Africa: Fun at Akwaaba 2018 as delegates savour tourism attractions of Lagos State

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Akwaaba 2018 turned out so much fun! More fun than an exhibition as it created unforgettable experiences for delegates, participants and visitors. And Lagos State tourism added the icing on the cake as it made a strong statement with the experiences it offered delegates coupled with its very successful outing at the 14th edition of Akwaaba Travel expo.

As the host State, Lagos State Ministry of Tourism proved to international delegates and visitors that it has enormous tourism attractions as it serenaded them to memorable experiences with a tour of Lagos for two days after the exhibitions.

The Akwaaba African Travel Market 2018 expo had participation from 17 African countries and partnership from over 80 travel organisations therefore drawing attendance from visitors across Africa and beyond in attendance.

Lagos State tourism made true the opening statement of Mr. Steve Ayorinde, The Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, that, ”Lagos State government hopes to leverage on the unique opportunities provided by the expo to reach out to major tourism stakeholders in the continent and market Lagos as a choice and must visit destination in Africa and the world”.

The State became the focal point of the travel exhibition for the 3 days the event lasted. It took the event with a bang as it stole the show with a mind blowing cultural display on the opening day as it presented cultural displays, dances, folklore and music with arts demonstrated through unique costumes, decorations and traditional Yoruba chants.

After the exhibitions, the State Tourism Ministry engaged the delegate to a tour of its tourism products. The first tour was at the Prest Lunch and Dinner Cruises luxury boat. It was a double-decker luxury boat evening outing. With the DJ playing choice Nigerian and African tunes, guests were seated at various locations both in the main boat and at the upper windy balcony, where they thoroughly enjoy the cool evening breeze and capture the cruise vividly. Good food was served.

The delegates were enthralled at the amazing scenes of the City of Lagos as the road cruises through the Five Cowrie Creek and into through the Lagos Cable Bridge on Lekki through into the Lagoon and back.

The cruise experience completely kept human traffic and unnecessary stampede on the Lagos roads at bay. The cruise created memorable moment for the delegates savoured with total relish.

The following day, the touring team was headed towards the Lekki Conservation Center, creating more memorable experiences the delegates.

We explored the Lekki Conservation Center climbing its scary high and the longest copy walkway in Africa, got fascinated by the daring acts of the monkeys there. And as I saw the biggest Koi and Tilapia fishes in the pond there, I was only thinking of the most salivating barbecued fish they would have made when garnished with peppers and spices!
According to an article published on www.ncfnigeria.org, from its origin and establishment in 1990 by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) has grown into one of Africa’s prominent and most-diverse urban Nature Parks due to its high species richness.

It is located in the coastal environs covering an approximate land area of 78 hectares, extending from kilometer 19 along the Lagos-Epe Expressway and ends up a very close distance to the Atlantic Ocean near Okun Ibeju Village, Eti-Osa Local Government Area in the Eastern district of Lagos State. LCC can be accessed through the Lagos-Epe Expressway.

Widely acclaimed as an icon of nature conservation and pearl of ecotourism, Lekki Conservation Centre represents the flagship project of NCF for the preservation of the unique biodiversity, scenic, natural, scientific and recreational values of the coastal environs of the south-western Nigeria. It is therefore one of the best urban parks to satiate visitors’ curiosity of nature.

It is the only vibrant protected area in Lagos State and one of the very few vibrant tourist destinations of repute in Lagos and has thus been recognized as one of the notable Sites/Monuments of special interest and exceptional relevance by the Lagos State Government under the LISTED SITES for the preservation, protection and restoration of historical properties and cultural heritage in Lagos State and for connected purposes.
The LCC’s 401-metre long canopy walkway is a scenic attraction reputed to be the longest canopy walkway in Africa.

It is an engineering feat and an amazing suspended swinging bridge walkway through the mosaic of vegetation types characterizing the LCC Nature Park. It has the entry & exit portals connecting six towers treating visitors to unique experience/unforgettable chance to explore the Nature Park and get a bird’s eye/panoramic view of the habitat types and sight the unique wildlife that inhabit the Lekki Conservation Centre.

The 2-km board offers excellent nature walks and bird watching opportunities.
Family Park is a world-class picnic haven and offers nature walks, picnic & sporting facilities including a Tree House, Nature Station, Bird Hide, Swamp Look-out Station, Rotunda, 96-Seater Gazebos 6 and 8-seater Family Huts, Floor Games (Ludo, Snake and Ladder, Draught, Chess and Street Tennis), Koi & Tilapia ponds, Beach Volley-ball courts & Spectators’ pavilion, Barbecue joints and Jungle gym facilities (Zip Lines, monkey bars, etc) with a serene and secure environment.

Delegates ended the experiences that day as we took our tour to Pop Beach in Ilashe Island, along badagry creek, a surburb of Lagos set on an Island strip separating the Lagos Lagoon from the Atlantic Ocean.

To get to the Pop Beach Club, we had to get on a boat from the jetty at Farm House Lekki alog Admiralty way. It was about a 30 minutes on a speed boat as we enjoyed the bumpy ride to Ilashe. Pop Beach is a privately owned beach house, perfect hideaway from the hustle and bustle of Lagos.

We got to Pop Beach in the middle of a storm. It started raining on our way there. From the shore, we we boarded Quad bikes to take us to the beach house. Walking is about 7 minutes. We had great fun at the Pop Beach, everyone felt so free to relax and enjoy the place.

We had barbecued Chicken with rice garnished with various spices. There was enough to eat and drink for everyone. Everyone was mixing freely. The height of our stay was when we started dancing. We danced to hit from all over Africa. And believe me, Nigerian hits where the top and majority of the songs.

The men engaged in soccer! The ladies engrossed themselves with dancing and taking photographs. Around 6pm, though not tired, we had to bid Pop Beach farewell after a day of awesome outing and fun. Our delegates and everyone looks to have such fun again next year!

By Renn Offor

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