Hello fam, trust y’all had a beautiful weekend and enjoyed a productive Monday. On blogging duties today, we have another seasoned “waka-waka (A Nigerian slang for someone that likes to move around alot)”, the amazing David who serves as the CEO of an amazing travel company. He did a 3-country ECOWAS tour over the Christmas break and he is here to share his experience…*Insert drumroll…*
Hello there, my name is David and I will be sharing my ECOWAS travel experience. Seeing that I currently live in Abuja, my trip started with a short 55 minutes flight from Lagos to Abuja via Dana airways. I had booked the last flight with the hope of entering Lagos late and avoiding the traffic but it didn’t turn out quite as I had figured out because the flight was delayed by 2 hrs and I got into Lagos at about 10:30am (Talk about Christmas rush). I was able to get little rest and prepared for the first leg of the ECOWAS tour which would be the repbulic of Benin.
Day 1 – 23rd December
I met up with the other tourists who had registered and came from other states in Nigeria at Iju area of Agege in Lagos. Meeting time was scheduled for 6:30am but no thanks to Lagos traffic and transportation issues, we had to leave by 10 am. We were over 52 tourists with some going for adventure, some romance & others to get more visa stamps on their passports.. Whatever the reason, we sure wanted to make this trip as much fun as it could be. A short argument broke out concerning seating arrangements (Don’t ever try to separate love birds…hehehe) but aside that, the journey to Benin republic was fun. We arrived at the Benin Republic border by 4pm due to some stops we had on the road and a little traffic (It is typically a 6-hour journey).
At the border we had our passports stamped and we proceeded into the country. Benin Republic’s weather isn’t that different from Nigeria’s but it is definitely more humid. The average Benin citizen is quite friendly and they were ready to assist us as much as they could. We arrived at our accomodation for the night, the Eldorado Beach club by 8:25pm. A quick dinner of semo and soup followed, we enjoined a bit of the nightlife on offer in Cotonou and then we called it a day (or night).
Day 2 – 24th December
Being quite the early birdie, I was up before dawn and began to prep for the day. I said my prayers and immediately proceeded to the beach which I must say was quiet and serene with just the sound of the sea waves crashing against the rocks. I had so much fun at the beach. I went into the ocean, played beach soccer and also used this period to get more familiar with my fellow travel buddies. Breakfast of akara (beans cake) and their own local pap quickly followed. Their pap looked quite different from ours but I enjoyed every bit of it.
Soon enough, it was time to leave Contonu for Lome and enroute, we passed through the town of Quidah in Benin Republic, a quiet town known for snake worship and voodoo. They keep big snakes in their homes which live over 70yrs and worship them and also live with them and when these snakes die, they are buried like humans inside coffins (Count me out of living in Quidah). The trip from Cotonou to Lome was roughly 3 hrs. We experienced a bit of the delay at the border and then also at the Ghanian border…Sigh. All this contributed to us getting into Accra, Ghana at about 4:35am at night and lodged in a hotel called Africana hotel.
Day 3 – 25th December
Due to space constraints at Africana Hotel, we had to move to another hotel called Keegee hotel in Accra. The hotel was much bigger and also better. A Christmas party had been scheduled but had to be moved due to logistics challenge at the beach. Labidi beach is Accra’s most beautiful beach & there were so many activities happening at the time. I made new Ghanaian friends, played a little and then headed to meet Accra harshers. Back in Abuja, I am part of this global hash group so there was a run around Accra and I headed to meet up with the Ghanian hash squad. I was able to do 6km and I also finished 6th (Team fitfam). I was also able to add Accra to the number of cities I have run in. Looking forward to more runs in cities in 2017. The run took over 2 hrs after which we had lots of food and drinks, made more friends and headed back to the hotel.
Day4 – 26th December
The final day of the tour (How time flies when you are having fun). Tiredness from yesterday’s run had set in so I lazily dragged myself off bed. I had more places I wanted to visit in Ghana like Cape Coast but I couldn’t because of the time constraint but I did my best to visit a few remarkable locations in Accra.
I headed straight for the Accra market (Market is akin to the famous Balogun market in Lagos). From there, I proceded to the Ghana University, then Independence Square Accra and lastly was the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.
Kwame Nkrumah was the first president of Ghana and the Mausoleum was built to honour him. The place is well managed and has most of the historical items used by the first President Kwame Nkrumah. I was amazed at the attention to details and mostly surprised at how they gathered all those artifacts like the biro he used in office, mattress he slept on while in secondary school (I was almost tempted to ask “Who mattress epp?”), the car he used, his telephone, desk, suits etc. There was so much to see and learn from one of the most respected leaders in all of Ghana (and Africa).
With this I ended my ECOWAS tour and headed back to Lagos on the 27th of December. Quite an eventful holiday it was.
And it is a wrap. Thankfully, there were no life threatening adventures like Bukie’s attempt to swim with the dolphins in the Indian Ocean. David also runs a thriving travel company (Travel entrepreneurs are budding everywhere) and they’ve got truly impeccable service. You can check them out at Sehembz Travels. You will be glad you did.