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May 1, 2012
March 24, 2004
The castle is in fantastic shape, and a not-to-miss is the museum and video that they play about the slave trade.
One of the things that stands out in my mind is when the guide took us through all the dungeons and told us horrible stories. There is a door called “the door of no return”. When walking through the door, you see hundreds of people laughing, swimming, fishermen mending their nets, women selling things, and it brings a sense of life back to the environment.
From journal Life as an Aobroni
Clifton, New Jersey
March 14, 2004
The fort served as an important cog in the mechanization of the slave trade: Cape Coast Castle was were many captured people, from all over the African continent, were brought, sorted, sold, and loaded onto ships bound for parts unknown. Ghana's location, and particularly the port in Cape Coast's, made it easily accessible to interested traders.
Though the quality of your tour through the fort might depend on how well-informed your guide is (I was lucky, mine was a Uni student well-versed in his country's history), leaflets explaining the ins and outs of the fort are available at the front entrance to supplement all that you're seeing.
Crowding into some of the dungeons is almost unbearable with just a few people around, so it becomes overwhelming to read (or hear from your guide) that hundreds of people would have been locked up in the tiny rooms for days, given only small provisions to live on.
Walking through the open and airy rooms that would have been reserved for the European "governors" or traders presents a striking contrast - one that's difficult not to be overwhelmed by.
The Castle provides some beautiful views of the beaches below and the surrounds of the city - walking along the outskirts of the walls, its easy to pause and watch the local fisherman for a bit or to look down along the beach at the patterns of incoming waves.
Not to be missed, as uncomfortable or depressing as it might be, is the "door of no return", so marked along the eastern side of the Castle, from which people were led out of the dungeons and onto ships that would take them away from their homes and families forever.
Self-guided tours are available for around $3 US, guides are available for $5-6 US; guided tours sometimes won't leave though until there are a number of patrons gathered together. No extra charge for taking photos or grabbing a leaflet/printed guide.
The gift shop hasn't much to do with the museum itself, but does hold some interesting art for sale - wood carvings, mostly, from local artists' cooperatives. Beware that prices in the shop are a bit high, however, and similar pieces can be obtained in the markets for much less.
From journal Ghana's Gold Coast