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By Damilola Faustino

Ghana is one of the most captivating countries in West Africa. The country is blessed with idyllic beaches, cosmopolitan cities and remote nature reserves full of exotic wildlife. If you are in Ghana for whatever reason, here are some of the top tourist attractions in the country:

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Cape coast castle

Ghana’s Atlantic coast is lined with old forts and castles built by various European powers during the 17th century. Of these, the Cape Coast Castle is one of the largest. It was built in 1653 for the Swedish Africa Company and was originally used as a trading post for the timber and gold industries. The Cape Coast Castle is now a museum full of information about the history of Ghana, the slave trade  and local culture.

St George’s castle

A 20-minute drive west of Cape Coast Castle brings you to the picturesque fishing town of Elmina. Elmina is home to one of Ghana’s most important historic landmarks which is the St. George’s Castle. The stark beauty of the castle’s white-washed walls contrasts with its dark history. Built by the Portuguese in 1482, it was captured by the Dutch 150 years later. It served for more than two centuries as the headquarters of the Dutch West India Company.

Accra

Accra is Ghana’s vibrant capital with over two million residents. It constitutes an eclectic blend of contemporary architecture, ramshackle townships, colonial castles and lively markets, and is considered one of Africa’s safest capital cities. Some of the interesting spots in Accra include the Makola Market, a central hub selling everything from fresh produce to local arts and crafts; and the National Museum. Accra also has several scenic beaches, including Labadi Beach, Coco Beach and Bojo Beach.

Kakum National Park

The Kakum National Park is a dense tropical rainforest in southern Ghana. The forest is home to more than 40 mammal species including forest elephants, forest buffalo, meerkats and civets. The birdlife is fantastic as well with over 250 different species recorded. The highlight of any visit to Kakum, however, is a stroll or walk on the Canopy Walkway. Suspended 100 feet/30 meters above the ground, it crosses several bridges and is over 1150 feet/350 meters long. The walkway offers a unique perspective of the park’s flora and fauna.

Mole National Park

Located in northwest Ghana, Mole National Park is the country’s largest wildlife park. At the Mole National Park, you can expect to see buffalo, rare roan antelope, elephants, warthogs, hyenas and if you’re very lucky, leopards. Lions have recently been re-introduced to the park as well. Birders can also keep an eye out for more than 250 avian species. You can opt for a walking safari or a traditional game drive accompanied by an armed guide.

Kumasi

Kumasi is the former capital of Ghana’s Ashanti Kingdom, Kumasi is located in southern central Ghana. It is the country’s second-largest city with a population of over 2 million people. The Ashanti are famous artisans, specializing in gold jewelry and trinkets, Kente cloth and carved wooden stools. You can see examples at the Centre for National Culture as well as at various craft villages on the outskirts of Kumasi. The bustling Kejetia Market is chaotic but well worth a visit.

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