Land of the fante people, home to some of Ghana’s best preserved castles and world heritage sites, beautiful beaches and exciting festivals, the central region is known as the heartbeat of Ghana’s tourism, and a visit to this part of Ghana is a must for anyone with a passion for history and culture.
Getting to the central region is fairly easy if you’re travelling from Accra or Kumasi. STC buses to the region’s capital Cape Coast leaves twice a day from Accra, and from Kumasi there’s a daily bus to Cape Coast as well. Best way to get around when in the region is trotro (local buses) or taxi.
Where to stay
Being a coastal region, the central region has many fantastic beach resorts one can stay at affordable prices. These include the Brenu Beach Lodge, Oasis Beach Resort, Biriwa Beach Hotel, Kokodo Guest House, Baobab Guest House, Nokaans Hotel, Hans Cottage Botel and Pedu Guest House to name a few. For a taste of mouthwatering dishes (and continental food) these are the restaurants to head to: Castle Restaurant, Kokodo Restaurant, Coast to Coast, Hayford Lounge and Bar and Baobab House, all located in Cape Coast.
Things to do
The central region was the former government centre of Gold Coast and Cape Coast the seat of British colonial administration thus the region is very much steeped in history. The coastline of the region is dotted with forts and castles, most notably Cape Coast Castle, Elmina Castle, and Fort St Jago, which have been identified as World Heritage sites. For a small fee visit these places to discover the slave trade history of the region.
Not to be missed is the Donkor Nsuo (The Slave River) at Assin Manso, a place where slaves bathed in the river before they were taken to nearby Cape Coast and Elmina to be shipped off overseas.
Get stuck into the local culture by visiting the traditional fishing and crafts villages located in Winneba (famous for its fishing fleets, masquerade festivals and beautiful ceramics), Kromanste & Abandze (famous jazz player Louis Armstrong traced his ancestry here) and Gomma-Otsew-Jukwa (known for its fine pottery).
For beach lovers and those who want to get your surf on head to Brenu Beach, Breni Akyim, Gomoa Fetteh, Elmina and Winneba beaches, all dotted with palm trees, white sands and friendly locals.
To observe nature at its best, head to Kakum National Park, where one can find diverse species of mammals, plants and insects. Activities offered at the park include walking tours, guided hiking, bird watching and the canopy walk for the brave and fearless (if you’re scared of heights this is NOT for you!)
Depending on what time you visit the region you can take part of the local festivals that happen all year round. These include the Fetu Afahye festival celebrated by the people of Cape Coast. Witness purification rites, procession of chiefs, drumming and dancing and firing of musketry. Another festival to look out for is the Akwambo festival celebrated by the people of Agona in the region.
Finally make sure you try some of the local dishes when touring the region. Dishes unique to this part of Ghana is fante kenkey, fufu and palmnut soup and eto (mashed yam or plantain eaten with peanuts and eggs)
So if you do decide to visit the central region, what I’ve touched on above are just a few of the things you can do in this part of Ghana. Happy touring!
Yaa Nyarko (@yaayaa_89)