Let’s say you were visiting Cape Coast for the first time and you had a very tight schedule (and budget). You want to see the Elmina and Cape Coast Castles but you simply don’t have enough time or money to combine both, which would or rather, which should you see and which should you forfeit, for perhaps a later visit?
The truth is that both castles are worth checking out, so if you do have the time and money to visit the two, you absolutely should. My sister and I visited both and our tours were very similar. Both castles hold dark history about the slave trade and had fantastic guides who were both knowledgeable and ever ready to answer any questions our group had.
When I began writing this article, my first inclination was to say that you skip Elmina (or see it from a distance) and opt for a visit to Cape Coast instead. But as I began to pen down my thoughts, I realized that I might have enjoyed visiting Elmina more and I would perhaps recommend it over the former. (Don’t blame me, it’s really hard to choose)Elmina or Cape Coast Castle? Which should you visit? Click To Tweet
Elmina, being the oldest of the two castles, felt more authentic for me. First, we had a smaller group during our tour. I don’t know if this had to do with the time of day or if this is usually the case, but it felt more intimate. We were all able to interact with each other.
The castle also felt less modernized than its counterpart and some rooms still smelt terrible – is this supposed to be a good thing? Anyway, I connected deeply to the stories told by our guide here.
But Obama visited Cape Coast Castle and that should count for something, right? 🙂 I found this castle to be more aesthetically pleasing than Elmina and quite larger too. Unlike Elmina, we weren’t harassed by men who wanted to sell us things outside the castle walls and the surroundings were less dodgy. Our tour group was much larger than what we had in Elmina but it still was a very good tour.
So here’s my final verdict. If you want an experience with a smaller crowd, go for Elmina Castle. Depending on where you stay in town, it may be closer and easier to get to. Cape Coast castle got a face lift recently. It looks better, it’s quite larger but regardless of which you choose, you’ll get to experience the history of Ghana’s slave trade in both castles.
Have you been to the Elmina and Cape Coast Castles? Which did you prefer?