Ten years ago I might have taken the room, but cramped dormitories with narrow beds and the aroma of half-a-dozen young men sleeping off a hangover have less appeal these days. I happily paid the extra Cedi (less than $1) and found a single room away from the beach. Welcome to Cape Coast, capital of the Central region of Ghana and one of the country’s major tourist destinations.

The ride here was described to me as lovely, but lethal. It was neither, although I wished I’d had metal hands to slam through the window of  a taxi that pulled over in front of me shortly after leaving Takoradi. There is only one coastal road and it is busy.

Ghana’s coast is littered with a dark history. Between the 16th and 19th Century Thousands of slaves were held in forts along the coast here awaiting transportation to the Americas. Taking a tour of the forts at Elmina and Cape Coast and listening to  how your fellow countrymen were involved in what must be one of the greatest human atrocities in history is a moving experience. The French, Portuguese, Dutch, Danes and Swedes all had a hand in it too I might add. Fortunately the fanti fishing boats, which also dominate the coast, provide a colouful distraction.

The plan was to leave today, but last night I received a call from Hiromu, the Japanese cyclist I met in Morocco eight months ago. He called to say he would be arriving in Cape Coast today. Hurrah!

Never again: Slave depiction, Elmina

Slave Castle: Elmina

Slave cell

Canons on Cape Coast Castle

Cape Coast fishing fleet

Waiting for the catch

Sleepy Sunday