On the southwestern shores of Ghana, nestled between the Gulf
of Guinea and the Ivory Coast (la Cote D' Ivoire), in the Western
Region and its twin-city capital, Sekondi-Takoradi. The nucleus
of this thriving metropolis is a modern harbour from which Ghana's
principal exports of cocoa, coffee, bauxite, manganese and timber
are shipped to world markets.
These same waters which enable the Region's prospering commercial
trade today, once, centuries ago, received European ships which
arrived to trade with coastal forts for gold and slaves.
This striking contract contrast between old and new - ancient
and modern - creates the unique and interesting charm of the
Western Region. It is reflected in a variety of unique attractions
travellers may visit: grom gold mines to the single gauge railway
to fragrant rubber plantations.
There are also beautiful beaches, historic forts, popular cultural
events, a village on stilts and charmed crocodiles, which will
keep adventure-loving travellers busy for quite some time.
If your travel plans include a visit to Cape Coast or Elmina
in the Central Region, then you are only one hour's drive from
Takoradi via an excellent highway.
Since underground tours are limited to relatively small groups
(8-10 people at a time) and special protective gear must be
provided, advance reservations are necessary. Please contact
the Ghana Tourist Board in Takoradi for assistance Tel: 233-031-2357.
The Tarkwa Goldmines, 92km northwest of Takoradi, were founded
in the 1800s and are among the oldest goldmines in the country.
Above ground, you can see the mills where the gold is extracted
from the gold bearing rocks. Roaring machines grind the rocks
into a sand-like substance. Then water and chemicals are added
and the solution passes over a conveyor belt. The larger gold
particles are removed, and the remaining solution is remixed
with chemicals so that smaller gold particles can be extracted.
After you are fitted with protective gear, you will go underground
in a small cage to one of the branch tunnels. There you will
proceed either on foot or in small rail cars to see where the
gold is dynamited from the walls of the mine.
After the tour, take a refreshing break at the Tarkwa Goldmines'
Canteen. There are modest-room Guest House on site and rooms
40km further north of Tarkwa are the Prestea Mines. Unlike the
Tarkwa Mines, Prestea has 2 unique departments you will enjoy
seeing: the Assay Department where the gold is carefully evaluated
for purity, and the Roaster Department where the gold is smelted
in small furnaces and the molten liquid is poured into moulds
to make gold bards.
If you are interested in recreation, the Prestea Goldmines have
2 lighted tennis courts and a challenging 18-hole golf course.
A canteen, with a panoramic view of the area, serves good Continental
and Ghanaian cuisine.
20km southeast of Tarkwa, the Nsuta Manganese Mines are the
third largest in the world. Here you can see open cast (rather
than underground) mining methods in practice. Your tour will
show the exposed mineral bearing rocks, which are dynamited
and then transported to the crushing plant.
After the rock is reduced to smaller pieces it is washed and
foreign particles are removed. The resulting manganese ore is
then transported to the railway where it is shipped to Takoradi
The Mines have a dormitory-type, modern Guest House, 2 swimming
pools and a 12-hole golf course, all of which can be enjoyed
in the cool mountain air at Nsuta.
25km off Takoradi-Tarkwa Road at the Agona Junction is Busua
Pleasure Beach. The wide golden beach attracts travellers from
all over the world and the gentle surf makes swimming safe,
even for children.
Chalet-style accommodation is available. An outdoor restaurant
and bar, serving drinks and light meals, continues to operate.
Why not combine a day at the beach with a quick visit to Fort
Metal Cross in Dixcove; it is only 5km away.
Club Beach - Sekondi-Takoradi
Just 2km from Takoradi town centre, behind the Atlantic Hotel,
is a lovely stretch of palm-fringed beach. The beach also has
a private club with an 18-hole golf course, a tennis court,
a swimming pool and a club house with catering facilities.
Although the club's facilities are reserved for members, visitors
may make reservations in advance by calling Tel: 233-031-2229
or contacting the Ghana Tourist Board.
Located about 10km off Takoradi-Tarkwa Road, Adjua Beach is
set in a serene atmosphere, surrounded by lush forests. Beautiful
Dadowa Lagoon is within sight, just 200 meters beyond the beach.
There are also small summer huts where you can relax and enjoy
a picnic lunch or snacks which can be purchased there.
A 2km stretch of scenic coastline with coconut palms and virgin
beaches lies 30km off the Takoradi-Elubo Highway. For a little
adventure, take a short walk along the path which runs parallel
to the beach. It leads to the Akatekyi Crocodile Pond. The Pond
is open to visitors every day except Wednesday.
36km off Takoradi-Elubo Road is a secluded beach full of picturesque
coves and rocky outcrops. There are 3 lovely, privately owned
chalets (3 bed-rooms each) available if you would like to stay
several nights in the area. The Ghana Tourist Board will be
happy to assist your in making reservations. Tel: 233-031-2357.
FORTS AND HISTORIC SITES
Groot-Friedrichsburg or Fort Hollandia
Danish lodge in 1658, fort built in 1682. Fort built in 1683,
abandoned in 1716 and shortly afterwards occupied by local chief,
John Conny, in 1717, who remained in occupation until 1725 when
it was captured by the Dutch and renamed Fort Hollandia. It
remained in the possession of the Dutch until 1872 when it was
ceded to Britain.
Built as a Dutch lodge in 1526. Portuguese fort built in 1590.
Abandoned in 1600. Restored and altered by the Dutch c.1638,
enlarged in 1640-2. Attacked by the English under Captain Robert
Holme. Temporally in English hands, in 1664-65. The Dutch struck
back under De Ruyter, re-occupied it the same year and rebuilt
it in 1666. Abandoned it before 1870. Ceded to Britain in 1872.
Restored in 1954-57.
Portuguese trading post, in 1502. Destroyed by the townspeople
in 1514. Second fort built by the Portuguese on present site
in 1515. Taken in 1642 by the Dutch who subsequently rebuilt
the internal structure. Captured by the English in 1664. Recaptured
by the Dutch in 1665. Ceded to Britain in 1872. Restored in
Fort Metal Cross
The fort on the bay (Dick's or Dickies Cove). Work commenced
in 1683, but progress was impaired by continuous disputes between
the English and the Brandenburgers. Building completed by the
English, in 1691-97, possibly on the site of an earlier post.
Besieged, in 1748-56 and abandoned, in 1826. Re-occupied in
1830. Transferred to the Dutch and renamed Metalen Kruis, in
1868. Ceded to Britain, in 1872. Restored in 1954-56.
Dutch lodge in 1660. First English trading post in 1691. British
fort built between 1750 and 1770. Abandoned in 1820, but re-occupied
by Governor Maclean's expeditionary force in 1836 (to facilitate
confrontation with King Kweku Ackah of Nzima, who was renowned
for his stubborn opposition to increasing British intervention).
Transferred to Dutch in 1868. Renamed Fort William III for King
William III and occupied by the Dutch until 1872. Transferred
to the English in 1872. Bombarded by the British in 1873. After
the fort was abandoned it fell into ruins. Reconstructed between
1962 and 1968.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's Mausoleum
83km west of Takoradi (4km from Esiama on Takoradi-Elubo Road)
is the birth place of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President
A garden and monument is located in the centre of the town and
marks to site of Dr. Nkrumah's childhood home.
Village on Stilts
90km west of Takoradi, and 5km north of Beyin, is Nzulezo, which
means "surface of water". This settlement is located
on one side of Lake Tadane which is fed by two nearby rivers.
Inhabitants of the village are said to have migrated here from
Walata, a city in the ancient Ghana Empire. According to legend
their ancestors were guided to this particular spot by a snail.
Nearly everything in this village on stilts take place on or
just above the water - cooking, schooling, recreation, etc.
Whenever a new baby is born, it is baptized in the lake, which
is believed to be a protection against drowning. To preset the
ecology, the local people use traditional bamboo hooks instead
of lead ones for fishing.
The best time to visit the settlement is during the rainy seasons
(April to September). During the rest of the year, as the parts
of the lake bed dry out, you will have to walk some distance
before taking a canoe to the village. Be sure to wear comfortable
shoes that you do not mind getting wet. Nzulezo welcomes visitors
every day except Thursday, which is a sacred day. There is a
fee for a canoe and oarsmen.
30km west of Takoradi, at the Akatekyi Lagoon, you will find
a pond where crocodiles are enticed from the water by the incantations
of a fetish priest and the protests of a live fowl. You can
observe this ritual every day except Wednesday (a sacred day).
Although there is no formal admission fee, you should bring
a bottle of Schnapps for the libation ceremony and some cash
(in cedis) for the cost of the fowl.
Kundum is celebrated from August to November by the Western
Region's coastal tribes, the Ahantas and Nzemas. Beginning in
August, the festival moves west from Takoradi to town after
town at weekly intervals. Rituals include purification of the
stools and prayers to the ancestors for a good harvest. Traditional
drumming and dancing feature prominently.
If you are interested in visiting Tarkwa, Dunkwa or Kumasi in
a more exciting way, then take the train. A trip by train from
Takoradi to Tarkwa takes 2 hours. Dunkwa takes 5 and Kumasi
8. The trains have both First Class and Second Class seating,
a Bar Car and First Class and Second Class Sleeping Coaches.
You may buy a ticket at the railway terminal which is located
near the Harbour in Takoradi.
AND MARKET DAYS
"Market Circle" is open every day
and is well stocked with a variety of items: foodstuffs, utensils,
cloth and household goods. Be prepared to use your bargaining
Every day is market day in Sekondi. You will find a wide range
of items from foodstuffs to clothing.
25km north of Takoradi at Agona Junction, Agona's market days
are Wednesday and Saturday. The market primarily sells foodstuffs
and clothing. Bargaining ensures moderate prices.
Market days are Tuesday and Friday.
Near the Market Circle in Takoradi, prices are negotiable.
Trade Fair Handicraft Bureau
Located at the Harbour Round-About near Market Circle, the shop
has a variety of handicrafts, most of which depict Ghanaian
and African culture. There are also a section of raffia furniture,
carved wood items and masks.
Located in Egyam, 10km off Takoradi-Agona-Nkwanta Road. Reportedly
the site was visited by angels, and their footprints still remain.
A grotto marks this special spot.
This Catholic Sanctuary located about 90km off Takoradi-Half
Assini Road. It is also said to be the site to the apparition
of the virgin Mary.
This is one of the only regions in the country where you can
see tobacco being processed into cigarettes, fragrant rubber
trees being tapped for their latex, huge logs being milled into
boards or raw cocoa beans being pulverized into powder.
2 cocoa processing factories are located in Takoradi: Cocoa
Processing Company, Takoradi, and the West African Mills, where
you can see how raw cocoa beans are processed into powder and
There are a number of modern wood processing factories: John
Bitar, Hardwood, WVLC and Primewood, where you can see the drying
and milling processes.
About 28km from Takoradi, Ghana Rubber Estates Limited manages
a vast rubber plantation. This plantations supplies over 60%
of the latex required locally for the production of tyres and
plastics. You will see thousands of trees wearing small black
cups to tap the sap, you may learn the tapping process and how
latex becomes rubber.
Coconut farming is major occupation among the Ahantas and the
Nzemas in the Region. Their coconut palm groves stretch along
the Takoradi-Elubo Highway and along the coast. You will discover
how the local women process "copra", which is supplied
to the Esiama Oil Mills for production of coconut oil.
Oil Palm Plantation
The vast over 1,000 sq km Benso Oil Palm Plantation processes
the fruit of the oil palm into oil, right on the plantation
premises. This oil is then sold to soap factories and local
Bonsa Tyre Factory
This is the only tyre factory in Ghana. Almost all of the raw
materials required for the manufacture of inner tubes and tyres
are produced at local rubber plantations.
Pioneer is the largest cigarette factory in the country. They
produce a variety of brands like "555", Embassy, Durbar,
Sandowner, and Tusker from flue or dry-cured tobacco leaf which
is cultivated locally.