Archive for October 9th, 2020

October 9, 2020

Lagos,Nigeria, an adventure!!!

Oh yes, some adventure this was. I have heard of Nigeria before and the region around Lagos which carries the name of the earlier Portuguese explorers as lakes, Lagos there is one in Portugal too you know. Then it has a much richer history. I was here a while back and just wanted to update the text and new photos I found. I would like to tell you a bit more from the few already in my blog. This is Lagos, Nigeria,an adventure!

Well lots of writings on the wall when we speak of Nigeria. I can only said that in my business travels , I have always enjoy the visits and some long for a month! . I was able to visit their country, mostly Lagos but into Port Harcourt as well. It is not your typical tourist attraction yet, but if in town be good and have fun.

You are wise to hire a trusted local driver to get you around, and dont do it yourself. Photos are hard to come by as cameras are not seen in public, credit cards better keep them at home or just for an ultimate emergency, this is a cash country and the currency the Naira is only good in-country .If you must use cash take the ATM machines of Zenith bank, one of the largest in Nigeria and even Africa. The webpage is here: https://www.zenithbank.com/customer-service/find-a-branch-atm/

There are plenty to see during the daytime, such as the Bar beach harbor area (not to swim just for the ambiance), there is a beach further north along the Lekki peninsula,Lekki Beach , most expats come here.  There is a soccer/football stadium, while I was there last for the under 17 World Cup was being played. Saw the Nigeria vs Spain match the locals won. You need to get ticket from a trusted person such as from the company you are in there,and go with the locals friends.

lagos soccer stadium Surelere 2009

I stayed in a very nice compound, Osborne Foreshore Estates, call Somerset Court ,very well protected as it is the home of many armed forces personnel. The place is at Ikoji, one of the nicest districts of Lagos, very nice with all amenities including a pool, billiard room,bar, restaurant, sports TV all over, exercise room, and very friendly staff.

The shopping was done at Palms shopping center, with a big supermarket, call Shop Rite (locals describe the shopping center as shop rite) and Cinema, plus restos, the webpage is here http://www.persianasgroup.com/our-portfolio/persianas-investment/palms-lekki/#menu-investment

Some of the best restos here were the Caffe Vergnano, and News Cafe  ,and now the shopping  have now a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ThePalmsMall/

The other shopping I frequented was the Mega Plaza also has a grocery store, with a courtyard full of restos selling local food ,pizzerias, and Indian foods,Lebanese foods, etc. This was the place for an after work drink and get together almost daily there. The webpage for it is here: https://www.megaplaza.ng/

Another nice shopping center is Silverbird galleria shopping at  267A Etim Inyang Crescent , Victoria Island , Lagos. It has still a very nice cinema. It was a bit more upscale and nice to go there too. The new webpage is here: https://silverbirdcinemas.com/cinema/galleria/

The properties of the Sofitel Hotel was my lunch venue, and of course the hotel is from the French chain ACCOR so its very nice. Now is part of MGallery brand, we went here lots of times for lunch.  The webpage is here: https://all.accor.com/hotel/2770/index.en.shtml

Other nice hotels I visited for eating were the EKO Hotel and Suites  , as well as theSheraton by the airport . However, my best is the Federal Palace Hotel, great bar sports bar area, and wonderful restaurant buffet downstairs, and later they opened a Casino.

The Eko hotelhttps://www.ekohotels.com/

The Sheraton hotelhttps://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/lossi-sheraton-lagos-hotel

The Federal Palace Hotelhttps://www.suninternational.com/federal-palace/

lagos Eko hotel ent 2009

A nice place to be if have a local influential friend like me is to go to the old British country club, now the country club and golf complex at Ikoyi , you need to be with a member but the company can arrange maybe. Their webpage is here: https://web.ikoyiclub1938.org/

Another interesting place is the Lekki Conservation area, a wildlife reserve for free and just as natural as you can get to wild animals. I was here once briefly. Their webpage: https://www.ncfnigeria.org/projects/lekki-conservation-centre

Other interesting place that I dit not visit but probably worth going are the National Theater, and the National Museum at Awolowo Rd, Lagos Island, this last has artifacts and sculptures of local origins.

For eating out, my favorites were the Churrasco Brazilian resto located at 1C Ozumba Mbadiwe Ave, Victoria Island, Lagos (could not verify if still open but did went couple times) , Golden Gate China resto located at 25B Glover Road , Ikoyi , (could not verify if still open but was a must while staying there)  , Manuela Italian resto and residence where I had lots of good times and the chef was of Cuban origin! More here: https://www.manuelaresidence.net/

The Bangkok, thai food located at  244A Muri Okunola St, Victoria Island, Lagos (again could not verify if still open but did visit) ; Marco Polo, for seafood located at Marco Polo seafood, 9 Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; (this one change to new development at Lekki, here is the webpage; http://www.marcopolo.ng/

And another favorite spot, the Chocolate Royal, French bakery and resto popular with many expats as I,  located at 267A Etim Inyang Crescent , Victoria Island, Lagos. Webpage here: http://chocolatroyal.com/

The airport is the International Airport Murtala Muhammed, two terminals ,one for international flights and the other domestic, very easy to navigage.  You need to take precautions for sickness so vaccination is a must, check with your embassy for requirement of your Nationality to get to Nigeria for the French the Air France center in Paris ,webpage: https://www.vaccinations-airfrance.fr/

The French Consulate in Lagos which it is recommended you register as I did, it is at 1, Oyinkan Abayomi Drive, Ikoyi Lagos : webpage here: https://ng.ambafrance.org/-Le-Consulat-General-de-France-a-Lagos-

For families with small children there is a French school which many other expats and locals take advantage , the school is at Lycée Français Louis Pasteur, 16 Younis Bashorun street, Victoria Island  , the place was visited in company of French families there and is very nice place: https://www.lflp-lagos.com/fr/

If you need to go to Port Harcourt, more precautions needed here, the best property is the Novotel hotel part of the French ACCOR chain, webpage here: https://all.accor.com/hotel/5465/index.en.shtml#origin=novotel

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here whether business or pleasure are

The Nigeria tourist board for info here: https://tournigeria.gov.ng/

The Federation of travel firms in Nigeria here: https://ftan.org.ng/index.php/ftan-member-associations

A tourism site from UK on Nigeria with plenty of info here: http://www.nigeriahc.org.uk/culture-tourism

There you go another wonderful location that I am lucky enough to have visited for a whole month especially around Lagos, Nigeria. Hope you enjoy the exotic visit and thanks for reading me.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 9, 2020

Memories of South Africa!

Again on nostalgia lane, as the current situation is unveiling and the cut in business travel, the chances of visiting some countries of fond memories are fading. This is the reason made me do this post on my memories of South Africa.

Of course, I have been in the country since 2015 visiting every year until 2019. Next, who knows, but the friendship and fondness of the place will continue. Let me tell you a bit more on South Africa.

Another nice trip and was able to touch base with old friends again. These are the quick visits as always but very nice memories. And I am in heavens by the Fourways, Sandton, Gautrain, and East London spots.

sa-fourways-out-pineslopes-bus-park-sep15

This particular trip got out early by car from home with a bit extra time as it was raining on the N165 road, and to my surprise there was an accident and work construction on the road that was creating one lane only. Big slow down almost standstill. I thought would miss my plane at Nantes Atlantique airport. Hopefully, it cleared up but needed to do 150 KPH ::) ( about 93 MPH) , and got there just as the plane was been board! After this event flew well on AF to Paris CDG T2F, and easily went over to T2E for the flight to South Africa on AF .

The flight is long and this time it seems and was longer as usually go to Fourways, J’Burg first, but this time change at OR Tambo airport and there went on a domestic SAA flight to East London. Once at East London I was picked up by car and taken to my hotel, the Riverbend B&B, which locals put me there, it was very nice like been at home and friendly service. This had gorgeous views and would love to be back again, more on them here: http://www.riverbendguesthouse.co.za/

sa East London Riveside BB front sep15

We did have dinner at a pricier property like a spa hotel resto,but only have the front in the photo and can’t remember the name lol!!! just been me I guess!!!

sa-east-london-dinner-resto-sep15

The next day we went to Abbotsford Arms pub , where in addition to some real fine Carling Black Label beers we had this special menu 500g T-Bone smothered in our herb butter sauce, served with freshly cut chips and 2 veggies, more of them at their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/abbotsfordarmsel/

sa-east-london-abbotsford-arms-pub-inside-sep15

A bit of driving in town to practice my right side wheel and it was off to the East London airport again this time to J’Burg. I was to land at 21h10 at OR Tambo airport and my shuttle to wait for me. However, I came domestic this time on terminal B and my shuttle was in internationals Terminal A!!!! So with little wifi:internet could not find his phone number, and were some trying moments until finally found his phone number to start a funny exchange. Noo I am at the information desk with a plaque holding your name, noo I do not see anybody in the ID, finally I said I am in terminal B oh oh I am in terminal A thinking you were coming international, noo the folks here knew I was coming domestic. Finally we hook up for the ride to my hotel.

The hotel was the nice City Lodge Fourways near the montecasino complex . This is a nice hotel first time in it and love it. Great restaurant area, with pool overlooking the city road at Witkoppen road. More here: https://clhg.com/hotels/120/city-lodge-hotel-fourways

sa-fourways-city-lodge-hotel-lobby-sep15

Next day locals took me for lunch at the nice le Soufflé  at the Pineslopes Shopping Centre, in Fourways a French style restaurant where I had my duck confit and more of that Black Label beers . The experience was great however, they needed to closed down and was told correct they have teamed up with the folks of  Junipa’s Bistro at Hobart Centre in Bryanston, and again later was updated by locals this place, also closed down.  So the economy has got to them, the chefs owners were at Le Soufflé for 10 years. Anyway, I put it here for the memories that is the them of the post anyway.

sa fourways le souffle bistro inside sep15

In the evening, I met a contact friend Paul from the now defunct VT travel forum  and as he had a car, I rode looking for this place I have heard call the Beer House, and after some trying as the friend was from Pretoria, we finally found the place ::) This is a pub with live music, 99 different beers and great menu in a resto laden road off the Witkoppen road as well but need to come by the Fourways Crossing mall side to get here.  We had a great time until very late; and a wonderful house burger and t bone steak with different beers but I stuck with the new found nice one Carling  Black Label. Just great company, happy lively place, good music and the place is loaded with likes establishements on the same side. However, this place has also closed down! so sad… The owner ran out of his lease and could not renew, heard was looking for a new location but no confirmation yet. For now, another down memory lane forever!!!

sa-fourways-beer-house-outside-sep15

It was time for me to say goodbye to the springboks once again, and another nice visit of many more memories to last. On my way back got the OR Tambo airport early so went for my airport lunch this time at a new place too .The Keg and Aviator pub , they were in the public area of the airport to your end right.  I had another of those big juicy burgers and more of the wonderful Carling Black Label beers. Well I told you this was memory lane, this one is closed too.

sa-tambo-keg-and-aviators-apt-sep15

The flight back was flawless, to Paris CDG T2E and then change easy to T2F for the last leg back to Nantes Atlantique where my car was waiting for the trip back home. It was a very nice trip with nice moments with nice people. There will always be hope for a next time! Hope you enjoy this bit of memories of South Africa.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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