In just a few short years, the Ghana Paragliding Festival has become an integral part of the annual Easter celebrations in Ghana. Easter is one of the most popular holidays in many regions throughout the country. The festival attracts both Ghanaians and foreigners alike for more than 3 days of spectacular aerial fun, ceremony and music.
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.
Tandem paraglider pilots gather 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 flight.
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.
Experiencing something that thtey would otherwise 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 daytrips. 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 festival strengthens the local economy by creating opportunities for local business proprietors, like taxi drivers, hotel owners, food vendors and souvenir sellers, to earn much needed income.
The Ghana Paragliding Festival has evolved into an opportunity for participants to not only experience the beautiful culture and landscapes of Ghana, but also a chance for participating pilots and passengers to represent the good will of the flying community by raising donations to aid local community development efforts. The efforts of several pilots over the years, with the help of the Cloudbase Foundation has raised enough funding to donate to a local orphanage in Kwahu. This project shaped the idea of increasing the amount of pilot involvement in subsequent events. Participating tandem pilots are encouraged to commit to raising donations. 100% of these donations are channeled through The Cloudbase Foundation.
The Cloudbase Foundation, is a 501 (c) 3 Not for Profit organization that raises money to benefit projects that help children in the various countries. The Cloudbase Foundation has set up a fund for the Ghana Paragliding Festival, and each year's group of participating tandem pilots will have the chance to assist in a cause with their donations.