to get some dinner. Per a recommendation on Tripadvisor, we decided to get dinner at a place called Mamma Mia. It had a great outside courtyard, and amazingly good pizzas and cold beer – what more could you want! It wasn’t anything amazing, but definitely hit the spot. It was definitely an expat hotspot, but there were plenty of locals as well. Ended up making an early night of it again because I was headed out early in the morning for the drive to Togo!