A tour aimed at Afro-Americans

1032 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

2/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

January, 2024

Product name

Assin Manso Ancestral Slave River Park

Product country

Ghana

Product city

Assin Manso

Travelled with

Couple

Reasons for trip

Culture/Sightseeing

After a non-stop, three-hour journey we arrived at Assin Manso Ancestral Slave River Park, one of Ghana’s largest markets during the infamous trans-Atlantic slave trade. A panel of murals greeted us at the entrance, depicting various aspects from slave raiding to transportation and despite stiff limbs, we were immediately tagged on to a group of three Afro-American ladies.

We were asked to observe a minutes silence before we stood in the heat for thirty minutes whilst our guide explained the history of the site. Having walked hundreds of kilometers through difficult terrain in shackles and chains from as far as Burkina Faso and northern Ghana, the slaves would have arrived at Donkor Nsuo or ‘the slave river’. Here they would have been bathed, rested, sold and branded before the 32km walk to the dungeons of Cape Coast Castle. Unfortunately our guide’s fast preaching manner, and lecturing crusade was aimed at Afro-Americans wanting to trace their roots with phrases such as ‘you can hear your ancestors’. Unfortunately, his style of delivery completely switched us off and we quickly lost interest.

We then set off through an archway, ‘Welcome to the Ancestral River Park’ and as we saw on our return, ‘Emancipate Yourself from Mental Health’ on the other. Two royal blue wooden doors each depicted a slave in shackles, and we followed a flat broad open path, which would have been thick jungle with poisonous plants.

A second archway noted Ancestral River above, led into the Stool Room where on a wall was a list of the paramount chiefs with colourful portraits of the current chief and his predecessor.

We eventually reached the clearing at the confluence of two rivers with one running very fast, although because we were in the dry season, it was relatively shallow. As the slaves would have been shackled, and unable to cleanse their own bodies, they developed a way of washing their neighbour. Once bathed, heads and beards would be shaved with broken glass, and bodies rubbed with shea butter to make them glisten. They would then be sold and branded using hot metals on their bodies to inscribe them with the mark of the new master. Those not sold, due to illness or weakness, would have been dumped into the river.

At the river, particles of gold glistened, and the guide invited us to paddle barefoot, ‘to connect with the soil our ancestors had stood on’, and wash our hands and ears, ‘to touch and hear our ancestors voices’, before saying a prayer. I dipped my hands in the shallow water and whilst the reluctant ladies were being encouraged to remove waterproof sandals, I’m afraid we sloped off.

Back at the entrance, we looked at the Memorial Wall of Return, also known as the Pillars of Recognition, where in exchange for 100 Cedi or £6, you could write your name, city, and the date to indicate the discovery of your roots.

In the Ancestral Graveyard, the remains of two slaves, Samuel Carson from New York and a woman only known as Crystal from Jamaica, had been symbolically returned and reinterred. A third grave contained remains returned in 2019 by the Prime Minister of Barbados, as part of the ‘Year of Return’ campaign: launched by the President in an attempt to attract Africans in the diaspora to Ghana.

Around the perimeter of the centre were portraits on the walls of several notables including WEB du Bois, Booker T Washington, and Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah.

As we left, we reflected on what a difference a good guide could have made.

Helen Jackson

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.