The Ghana Tourism Authority has launched the 12th edition of the annual Okwahu Paragliding Festival in Accra. The event is slated to come off from Friday 14th-16th April, 2017 at the Odweanoma mountains in Kwahu.
Ghana Tourism Authority
The past 7 years has seen the Ghana Paragliding Festival become an integral part of the annual Kwahu Easter Festivities. The event rekindled the hither-to dying Kwahu Easter festival and transformed Easter celebration in Ghana into an international event.
The history of the festival goes back to March 2003 when, as the new Minister of Tourism and Modernization of the capitol city Accra, Mr. Jake Tonka Obetsebi-Lamptey visited the Kwahu ridge as part of his familiarization tour of the country, and by chance crossed paths with the festival’s organizer, Walter Neser.
The first Ghana Paragliding Festival, in 2005, was launched by H.E. Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana.
The festival was rechristened the Kwahu Easter Festival in 2010 through the leadership of the Chief Executive of the Ghana Tourism Authority (Julius Debrah) in partnership with Adom fm (a local fm station and member of the Multimedia Group) and has thence incorporated numerous activities including hiking the Odweanoma mountain, walk race (Walkerton), telescope viewing from the Mt. Odweanoma Observatory, Jams, Durbar of Chiefs and People of Kwahu, Music Album lunches etc.
Kwahu Paragliding festival attracts both Ghanaians and foreigners alike for 4 days of spectacular aerial fun, ceremony and music. For the last 5 years, tandem paraglide pilots have gathered from around the world to fly local Ghanaian spectators and foreign visitors. The festival is open to solo pilots as well; and boasts consistent flying conditions that begin around mid morning and remain soarable until late in the day. The thermals are consistently large and mild and offer a fantastic opportunity for both newer pilots to gain valuable experience and airtime as well as for seasoned pilots who want to enjoy hours of “stress free” flying..
- There are many reasons to attend the Annual Ghana Paragliding Festival, as either a participating tandem pilot, a solo pilot or a non-flying guest:
The Festival exposes hundreds of Ghanaians, as well as a large number of tourists, to the magic of free fight. Remember how beautiful and mind-altering your first flight was? Well, the festival is a remarkable opportunity for many Africans, who struggle on a daily basis just to secure consistent meals, to experience something that otherwise they would never have access to.
- The Festival brings together the international flying community, by providing a well-organized opportunity to visit Africa. It can be a challenge to travel in Africa; especially flying sites, which are usually off of the beaten tourist paths. But the superb organization of the festival makes it fun and easy for tandem and solo pilots to show-up and enjoy a fully catered trip; complete with arranged hotel accommodation, transportation, meals and cultural immersion via local day trips. Some pilots also coordinate their itineraries to stay longer, beyond the festival dates, in order to travel together and experience more of the beauty that Ghana has to offer.
- The Ghana Paragliding Festival is a chance to annually raise donation funds to help charity causes local to the event’s flying sight. Each year’s group of participating tandem pilots will have the chance to research and vote on the cause to which they would like their donations to go towards. 100% of these donations are channelled through The Cloudbase Foundation, which is a 501 (c) 3 Not for Profit organization that raises money to benefit projects that help children in the various countries where pilots are fortunate enough to travel to. (All donations are tax deductible.)
- The festival strengthens the local economy by creating opportunities for local business proprietors (such as taxi drivers, hotel owners, food vendors and souvenir sellers) to earn much needed income.
Ghana’s first Paragliding pilot
Mr Jonathan Quaye, Ghana’s first Paragliding pilot, expressed his joy of partaking in last year’s Easter paragliding festival after successful training in Pune, India.
Last year’s festival, as usual, attracted many visitors from abroad and across the nation.
As part of the festival, seasoned international paragliding pilots from the United States of America, Peru, Japan, France and Belgium came to the country to fly passengers during the event.
There were also fun activities such as food bazaar and indoor games including ludo, draught, oware, playing cards and scrabble as well live band music and cultural performances.
Mr Quaye, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said he received six months training in paragliding in Pune, India in 2015 after he developed an interest in paragliding.
He urged Ghanaians to develop an interest in this field and also take the needed bold steps to train as a paragliding pilot.
At the time, Ms Mavis Ama Frimpong, the Eastern Regional Minister, commended the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, for their efforts to boost the tourism sector.
The paragliding festival is one of the flagship events on the tourism calendar and it is held every year by the GTA, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts. As reported, GNA.