ghanayour journey beyond the return
One of the first group trips we planned 20 years ago was to Ghana, back when there was little tourist infrastructure. In recent years, Ghana has become a “hot” destination for Black heritage. For it was along the Ghana coast that most active merchants of the African slave trade prospered. In 2019, Ghana hosted the “Year of Return” marking 400 years since the start of slavery in what would become the United States. After COVID-19 subsides, we expect a renewed interest in Ghana because of the increased global focus on racism and social justice. It is an important destination for White Americans as well as Black Americans looking to learn from the past and understand the beginnings of our country’s centuries-long struggle for equality.
Travel to Ghana starts with a visit to the frenetic city of Accra, where you will immediately feel the vibrant pulse of West Africa. While there are some forts and castles to explore in the city, your best bet in the city may be a visit to the Makola Market, the largest open air marketplace in the country. For a cultural excursion, consider a visit to Kokrobite, less than an hour from the city, where you can take drumming lessons while enjoying views of the Gulf of Guinea.
The main excursion outside of Accra are the slave castles located along Cape Coast, around 4 hours from Accra. Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle give visitors important insights into the slave trade and an understanding of just how brutal the conditions were for those who lost their freedom and their homeland.
Another cultural area to explore is Kumasi, center of the Ashanti ethnic region. It is located around 4.5 hours from either Accra or Cape Coast and is in Ghana’s interior. Nature options include visits to Kakum National Park in the south, the Volta region in the east, or the hard-to-reach wildlife Mole National Park in the north.
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Photos: Slave Castle, Elmina; Kakum National Park; Masks at outdoor market, Accra