Some of the patrons of the Citi TV/Citi FM’s Heritage Caravan have vowed not to choose vacation in the United Kingdom over Ghana every year in March due to the fun-filled programmes they experienced during the just-ended Heritage Caravan.
In its 6 years running, the 2023 edition of Citi FM/TV’s Heritage Caravan was the fastest sold-out road trip.
All the 44-seater three Intercity State Transport buses were full, but the calls to join the trip never stopped.
Within a matter of about two months, sponsors came on board in partnership with the Ghana Tourism Authority to give revellers a memory of a lifetime.
On Saturday, March 4, 2023, about 156 patrons, including selected staff of Citi TV/Citi FM gathered at the premises of Citi TV at Tesano in the Okaikoi North Municipality at around 4am to begin activities for the road trip.
Sponsors were there in their numbers bearing souvenirs to last the patrons for 7 days.
After registering patrons with their tags, hot kenkey was served with other English breakfast as an alternative.
The excitement embossed on their faces was telling. The bus eventually took off to Amedzofe in the Volta Region where they visited Mt. Gemi, which is over 2,200 feet above sea level, the highest peak of human settlement in Ghana.
The view over the hill is breathtaking, and the greenery is very oxygenated, giving a different kind of breath from the fumes in many parts of Accra.
The crowd at the new canopy walkway installation was huge. Students from all levels and many institutions, including staff of the Ghana Ports Authority, were all present for an adventure.
Patrons on the Heritage Caravan endured the strenuous hike and finally made it to the canopy walk.
The feeling, according to the caravanites was worth the energy loss.
The caravan arrived at the Royal Senchi hotel in the Eastern Region at about 7:10pm and patrons were checked in.
The Kwampa band, sponsored by Ebony condoms lightened the exhausted faces, which suddenly took to the dancing floor after dinner. Many retired to bed at after 12am.
The Caravanites had breakfast and proceeded to their buses for a 9-hour drive to Bonwire kente weaving centre.
This day was dedicated to the European Union in Ghana to take charge of their activities.
At a brief ceremony and a display of Adowa dance, the chief of Bonwire took centre stage as the invited guest.
Addressing the gathering, Nana Bobie Ansah II appealed for support to have a cotton factory built on over 5000-acre of land he’s made available for plantation.
This, he said, will impact positively the prices of yarns used in the weaving of kente.
The Managing Director of Citi TV/Citi FM, Samuel Attah-Mensah, used the opportunity to explain the essence of embarking on the trip.
The EU Ambassador in Ghana, Irchad Razaaly who was installed as the development chief of the area in his statement mentioned that, “the EU in Ghana has the ultimate goal to support the youth to acquire skills which in the long term will impact on families and thus reduce the endemic unemployment situation.
Noda Hotel at Ejisu in the Ashanti Region had its staff on standby, which welcomed the guests.
Tables were set for dinner, after which the much anticipated poolside jam was filled with patrons. Drinks of all brands and tastes were served at the bar on demand. Despite the heavy rains, lovers of water dived into the pool like dolphins.
“Let’s go, let’s go,” became the catchphrase that echoed time compliance to schedule and readiness to move to the next destination.
Packed food was made available on each bus for patrons.
The journey to the next destination, Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region was estimated at 12 hours.
The first stop was at the Paradise Rest stop in the Eastern Region, which had all local foods ready for caravanites through the orders of the advance team that led about 2 hours ahead.
The next stop was at the Favor Restaurant in Tamale, where the opposite was the case despite the same assurance to the advance team.
The sharp contrast in temperature from 18 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius compelled caravanites to adapt.
The heat was skin piecing, and it also drained the moisture so quickly that was when Voltic mineral water, one of the sponsors hydrated everyone.
After the long hours, the people of Bolgatanga, especially Ghanass Hotel, gave patrons a rousing reception with rich cultural display.
The caravanites paid a courtesy call on the chief of Paga. The energetic dancers at the palace ware beautiful to see.
The chief urged Citi TV/Citi FM management to use its influence to urge the government to construct a significant emblem at the Ghana-Burkina Faso border to give the right border demarcation which will inform travellers when they cross.
The caravanites took pictures with the crocodiles at the Paga pond and were also allowed by border immigration to cross into Burkina Faso.
They had the opportunity to see people’s homes and stores on the borderlines. People whose bedroom is in Burkina Faso and their sitting room in Ghana in the same house.
The caravanites returned to Tamale for great meals from the Global Dream hotel. In less than an hour, patrons hopped unto the bus to the Red Clay Studio.
Ibrahim Mahama, the artist, hosted the team in his movie theater, where he explained that the project was to give hope to children in the North to dream big.
The night before was very short. Patrons woke up by 4am to ready for another 12 hours on the road.
The Bono Region was the destination. The next stop was the Mole National Park, the biggest natural habitat in Ghana for the elephant and the ant located in the Savanna region.
The safari was extremely adventurous. Seeing animals live freely was ecstatic. Many patrons ranked the viewing of the giant elephants as one of their highlights on the trip.
“We don’t import animals to this park. We allow them to look for their own food,” the tour guide explained. Even when they’re preying on each other, we don’t intervene, he added.
As the Caravana advanced towards the middle belt, the temperature dropped significantly.
Less demand for water and frequent stops.
The caravan arrived at Eusbett Hotel at Sunyani, and the reception was indescribable. All staff lined up waiting to receive their guests. They assisted everyone in their allocated rooms.
This was the venue for dinner and nightclubs. As usual, patrons couldn’t resist any of the activities for the night as many jammed till 3am.
Maaha Beach Resort in the Western Region was the next destination. Patrons had a long day and at a point had to walk as part of the encounters on happenings on the road. The bus arrived at Maaha at about 10pm.
The caravanites freshened themselves in readiness for a corporate dinner. They came out looking elegant and glamorous. The wrinkles on their faces vanished. The navy band gave very classical performances, and patrons danced their troubles away. The occasion was used to celebrate the birthdays of March born.
The Managing Director of Citi FM/TV in his address touched on the fact that the trip had no profit motive. He believes tourism is a “low-hanging fruit” any government to leverage to quicken the pace of development. The event transitioned from days six to seven. Some patrons dived into the swimming pool just after.
The morning was quite easy. After breakfast, many took a walk and selfies in the park and at the beach.
The bus left Atuabo at 11am to Sekondi.
Citi FM/TV loyalists had served lunch buffet with brands band for the caravanites. This is the second time Mr. and Mrs. Nkumsah hosted about 150 caravanites in his house on the hill, looking over the Takoradi port.
There was enough to drink and eat. The Vice Chancellor of the Methodist University, Prof. Bondzi-Sinpson Ebo spoke on behalf of the family.
He was delighted to host the crowd. He urged organizers of the trip to consider doing this twice a year to give families the opportunity to join with their children to give true meaning to heritage.
But the MD of Citi FM/TV Samuel Attah-Mensah indicated that tourism and hospitality infrastructure aren’t adequate to cater to the numbers, especially for children.
At every point, caravanites showed different dance formations to excite their senses.
Some people had their fair share of birthday celebrations when they were soaked in water.
The caravan moved to Ridge Royal Hotel in Cape Coast.
Another night of clubbing after dinner lasted till the following morning.
The caravan left Ridge Royal at 11am to the Assin Manso Slave River. The history was told of how our forefathers and mothers endured cruel, inhumane, and wickedness of colonial masters to be auctioned to the highest bidder.
The river and its environment served as the last place where slaves were bathed before sale. The harrowing story left many caravanites emotional.
The caravan journeyed to Accra and arrived at Citi TV at Tesano at about 5:50 pm on Saturday, March 11 to draw a curtain on the 2023 edition of the Citi TV/Citi FM’s Heritage Caravan.