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An amazing opportunity for local street children to experience high art, culture and music is available for free! at the Bogobiri House's own Nimbus Art Gallery. This is a welcome respite for many a child whose daily life is confined by the offerings of poor, urban living. Patrons from all over the world stay in the artistic and comfy rooms of the Bogobiri Hotel, further supporting the wonderful social programs developed to enrich the surrounding community.
For exquisite natural beauty and unparalleled serenity, I love Agaja Beach. This beach is awesome. It is sublime. A well kept secret of well-heeled Lagosians. Most of the inhabitants of this little slice of paradise are Ghanaians, however. And for a small fee, they will pick coconuts for you right from the tree and graciously cut a small hole for you to drink the pure waters from. There are artisans from as far away as Senegal, selling beautiful dresses, handmade shoes and straw baskets on the beach. And between swims, you can relax in one of the cozy bungalows just at the water's edge. 40 minutes by boat from the center of Lagos. Ask at Tarkwa Bay (another beautiful beach) for directions.
I have stayed in the Romantik Hotel Vivenda Miranda more than once because the manager, Anja Norek, is so professional and helpful. The staff is so welcoming and friendly. The rooms and suites are deluxe and spacious. The food is delicious. There are many organic products used and freshness is a number one priority. The owners Vera and Urs Wild are often on the grounds checking to make sure of the comfort and satisfaction of their guests. This hotel is a small, very elegant property on a cliff overlooking the beach. The design is Moorish. It was originally the home of 17th century aristocrats.The buildings are topped with the unique Algarvian chimneys that are so whimsical. Many tourists and locals dine at the hotel's restaurant which is set on a patio overlooking the pool, cliffs,and the sea. The setting is dramatic and enhances your dinner. The spa at this hotel is excellent. Relax by the large pool that overlooks the beach. The town of Lagos is five minutes away by car. Make an effort to go into town if you are staying at the Vivenda Miranda.There are so many shops and restaurants there. The Vivenda Miranda is something special. At least try to go for lunch on the patio. The view literally leaves one gasping for breath. It's just that spectacular as you gaze at the turquoise sea and the azure sky as you listen to the birds that fly by the cliffs.
This elegant restaurant inside the Eko Hotel is a wonderful place to go for Sunday Brunch. The extravagant buffet has a wide array of options; from Nigerian dishes like ewedu soup to Mediterranean specialties like lemon and spinach salmon. The service is excellent and the ambiance, superb. Save room for the dessert bar!
This nutritious soup is a favorite Lagos delicacy and hails from the Efik peoples of Southern Nigeria. Made with water leaves, pumpkin leaves, dried and fresh fish, the broth dares to be eaten by hand, using bits of fluffy pounded yam to scoop it up.
Depending on the day, mood and direction you look, Lagos can offer absolute African charm and magic, or utter despair and poverty. Victoria Island offer relative safety and great accommodations - but would dare anyone to take a dip swimming in the Lagos Lagoon!
Ahhhh, the simple pleasures of Nigerian food. Here we have Okro Soup made in the traditional Yoruba style, with the red stew on the side. All this goodness is scooped up with bits of the white ball of pounded yam just waiting to be tucked into. For this meal, one is encouraged to use hands only, no cutlery. That way, not an ounce of flavor or texture is lost in each delicious bite.
There is a beautiful beach in Lagos, Nigeria. 30 minutes outside of the city limits, reachable by speed boat, this exquisite place is a sight for sore eyes. True, Lagos proper can be daunting, but when you land on this bucolic, ocean-lapped stretch of sand, all the troubles of the city melt away. Populated mostly by Ghanaian fishermen and their families, one notices instantly upon disembarking here that the usual frenzied Naija-style pace is lost on the peaceful, humble denizens from Ghana who have made this little paradise their adopted home.
In Lagos and looking for a stellar place to hang out, view exceptional art, buy local books, eat delish food and maybe even catch a theater production or if you're lucky, a Seun Kuti concert? Check out Terra Kulture, this place has it all!
Cycling over the brand new Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge in Lagos, Nigeria is like seeing Africa with new eyes. The fresh breeze coming off the Lagoon, the resplendent view of the swaying palm trees and the pride of being a part of an African renaissance of sorts, is enough to make one wax poetic about the tourism possibilities of Africa's most populous nation.
House parties are ubiquitious in Lagos, especially during the holiday season. And no party is complete without scores of food to pile on your plate. Here we have quite a good representation of the kind of meal you would be blessed with, if you happened upon a private party in Ikoyi, a neighborhood once inhabited by British colonials. Clockwise on this heaping plate is: Jollof rice, Moi-Moi ( a steamed black-eyed bean cake), tomato stewed fish, Dodo (fried plantains), Ofada rice (a whole grain unprocessed rice) and Efo Riro (a spinach like vegetable stew) at the center of it all. Enjoy!
For a powerful, deep and groovy experience of modern Afro-beat music, visit the New Afrika Shrine, home of the late, legendary Fela Kuti's original African sound. These days you can catch his son, Femi, playing 3 nights a week if he's not on tour. Enjoy the vibrant dancing, global crowd and tasty street food while you soak up the mystical rhythm one can only find on the motherland.
Here you can get a Swedish massage by a Thai masseuse before dining on California cuisine in Africa. Talk about multicultural pampering and global bliss!
An Italian woman had a vision to go to Africa and start a fashion line. Sounds wild. Sounds unique. Sounds Surprising. Well, when you meet the mastermind behind the concept, Caterina Bortolussi, it will all make sense. She's all of the above adjectives and then some. Moreover, the clothing she designs speak volumes on her Italo-Afrique esthetic. Think: African-print on skinny jeans, bejeweled micro-shorts and local women-run sewing cooperatives. Enough said. Put Kinabuti on your bucket list.
"The exclusive playground of Nigeria's obscenely wealthy," according to Forbes Magazine, Banana Island, a man-made peninsula in the lofty Ikoyi area of Lagos, is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world. Though you won't find any banana trees here, you will spot palatial homes that will take your breath away. And many are vacation rentals for those looking to explore the upscale African experience.
Nigeria is one of the world's busiest and noisiest countries, and this doesn't stop when you come home in the evening. Sit outside for just a few minutes, and you'll soon be keeping company with several scurrying, snacking, socializing and flirting lizards. This chap here is especially dapper; he's a blue and yellow agama lizard in his breeding livery (usually they're a little less snazzy). Although they're the most obvious and prolific wildlife you'll enjoy in Nigeria, the country is also home to huge iridescent butterflies and hundreds of birds in traffic light colours. Keep your eyes and ears open and enjoy the racket.
In the densely populated city of Lagos, Nigeria innovative citizens create beauty and vibrancy amidst the encroaching concrete jungle. Under the busy Eko bridge, farmers have found a way to highlight their fresh produce in an open air market. Leave it to Lagosians to make something out of nothing.
Nigeria has produced some of the world's greatest authors including Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Books are sold on the street corners along with phone charge cards, peanuts and chewing gum. Here's a photo from Book Cafe in Nigerian capital Abuja showing President Goodluck Jonathan reading. The shop is also starting a book group soon. At a time when terrorist group Boko Haram is doing everything it can to scare children away from school, reading groups and bookshops like these are more important than ever. Book recommendations: Things Fall Apart: Chinua Achebe Americanah: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I Do Not Come To You By Chance: Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
This sixth floor rooftop bar is the Nigerian capital's answer to Singapore and Hong Kong-style high up drinking in a city not yet thick with skyscrapers. Arrive around 5pm and settle in as the light changes, the shadows lengthen over the monoliths surrounding the city, the muezzin calls from the mosque next door and bats start flying in and out of the cage covering the roof. Don't expect mixology and cocktail alchemy, just enjoy a freezing beer, friendly service and the fantastic sunset.
As you approach this Maitama street stall, you'll smell the spiced smoke coming off the spatchcock chicken and see a crowd of people waiting for their share. It's not always fast food, but that means there's time for a chat with the cooks or another drink if you're having the chicken delivered to a nearby bar for no extra naira. These aren't the meatiest birds, but if you're a crispy skin junkie and like some kick with your chick, this is the street snack of kings. Find this grill opposite the Indonesian Embassy on Salt Lake Street.
A series of cool bamboo-roofed cabins in central Abuja, The Bamboo Lounge is a relaxed spot for a cocktail or a beer. Tucked in between embassies and set well back from the road, it's a safe and comfortable bar with palms and flowers dotted about for a greener feel than concrete-heavy Maitama can usually conjure. Food wise, order some suya from the stand outside and the barmen will bring it over when it's fresh off the grill. At N300 a stick for lip-burning and sinus-clearing beef skewers, it's a cheap and filling supper for an expensive city too.
Abuja was purpose built smack bang in the middle of Nigeria, a country that's roughly 50% Christian and 50% Muslim, in an effort to unite both faiths in one place. The city has this enormous and beautiful golden-domed mosque and also the National Ecumenical Centre, which has a copper roof and so is also pretty spectacular in the West African sunshine. That's before we get on to the church that takes place in a nightclub every Sunday...
Anything and everything you could ever find for sale is available in the weekly market on Saturdays outside of Lagos Stadium. From curios to carburetors, cat littler to caterpillar tractors the place has it all. Keep your wits about you for an intense but enriching day at the market.
As the sun goes down in Nigeria, the fireflies rise and the lanterns of the beer gardens light up, order some of the country's tastiest snack. At this bar in Abuja, fresh beef suya is doused in spices, cooked on skewers and then served with tomato, red onion slices and a generous pile of extra seasoning. If ever you wanted hairs on your chest, suya is the best way about it. You can try asking a suya chef what's in their spice blend, but you're as likely to get a full answer as you would from a laksa auntie in Singapore. There's cayenne, there's ginger, there's peanut cake. There's the most liberal use of chili you'll find this side of Hunan. Make sure you have a cold Star beer on hand too.
A 15 minute drive from the centre of Abuja (once you have negotiated the biggest potholes and worst road surface in West Africa) is Blu Cabana, a relaxing club and restaurant set up that's ideal for a few hustle and hassle free hours. Service is snappy, the Lebanese rose comes highly recommended and the mezze are fresh. After lunch, take a book poolside or have a dip. Tip: totally not kidding about the road, so make sure you take a 4x4 or wear good shoes and walk from the main road.
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