Keta and Ada Foah - Where the Volta meets the Atlantic Ocean
Keta - At the great Lagoon
The place Keta itself does not actually have so much to offer which you can’t find in the many other small towns of Ghana as well. It is home to about 25,000 people and as is customary on the Ghanaian coast fishing is one of the most important economic sectors here. In addition, salt extraction has some relevance in the surrounding area. What makes the place so special is its location at the largest lagoon in the country which was named after it. The Keta Lagoon covers a considerable amount of 300 km² water and the surrounding area is an important breeding ground for birds and sea turtles. That is why it is now receiving special protection. From the Gulf of Guinea, the lagoon is separated only by a narrow spit. On this is also the place Keta – constricted by two large waters and thus just so special and definitely worth a detour.
The special location is both - a curse and a blessing. Since the 14th century, Keta has been a local trading post. In the 17th century, members of the Anlo Ewe group settled here and with the arrival of the Europeans, the place became interesting for them too due to its commercial location. The fort built here by the Danes also reveals the main problem this community is facing: erosion. It has been largely destroyed in recent decades and the whole spit is affected by this phenomenon, which is why great efforts are being made today to save Keta from partial destruction.
Although the German name of the fort built here on the spit of the Ketalagune suggests otherwise, this was actually built by the Danes who were very active at that time on Africa's west coast and especially in today's southeast Ghana.
The foundation stone of the Fort Prinzenstein was laid on 06/22/1784 at this place where a Dutch fort had previously stood. The special thing was that the laying of the foundation stone was carried out by two African princes at the same time. While the prince named Adade laid the stone himself, it was walled with mortar by Prince Ofoli. The fort owes its name to this circumstance. As soon as it was built up it was used by the Danes as a protection of the local commercial branch, which was urgently needed at the time, as a strong anti-Danish faction had been formed in the area through various alliances between local groups and other European nations. Like most forts on the Ghanaian coast, Prinzenstein was also used to capture and ship slaves. This was only put to an end by the general prohibition of slavery in Denmark in 1803.
Increasingly the fort was used as a barracks and prison in the following years until it was sold to the British in 1850. The use as a prison was also continued by the new owners and so Fort Prinzenstein remained well preserved in this function for a long time. It was not until the 1980s that it became victim to severe soil erosion, which gnawed massively at the building from the coastline and left massive damage. Today, the fort is only half a ruin and is no longer used except as a tourist attraction. However, it has hardly lost its special charm due to the special location on this narrow spit.
Where the great Volta River meets the Atlantic Ocean after its long journey through West Africa lies the tranquil village of Ada Foah. Today Ada is known as a popular tourist destination with its long palm-covered beaches and unique nature at the Volta estuary. Until the middle of the 20th century, however, the place had above all an economic importance. Since the Europeans set up a trade in the region Ada has grown into an important port and hosted several large accounts. But latest the construction of the Akosombo dam in the 1960s let this importance subside and trade gradually shifted to Accra and Tema in the west.
But since then Ada has just developed into a holiday paradise where also locals like to spend a weekend. Here you find numerous holiday homes as well as some larger hotel complexes, especially on the beach and river bank. If you have enough time, leisure and a sense for special nature, you can certainly spend some very exciting weeks here. We ourselves have only organized a day trip to this place for which of course a frequently offered boat tour is particularly suitable to explore the Volta Delta from water.
We have taken such a tour and so a relaxed ride through the delta with its magnificent sandy beaches is definitely worthwhile. The so called Crocodile Island served as a stopover on the small tour - a tranquil little islet that exudes pure tropical cosiness. The name, however, promises something more than the place can hold. In the past, some crocodiles probably lived here, but were almost completely displaced by humans. All the rest of it is a few specimens crammed into a high walled pool, which gives a rather sad picture. So don’t come here to watch crocodiles but spend your time on the beach talking to the people living around or observe life on the Volta Delta.