Chances are, a visit to Cape Coast isn’t going to be exactly what you expect it to be. Most would expect that the home to the most infamous slave castles in Africa would create an environment for you to learn, explore, and perhaps begin to understand a bit of history. And well that is possible in Cape Coast, the town is mostly served as a hangout out for volun-tourists on breaks from their “work” in the more rural parts of the country. As such, Cape Coast turns into a party town full of alcohol, drugs and loud music on weekends. And well if offers a nice bit of history in the castle, I think most actually looking for an experience would be better served going to Elmina instead.
Time Needed: 2-3 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: 40USD per day
Things to do in Cape Coast
Obviously the major draw to Cape Coast is the castle, but there are some other things you can do in and around the city.
- Cape Coast Castle: It’s a bit set up these days. If you go, you have to be a part of a tour (they leave every 15 minutes or so). Moreover, you’ll have to pay a heafty fee to take photos. Somehow, I managed to bargain my camera fee down, so it’s worth a shot.
- Victoria Fort and Fort William: The other two forts in town are also nice visits, although less historically powerful.
- Kakum National Park: You’ll need wheels or to pay a taxi to get out here, but the canopy forest is decent. Don’t expect to see too much in terms of wildlife, although monkeys are regularly seen. If you come, do so early before the crowds arrive and scare off the bird life.
Where to Eat in Cape Coast
There’s a really good selection of seafood available in Cape Coast, and most of it is incredibly fresh. You’ll find plenty of West African dishes too, but I recommend sticking to the stuff from the sea.
- Oasis Beach Resort: The food at the restaurant is good, but a tad expensive. See if you can get yourself some of the lobster!
- Janet’s Grilled Cheese: This is grilled cheese in style. Near the castle, it’s a cheap place to grab some good grub!
Where to Stay in Cape Coast
There is quite a bit of accommodation available in Cape Coast, and it’s a pretty wide variety as well. Moreover, most of the accommodation is right on the beach. Just be sure to try and book in advance if you’re staying on the weekends as it often fills up.
- Oasis Beach Resort: This is the backpacker’s hangout. There are dorm rooms and private huts. The bar and restaurant is always pumping and the beach is decent right outside. It’s right next to the castle which makes for a perfect location.
- Baobab House: Another hostel in Cape Coast. They also do some charity work in the region. It is nicely set up and you’ll have a much quieter time than Oasis. It might be a good idea to party at Oasis and then sleep at Baobab.
- Brenu Beach Resort: A bit more upscale than Oasis and quieter too. It has a much quieter setting, but a little out of the way.
Getting out of Town
The best way to get to/from Cape Coast if you don’t have a car is by tro tro (mini-bus). If you’re going to Accra, Elmina or Technoati you’ll find lots at the tro-tro park on residential road. If you’re hoping to catch a higher quality bus to somewhere like Kumasi, you’ll need to go to the STC station which is a couple kilometers out of town. A taxi will get you there.