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Ghana Hang & Paragliding Festival 2008 3/13/2008
If you are looking for where to go for celebration this Easter, l have the best of suggestions, the Kwahu plateau, it’s always a great carnival there when it’s Easter. Kwahu has over the years gained fame for unusually massive celebration during this time and l invite you to join us two weeks to come.

My first experience of this unusual style of merrymaking was many seasons ago and l still remember vividly the fact that l lacked nothing that l needed to make the fun complete. When four years ago, Ghana Tourism appropriately added the Hang & Paragliding festival to the Easter activities at Atibie, things got even better. So for four years on, the Hang & Paragliding festival has given us additional reason to make the mountain top the appropriate rendezvous for real unwinding.

This year, would certainly not be an exception as the 4th Hang and Paragliding festival in succession would commence on Thursday 20th March through to Wednesday 26th March at the peak of the Kwahu Plateau in Atibie. So what at all is Paragliding? Paragliding is a sport in which human is assisted to be in flight with a Paraglider which is a motor less inflatable wing, made of rip-stop nylon and fixed with Kevlar lines that secure a pilot''s harness. The pilot sits in the harness as seen in picture and launches the vehicle into flight, by running off the slopes of the mountain or hills and jumping off just before the slope turns valley and the flight is on. The pilot steers the wing by weight shift to sides depending on the direction one wants to take. The function of a Paraglider is to soar on wind currents. I hope that was not too complex to decipher. And this is what many Ghanaians and foreigners mass up to enjoy in addition to countless entertainment sessions. For me, no matter the length of time you would be airborne, it’s worth the experience. A pilot may take along a passenger or two. The World record for staying aloft is over 11 hours, and the distance record is 186 miles (300km). The average flight for the every day enthusiast is about 3 hours, with heights reaching 15,000 feet (4,500 meters). In Ghana, the longest flying time is over 5 hours. According to one of the regular pilots, the joy of gliding in the equatorial atmosphere is a unique experience and once you are up these, you want to be there until it starts getting dark. Ghana offers exceptionally good flying conditions, and is good for cross country flights. During the past three events, the focus was not on cross country, but there were some nice flights done during and after every event.

Once up there you can remain in perfect, smooth thermal conditions, while doing acro, taking pictures, or just relaxing and enjoying the bird’s eye view. The development of these sites and others has made Ghana an attractive destination for a paragliding holiday. So far, the first three festivals attracted over five decades of international pilots and hundreds of patrons and that record id already receiving threats. This year, we are looking to having a full week festival and the flying events normally commences early in the mornings so one would want to arrive the night before and accommodation both in Nkwakaw and on the hill is never a problem as there exist really fine hotels and many accommodation in some of the finest modern houses in Ghana. Getting there from Accra, take the Kumasi road, from Kumasi, take the Accra road, and when you hit Nkawkaw, ask for the road to Atibie, and this is where the real adventure begins. The sight of the mountain though very intimidating, the excitements that come with climbing the snake like winding road up the plateau is good and dare not concentrate on the valley else you would be wondering whether you would be seeing your mom again. Very soon, Atibie which is an attraction in itself would show up in its Spectacular location- the apex of the massive landmass, climbing up altitude approx 670m that is 2200Ft and a breathtaking plateau in a plush evergreen environment ,very dazzling. Here, the early mornings are characterized by chilling cold fresh breeze wrapped in a hazy fog lifting up and kissing the sky as nature welcomes you to tranquility. Visibility could be reduced to few metres so you’ve got to drive with much care. You will find a very solid entrance welcoming you, here you buy a ticket and a few paces beyond takes you to the reception area, a place where fresh palm wine is served direct from the pot on request and you want to pour libation down your throat for successful mountain climbing adventure. You don’t want to miss this. As a sworn acrophobia, I am yet to gather the courage to do my first flight and it always amazes me the ease with which both the elderly and the youth would take to the skies, hovering over the Nkawkaw airspace, dangling and probably saying hi to neighboring birds flying or gliding by and landing down at the Nkawkaw sports stadium site at altitude approx 244m, that is 800Ft, making the difference in height of about 426m. The horizontal distance from take off to landing is 2.3km, making the glide angle about 5.4:1. The orientation is South (180°). Some how technical, eh? Never mind, just get there and you will find its all fun, not arithmetic at all. So next two weeks, comes Easter, and from 20th – 26th March, 2008, as usual over thousands of people would mass up the place everyday for partying to all flavors of music and booze on all the seven days. I promise you real entertainment and oh! I can’t forget the uncountable spontaneous dancing sessions; in fact opportunities for dances amid making of all manner of friends will simply make you nuts. May be, the volume of streams of booze and soft drinks of this world that meanders down human throats on Easter weekends here surpasses that of any place at any event. And in case you didn’t know, two years ago, l declared Easter at Kwahu as the world’s leading cash spending festival. You want prove? Make yourself available on the mountain this Easter and find out for yourself and in case you need company for tour guiding or just story telling sessions, make it a point to call me on 0244445646. I bet you won’t miss home “da”.
Source: By Richard Kwame DEBRAH (Tourism Analyst / Tour Guide)

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