Elmina fortress and Kakum rainforest

1st December 2017 

Excursion to Elmina castle, the oldest and largest colonial building in Ghana, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its past tied to the slave trade. Excursion to Kakum National Park, along one of the highest and longest rope bridges in the world, to admire the rainforest from top.

Elmina castle
Elmina is a city in Ghana with just over 33,000 inhabitants and is located along the southern coast of the country, not far from Accra. It is the oldest colonial city in West Africa and hosts a fortress dating back to the fifteenth century, known as the Castle of Elmina.
Fortress in Ghana Ghana portuguese castle
Elmina fortress Castle of Elmina
Built by the Portuguese from year 1482, Elmina Castle, also known as Elmina Fortress, had various functions over the centuries: initially it was just a huge warehouse used as a sorting center for the wealth collected in West Africa by the settlers (including gold and ivory) before delivering everything overseas. Then, the structure was used as a jail during the slave trade, to imprison, select and embark slaves captured in West Africa and sold to the New World. The Castle of Elmina was first administered by the Portuguese, then by the Dutch and finally by the English. It is currently a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of the main tourist attractions in Ghana, as a witness to one of the most obscure chapters for the humanity.
Slave trade prision
Once inside the inner courtyard of Elmina castle, visitors will immediately see the massive side reinforcements of the walls.
Slave trade market
On a side of the courtyard, a gloomy tunnel leads to a room where slaves were imprisoned, often without the possibility of seeing the light of the sun and without any kind of toilet for months. This was "necessary" to let only the strongest people to survive, increasing the selling price.
Non return door
The door that led to ships waiting to load slaves: no one has ever crossed it in the opposite direction.
Prision for slaves Slave market
Old cannon Colonial buildings in West Africa
The Castle of Elmina with its large courtyard and the original cannons.
Ball tied to prisoners
The rebellious slaves were punished leaving them abandoned to themselves with a 25-pound ball chained to each leg, often under the sun and without drinks or food.
Death cell
Other rebellious slaves were instead closed in the death cell, in the dark and without food, until they died of starvation.
Elmina (Ghana) Traditional boats in Ghana
Panorama from Elmina castle

From the walls of Elmina Castle, visitors can admire a beautiful view over the city, the port and the Atlantic Ocean.
Kitchen of Elmina castle
One of the rooms of the Elmina fortress where the guards lived.
Open air market in Africa Elmina market
Market in Ghana Fish market in Africa
African fish market

After the visit to Elmina Castle, visitors should not not miss a walk in the local open air market where local people sell just everything.
Wooden boats Elmina port
Elmina Fishermen fixing the nets
The port of Elmina is home to hundreds of traditional wooden boats used by fishermen.
Child in Africa Carrying things on the head
Daily life among the streets in Elmina.
Elmina sanctuary
A small sanctuary in Elmina.
Elmina Dutch Cemetery
The Elmina Dutch Cemetery, dating back to the early 19th century and recently restored.
Saint Joseph church in Elmina
Saint Joseph catholic mission

The church of the Catholic mission of Saint Joseph in Elmina, Ghana.
Kakum National Park
Not far from Elmina, Kakum National Park is one of the most important natural parks in Ghana and is home to a dense rainforest which can be explored by a network of easy-to-follow trails.
Kakum Canopy Walk Kakum suspended rope bridge
Kakum Kakum forest
In Kakum there is a 350-meter long Canopy Walk, one of the longest suspended rope bridges in the world. From a height of about 40 meters, visitors can see many trees from top, but also the trunks of ebony that rise to the sky for over 70 meters.
Kakum rainforest Kakum, Ghana
Kakum National Park and the dense rainforest where the average relative humidity is around 90%.
Mahogany tree
A mahogany tree with its classic "reinforcements" that keep it anchored to the ground even when the height of the trunk exceeds tens of meters.
Cape Coast, Ghana Cape Coast lighthouse
The day ends with a short visit to Cape Coast and its lighthouse at the top of a hill.
Anomabo beach in Ghana Anomabo Beach Resort
Where to stay in Elmina or Kakum? The Anomabo Beach Resort has nice and comfortable bungalows along a beautiful beach, just over half an hour drive from either Kakum or Elmina, and can therefore be a good base for exploring both locations.

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