A vibrant entourage of nearly 100 hikers and bikers, representing Brussels Airlines (Lufthansa Group), descended upon Ghana on 2nd February 2024, igniting an exhilarating adventure set against the backdrop of the breathtaking Volta region. In a historic twist, this year’s expedition, traditionally known as “Bike in Africa,” expanded its horizons to include “Hike in Africa” for the very first time. The spirited group was welcomed with traditional dancing and jubilant music, graced by the presence of Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), alongside key staff members. As part of the welcome, all participants were presented with Ghana branded hand-made wrist bands and in addition the leaders of the teams were decorated with beautiful hand-woven kente stoles.
Following successful editions in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Senegal, The Gambia, and Cameroon, the 2024 installment of “Bike in Africa” is was set to venture into Ghana, with a particular focus on the captivating Volta region. This was a dream come true for the leaders for the project who did not hide the feeling at the short welcome ceremony. “Bike in Africa is an initiative that was launched by Brussels Airlines’ employees, with the aim to bring people together and discover Africa in ways that you normally wouldn’t. On top of that, we also contribute to the local economy and try to promote the destination in any way we can. Brussels Airlines has lots of skills and knowledge which we are also happy to share with young local entrepreneurs.” said Ilse Verhelst, Project Manager Bike in Africa, Brussels Airlines.
Participants were drawn from Brussels Airlines and several Lufthansa Group business units including Eurowings, Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines for the 7-day experience and it was the first time in the 6-year history of the project that hiking was being introduced.
The biking leg of the journey has seen fervent cyclists from across the expansive Lufthansa Group embarking on a challenging odyssey encompassing five stages. Their expedition commenced in Akosombo, a charming locale situated approximately 100 kilometers north of Accra, Ghana’s bustling capital. Meanwhile, the hiking contingent explored and camped at the scenic Shai Hills National Park and concluding alongside their biking counterparts in Akosombo.
On February 3rd, 2024, the cyclists embarked on their voyage with a scenic boat ride across the Akosombo River, before conquering the terrain with a rigorous ascent up the hills towards Ho. Simultaneously, the hikers commenced their day with an invigorating morning hike out of the serene Shai Hills Natural Reserve, their overnight abode. Transported to Amedzofe, Ghana’s highest village, the hikers embarked on two distinct 3-kilometer trails, one leading to Ote Falls and the other meandering through lush indigenous forests.
The following day saw the cyclists traversing a challenging uphill route from Ho to Biakpa, ultimately descending to their overnight sanctuary at Mountain Paradise in Biakpa, affording them a majestic vista of Mount Gemi. Subsequently, the cyclists embarked on a scenic descent from Mount Gemi, followed by a bus transfer to Mount Afadjato, where they partook in a local village tour, inclusive of a visit to a traditional distillery.
February 5th dawned with the cyclists conquering Mount Gemi, relishing a technical yet awe-inspiring downhill journey. A portion of the group paused en route to visit Leklebi Fiape Primary School, fostering memorable interactions with the enthusiastic school children. Following lunch and a brief respite at the Big Foot Safari Lodge, the group embarked on a 2.8-kilometer trek to the magnificent Wli Falls, where they rendezvoused with the hiking cohort for a joint aperitif. Amidst the backdrop of cascading Wli Falls, they exchanged anecdotes while sipping fresh coconuts, their campsite nestled near the falls’ base. A mesmerising spectacle ensued as thousands of bats emerged from the rocks, swirling overhead.
True to tradition, the expedition intertwines adventure with corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, in collaboration with help alliance, the aid organization of the Lufthansa Group. Concurrent with the sporting endeavours, participants will partake in Design Thinking workshops, fostering innovation and generating employment opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Notably, Bravehearts Expeditions LTD, a local enterprise specialising in tourism development in the Volta region, and Wasteman Ghana, a company dedicated to recycling plastic waste into sustainable materials, have been selected as CSR partners.
To ensure seamless coordination, dedicated support teams, inclusive of medical professionals and a media contingent, will accompany both biking and hiking groups, ensuring every moment of this extraordinary journey is captured and documented.