Lagos is prime of the thoughts for most individuals visiting Nigeria.
It’s the nation’s long-standing industrial and leisure capital stuffed with thrills and treats. However then, town can generally be an excessive amount of to deal with.
At instances like these, Lagosians journey the comparatively quick distance to close by cities like Abeokuta and Ibadan, each of which supply a heartwarming mixture of scenic views alongside historic and cultural gems. In case you have a free day, or two, in your itinerary, contemplate filling them up with any of those day-trip choices.
1. Hike Olumo Rock and be taught native historical past in Abeokuta
Journey time: 1 hour
Abeokuta is legendary for its rocky terrain. Start your sightseeing at Olumo Rock, its most visited attraction. The tour begins with a briefing on the Lisabi Backyard, named after one of many city’s earliest warrior-leaders; right here, you should purchase bottled water or palm wine to take with you on the climb. Hike to the highest (137m/450ft) to get a birds-eye view of the traditional city and a few of its prime landmarks.
In your approach up, guides narrate the story of how this place served as a shelter for 1000’s fleeing the a number of wars in Yorubaland within the 19th century, together with bloody and repeated battles with the soldiers of Dahomey. You get to step again in time by coming into one of many caves preserved from that interval. There are no less than two shrines – often with clergymen seated in entrance of them – on the way in which, each tied to the early historical past of the city.
Abeokuta can be well-known for its colourful adire (indigo-dyed) fabric, an heirloom that has been handed down for a lot of generations and over the centuries. Households can nonetheless be seen producing reams and reams of it in numerous compounds (there aren’t any official excursions of those compounds, however you may organize with a neighborhood information to take you to at least one). Store for these materials on the purpose-built Adire Mall, a brief drive from Olumo Rock.
In your approach out of Abeokuta, drop in on the putting Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), a multiplex on 37ha of land. The identify is considerably deceptive – it’s greater than a library, and there’s sufficient to maintain you right here for a day, so resolve what to see and do (and what to depart out) upfront. Among the many amenities, there’s a cultural village, sports activities and recreation heart, cinema, a wildlife park, an African materials heart and theme park for teenagers. The essential draw is its museum, which paperwork Nigeria’s political and financial historical past by means of the involvement of its two-time post-independent chief, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Permit two hours for a tour of each wings within the museum. While you’re finished, stroll over to the Bamboo Grove, the place you may loosen up over gourds of palm wine and plates of suya (barbecue meat).
Learn how to get to Abeokuta from Lagos: Abeokuta is just a little over an hour (100km) north of Lagos by highway, on the Lagos-Ibadan Freeway. You will get a shared taxi from the Ojota Motor Park or rent a automobile from your lodge to take you. Alternatively, you possibly can go by practice from the Mobolaji Johnson Station at Ebute Meta, or the Babatunde Raji Fashola Station at Agege.
2. Perceive Nigerian politics and Nollywood at Ikenne and Ososa
Journey time: 1 hour 25 minutes
A special form of expertise awaits you at Ikenne, the nation house of certainly one of Nigeria’s founding fathers – Chief Obafemi Awolowo – generally described because the “best president Nigeria by no means had.”
Along with his mausoleum, the compound holds a museum devoted to his life as a politician, writer, lawyer and mental. Displays embody unique copies of his books, educational robes in addition to numerous staffs of workplace as a a number of chief of various communities round Nigeria. You possibly can view entries in his journal about his many political struggles and ideas about nationwide points.
An additional 25-minute drive away from Ikenne, at Ososa, discover the filmic paradise that’s the Hubert Ogunde Dwelling Historical past Museum. Ogunde, who died in 1990, was certainly one of Nigeria’s most versatile thespians, who rose to fame as certainly one of its most influential Nollywood filmmakers. Older Nigerians recall trooping to the nationwide theater in Lagos within the 1970s and ’80s to observe his box-office hits.
The museum – the place Ogunde lived the final 10 years of his life – highlights his many accomplishments in music, stage and movie and a profession that spanned 5 many years. In each his stage and movie productions, he celebrated the variety of Nigeria by means of dance, cultural objects and costume (a whole room is devoted to a big assortment of those).
Learn how to get to Ikenne and Ososa from Lagos: Ikenne (75km/47 miles, one hour) and Ososa (one other 25km/16 miles, 25 minutes) are on the Benin-Sagamu Freeway, the gateway to Nigeria’s Jap area. The best approach to attain them is to rent a automobile for the day.
3. See elephants at Omo Forest Reserve
Journey time: Three hours
If you happen to’re visiting Lagos within the dry season (October to March), then there could possibly be no higher time to go on an journey to the Omo Forest (675ha). A Unesco-designated biosphere reserve, it hosts the very best variety of butterflies on the continent. It’s also the closest location to Lagos the place you’re more likely to spot elephants within the wild. The purpose of virtually all visits is reaching the Elephant Camp, which might take three hours of mountaineering by means of wealthy lowland rainforest. Different wildlife right here embody civet cats, white-throated monkeys, chimpanzees and pangolins.
If you happen to’d quite not return to Lagos the identical day, lodge on the leafy and serene environment of the Babcock College Visitor Home in Ilishan – a five-minute drive throughout the freeway from Ikene.
Learn how to get to Omo Forest Reserve from Lagos: Omo Forest Reserve is past Ikenne and Ososa and 80km from Ilishan. If you wish to do all three in a day journey, it’s best to have your individual car. Sort out the Omo journey very early within the morning, stopping over at Ikenne and Ososa on the way in which again to Lagos.
4. Study Yoruba society in Ibadan
Journey time: 2 hours
Ibadan, based by migrants fleeing warfare within the early 19th century, is a industrial and deeply cultural society. It’s the one metropolis in Yorubaland the place you’re almost definitely to run into an Egungun (masquerade) pageant or procession. Its royal succession mannequin, instituted within the 1850s, can be distinctive amongst the Yorubas; to be the Olubadan, candidate-chiefs may have needed to rise by means of 23 intermediate positions.
If you happen to’re concerned about studying extra about kingship in conventional Yoruba society, understanding its age-long perception system and the causes of its many inter-tribal wars, then go to the Odu’a Museum and Corridor of Fame, up on the 14th flooring of the Cocoa Home, the 26-story skyscraper constructed within the 1960s.
Cease for a meal on the Kokodome, simply beside Cocoa Home, earlier than exploring different landmarks round city. Mapo Corridor (inbuilt 1929), an essential relic of the colonial years, has hosted many socio-political gatherings. It’s also the place the coronation of a brand new Olubadan takes place. From right here, stroll throughout the highway to Oja Oba (King’s Market) to get a really feel for the vibe and vibrancy of a typical market in Yorubaland.
Bower’s tower, Agodi Gardens and Eleyele Lake are favorites of native vacationers. The College of Ibadan, the primary in Nigeria, has a bookshop price visiting, and so is Booksellers. Wrap up your go to to Ibadan with a stopover on the Nationwide Museum of Unity, certainly one of 4 in Nigeria. Its galleries showcase among the cultural parts shared by the totally different ethnicities that make up the nation, from masquerade and textile tradition to pottery heritage and conventional musical devices.
Learn how to get to Ibadan from Lagos: Iwo Rd is Ibadan’s main motor park, the place minibusses arrive from Lagos (130km, 90 minutes to 2 hours away). Trains run from Mobolaji Johnson Station. Alternatively, you may set up your individual transport.
5. Expertise cultural immersion in Oyo, Osogbo and Ile-Ife
Journey time: Four hours
In case you have a weekend to spare, then by all means, enterprise additional afield. An hour or so away from Ibadan is Oyo, the present location of the city that was as soon as on the coronary heart of the famed Previous Oyo Empire. A band of drummers welcomes you to the spacious grounds of the palace of the Alaafin, a masterpiece of conventional structure. Oyo persons are expert calabash carvers, they usually have practiced this craft for hundreds of years; you may go to them proper of their compounds or on the market, the place completed items are on sale.
From right here, head to Osogbo – 80km north of Ibadan – to discover the dense forest of the Osun Grove, a Unesco World Heritage website and the one one in southern Nigeria. If you happen to’re visiting in late August, then plan to see the grand finale of the Osun-Osogbo pageant, a celebration in honor of the goddess of River Osun that pulls devotees from around the globe. Much less well-known to vacationers but additionally price your whereas are the centuries-old palaces, each inside the grove in addition to on the premises of the Ataoja of Osogbo, the standard head of Osogbo.
In Ile-Ife, go to the white wonderland that’s the palace of the Ooni, the extremely regarded monarch and religious head of the Yorubas. You possibly can organize for palace guards to take you on a tour of among the key spots inside the palace. Proper subsequent door is the Ife Nationwide Museum; inside the museum premises, you’ll discover a grasp artist carving wooden into positive collectible figurines, all on the market.
In case you have any curiosity in Yoruba conventional faith, then cease at shrines devoted to Ogun, Obatala, Oduduwa, Oranmiyan, Osun and Yemoja, amongst a bunch of others. The World Ifa Temple, often abandoned and quiet, comes alive in August when it hosts the World Ifa Congress. In September, Ife hosts its most essential conventional gathering, the Olojo Pageant. Wrap up your weekend with an evening on the palatial Ife Grand Resorts.
Learn how to get to Osogbo from Lagos: The best approach to attain Osogbo and Ile-Ife is thru Ibadan. Take the practice to Ibadan and get a personal automobile for the remainder of the journey. Osogbo is off the Ibadan-Ife freeway, on the Gbongan junction.