Keta used to be a busy shipping port and thus, a vibrant commercial hub for imported goods both before and after independence within the sub-region. Its near cosmopolitan status and fame grew in the colonial era on the back of its well-known product, anchovies, popularly called ‘Keta school boys’ and the flood of quality goods of European origin in shops owned by foreign trading concerns – AG Leventis, GB Olivant, and UAC among others. Residents were highly educated and adept at artisanal crafts aside from their industriousness in fishing and farming.
Today, however, the sheen of cosmopolitanism has worn off, leaving a husk of old colonial and post-colonial relics including architectural designs, which now stand as monuments to a bygone era.
It is the capital town of the Keta Municipal Authority and stands on a sandbar unwittingly caught between an angry sea and an acquiescent lagoon, one of the biggest in West Africa by geographic space.
Keta’s troubles began at the turn of the 20th century when the sea started to wreak havoc on the land and its inhabitants by swallowing a swathe of buildings, commercial and residential, without relent. This led to the eventual relocation of many trading concerns to Lome, the nearby town founded by Anlo settlers in the precolonial era.
Now, only the forlornly remains of fort Prizenstein bear witness to a glorious past albeit darkened by a history of slavery and colonialism.
Life in Keta is no longer what it used to be. It is only on some festive occasions including funerals and holidays does it come alive and, generally, finds many people at the beaches including groups and organisations, families, couples and individuals.
Some go looking for quiet and serenity for relaxation while others go for tourism and fun. In all these, one can easily rate the stretch of beaches along the Keta coast as some of the most beautiful without a doubt.
Keta is well-known for several attractions such as Fort Prinzenstein, the Keta Sea Defence Project, Keta Lagoon, and sprouting beach resorts.
The beaches are often open spaces where people regularly go to admire the dynamic movement of the sea waves, which driven by the wind, travel miles before reaching the shores.
The clean and beautiful porous sand massage the feet one walks barefooted and along the beach with an abundance of seashells, seaweeds, crab holes and fishing canoes. The beaches and void of rubbish and plastic debris.
In Keta and its surroundings, beaches remain one of the most popular locations for people who want to spend time with friends and loved ones. Travellers in and out of Ghana spend a day or more at the beautiful beach resorts and hotels located along the coastal stretch just to have the satisfaction of the beach as well as indigenes who visit daily whenever they choose.
Others go to party or have picnics and enjoy the breeze while others purposely go swimming, which is a good form of exercise to relax the muscles and a pleasant way of cooling the body during a sunny day.
The Keta seafront does not only serve recreational purposes but provides livelihood and income for the indigenes who cast and drag their nets in the early hours of the day to fish or at noon and spend between four to five hours pulling in the fishing net from miles away accompanied by traditional songs composed to boost their morale. Sometimes visitors go over to help them pull the nets to have a feel of it or for fun.
A warm welcome and hospitality await visitors from indigenes of Keta who are willing to assist tourists and visitors at no cost.