The Best Places to Visit this Summer

02:22 Sandra N.U. 0 Comments



London, Summer '17
Sponsored

It’s summertime! My favourite time of the year because it’s the best time to travel; when all the best summer destinations are warm and sunny. I love sunshine and bikinis and sunglasses and ice cream. What can I say, I’m biased. I’m Nigerian okay; I was born in the heat, I can’t stand cold and I’m certainly not going to fly halfway across the world on holiday for teeth chattering and hiding under blankets. Everyone else thinks this way, so travel costs tend to skyrocket during summer. Except now it’s so cheap! There are Cheap Flights to all the best places worth travelling to this summer.
Travelstart is doing a Summer Sale. The last time they had a massive sale on flights was Black Friday. Everything was sold out before noon the same day. I know because I tried to buy a dirt cheap ticket to London and it was all gone. *Cries in Pounds sterling*

The best places to travel to this summer:

LONDON


It’s my favourite city because I’ve been there a bunch of times, had a blast each time and it’s like a second home. Like most Nigerians, I have lots of family and some close friends there so guess who doesn’t have to pay for accommodation? Hehe. If you want to shop, this is the best time to go because all the stores are on sale and you’ll get clothes you can rock year-round in Nigeria. I’m about to cop one of these cheap flights from Lagos to London before you people finish everything.

London, Summer '15


NEW YORK


Everyone has to visit New York at least once. In the summer it’s even more alive and pulsating. There’s so much to do: concerts, festivals, food trucks, outdoor movies, ball games, tennis games, theme parks… My mom and my sister were together in New York last summer. I was so jelly. I haven’t been yet, but my friend Adaeze keeps telling me how we need to go to New York and explore hundreds of food spots because apparently New York is a food mecca and she knows that food is the way to finally get me. I just want to get on one of these cheap flights from Lagos to New York. I’ll come back fat and happy; summer body be darned.

DUBAI


Dubai has been on my radar for years, but money. My friends and I have been talking about a girls’ trip since forever. A couple of them have gone on their own (traitors) and they won’t let us hear anything else. It’s hard for all of us to be buoyant at the same time but with flights from Lagos to Dubai this cheap, I’d say we’re running out of excuses.

JOHANNESBURG


South Africa has kind of been aggressively promoting travel to their country and to be honest I’m sold. The tourism there is live. It's like a merger of the big city experience in places like Jo'burg and prime wildlife in the parks. Sisi Yemmie has gone a number of times and always shares what she gets up to. Johannesburg is different from the other places I mentioned above. Because it is in the southern hemisphere, it’s actually colder from June to August and not crowded; unlike December to February when it's hot and more people are visiting. So if you want to escape Lagos heat, there are unbelievably cheap flights to Johannesburg. Room rates are lowest this time of year too.

I’m getting serious wanderlust. I must do my own Summer ’18 too. Are you in?

XX,
NGND



0 comments:

Vacation in Lagos: Whispering Palms Resort Badagry Review

01:13 Sandra N.U. 0 Comments



Hello everyone,
Last month I had some time on my hands and went on a 3-day vacation to Whispering Palms Badagry. I didn’t plan to blog about it but at the end of my stay, I knew I had to review it. It was an experience. Everyone that saw my Insta stories wanted to know where I was. 

The plan was to go to a place that would feel like we were not in Lagos at all, without actually leaving Lagos. The major requirement: water. Nothing comes close to the feeling I get beside a natural body of water. The peace and calm, and then you dip a toe in, aaahhhhh. Next thing I’m fully considering how to leave my whole life behind to live on the beach and forage coconuts.

There are a number of waterside resorts in Lagos but the price tag per night can be intimidating for regular people like me. When I saw Whispering Palms online for N15,000 per night, I was excited.  They’re right on the Lagoon front. We called them a few days before and packed our bags the night before the trip. 
We had set off before we remembered how costly food and drinks can be in places like this, so we stopped at a supermarket to get bottled water and snacks- apples, popcorn, bread and spreads; and then Gin, limes, mint leaves and Limca to make cocktails! I was so ready.

The Journey
The trip to Badagry took longer than we expected. That Lagos-Badagry Expressway has potholes here and there so it will slow you down. We took along someone who lives there or we would have stopped several times to make sure Badagry was still ahead. From Ikate Lekki, it took 3 and a half hours.  Me, I slept off. We kept joking that we are definitely outside Lagos. Our tour guide wasn’t having it though: “It is still Lagos”. He works in VI and goes to and fro every day. RESPECT. I could never. The good part is the map turned out to be very accurate so you don’t need a guide.

Sign by the Express. The Resort is still 20-30 mins in.

Whispering Palms
We finally saw the sign for Whispering Palms on the other side of the road and we cheered while making the turn. If only we knew we still had a 20-30 minute drive ahead of us. Haha. We FINALLY arrived at Whispering Palms and it was instantly so worth it. 
No noise, clean air, palm trees everywhere. I didn’t know I was going to do a blog post when I went there so I didn’t take many pictures, but I will share what I did take. We also wanted to minimise use of our phones and it made us truly absorb and enjoy everything.


You can plan a day trip or you can stay over. Entry fee for a day trip is N2000 for two people. If you’re lodging, you won’t pay the fee.
They are busy during festive periods. December is peak period. I prefer when it’s quiet so May was perfect.
Parakeets by the reception

The Rooms
They have a main building with classic rooms which cost 15k; a set of chalets that cost 18k per night, and some more luxury villas ranging from 40k/night for a room to N150k for a 4-bedroom. We stayed in their classic rooms so for two people sharing that’s N7,500 each. We asked to pick our rooms and they let us view all the available classic rooms.
Main Building with Classic rooms
The Villas

 You can tell that it’s an old building with ceiling fans and an old style bathroom but that’s part of the charm. My friends loved the old-timey feel. I’m more of an ultramodern girl myself when it comes to hotels and especially bathrooms, but I found myself feeling the charm by day 2. There’s a TV, a fridge, a hot water kettle for tea, wardrobes, a dining table and chairs. Simple, functional stuff. The intercom in my room wasn’t working and they graciously offered to change the room when I noticed but I didn’t want to move. A worker gave me her number so I’d just call.
 The bathroom has hot and cold running water and a tiny shower stall.
Like many old spaces, the room was big and very airy. My favourite part of the room was the balcony with a view of palm trees, and the lagoon in the distance. 

It was bliss waking up in the morning and sitting out there. The bed was huge- big enough for 3 people to sleep on comfortably so if you really want to save, that’s an option. No shame in that. My girls and I used to be 3-4 in a hotel room when we were in school and needed to have a Girls trip. Best times of our lives I tell you. Then we couldn’t wait to have money and now we miss those days (Not that we’re now rich or anything, just less broke).

Facilities and Activities at Whispering Palms
It’s a big place. On Day 1 we requested a tour. They have an outdoor pool, an outdoor gym, a mini zoo with monkeys, a baboon, turkeys (didn’t know they live in zoos too), a crocodile and a 103-year old tortoise.
Outdoor gym
You can also play football, basketball, tennis and volleyball. They have a restaurant and I think 2 bars. We took an evening walk by the Lagoon and there was this cool breeze coming from the water that gave me life.



 We went by the Coconut Dispensary- I love that name- where you get fresh coconut to drink for just N200.
Source: Whisperingpalmslagos.com

The plan (not my idea) for Day 2 was to wake up early and work out in the outdoor gym but God made it rain that morning and we slept in. Praaaise God! The weather cooperated throughout our stay. That rain didn’t last till 10am and we went outside to meet mild weather- a beautiful day for outdoor activities. They have Quadracycles to ride in twos. If you're alone, a member of staff can ride with you.



It’s N1000 but don’t be afraid to negotiate. The person on the left has control so switch up if you both want to steer. This was so much fun. They said the 1k buys you 20 minutes but they didn’t stop us when the 20 minutes were up. We all rode for about 30 minutes before we wanted to do something else.
Out on the Lagoon they have these yellow rowboats you can ride for N1000. 

Source: Whisperingpalmslagos.com

Unfortunately, the water level was too low that day, even with the rain earlier, so we couldn’t ride. We changed into our swimsuits and spent the evening swimming and sipping on coconuts (and Gin).


Is this baby girl life even complete if you’re not sipping on a coconut, poolside?


On Day 3 we took an early morning walk around the grounds to take in the scenery.

Seriously, what flower is this? I love it
We also discovered swings close to the bar and the water. I probably spent too long swinging.
After that, we went out to take a tour of Badagry. If you need Whispering Palms to arrange the tour, complete with a bus, a tour guide and light refreshments; that’s N12,000 for every two people involved (6k each if you’re contributing). If you’re using your own car, N7000 for every two (N3500 each). 
We called our Badagry person to take us and we went independently. After going on the tour though, we thought the Whispering Palms cost was actually fair and we tipped our friend well.
Badagry is an ancient town famous for slave trade. They have a lot of museums and relics of the slave trade era. I’d love to share all about that but this post will be too long. Maybe a separate post?

Food
Food is the expensive part of Whispering Palms. No matter what you’re eating, average cost is N3000. Whether it’s yam and eggs for breakfast, poundo yam for lunch or basic rice, hold your 3k. If you plan to eat three meals per day, it adds up. Our snacks came in handy; we each had 2 meals a day. The food is alright. The fried rice isn’t great so pick Jollof. It won’t be the best Jollof you ever had but it will do. They’re better at soups. Their egg sauce is okay too. The turkey is nice. Order an hour before you intend to eat because the food is made-to-order.
This tree overhangs a walkway that leads to the bar
Moremi statue and story

The Service
Everyone was so polite; they’ll greet you with a smile and answer all your questions patiently. I was impressed. Maybe when you work in such a relaxing environment, you’re happier. 
Once you’ve paid for your room, you’re a registered guest and your meals and activities get added to your tab until checkout. None of that annoying insistence on pay-as-you-go like some hotels in this country. They’re also willing to waive certain charges for lodging guests. They eventually didn’t charge us for the Quadracycle ride. You may have to call to remind them of something you asked for before, but generally they were proactive and very helpful.

Electricity
Light isn’t on 24 hours if NEPA strikes. You’re assured of 12 hours a day: from 4pm to 10am. If you don’t ask they won’t tell you and that’s not fair. However we didn’t mind because we were mostly out doing stuff from 10am to 4pm anyway.

Total Cost: We spent approximately N50,000 each including snacks and fuel. Some less, some more. Depends on what you eat. You can hold up to N65,000 each to be very safe, especially if rooms are N20,000 and you’re paying for the tour. This is about £100-120 and $150-170 each if you have 2 persons sharing a room. Less if you’re more in number.

Advice:  
  •         Call ahead to confirm current prices.
  •         Take snacks and water (for a day trip, I don’t know if this is allowed).
  •          Negotiate prices of activities especially if you’re many.
  •          Order your food at least an hour before you want to eat.
  •          Tour Badgary.
  •          Bring swimwear, slippers and sandals, and airy little clothes.
  •          Don’t sit indoors! Come out and do stuff.  Swing. Play with water. Sip coconuts. And take a picture with a flower in your hair.

Will I go again? Most definitely. We’re already talking about going in an even bigger group next holiday.

XX,
NGND
Have you been to Whsipering Palms or Badagry before?


0 comments: