My first documented trip was during a semester break and annual leave from work. I happened to be on leave around the same time as my friend, Eghosa. We decided to make the most of the leave in Lagos and boy, we did!! So next time you find yourself in Lagos during holiday, trust me you can have maximum fun and interesting tourist experience as well.
One of the trips was to Badagry. But before I start with the gist, let’s quickly look at some interesting things to know about the ancient town;
- The town was founded around 1425 AD.
- It was an important slave route in West Africa during the slave trade era.
- It is the second largest commercial town in Lagos state.
- It is located an hour from Lagos and few minutes from Republic of Benin.
- The first storey building in Nigeria was built in the town.
- The official residence of Lord Frederick Lugard (under whose watch the Northern and Southern protectorate was amalgamated in 1914) was located in Badagry.
- Christianity in Nigeria has its roots in Badagry. Okay enough of the facts.
After visiting some resorts around Lekki-Epe axis (we will get to it in later posts), next trip was to the ancient town of Badagry. There is a route via the waterways from Ibeju-Lekki axis straight to Badagry and there is the road trip through the Lagos – Ojo – Badagry expressway. But we decided to do the road trip, no particular reason for that actually. We left a bit later than I initially envisaged, no fault of mine *side eye at Eghosa.
We took off from Surulere after last minute debate on whose car to take, my travel partner was meant to know the road since his secondary school was somewhere around Badagry but he was as clueless as I was. We got to Badagry around noon and decided to visit the ‘Point-of-no-return’ first. When you plan to visit the town, do not act like JJC asking for direction every seconds like we did, just drive straight all the way on the Lagos – Badagry expressway. The road terminates at a very big roundabout. So a straight drive from Lagos will get you to the roundabout in the picture below. You turn into Joseph Dosu way and from there, you can now stop forming badass and ask for directions.
We weren’t so lucky with the conflicting directions we were getting, so decided to park at a FirstBank branch in the town and took bikes to the Point-of-no-return (some people call it ‘point’ to avoid adding the ‘no return’ bit). That reminds me of a funny conversation with a traffic conductor aka yellow fever.
ME: Excuse me please, we are going to point of no return, can you direct us?
YellowFever: You will return in Jesus’ name, next time just say ‘point’
We passed the palace of the king of Badagry and the first Anglican Church in Nigerian but couldn’t stop to take a good picture.
We made it to the riverside where we joined a boat to the island (point of no return). It is an expanse body of water separating the island from the town. Any slaves transported across the water cannot return again, hence the name. We joined the boat for as cheap as N50, we had to pay N500 on our return journey for exclusive boat ride. We were balling on the cheapest budget. The riverbank was overgrown with water weeds and we were wondering how the boat will move past it but it wasn’t a problem for the guys driving the wooden boats.
On getting to the island, we had a young indigene as our tour guide, for less than a thousand naira and a can of Orijin. He walked us through the path taken by the slaves in chains from the landing berth to the seaside where the ship would have been waiting to transport the slaves to different parts of Europe and America. Along the path is a well called ‘river of attenuation, slaves were forced to drink from the water to dull their senses and physically weaken during the journey and erase their memory. The slave masters had local herbalists add some potions to the water to have the dulling effect. The next post will focus on the typical journey of the slaves.
We got to the seaside, walked around picking shells and bought more Orijin. We had to a bike back to the beginning of the island. We then took our ‘chattered’ boat back to the town.
Our next stop was the museum, where we met the curator, Anago. Anago looked physically young but claimed he was born during the slave trade era (1753 precisely). He was sold out as a slave to Europe, later died and got reincarnated. That may sound like a joke, but he meant it, check him out in the immediate picture below, in green T-shirt. He gave a detailed experience of slaves during the era which I already summarized and will be sharing in the next post. We later visited the first storey building in Nigeria and the official residence of Lord Frederick Lugard, which was undergoing facelift at the time.
We left that part of Badagry with two friends we just met at the museum. They are both photographers. They drove us to where we parked and we all left in a mini convoy for the popular resort – Whispering Palms.
In case you are visiting, the resort is like another journey on its own, brace up. It is a very serene and beautiful resort, like really beautiful. The entry fee is affordable as well. My recommendation is to visit with group of friends to enjoy the place or you can go for a quiet getaway with a loved one. The entrance fee was about a thousand naira while accommodation for a night stay ranges from N25,000 and above. Their meal is quite affordable.
We didn’t stay overnight, I remembered I was on a cashew tree plucking some when my phone beeped and I received a mail for my semester result. You need to see the speed with which I jumped down to check the result. Needless to say, adventure ended at that point. We left and started a long journey back to Surulere. I must mention that coconuts are really cheap and seem to be found everywhere in the town. A visit is highly recommended.
So here is a brief recap of places you can go to if you visit Badagry;
- Point-of-no-return island
- Slave museum
- Official residence of Lord Frederick Lugard and the first storey building and
- Whispering Palms resort.
The list is by no means exhaustive, the town is filled with interesting history and there are other beautiful resorts to explore.
Should you visit, please share your experience by sending us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org