The plane lands and everyone erupts in applause.
You walk off the plane and as the doors open, the heat engulfs you.
You make your way outside of the madness that is luggage claim and immigration; although the skyline is darkening, the streets are still so alive.
The short walk to the carpark has already caused a bead of sweat to fall down your forehead, you manage to slide into the car just in time and the ice cool AC is a welcome embrace.
Like play, like play…you’re home.
Lagos, Eko, Gidi; whatever you choose to call it – I do think you’ll have a soft spot for it and will be looking forward to returning.
I hadn’t been back to Lagos in over 10 years, so coming back as a young woman the experience was much different from how I had experienced it as a child. This trip was for the funeral of my Grandmother, she left behind 7 kids, 21 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren and an even bigger hole in our hearts. In true Naija style her funeral processions were a true celebration of her life and a welcome opportunity for many of us to come back home after being away for so long.
I took a week prior to the funeral processions to explore some of the sites Gidi had to offer me, and although it was mid-June – I promise you Gidi really doesn’t sleep.
Here’s a list of 10 things that are a must do:
Home to the longest canopy walkway in Africa, it’s a protected icon of nature conservation and a pearl of ecotourism. The fact that you enter another world just off of Lagos-Epe Expressway is a feat in itself.
Pack on the insect/mosquito repellent, slap on the sunscreen and beware of the cheeky monkeys.
Adult – N1,000/£3/$3
Children (1 -17 years) – N300/£1/$1
Canopy Walk Cost: N1,000/£3/$3
The Nike Art Centre is full of a variety of sculptures and paintings by Nigerian artists. It’s spread across 3 floors and if you fall in love with a piece there is a chance to buy something and take it with you.
You may catch Ms Nike herself, she frequents the grounds and is so accommodating with a lovely story to tell.
Entry Cost: Free
If you are interested in seeing some Nigerian theatre and learning about the history of the Theatre, this is a great place to go. You can get a good few hours out of exploring here there are cool photo ops, a mini art gallery and a restaurant so you can chop until your belle full! I took the opportunity to try some Palm Wine – I’m not fond of it but sometimes you gotta do it for the ‘gram.
Entry Cost: Free
I love the feel of old books, films, records – I blame Love Jones, so being able to step into somewhere like this in Lagos was magical. There are old prints from concerts, vinyl copies of records, it’s all so very ‘alté’ and I was living for it.
Entry Cost: Free
The decor here is absolutely beautiful inside and out, situated on a secluded street you are transported away from the busy streets. Alara is bringing your traditional favourites with a sophisticated angle.
Price: Meals start from around £23/$20
- Balogun Market
I wouldn’t recommend going here without a local 👀 it’s BUSY, BUSY. So you need to be fast to cross, be sharp to not get pick-pocketed and it’s probably best to just look so your accent doesn’t fully give you away and get you bumped 👀.
Anything you could be looking for you can find here; waist beads, fabric, soap – you name it.
Farm City is the location for shisha, a cold drink, vibes and some serious fish 😍. If you’re not a fan of seafood then there are other menu options but if you do love seafood you won’t be disappointed.
Farm City I want to run to you, miss you 🥺
Price: Meals start from around £10/$15
There are a range of clubs on the Island, so you can club-hop to your hearts desire to find the right location, however if you want to party until the early hours Quilox is the place to go.
Entry Cost: Free, you’ll need to buy a booth to get somewhere to sit down but if you don’t mind standing just get a drink and catch a vibes.
With all the stress of day-to-day life and being stuck in Lagos traffic and you will get stuck in Lagos traffic!
Being able to have some R&R is so important, I love the Oríkì vibe and they offer a great service; pedis, manis and a range of massages.
Entry Cost: prices can be found on their website
An ‘Owambe’ is the name given to a Nigerian party; a wedding party, a birthday party, any type of party. Whether rain or shine you are guaranteed to find one happening; do I start on the food? the money spraying? the live band?
The vibes are unmatched. Dress to impress and be ready to dance.
Entry Cost: Free
Direct: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic
- Low season (February – June, September, November) ≅ £450 – £540
- High season (December – January, July – August, October) ≅ £800 – £1200
Air B’n’B – ranging from £40 p/n to £150 p/n
- Radisson Blu – £
- Eko Hotel & Suites – ££
- Lagos Continential Hotel – ££
Haggle, haggle, haggle is the way of life however if you’d rather not, the best way to get around is Uber/Taxify.
Danfo/BRT = Public bus
Keke Napep/Marua = Tuk-tuk
Okada = Motorbike