Elmina

Travel Guide Africa Ghana Elmina

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Introduction

Elmina is a city in Coastal Plain region of Ghana. Its name comes from the Portuguese word for "Mine". The gold found in these mines are also the origin of the name "Gold Coast", which was the name of what is now Ghana, when it was a British Colony.

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Sights and Activities

Elmina Castle

Elmina Castle built by the Portuguese in 1482 was the first fort built on the Gulf of Guinea in the present day town of Elmina. It is also the oldest European building south of the Sahara Desert. The castle quickly became an important stop along the Atlantic Slave Trade. This was continued even after the Dutch took over the fort in 1637. The British took control of the fort in 1871 and ended the slave trade. Today the castle is considered a popular tourist destination and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Currently the castle is undergoing major renovations that should be completed in 2015.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Portuguese Church. Located in the courtyard of Elmina Slave Castle, the church has been converted into a small museum devoted to the history of the slave trade in West Africa. It is a nice place to spend some time before beginning your tour of the castle.
  • Fort St. Jago (Fort Conraadsburg). The original building was made out of earth by the Dutch in order to launch attacks on the Portuguese-owned Elmina Castle, and in the 1660s, the Dutch replaced that structure with this fort. It was used strictly as a military fort for the purpose of protecting Elmina Castle after the Dutch successfully took it from Portugal. In the 19th century it became a prison and later a hospital. Along with Elmina Castle, Fort St. Jago is one of the 11 sites that make up the World Heritage Site "Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions".

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Getting There

Take a Tro-Tro or Bus to Cape Coast. From there, a shared taxi costs less than 1 Gh¢ to Elmina.

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Getting Around

Within Elmina, shared taxis are very common. The Beach Resorts in Ampenyi or Brenu Akinyim can be reached only by dropping cars and cost 10-12 Gh¢.

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Eat

There is a restaurant inside the Elmina Slave Castle, but it's recommended that you eat elsewhere. The food is average, and you'll spend most of the meal swatting flies.

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Sleep

  • Elmina Bay, Mbofra Akyinim (Along from Coconut Grove Hotel), ☏ +233 54 161 4812. A brand new quality hotel. All rooms have sea view and own balcony and are comfortably furnished. Good food, efficient staff. Lovely pool. Good for walking along the beach and just chilling out. Highly recommended. US$90. edit
  • 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.), ☏ +233 24 415 8675. 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.
  • KO-SA Beach Resort, Ampenyi (Take a tro-tro from Cape Coast or Elmina towards Takoradi. Get off at Ayensudo junction, then hire a taxi to Ko-Sa for 2-3 Gh¢.), ☏ +233-244-375432. Well tended beach resort run by a Dutch couple. Rocks on the sea ground make it difficult to swim, but there are several great places for swimming or bodyboarding around Ampenyi Bay. Great restaurant with international and Ghanaian dishes for 6-12 Gh¢. 10-30 €.
  • Bridge House, Liverpool Road (Bridge between Fort St. jago and Elmine Castle), ☏ +233 26 301 8743, ✉ bridgehouse@coconutgrovehotelsghana.com. Part of the Coconut Grove group, the Bridge House occupies a large brick building in the harbour of Elmine. From the coutyard, you are in talking distance of the fishermen preparing for or returning from fishing. Rooms are spacious and clean. The restaurant is fine, but the food is nothing special. The location of the Bridge House is superb, as is it is near both Elmina Castle as Fort St. Jago, only a short walk from the Dutch Cemetery. US$45-70.

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Keep Connected

Internet

You're never too far away from an internet cafe where one hour of internet access should cost GHS0.50 to GHS1.00. Many hotels also boast broadband access via wireless hotspots.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Ghana's international telephone code is 233.

Ghana Telecom (now majority owned by and re-branded Vodafone) is the most widespread phone company, but is not yet entirely reliable or widespread. There are 6 mobile phone networks operating in the country. All six networks have 3G/HSPA/EVDO coverage in the regional capitals and other major cities, and there has been a corresponding boom in internet access via USB sticks (expect to pay around GHS60 for a stick with a 2GB allowance). Coverage is good in the urban areas, and is increasing in the rural areas and along major highways.

Post

Postal services can be unreliable within Ghana itself but international post, at least to and from Accra is reasonably reliable. To send a parcel, you'd better us an internationla courier company like FedEx or DHL.

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Contributors

as well as Lavafalls (10%), Sam I Am (1%)

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This is version 4. Last edited at 10:43 on Aug 14, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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