ADD TO LISTSituated on the Atlantic coast of Ghana, Elmina is the first European settlement in West Africa, and was the Portuguese West African headquarters of trade for both goods and slaves. The town's main landmark (and one of the leading Ghana attractions) is the El Mina Castle, which was built in 1482.
Travel Tips from people who've been to Elmina
When I went to Elmina Castle two local men approached me as I walked in wanting to chat, asking me my name, where I was from etc. When I came out they had a shell for me that they had written "Welcome to Elmina Castle Jen from Australia" which they wanted to give me as a gift. I gave it straight back to them at which point they insisted they wanted no money for it- they then pulled out a sheet asking for donations for a soccer team and became quite aggressive, naming the price of the shell etc, when I said I didn't have any money to donate. Most people are lovely but it is worth exercising caution around very touristy areas. At the very least you will be asked to donate to an extraordinary number of soccer teams!
A visit to Elmina (or the Ghanean coast for that matter) is not complete without a visit to the Elmina Slave Fortress. The fortress was used by the Dutch to trade slaves to their various colonies in from the 16th century. The guides are well informed and a visit is most definately chilling, impressive and something you will not easily forget.
When you go to Elmina definitely check out the fish harbor market. But keep you camera away or at least hidden because the locals don't like you taking pictures there. It makes sense though. You wouldn't want your daily life to be viewed as an attraction either.
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