History & Heritage of Central Region
The coastline is famous for its ancient forts and castles built by early European traders, and three of them at Elmina, St. Jago and Cape Coast have been identified as World Heritage Monuments by the World heritage Foundation under UNESCO.
The Region is also famous for its palm-fringed beaches, fascinating fishing villages and historic towns, and rich natural attractions. Kakum National Park, just 30km north of Cape Coast, is the foremost nature reserve in Southern Ghana and well worth a visit. Almost untouched virgin rainforest has been preserved as a habitat for birds, butterflies and rare local animals, and Kakum is most accessible, as it is very easy to reach from Accra.
The Region’s culture is depicted through its many exciting festivals which are held throughout the year. Some of the best known festivals are ‘Bakatue’, literally the opening up of Benya Lagoon into the sea, which symbolised the beginning of the fishing season for the people of Elmina; ‘Edina Buronya’, a native version of Christmas celebrated by the people of Elmina on the first Thursday of the New Year; ‘Aboakyer’ or game hunting, one of the most famous festivals celebrated by the chiefs and people of Winneba on the first Saturday in May; and ‘Fetu Afahye’ celebrated with a durbar of chiefs by the people of Cape Coast on the first Saturday of September. Another famous festival is ‘Odambea’ celebrated on the last Saturday in August in Saltpond Traditional Area, and reflecting a migration of the local people centuries ago.
The historic towns in the region that deserve a visit include Winneba, traditionally known as ‘Simpa’ Winneba; Kromantsej Abanze, the site of Fort Amsterdam; Duakwa and Mensa Krom, home of some of the Region’s best woodcarvers; Ajumako aware where the carvers specialise in royal regalia, stools, linguistic staffs and clan totems.
Throughout the Central Region there are welcoming hotels and restaurants, all an easy drive from Accra. If you are seeking to discover the historical links between Africa and the Americas and Europe, or just wanting to explore a culture that has its roots in another era, or just wanting to relax on a sun-dappled beach, then the Central Region must not be missed.