Fort Batenstein, built in 1656 by the Dutch is located on the high hill behind Butre village in the Ahanta West Municipal Assembly (AWMA). Butre is located within a tourist destination area known as Ghana West Coast. The view of the Atlantic coastline from the bastions of Fort Batenstein is quite sensational.
However, it was the promise of gold in the hinterland, and not simply the beauty of this ecological paradise, that prompted the Dutch to construct this small trading fort in 1656.
The sheer steepness of the hill was the fort’s greatest defence against imminent attack, but its constitution was so weak that the building literally shook on the occasions when its guns were fired in welcoming salutes. In 1701, the fort was visited and described by the 17th-century author, William Bosman – “On a very high hill lies a tiny ill-designed fort called Batenstein with four useless little bastions upon which are mounted eleven light cannon.”
However, amidst the verdant vegetation, clean air and the waters of the beach, life at Fort Batenstein must have been and still is, idyllic. Although its trading prospects never materialized, Fort Batenstein provided useful services.
Cotton, sugar and coffee plantations were also set up on the rich soils behind the fort, along River Butre.
Ships underwent repair works in the still waters of its bay, using timber acquired from the forest of Ahantaland. Cotton, sugar and coffee plantations were also set up on the rich soils behind the fort, along River Butre. The British acquired the fort on 6th April 1872 and implemented a few basic structural adjustments.
Fort Batenstein was originally a lodge built by the Swedes in 1650 and was soon abandoned until the Dutch built a fort there and named it Fort Batenstein. Butre was among the early historic settlements generated by the 17th Century Inter-European and Inter-African conflicts.
Between 1830 and 1860, it was intermittently occupied by the Dutch until 6th April 1872, when they transferred it to the English by purchase together with other Dutch possessions. It was demilitarized and eventually fell into ruins.
Fort Batenstein was a fort and trading post established by the Dutch on the Gold Coast in 1656. It was situated near Butre. The fort was ceded with the entire Dutch Gold Coast to Britain in 1872. At this fort, the Treaty of Butre was signed on 27 August 1656 between the Dutch and the Ahanta.
The Fort was consolidated between 2010 and 2011 with co-funding from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fort is currently preserved as a ruin. Butre has a Town Tourism Development Committee, which offers guided tours to Fort Batenstein and the local area.
Visiting Fort Batenstein in Butre will take no more than 40 mins from Takoradi by Taxi, Tro-Tro (about 120 mins). Take a direct Tro-Tro from Takoradi to Agona Nkwanta junction and pick a car to Busua or if on your own car turn left to Busua and straight to Butre.
Please don’t walk, as the road is not fully developed (rather like a bush road), and there are snakes around, like the Black and Yellow Mamba. (Yellow Mamba is not the largest danger, but the Black Mamba, as they are very aggressive).
The alternative is to take a Tro-Tro and alight at Busua and walk about 30 minutes along the coastal beach and navigate through a ‘savannah-like’ forest. You might walk back from Butre to Busua, but we always recommend a local tour guide.
The fort’s opening hours are 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Entrance fees are as follows:
|Visitor Category||Entrance Fee|
|Pupils from Primary to JHS 3||GH¢ 0.50|
|SHS Students||GH¢ 1.00|
|Tertiary Students with ID||GH¢ 2.00|
|Ghanaian Adults||GH¢ 5.00|
|Foreign Children||USD 2.00 or it’s equivalent in Ghana cedis|
|Foreign Students with ID||USD 7.00 or it’s equivalent in Ghana cedis|
|Adult Foreigners||USD 10.00 or it’s equivalent in Ghana cedis|
Entrance fees were reviewed in February 2013
Credit: igoghana / Anquandah, Kwesi J., Castles and Forts of Ghana, 1999