It’s no news that some of fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. With economic growth on the rise, my last visit to Lagos, Nigeria in November 2012 was very interesting. I heard that Lagos had become an entertaining, dining and overall ‘everyone likes to have a good time’ city. I had to see this for myself. With new hang-outs and art galleries popping up all over the city, it made for an interesting couple of days of discovery in the traffic induced, colourful and vibrant city of Lagos. Here is a list of interesting places to discover while in Lagos:
Bogobiri House is a bar/restaurant/art gallery/ boutique hotel on Victoria Island. The vibe here is Afrocentric and the crowd is Afropolitan. It’s a great place to have lunch, spend the evening with some live music or view some art. The art gallery is part of the Nimbus Gallery which holds some very interesting work by artists like Akin Onipede. Bogobiri is great place to chill out and meet Lagos’ creatives.
This arts and culture centre has been around for quite some time and just keeps getting better. The centre holds events and exhibitions throughout the year. If you’re interested in what’s happening on the art scene in Lagos this is the place to get clued in. It’s also a great place to sample some Nigerian cuisine.
Lisa Folawiyo is one of my favourite Nigerian designers. Her designs are a reflection of the true Nigerian spirit. Using Ankara, the popular West African fabric, the pieces are intricately created with a contemporary style in mind. Her Lagos store is the first of its kind and a great place to grab some gorgeous Nigerian design pieces.
It is indeed a hotel, but don’t let that put you off. The roof top bar has got an amazing cocktail menu and a chill atmosphere. After a long day in the Lagos traffic, this is a great place to unwind and relax. They also have live musicians most nights.
National Museum Lagos, Awolowo Rd Lagos Island
The preservation of history still needs a lot of work in Nigeria but the museum has an impressive collection of artifacts. The Nok Terracotta’s showcasing the rich Nok culture is just one of the highlights.
The Badgary Slave Museum
Badgary is widely known as the port of exit for many African slaves to the Americas. The museum is in bad shape and the presentation quite poor. However, I think it’s still worth the visit if you can make it. It’s one of those places that should be a world heritage site but is often overlooked.
To get the feel and vibe of an African market you have to visit one. There are so many markets around Lagos to choose from. Stalls will sell you anything from fabrics like Ankara, to arts and crafts made by local artists. Be sure to wander around to get a taste of Lagos. Tejusoho is my top pick because it’s more organized and easier to walk around in. There’s also an indoor market which can be a relief from the overwhelming Lagos heat.
Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos
When leaving Lagos after you’ve gone through immigration, stop by the amazing stall-like shops (not the duty free shops) in the departure area. They sell leather goods, beautiful handmade jewelry and crafts. I’ve bought some amazing one-of-a-kind statement necklaces and people always ask where I purchased them from. No one would guess it was at the airport. You may need to negotiate the price a bit as they tend to gas the prices but if you don’t back down, you can end up with the perfect last minute gift.