I have always loved Accra’s vibe and its people. Well, being the capital and about the most popular place in Ghana means it is a place to be—especially if you want to shop, engage in economic activities or get the best facilities around. However, my recent experience in Cape Coast has tilted my bias. Yes, I still love Accra, but I think Cape Coast is more suitable for tourists.
So, if you want to visit a place where you won’t feel so much like a foreigner, where you’ll tread on ancient paths and see historical sites, lounge around beaches, explore national parks or dive into great nightlife in Ghana, all at a budget-friendly cost; my recommendation is Cape Coast.
Budget travellers going to Cape Coast can arrive in Accra and use a tro-tro which goes from the city straight to Cape Coast for just 5 Ghana Cedis (about $2.64). Basically, a tro-tro is a shared van, you can board one at Keneshi Station. Its downside is that it’s shared, and drivers don’t move until all seats are occupied. So you can’t really predict the travel time.
Cape Coast has a bed for everyone—from luxury style resort to dorm, so whatever your budget, there is something for you. A popular beach resort in Cape Coast charges 10 Ghana Cedis—about $5.29 for a bed space in a 14-bedroom dorm, this is a good offer for a group tour and a nice way to cut hotel cost. On the other hand, 50 Ghana Cedis—about $26.44 is enough for a private room with a double bed.
If staying by a beach is not your thing, head close to Kakum National Park and Elmina Castle. You will find affordable bed spaces there too. The advantage here is that, in addition to hiking and indoor activities, the beach is just some 30 minutes away in case you want to decide to try it once.
Vibrant Nightlight is built around the resorts and hotels. Some even have outdoor bars where large crowd of tourists from different places meet, mix, grab drinks and dance under the stars.
If you visit Cape Coast without visiting the Kakum National Park, your trip is incomplete, and if you visit Kakum National Park without doing the canopy walk, you haven’t yet visited the site. Kakum National Park is Ghana’s first and most popular park, it has a lush forest and many hiking trails—visitors are allowed to explore the main paths with a guide. The main highlight of the park is the canopy.
The canopy is a rope-styled, precariously suspended, bridge that takes hikers deep into the side of the park reserved for birds and monkeys. It consists of 7 separate bridges worth 1000 feet walkways that hang from the trees over 130 feet about the ground. As you walk it, the bridge shifts and shakes, sometimes it leans to one side so much you feel like you might flip—well, that’s just a part of the adventure, don’t panic, the canopy walk is safe, you won’t fall.
A trip on the canopy costs about $16 and half that price for students. Note that Kakum National park is about one hour drive from Cape Coast, so be prepared for the trip.
Don’t miss a visit to Cape Coast Castle too. The old Slave Castle adds a historical touch to your trip; here you’ll learn how the slave trade took place many years ago—especially about the gruesome experience of the slaves. You can also visit Elmina Castle, the bigger and more popular twin of Cape Coast Castle, to complete the experience.
Take a souvenir home from your trip to Cape Coast by buying some quality products such as clothes, paintings, carvings, jewellery, instruments, etc. sold by amiable Rastafarians in town. You will find nice stuff outside the entrance of Cape Coast Castle and by the beach, don’t hesitate to haggle for the right price.
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