This is long post. I had to be detailed in describing my experience in a country I love so much that I had to get a tattoo of it on my back :). Although, I was born and raised in Nigeria, Nigerians don’t think I’m a Nigerian. I always get the ‘You don’t look Nigerian or even talk like a Nigerian’. It used to piss me off but I no longer care.
On this trip, I visit Abuja – the capital of Nigeria, 2 northern states – Niger & Nassarawa states and Lagos. I used Uber and Taxify the whole time. Taxify is the Nigerian version of Uber. Choosing the cash option on both Uber and Taxify helped. If not, most drivers will cancel your trip.
Below is my itinerary for my 16 days visit to Nigeria aka Naija.
Day 26 (July 5, Thursday): Accra – Abuja Airbnb (3 nights) Depart Accra in the morning Arrive in Abuja at noon Relax
Left for the airport in Accra early. Flight was on time. You will be asked for your Yellow Fever Card upon arrival in Abuja. I got a taxi from the airport to my Airbnb in Maitama area. When I got to the Airbnb, I almost left immediately. The place looked cleaned but had the dampness feel to it plus the internet was not working. Since I didn’t have a local number and WhatsApp was my primary means of communication, I decided to go to the MTN office to buy data for the MIFI my dad gave to me.
Later in the day, I met up with a couchsurfer – Roberta for drinks and chat at a trendy bar in Maitama area called Traffic.
Day 27 (July 6, Friday): Day trip to Niger State Zuma Rock & Guarara Falls
I was lucky prior to my trip to have discovered Motley Travels. I found out about them on a blog post by theajalabug. I decided to try them out; I was picked up by Mark (the owner of Motley Travels) at 11am. Our first stop was Zuma Rock. We went through the Golf Club by the rock and got close to the most famous rock in Northern Nigeria. The rock is famous because you can see a shape of a face. It was also rumored that a ghost/spirit exist in the rock. The rumor led to the abandonment of a hotel building beside Zuma Rock. The workers claimed they kept on hearing ‘voices’ so Hilton abandoned its almost completed building and moved to Maitama area.
After Zuma Rock, we went on to Guarara Falls. We were the only visitor there. The hike down is easy, just going down stairs. To move closer to the Falls, you would have to climb small/medium sized, sometimes slippery rocks. My pictures doesn’t capture the beauty of the Guarara Falls. It is totally gorgeous. We took a different route to leave the Falls, this route, you would have to climb fairly steep, slippery rocks. It is appropriate to wear sneakers or hiking shoes, a small backpack or fanny pack so you can climb without interference.
Guarara Falls & Zuma Rock are located in Niger State. You can see Zuma while in Abuja, it’s just on the border of Niger State and Abuja. Guarara on the other hand is further in Niger State, about two hours from Abuja. The roads are good until you get into Niger State and encounter a stretch of road under construction. It is about a 10-15 walk down to the falls once you get to the parking lot.
In the evening, I went to an old friend’s place to watch the soccer game – Brazil vs. Belgium. It was great meeting her family and re-connecting after 5 years.
Day 28 (July 7, Saturday): Day trip to Nassarawa State Farin Ruwa Falls
Decided to take another trip with Motley Travels. My couchsurfer friend – Roberta came along. Farin Ruwa is located in Nassarawa State, it is not a piece of cake but worth it. It took 2hours 50 minutes to get to the road leading to Farin Ruwa. Then another 1 hour (road in deplorable condition) to the last village where you begin a 6km walk. You will have to walk through three streams before getting to the Farin Ruwa’s entrance.
It took us 25 minutes from the last village to the 1st stream which is knee length deep (I’m short – 5’3). 36 minutes from 1st to 2nd stream. 6 mins from 2nd to 3rd stream. 10 minutes from 3rd stream to the entrance and another 15 minutes of walking and climbing to the waterfalls from entrance. The most difficult walk for me was from the 1st to the 2nd stream – that had several places that was uphill. The 2nd and 3rd stream wasn’t deep, slightly above the ankle.
I promise you when I say the long walk (no intense climbing) was worth it. Farin Ruwa means White Water in the local language. I was impressed and beyond excited.
Note, we decided to take the longer way to the Falls, you have an option of taking a motorbike from the last village directly to the entrance but we wanted to walk J. On our way back though, we took the bike because we wanted to get back to Abuja before it got real late. We were picked up at 8am in the morning and arrived back at Abuja around 8.30pm.
Day 29 (July 8, Sunday): Abuja to Lagos Jabi Lake Park
Usman DamDepart Abuja at 5pm Arrive in Lagos at 6.30pm Shrine (only stay to 9pm)
We decided to cross out Usman Dam because it was on the outskirt of town. We (Roberta and I) met up at Jabi Lake Park. Jabi Lake is an artificial lake that a park surrounds. It was commissioned sometimes during Obasanjo presidency so between 1999-2006). Beautiful to go on a stroll, jog or run or anything active. We stopped by Coco Café, which overlooks the Lake for chat and drinks.
I got back to the Airbnb and later to the airport. The flight was delayed for 2 hours with no explanation. I’m side eyeing Air Peace! Arrived in my favorite city in the whole wide world – Lagos, AKA Las Gidi at 8.20pm.
Got home, drooped my bag, had a change of clothes and headed out to The New African Shrine to watch Femi Kuti perform. So back in University when I was in Nigeria, I used to go to Shrine every Sunday to watch Femi play at Shrine. So it felt GREAT to experience this again. Femi was going on a tour so it was my last chance anyway to watch him before he left. One of my secondary (high) school friends met up with me there.
Day 30 (Monday, July 9): Lagos Mainland Lunch at Amala Shitta 2pm (Surulere)
I wanted to relax this day so only went out to lunch at a popular Buka/Mama Put that is popular for my favorite food – Amala. Shitta is an area in Surulere. Surulere is in Lagos Island. There are several Amala joint in Shitta area but Olaiya Amala somehow became more known to people. Anyways, the food was good but way too pepperish (spicy), it felt like my mouth was on FIRE!!! The customer service sucks big time. So I most likely wouldn’t go back there.
I was told of another place in Surulere, close to Olaiya Amala called Amala Akinyemi. My Taxify driver said Amala Akinyemi had better tasting food than Olaiya so I would give that a try next time. Two of my friends met up with me there.
P.S, Buka or Mama Put means the same thing – it is a local eatery. Pretty much a local version of a fast food restaurant that focuses on Nigeria cuisine.
Day 31 (Tuesday, July 10): Lagos Mainland Nigerian Railway Compound 12noon(Ebute Metta) Yaba White House 2pm
We took a visit to The Nigerian Railway Compound. I was told there a little museum there. Railway used to be a big deal in Nigeria. It is slowly making a recovery. The guide was very helpful and gave us so much history and info. They are building a bigger museum in the Railway Compound. The Legacy Foundation did the restoration of the museum. The foundation is involved in restoring historical houses in Lagos and advocating against the demolition of historical houses. I couldn’t take great pictures here because it started raining heavily. My friend Star, her friend and my mum came along with me on this visit.
After the Railway Museum, we went to have lunch at yet another Amala Mama Put. The Amala at Yaba White House was immaculate, cheaper than Olaiya Amala and with reasonable amount of spiciness. The customer service was good. Way better than Olaiya Amala.
Day 32 (Wednesday, July 11): Lagos Mainland Kalakuta (Ikeja) 2pm University of Suya
Another relaxed day. In the afternoon, met up with my cousin – Busola to pay homeage to Fela Anikulapo Kuti. We went to his former house which is now a museum. Apparently, you are suppose to make a reservation. We didn’t know that. The security guard told us a line to use so the museum can be opened for us. The barterner working at the roof top bar in the same building opened it to us.
Since he wasn’t working at the museum. He wasn’t able to give us any information. We simply walked about the 3 level museums, taking pictures and reading from the clips to get some of the info we wanted. We ended the visit at the Roof Top Bar. We gave the bartender a tip and the security guard a tip as well for telling us what to say to get the museum opened for us.
We stopped at University of Suya close by to try out the suya. Suya is the most famous street food in Nigeria. My opinion is Nigerians in the diaspora made University of Suya popular because I have tasted better suya.
Day 33 (Thursday, July 12): Lagos Island Awolowo Museum (Epe) Lufasi Park (Lekki Epe expressway, Abijo) Freedom Park (Lagos Island) Bogobiri (Ikoyi)
A really busy day. We (my mom and I) left home on the mainland around 9.30am because morning rush hour traffic on the major bridge connecting the mainland to the island would have cleared by that time. Two hours later, we arrived at out first stop – Lufasi Nature Park. It cost N1,000/person. It is a small park but beautiful. A guide will walk you through. The animals present there are rescued animals. There’s a play area for children, an artificial lake and picnic area.
After the park, we moved on The Awolowo Institute of Research and Policy Center. Chief Obafemi Awolowo is one of Nigeria’s founding father. I grew up hearing about him, he died in 1983 – two years before I was born. His house in his home state (Ikenne Remo, Ogun State) is adjacent my family’s house. Awo as he is popularly called lived on in many people hearts. Anyways, it only felt right to pay homage to Awo. The beach is right in front of the museum!
This museum was where he was imprisoned for a month. Awo spent a lot of time going to jail. His jailers were the various Nigeria Military Head of State who were pissed at his efforts (along with others) to regain democracy of Nigeria. He was initially prisoned at a prison in Broad street, Lagos Island (now known as The Freedom Park) before he was moved to this place in Epe because they wanted to isolate him. Epe, then was only accessible by water so they thought it was a great place to hide him from the public. They were wrong, they had visitors from all over, and the people of Epe came to visit him. The then military government moved him yet again because he was receiving too many visitors. He was moved to Calabar when he was later released. We paid N1,000/person for entrance.
We moved on to Freedom Park in Lagos Island. Entrance is N200/person. I always find Freedom Park peaceful and a great place to people watch. There is always a performance there. There is an Art Gallery, a museum, food court, mini eatery and a stage on ground. There were shooting a movie when I was there. My mom left me there to go visit my grandma. I people watched until it was time to go to Bogobiri.
I was tired by the time I got to Bogobiri around 6pm so I couldn’t wait for the live music performance at 7.30/8pm. I love Bogobiri, I used to hang out here a lot when I lived briefly in Nigeria from 2012-2014. The Art around the place is fascinately. They have an hotel there as well. Thursday night is for live music. The last Tuesday of the month is for Taruwa – spoken words. Cost is N500/person for Thursday and Taruwa.
Day 34 (Friday, July 13): Lagos Lekki Market The Backyard (VI)
I went to Lekki Art and Craft Market to buy somethings. They have really great stuff there from bags (leather or Ankara) to paintings to cravings to dresses (Ankara print).
Later, met up with a friend at The Backyard. Oh, how I love this place. It has now become my second favorite after Terra Kulture to hang out. Ambience is great, décor is excellent. Food is not cheap though. We left before 5pm to beat the afternoon rush hour traffic. You don’t want to be stuck in Lagos traffic, it has the power to make you reconsider your life!
Day 35 (Saturday, July 14): Lagos Makoko (meet 8am at Makoko land) Lekki conservation park (Lekki) Terra Kulture
Another busy day. We visited Makoko – a community on water. The community has been around for almost 100 years now. It was founded by various tribes from southwest and south-south area of Nigeria. These tribes are known to be skilled Fishermen hence the need to live by the water. The name Makoko came from the word ‘Mahoho’. The community had a practice called Mahoho where they publicly shamed people caught stealing or involved in adultery before expelling them from the community. They would put those accussed of these two crimes in a boat and go around the community shouting the person’s name and the crime the person committed. Outsiders who came to the community to buy fish and other sea food saw the practice and would refer to the community as ‘the place where they do Mahoho). It later evolved to Makoko.
This community was brought to limelight when a young talented Nigerian architect constructed a floating school. All of a sudden, several foundations was created by outsiders and several NGOs began raising money for the ‘poor people of Makoko’. I don’t know if the people of Makoko identified as poor people. It didn’t seem like it. The community was refered to as a slum on water and other names that the people of Makoko did not call themselves. In turn, the people became hostile to outsiders. You can not just go to Makoko nowadays. You will permission from a community member and big cameras are not permitted. Even with your phones, be cautious when taking a picture, people do not appreciate you pointing your camera at them. They will cuss you out.
There is only one primary (elementary) school in the community. The school cannot accommodate all the primary aged children in the community. It is in need of resources and an extension. Unfortunately, the floating school collapsed. It was rumored that one of the fishermen took one of the anchor that supported the floating school hence it’s collapsed. We asked Noah, the community leader, he said the floating school was just a model that was not meant to support many people.
One of the noticeable thing is the dirt and plastic in the water. Noah – the community leader claimed there was a sewage in the area that pushed the plastic into the community. Might be true, but we saw people in the community throw their trash in the water. They don’t see the trash and plastic issue as a problem so oh well.
We stopped by to get lunch before going to Lekki Conservation Center. It cost N1,000/person for entrance and another N1,000/person if you want to do the canopy walk, which is the longest in Africa. We decided to eat our lunch in the car since the monkeys at the center have gotten too bold. The canopy walk was exciting for some of us and scary for others. Star was hilarious – almost like she was crawling. If you are afraid of height, this might be a problem.
After the canopy walk, we sat to drink coconut water while we waited for my other friends running on Nigerian time.
We ended the day at Terra Kulture. I LOVE Terra Kulture. No way, I would be in Nigeria and not go there. There is a bookstore, study area, Art gallery, restaurant and space for plays, concert and conference. Pretty much, my type of place. We dined on fried sweet potatoes, fried yams, fried dodo (plantain) and off course palm wine.
Day 36 (Sunday, July 15): Epe Epe Mangrove
We left Lekki around 10.30am and got to Epe about 1.5 hour later. Epe Mangroves – what can I say? Simply serene and peaceful. It was a canoe ride and we visited a village on the other side of the mangrove. Upon getting off the boat, I fell into a swamp knee length. For a minute, I thought – wow, so this is how I will die? Lol.
After the Mangroove, we went to the Fish Market. We bought some prawns. We wanted to buy snails, but it was so expensive.
The last stop was the local brewery, well it’s just where a guy who migrated to the area 10 years ago produces his local gin. The local gin is called ‘Ogogoro’, made from fermented palm wine.
Day 37 (Monday, July 16):
Dedicated to running errands and brieftly visiting some folks.
Day 38 (Tuesday, July 17): Lagos Mainland Jevnick restaurant- Ikeja GRA
Since I like food, met up with two friends for lunch. I tried an soup from the South-East part of the country. Delicious!
Relaxed for the rest of the day. Chilled day
Day 39 (Wednesday, July 18): Lagos Hard Rock Cafe Roots (Ikoyi)
Took my cousin along with me. I wanted to check out Hard Rock Café. It has a beach in front of it. Great view. Ambience cool. Food and drinks over priced.
Stayed only an hour before going to Roots Restaurant and Bar to meet up with a few friends. My last outing before departing Lagos. Great conversation and food. I realized why I am much happier and less prone to anxiety in Nigeria. I surround myself with strong, amazing women. That night at Roots, I felt grat being in the mix of these awesome women. I don’t have this type of support in the U.S.
Anyways, it was a great night out.
Day 40 (Thursday, July 19): Anti-social behavior loading
Pretty much, packed and finished pending errands.
Day 41 (Friday, July 20): Kunbi departs
Flight left at 1.40pm for Cairo. My parents wanted me to leave the house at a ridicously time. I HATE waiting at airport. In the end, we left at 10.30am. Got to the airport at 11am – no traffic! Flight left on time. Arrived in Cairo at 9pm.
Egypt Air has a service where they would put you in a hotel if your layover is 6 hours or longer. Well we waited 3 freaking hours for them to process this. We walked into the hotel in the airport past midnight. I didn’t have expectation for the hotel since I found out it was Le Meridien. I didn’t enjoy Le Meridien in Giza but this one is updated.
While waiting for hotel to be processed at the airport, I meyt some interesting characters. Well, let be back track to the flight from Lagos. I was seated by this Syrian guy who went to visit his girlfriend in Nigeria and vacation there. He said they met online and she is Nigerian. I asked where he lived and he said in Syria. I asked about the war and he said something along the line that Syria was ok. I was confused. He said he would connect to Beirut from Cairo and cross the border to Damascus where he lives. I subpected he wasn’t telling me the full story because it is just simply rare that he would leave a war torn proven (asd told by western media) go vacation in Nigeria and return to a country that has an ongoing civil war.
My doubt was later confirmed when we were talking about salaries in various countries. He said the salary in Syria has always be trash but in Nigeria, you can make good money. So I suspect he went to work in Nigeria and took the money home.
Now back to the airport. A Nigerian that relocated from London to Abuja in a time where most people are relocating abroad. He was just frustrated and tired of living abroad. I could connect with him on that. I wanted to exchange contact but was too frustrated with waiting.
Met a girl who was having trouble boarding her connecting flight to Canada. Canadian’s version of Border Control re-interview people with visas to Canada at Cairo airport before letting them board the flight. The girl had just USD400 with her, no credit or debit card, hotel booked & paid, told the border agent she didn’t know anybody in Canada (a lie that her Travel agent told her to say) and she was spending 20 days in Canada. The border agent wasn’t convinced because how can USD400 substain you for 20 days in a place who don’t know anybody. In the end, I don’t know what happened to her. She looked really sad and worried the last I saw her.
Met a guy going to Utah for his PhD in Ecology on a full scholarship #blackexcellence #naijasmart. This is his first trip to the U.S. I exchanged contact with him because why not.
The last guy I conversed with. Regretted that by the way. It began as a normal conversation. We actually talked about the girl with the issue with Canadian Border Patrol. He mentioned he was going to Dallas with Spirit Airlines from LGA. I made a joke about not getting to his destination. Then something changed when he asked what church I went to. I said I don’t practice Christianity or any other organized religion. He was shocked like most Nigerians. He wanted to further the conversation on that topic, I declined firmly. This was then it took a creepy turn.
I was handed over the room keys for the 10 people in our group of Lagos-Cairo flight. He asked me to give him a room next to mine. I ignored him. Unfortunately, our rooms ended by each other anyways because I had to put a mama and her kids in a room by each other. Anyways, I latched closed my room. At 5.30am, someone was knocking at my door. I don’t it couldn’t be hotel staff because I had the ‘Do Not Disburb’ sign on the door handle. I peeped through the hole and saw him. I went back to sleep. He called my room, when I picked up I didn’t say anything when I heard his voice, I disconnected the phone cord. I left my room at 7.05pm to go down to breakfast. He was waiting forme he said at the lobby. I left him there to breakfast. Took my time, he was gone when I went back to the lobby. Like most Nigerians obsessed in getting at the airport way too early, he left. Thank God. I didn’t make it to the gate until boarding started. Unfourtunately, I passed by him on the way to my seat on the plane.
So there is my theory. I believe he saw me as vulunerable, as someone he could take advantage of because I’m religionness. He probably assumed because I had no religion, I had no morals or ethics. And he probably wanted to test his limit. He has a wife and son by the way.
Day 42 (Saturday, July 21): Began the long flight to New York City (11 hours 40 minutes).
Nothing eventful. Made it safely to JFK and headed to my hotel in Newark.
Day 43 (Sunday, July 22):
Arrived in Dallas at 8.30am. Moved my stuff from the storage unit to my new apartment. And got ready for work the next day.
Benin, Togo and Ghana were the next countries on my 6 countries adventure. Two friends came with me on this trip. This 6 countries adventure had a theme – chasing waterfalls. I made it a point to see at least two waterfalls in each country J. Below, you would find my itinerary, cost and experience in each place we visited. Enjoy!
Day 9 (June 18 - Monday): Arrive in Cotonou, Republic of Benin Guesthouse Cocotier (2 nights) Depart Lagos at 8amish Arrive in Cotonou around 1pmish
We left Lagos around 9.30am. There wasn’t traffic and we got to Mile 2 pretty fast. From Mile 2, we took a shared taxi to Seme border. We were hassled from where we got down from the shared taxi. First the health official on the Nigerian side tried to get us to give a bride saying we didn’t have meningitis vaccine record. We politely informed them that it wasn’t required. After wasting our time for like 10mins, they let us go.
We got into the departure office to stamp our passports and we were informed that it was N500 each for a passport, we tried to negotiate it with the woman officer but she wasn’t having it. She claimed she didn’t charge us at all, that our passports were ‘Virgin Passports’ and the fee should have been N1,000 per passport. We paid and moved to the next station to ‘register’ our passport. The man said the fee is N500/passport. I asked if we could pay N1,000 for the three passport, he said yes and we did. As we were exiting the Nigerian side, another health official asked to see our Yellow Fever Vaccination card, we showed it to him and he proceeded to seize one of the cards saying there was no meningitis record on it. We sat down. He saw we weren’t scared or ready to give him any money. He let us go.
We got to the Benin side, the officer by name of Goston Nestor was a complete asshole. He said because our passport was a ‘Virgin Passport’ it will cost N3,000 per passport. I told him that was too expensive, he then said N2,500 per passport, I said we couldn’t afford it. He proceeded to ignore us, I tried negotiating with him but he stopped talking to me. He attended to others and later left us to go outside and chat with his friends. We refused to budge. An older Nigerian man went to speak with him. After about 25-30mins, he finally accepted N1,000 per passport and stamped our passports. The health officer on the Benin side didn’t bother messing with us because we were willing to stay 30mins instead of paying the inflated price/fee. He probably thought we were a useless bunch.
We finally got into Cotonou around 3.30pm. We were too drained to go to Ganvie. We had late lunch, did grocery shopping and just relaxed.
NOTE: This is my first time being hassled at the Seme border. Land borders seem to create their rule on the go. No one know if the money being collected is legal. My guess is not legal. There is suppose to be a free movement of West African citizen within West Africa (Id card or passport). The agreement is not being honored by land border officials. I’ve never had to pay a fee when arriving in a West African country by flight.
The term ‘Virgin Passport’ refers to when one’s passport has not been stamped at a land border crossing.
Day 10 (June 19 - Tuesday): Cotonou Day trip to Porto Novo & Enjoy Cotonou Ganvie Craft Market (Artesian Village)
We visited Ganvie first. We took a moto bike from Haie Vive to the boat station for 700CFA/person. We negotiated a boat to take us to Ganvie. I think we paid 16,500 CFA in total for three people. After Ganvie, we took a bike to Marche Dantopka to get a bus to Porto Novo – bus was 500CFA/person. We visited the Da Silva Museum (Musee Da Silva). Entrance is 2,000 CFA/person. The tour guide was pretty great. When we returned to Cotonou, we bought our bus tickets to Tanguieta with ATT bus company (9,000CFA/person) and visited the Art & Craft market (Artesian village).
Day 11 (June 20 - Wednesday): Tanguieta Hotel Baobab (two single rooms). One night. Paid via Jumia Travel Depart Cotonou very early around 7am (9 hours journey) Arrive Tanguieta around 4pm
We woke up pretty early so we could get to the ATT bus terminal by 6.30am. The bus left around 7.15am. We made quite a few stops along the way for the bus to drop off packages. We got to Nantitigou around 7pm and at 9pm to Tanguieta. That made it a 14-hour journey!!!! The stretch of road from Nantitigou to Tanguieta was really bad.
We had a light diner at the hotel when we arrived. We attempted to arrange transportation for the next day to see the waterfalls and to get to Kara, Togo.
I had zero expectation for the hotel but I was impressed. It seems recently renovated.
Day 12 (June 21 - Thursday): Arrive in Kara, Togo Hotel: Hotel Marie Antoinette (Paid via Airbnb. Two rooms. One night) Tanangou Waterfalls National park (if not expensive) Chutes de Kota waterfalls in Natitingou (one hour away) Depart for Togo (I think the border crossing is an hour away)
Because of time, we decided to cut out the National Park. We left the hotel around 7am to Tanangou waterfalls via motorbike. It took about 1.5hour to get there, we paid 3,000CFA/person for roundtrip. The hike to the waterfalls was easy but slippery. It cost 1000 CFA/person for entrance.
When we returned to the hotel to get our stuff, the driver that the manager arranged for us to Togo was there. The driver insisted on 30,000CFA total to take us from Tanguieta to the other waterfalls in Natitingou before dropping us off to another driver in Djougon who will then drop us at our hotel in Kara, Togo.
We arrived at Chutes de Kota waterfalls in Natitingou, entrance was 500CFA/person. The hike was not as easy as Tanangou because of more climbing but still considered easy. After the visit, we went on the Djougon where we got into another car with the assumption that it would drop off at our hotel in Kara. Border crossing was a piece of cake. No one asked us for money, no one said our passport was ‘Virgin Passport’ & no one said we needed to have meningitis vaccination proof on the yellow fever card.
Getting close to Kara, the driver asked us for our final destination, we told him the name of the hotel again. This jerk then denied that the other driver didn’t mention to him that he had to drop us off at our hotel. We told him the deal and confirmed to him that he was there when we were asked for final destination in Djougon. He didn’t say anything after that but proceeded to drive us to the bus/shared taxi park in Kara saying we would have to pay him an extra 2000CFA for that. We refused. After a while, Shola went to negotiate with a motor bike – it was 300CFA per person for the ride to the hotel. We left the jerk’s car and went off.
The hotel wasn’t even far from the bus park – less than 10 minutes. At the hotel, we made arrangement for how to get to Koutammakou for the next day, looked for where to eat and just relaxed. It took us a while to find good food, in the end, we settled for what was available.
Day 13 (June 22 - Friday): Arrive in Kpalime Hotel: two nights at La Paillote (Paid via Airbnb. 2 rooms booked) Day trip to Koutammakou Depart to Kpalime
We left the hotel around 8am to Koutammakou, almost 3 hours journey one way. The owner of the hotel arranged the driver for us, we paid 15,000CFA for a round trip. On getting to Koutammakou, the prices wasn’t visible, they claimed it was 10,000CFA/person for a guide (which is mandatory) plus an additional 1,500CFA/person entrance fee. In the end, we paid 10,000CFA in total for guide/entrance thanks to Shola’s negotiation skills.
Koutammakou is a UNESCO heritage site and a total of 36 villages. The people migrated from Burkina Faso after fleeing pressure to convert to Islam. Their ancestors sought refuge in the mountains before building the beautiful 3 level houses.
After Koutammakou, the driver took us back to Kara, we asked how to get to Kpalime. He said he knew a driver that would take us. It cost 5,000CFA/person for a shared taxi that sits 4 people at the back and two in front. We decided to pay 20,000CFA for the 4 back people so we can be comfortable. We asked if the driver knew our hotel in Kpalime, he said Kpalime was his route so he knows it well. We began the journey at 1.30pm. We were stuck in one-hour traffic jam not long after we left Kara. The driver stopped several times to chat with his friends without excusing himself.
He tried, not once but two times to put another passenger in the back seat to make it 4 people after we have agreed to pay for the sit! We refused off course. He decided to be petty when we got to Atapame at 6.30pm, he stopped his car at a park and asked a man to come speak to us in Yoruba. The man said the driver said he didn’t know the way to Kpalime. Lies! In the end, we refused to give him the 20,000CFA. Another driver at the park was arranged to take us and we would give him the money when we got to Kpalime. In all, we were delayed 1 hour in Atapame. Finally, we made it to Kpalime in one piece at 9.30pm.
The hotel was cozy but no WIFI or hot water for shower L.
Day 14 (June 23 - Saturday): Kpalime Sightseeing - 3 waterfalls, mount Agou
In the morning, Star & Shola went into town to buy breakfast & a Sim card so we could access internet. There in town, they met a Rasta who would act as a guide and take us to Kpime waterfalls for 1,500CFA in total for guide fees. The owner of the hotel also introduced us to a tour guide – his prices were ridiculous – something like 10,000CFA/person as guide fee plus transportation cost. We elected to use Rasta.
Rasta came for us at 12noonish, we adjusted the plan to include Wome falls. Everyone said Yikpa was too far. We went to Kpime first, motor bike ride cost 1,000CFA roundtrip to Kpime. The entrance is 1,000CFA/person. The hike had a bit of steep climbing but not impossible. After Kpime, we went back to Rasta’s shop to drop off Star. It was around 3.30pmish. Unfortunately, it started raining really heavily so we had to postpone Wome to the next day.
Because of time, we decided to cross out Mount Agou.
Day 15 (June 24 - Sunday): Depart to Hohoe, Ghana Hotel: Comfort Stay - Paid via Airbnb. One night. Two rooms booked. Arrive in Hohoe, Ghana Wli & Tagbo Waterfalls if time. If not, visit next day
Since it rained heavily and we were unable to go to Wome the previous day. We went there in the late morning. It took about an hour on motorbike to get there mostly because of the really bad road. We had to pay a 2,500CFA permission fee at the military post and 500CFA/person entrance fee. The motor bike cost 2,000CFA/person roundtrip.
Wome is a beautiful place. The walk is not long but there are 177 high uneven stairs. After Wome, we went back to town to get a shared taxi to Hohoe. We were pronouncing it Ho ho but the town is actually pronounced ho-hoi. Because of the way we pronounced it, people assumed we were going to Ho (pronounced ho ho). We didn’t know this; hence we were put in a shared taxi going to Ho at around 5.21pm. After we crossed the border at Kpedze, we got into a car we thought was going to Hohoe. We only realized the mistake when they took off the sign on the bus that had Ho.
Anyways, we were told that we couldn’t get a bus going to Hohoe that we would have to go to Ho. We got to Ho at 6.25pm and waited until 6.50pm at Ho bus terminal, we got a bus going to Hohoe. We arrived in Hohoe at 9.20pm.
Day 16 (June 25 - Monday): Depart to Koforidua, Ghana Hotel - Ages Lodge: Paid via Airbnb. One night. Three rooms Arrive in Koforidua
Luckily for us, we were able to arrange a taxi service with the taxi driver that dropped us off to our Airbnb the previous night. We agreed to 90 cedis for the driver to pick us up in the morning, take us to Wli and Tagbo falls and drop us at the Hohoe bus terminal. He came to pick us up to Wli Waterfalls first. The entrance for Wli is 50 cedis for the 3 hours hike to the lower and upper falls. Wli has two falls – you can walk to the lower one and view the second one after a really steep climb.
It’s 40 mins easy walk to the lower falls which is absolutely gorgeous. Then another 30mins uphill walk to the viewing platform for the second falls. I found that uphill walk quite difficult. Twice, I had to sit because I felt extremely dizzy and nauseous. Maybe because I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast the previous day but it was a hard hike for me. Made it to the two-viewing platform and started the descent.
After Wli, we went to Tagbo Falls. The entrance was 20 cedis for Non-Ghanaians. It is a 45minutes walk from the entrance. Another beautiful place. Because our driver was on Ghanaian time, we set out to Wli later than we wanted and he was 2hrs late in picking us from Wli to Tagbo. This meant we didn’t get to Hohoe bus garage (almost an hour drive from Tagbo to Hohoe bus garage) until 7pm. We were able to get on the last bus to Koforidua at 7.07pm. Arrived at our hotel in Koforidua at 1am.
Day 17 (June 26 - Tuesday): Koforidua sightsee & depart to Accra Hotel: Downtown Osu - Paid. Booked via Airbnb. Two nights. Two beds Boti Waterfalls Akaa Falls Asenema falls Umbrella Rock Aburi Botanical Garden on the way to Accra Arrive in Accra late
The hotel helped us arrange a taxi to take us to Boti and Akaa Falls. The idea was the taxi would drop off at the Koforidua bus terminal after Boti and Akaa Falls then we would get a bus going to Accra and get off at Asenema which is in Akpong on the way to Accra. Anyways, the taxi driver didn’t know the way so we ended up in Akpong where Asenema Falls. We took that opportunity to see Asenema Falls, it’s by the road, only a 5 mins walk. There was no fee.
After seeing it, the driver was given the right directions to Boti Falls. Cost was 20 cedis for Non-Ghanians and 10 cedis for Ghanians. Easy walk, you will have to go down 255 stairs but you don’t feel it. Really beautiful. After the Boti, we took the easy way to Umbrella Rock. You can elect to do a 45mins hike there or a 10-15minutes drive so we took that option. After the drive, you would still have to walk about 10mins.
Driving back from the Umbrella Rock, we stooped at Akaa Falls which is on the same road. We paid 10 cedis in total for 2 people. There was no price listed and we claimed to be Ghanians. The walk is similar to that of Boti but not up to 255 stairs. We were the only ones at the Falls.
Because of time, we decided to cut Aburi Gardens from the list. We made our way to the Koforidua Bus Station and began the 2hrs or so journey to Accra – our last destination J.
Day 18 (June 27 - Wednesday): Accra, Ghana Sightseeing
We didn’t do any sightseeing in Accra. All three of us had visited Accra several times before. We just relaxed, did laundry, eat and celebrated the end of this adventure.
Day 19 (June 28 -Thursday): Departure * Kunbi departs for the airport around 12.30pm * Star & Shola departs for Lagos in the morning
Star and Shola left the Airbnb around 5.30am to begin their road trip back to Lagos. I slept in and left around 12noon to the airport for my flight to Sao Tome and Principe.
My Overall Review:
I knew that I didn’t want to do this trip solo which was why I invited two friends. One couldn’t make it and the other – Star, invited her other friend Shola. It turned out to be a great trip with them. They have mad negotiating skills especially Shola. She was in charge of negotiating taxi fares. Star was in charge of food. I just chilled Lol. Shola was nicknamed the mountain goat because she climbs just like a mountain goat lol. We created great memories.
The worst experience on the trip was the experience at the Seme border and the driver situation from Kara to Kpalime, Togo. But they weren’t experience that had the ability to ruin a trip. The big cities of Benin, Togo and Ghana but challenge yourself to see the other parts of those country.
Thanks for reading J