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Cape Coast
Cape Coast is located in Ghana
Cape Coast
Location in Ghana
Coordinates: 5°06′N 1°15′W / 5.1°N 1.25°W / 5.1; -1.25
Country Flag of Ghana.svg Ghana
Region Central Region
Population (2000)
 - Total 82,291

Cape Coast, or Cabo Corso, is the capital of the Central Region of Ghana and is also the capital city of the Fante (Fanti) people, or Mfantsefo. It is situated 165 km west of Accra on the Gulf of Guinea. It has a population of 82,291 (2000 census). From the 16th century the city has changed hands between the British, the Portuguese, the Swedish, the Danish and the Dutch. The city's Fante name is Oguaa [pronounced in an Anglophone style as "Ee-gwer," with the accent on the second syllable, which rhymes with 'where'].



Founded by the Portuguese in the 15th century, Cape Coast grew around Cape Coast Castle, now a World Heritage Site. It was converted to a castle by the Dutch in 1637, then expanded by the Swedes in 1652 and captured by the British in 1664. The British based their Gold Coast operations in the town until Accra became their capital in 1877. Cape Coast was also where most of the slaves were held before their journey on the Middle Passage.

The Cape Coast Slave Castle


The town's symbol is a crab and a statue of one lies in the city centre. Fort William, built in 1820, was an active lighthouse from 1835 to the 1970s, while Fort Victoria was built in 1702. Other attractions include the Cape Coast Centre for National Culture, the Oguaa Fetu Afahye harvest festival and, since 1992, the biennial Panafest theatre festival.

Cape Coast, Ghana. View of the fishing fleet

It is believed that U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama considers Cape Coast as her ancestral home, and on 11 July 2009, she took the rest of the first family to tour Cape Coast Castle as part of her husband's trip to Ghana.


Cape Coast is the seat of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana's leading university in teaching and research. Cape Vars, as it is popularly called, lies on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The city also boasts some of Ghana's finest secondary and technical schools:

External links

Coordinates: 5°06′N 1°15′W / 5.1°N 1.25°W / 5.1; -1.25


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Cape Coast castle
Cape Coast castle

Cape Coast is a city in Central Ghana.

  • Bus: you can use Metro Mass or Intercity STC [1] from Accra, Kumasi or Takoradi
  • Tro-Tro: it takes 2.5 hours from Accra (Kaneshi Station) to Cape Coast. A Ford Tro-Tro with A/C costs 5.5 Gh¢.

Get around

Taxi is the best way and is very cheap by western standards. Especially shared taxis are very common in Cape Coast.

  • Cape Coast Castle is one of several UNESCO World Heritage slave forts along the southern coast of Ghana. A guided tour takes 45 minutes and costs 4$ for students.
  • Nzulezo Stilt Village in the middle of a lake is at least 2 hours away. Must See!
  • Brenu Beach Resort, Brenu Akyinim (Take a tro-tro from GOIL/Pedu Junction along the Accra-Takoradi road towards Takoradi. Get off at Ayensudo junction, then hire a taxi from the main road to Brenu Beach.). A well-tended private beach, better for swimming than the beaches in Cape Coast, only a 15-20 minute Tro-Tro ride away. There is a restaurant/bar on premises which offers a great variety of Ghanian and International dishes for 5-10 Gh¢. Camping/rooms are available. 1 Gh¢ entry fee for the day. Website  edit


Hang out on the beautiful beach under the Palm trees and watch the locals pulling in fishing nets and traditional boats.

Take a Global Mamas workshop on batiking, Ghanaian cooking, fishing, and/or dancing.


Ele Emma, a seamstress on Aboom Wells Road, makes high quality tailored clothes. Prices are approximately GHC20,00 (U$19,00 - Aug2008) for a shirt.

Commercial Road has many great booths for small gifts-- one in particular has beautiful jewelery and beads. This, along with other stands along the road, offers better prices than the tourist stores in the Castle, and supports local economy.


The main street has many good eateries.

Cape Cafe on Commercial Road has great cheap food. With a friendly atmosphere, quick service, full bar, and a menu of both Western and Ghanaian food, it is a favorite of both tourists and locals.

Further along, just to the right of the fork in Commercial road (the crab monument), Ant's Rastafarian Health Food Store is a gem for vegetarians-- smoothies, veggie dishes, and even tofu are available there.

Walk in the alley way next to the right of Malcom. Then make your first right into the smaller alley. Then your first left past the fruit stand. And you will find a hidden local market. In here you'll find the best fou fou lady in town.

  • Janet's Grilled Cheese, next to Ocean View Internet (between the Crab Statue & the Castle, just next to Ocean View Internet towards the Crab). Janet's, advertising "Ghana's best Grilled Cheese," does not serve your average grilled cheese sandwich. Sandwiches are made with Laughing Cow cheese, a fried egg and chopped onions/peppers/tomatoes on fried bread. Delicious and cheap.  edit


Excellent Outdoor Bar with traditional dancing and fire eating up the hill along the beach.


Hostels/Guest Houses towards the beach are good quality and some have lovely roof bars also.

Get out

Tro-Tro's can be caught in front of the GOIL station (just West of Pedu Junction) along the main Accra-Takoradi Road.

Intercity STC buses can also be caught from the same GOIL station. The ticket office is on the second floor of the building just next to GOIL to the left. There are several departures to Accra and other locations daily. Intercity STC

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CAPE COAST, a port on the Gold Coast, British West Africa, in 5° 5' N., I° 13' W., about 80 m. W. of Accra. Pop. (1901) 28,948, mostly Fantis. There are about ioo Europeans and a colony of Krumen. The town is built on a low bank of gneiss and micaceous slate which runs out into the sea and affords some protection at the landing-place against the violence of the surf. (This bank was the Cabo Corso of the Portuguese, whence the English corruption of Cape Coast.) The castle faces the sea and is of considerable size and has a somewhat imposing appearance. Next to the castle, used as quarters for military officers and as a prison, the principal buildings are the residence of the district commissioner, the churches and schools of various denominations, the government schools and the colonial hospital. Many of the wealthy natives live in brick-built residences. The streets are hilly, and the town is surrounded on the east and north by high ground, whilst on the west is a lagoon. Fort Victoria lies west of the town, and Fort William (used as a lighthouse) on the east.

The first European settlement on the spot was that of the Portuguese in 1610. In 1652 the Swedes established themselves here and built the castle, which they named Carolusburg. In 1659 the Dutch obtained possession, but the castle was seized in 1664 by the English under Captain (afterwards Admiral Sir) Robert Holmes, and it has not since been captured in spite of an attack by De Ruyter in 1665, a French attack in 1757, and various assaults by the native tribes. Next to Elmina it was considered the strongest fort on the Guinea Coast. Up to 1876 the town was the capital of the British settlements on the coast, the administration being then removed to Accra. It is still one of the chief ports of the Gold Coast Colony, and from it starts the direct road to Kumasi. In 1905 it was granted municipal government. In the courtyard of the castle are buried George Maclean (governor of the colony 1830-1843) and his wife (Laetitia Elizabeth Landon). The graves are marked by two stones bearing respectively the initials "L. E. L." and "G. M." The land on the east side of the town is studded with disused gold-diggers' pits. The natives are divided into seven clans called companies, each under the rule of recognized captains and possessing distinct customs and fetish.

See A. Ffoulkes, "The Company System in Cape Coast Castle," in Jnl. African Soc. vol. vii., 1908; and Gold Coast.

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