A day’s trip around Lagos
January 1, 1970
by Ike Chris
A day’s trip around Lagos
Lagos is unarguably West Africa’s number one city. Aside from being the commercial Nerve center of West Africa, Lagos attracts tourist from all over the world every year. As New York is to the USA, so is Lagos to Nigeria. Located in the South Western part of Nigeria, this megacity has lots of historic sites, blending ancient architecture with Modern Sky rise buildings, brewing with lots of exciting activities day and night.
Lagos is quite an old city. Back in the days when slave trade was considered legal, Lagos served as a major route to Europeans who came to West Africa to find slaves. Badagry, an ancient town located in Lagos became the commercial focal point of West Africa when slave trade was practiced. Though slave trade is over now, antiques that tell of the woes of slaves can still be visibly seen in the area.
If you by any means have plans of visiting Africa, your adventure wouldn’t be complete if you fail to stop over in Lagos. There are lots of fun and interesting places to visit. From the Mainland to the Islands of Lagos, the fun never stops.
A day is certainly not enough to see Lagos in its entirety, but it will definitely do to see the fun side of Lagos. If you have finally decided to visit Lagos, here is how a typical day itinerary will look like.
Sip a cup of coffee and head straight to the National Theater
Start your day by taking a visit to the National Theater. Built in 1976, the National Theater has become one of the most prominent architectural buildings of Lagos. It was built in preparation for the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC), which was hosted in 1977. It has over the years become a cultural landmark of Lagos. It was built to take the shape of a military cap. Since its commissioning, The National Theater has played host to international music festivals, dramas, workshops, exhibitions to name but a few.
If you are lucky, you might run into a dance troupe. But you might have to do a little bit of planning if you want to see dance troupes perform in the theater. Public holidays and festive periods will be the best time to catch up with them.
The National Theater has a very serene environment, making picnicking ideal. Families living within the metropolitan come here during the cool of the evening.
But I am guessing you still want to see more exciting places. So picnicking might be for another day. Time to get up close view of the Atlantic Ocean
Never damn the Bridges
Modern day civil engineering has made it possible to build bridges across Oceans and over terrains, too rugged to be plied. Vasco da Gama Bridge of Europe, Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge in the US, Tianjin Grand Bridge of China, are some of the bridges that hold world records in terms of their length. But this kind of bridges aren’t exclusive to Asia or America, they are right here in Africa. The Third Mainland Bridge which commenced operation in 1980, holds the record of being the longest bridge in the whole of West Africa. It connects the mainland part of Lagos to the Island, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. When driving, it takes about 15 to cross the 11.8 Km long bridge. The bridge becomes scenic at night, with brightly colored street lamps lighting up the entire bridge.
Taking a drive across the bridge gives you an opportunity to get outside yourself. As you stare beyond the edges of the bridge, into the horizons of the Ocean, something within will make you appreciate the beautiful landscape of nature.
There are lots of interesting places to see once you get off the bridge.
Tafewa Balewa Square (TBS)
The Third Mainland Bridge terminates in Obalende, a small town in the islands of Lagos. A ten minutes’ drive from Obalende connects you to Tafawa Balewa Square. Four white gargantuan horses greet you as you make your way into the square. Built in 1972, TBS has become an integral part of Nigerian History. When Nigeria got her independence from her British Colonial Masters, the triumphant event was celebrated in TBS. It was here that Tafewa Balewa, Nigeria’s first Prime Minister delivered his independent day speech.
When you are done seeing TBS, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a selfie or group pix with the guardian horses of TBS. Memories like this have to be well preserved.
Time to catch fun on the beach
If you have followed the itinerary shared so far, chances are your day is probably about wrapping up. But hey it isn’t bed time yet, or is it? The fun has just begun. Lagos is home to some of the finest beaches in Africa. The white sands, the coconut drinks, the music – you going to love it. Your options are just too wide when it comes to choosing a beach to visit. Elegushi beach, Oniru Beach, Bar Beach and Eleko beach are some of the popular beaches in Lagos. The party here is wild, music loud and coconut liquor fantastic. Care for some more adventure; go ride a horse. Nothing excites and scares at the same time like taking a horse ride. Swimming or surfing will be yet another fun activity you can try out when visiting the beaches, but a lot of caution has to be exercised here. Security around the beaches is quite loose, making search and rescue difficult in the event of an emergency. Lagos beaches are notorious for their strong tides. Your surfing skill has to top notch if you really want to hit the waters with your surfboard.
A visit to the beaches, especially the Bar Beach affords you the opportunity to get an up-close view of Eko Atlantic Project, a business district still under construction, entirely built on artificial islands.
So there you have it. It takes about 3 days to completely tour Lagos. But just a day is all you need to have a memorable time when you visit West Africa’s most popular city.