Affordable quick getaways this Easter
Last week, I met a couple of Americans experiencing Lagos from a very fresh perspective and I immediately wanted to be a part of their experience. I figured it was the right time to explore Lagos from the eyes of an outsider, like a foreign traveller experiencing a city for the first time. With my camera in hand and some change in pocket, my first evening with my new friends was spent eating at a joint in Ikeja called Peka. It was refreshing to spend a Tuesday evening lounging with a bottle of Orijin and a plate of spicy noodles with fried ‘blanket’ eggs while watching a game of football on the large TV screen instead of my usual boring norm at home.
From Peka, we drove off to Fela’s New African Shrine. I am ashamed to say this, but my only shrine experience before then was a less-than-15 minutes’ daytime visit about five years ago. Growing up, Fela’s shrine was a taboo place to visit much less talk about, and in some way that mentality kept me from taking on that experience in my years of living in Lagos as an adult. Tuesday night was reggae night and a slew of wannabe artists showcased their musical talents to us on the main stage. With a plate of tasty Asun and a drink called Skuchies, a liquid concoction made from gin, lemon, and an ingredient that shall not be mentioned on here, we spent the night listening to Reggae music and taking way too many pictures with strangers. The entire evening opened my eyes to a different and enjoyable way to experience Lagos’s night-life. More so, it reminded me of sitting down in similar open spaces at outdoor joints in Thailand while watching lady-boys sing their hearts out till dawn.
The entire experience got me thinking of different ways to experience travel without breaking the bank, most necessary during this recession. July is fast approaching and with it comes the long summer holiday season, and I reckon that the number of Nigerian summer travellers would not be as many as pre-recession. So, I twiddled my thumbs a bit, thinking up affordable and fun travel options available locally.
Two nights in Tarkwa Bay
This getaway is a must do for a family-friendly vacation and it works for all age groups. A round trip boat ride from Fiki marine in Victoria Island cost N3,000/person and a six-bed villa goes for about N40,000 (depending on the number of nights spent at the villa, the price can be negotiated to a lower amount).
My favourite bit about Tarkwa Bay is that it is probably the only natural body of water I feel safe swimming in, in Lagos. For the adventurous, surfing is becoming pretty common in Tarkwa Bay; so definitely get lessons during the visit while creating fun filled memories to last a lifetime. For the not so great swimmers, invest in buoyancy wetsuits or floaters for adults and kids and stay close to the shore while allowing the waves safely wash over you.
I visited with a large group of friends and we packed our own food and drinks, but it is pretty easy and affordable to get food on the beach. For the picky eaters, bring your own provisions. For those on a budget of N5,000 (all-inclusive), a day trip is just as fun and good, just make sure to get to the beach early and soak in as much fun as possible before heading back home.
Three nights in Badagry
A quiet and beautiful coastal town with so many historical sites to explore and learn from, Badagry is known for playing a major role in Nigeria’s slave history. Since then, the small town has worked hard to boost its image as a tourist location with its beautiful and clean beaches, very tasty coconuts, and delicious tasting palm wine that rivals the best of Nigeria’s eastern parts.
I spent a day walking through Whispering Palms Resort, and for the short time I was there, it felt like I was in another country entirely. The quiet natural beauty surrounding the resort made it so easy to forget that I had to head back into Lagos city to face the realities of the Lagos hustle and bustle. Another big plus about Badagry is how close it is to Benin. Within a few minutes, you could be in Benin rowing on a boat with the locals on Lake Nokoué
while experiencing their daily hunts for food.
For those with a much-limited time and budget, a day trip to Badagry is easily doable. Head into the town bright and early in the day, spend up to three hours soaking in some necessary history lessons while touring the landmarks, before lazying around on the beach for up to three hours with a large plate of grilled fish, a side of freshly cut coconut and a chilled glass of palm wine. Bliss!There are so many more travel activities to explore locally, and I can’t wait to share them with you in my next article. Till then, happy Easter!
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