Goree Island, Dakar
Many go to Dakar for its sun-kissed beaches, colourful markets and mbalax-fueled nightclubs. If you are in the city, don’t miss an opportunity to visit Gorée, the 1978 Unesco World Heritage-listed, sleepy, tropical island, located 3km from Dakar’s main ferry terminal.
Famous as a destina- tion for people inter- ested in the Atlantic slave trade, some of its illustrious visitors in- clude the likes of Nel- son Mandela, Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as Pope John Paul II.
The 28-hectare island is free of cars. It has beautiful bougain-villaea-draped colonial buildings and pastel-hued homes. It has a vibrant arts community, enabling tourists to purchase unique paintings, carvings and sculptures.
La Villa Club, Lome
If you are passing through Togo’s capital city, you can make the most of the moment with an evening blast at La Villa Club, the city’s coolest cocktail bar. It is a place like no other along the West Coast of Africa. The club is filled with a “Zebra Crossing” crowd: a mix of German, French, Lebanese and the orients (mostly from the diplomatic com- munity and travelling tourists and business executives) and elites from coastal cities of theWestAfricaregion. Openinghour:6:00 pm – 2:00 am.
Club Quilox, Victoria Island, Lagos
High-octane parties, eclectic drinks and hobnobbing with rave-of-the-moment celebs – that means Quilox, the party hub with great ambience and unrivalled glitz and glamour. This club with Vegas swagger is a cool place to unwind after a hard day’s work and its seamless themed parties monthly makes it the ideal go-to place when the objective is to have a blast.
Voodoo festival, Ouidah
Try an extraordinary experience this year by being a SPECTATOR at the voodoo festival in the Republic of Benin. You stand to gain some anthropological insights into this African traditional religion. The festival holds every January 10, a national holiday since 1998. The 2020 festival marks the 27th anniversary of the festival. The coastal city of Ouidah is a cauldron of celebration for a week as Benin deities such as Gou (god of Iron), Elegbara (Messenger), Kokou (Warrior) and Zangbeto (Guardian of the Night) are honoured with ancient rites by voodoo adherents, some of who travel all the way from Haiti and Cuba to partake in the ceremonies. The highlight is the ritual slaughter of goats in honour of the deities, amidst songs and dance––and consumption of a lot of gin.
Valentine at LilyGate Hotel, Lekki
A romantic getaway on Valentine’s Day? LilyGate Hotel in Lekki, Lagos, should be top on your list. Its exquisite grandeur– grand staircase, artistic reception and deluxe rooms – makes it a wonderful retreat in the city. And the hotel’s Valentine packages are gifts that lovebirds should grab with both hands. A timeout in Lilygate is one of the best ideas of how to spoil a loved one on the day of love.
Asa Baako festival, Busua
The Asa Baako Festival is hosted annually in the first week of March, a five-day fete that features musicians and artists at the quaint village resort of Busua Beach, near Takoradi. Highlights include live stage music, tours, treks, beach parties and jungle party. It is an occasion that brings a line-up of live artists, MCs and DJs from across Ghana and around the world in a musical feast that has hip-hop, Afrobeat and dancehall on its menu.
Other attractions: surfing, skateboarding competitions, yoga and canoeing; beach games––volley and football––tug-of-war and treasure hunts.
Street vendors and resort’s restaurant’s offer lavish cuisine of local delicacies that include tuna, lobster, shark and stingray.
Festival parade affords the tourists opportunity to showcase their costume and mask.
Chale Wote, Jamestown, Accra
Be a visitor to Africa’s biggest visual art festival and join the colourful parade that offers spectacular sights and sounds of the picturesque Jamestown. The street is turned into a canvas of provocative colourful display of local visual arts, music, dance, film, fashion, body painting, photography and craft by a myriad of performers that include fetish priests, acrobats, and skateboarders, stilt walkers, kid boxers, graffiti artists. The 10th edition in 2020 will be more fabulous than previous editions.
Argungu Fishing Festival, Kebbi
The popular festival in northern Nigeria is making a comeback after a 10-year hiatus. It takes place in Argungu, the capital city of Argungu Emirate Council. The last time, over 30, 000 fishermen and women plunged into the river at the sound of a gunshot, with traditional nets and gourds made of calabash and for almost one hour engaged in a fishing frenzy in the 1.6 kilometre stretch of the Argungu River that was protected throughout the year. Prize money is awarded to the person who has the biggest catch.
Other attractions include canoe racing, wild duck hunting, diving competitions and swimming. And of course, afterwards drinking, singing and dancing into the night.
You don’t have to be an Osun adherent to visit Osogbo, capital of Osun State, in August when the city is turned into a living tapestry of an African religion that draws global devotees that include Latinos, Germans and Orients. The ritual procession from the palace of the Ataoja to the Osun River inside the UNESCO-certified grove is a major tourist event in the city.
The National Festival of Arts and Culture, otherwise known as NAFEST, has enjoyed a renaissance since Otunba Segun Runsewe took over the helms of the affair at the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC). For three straight years, the festival had been an epic display of the unity and diversity of Nigeria’s culture, in Kaduna, Rivers and Benin. The 2020 hosting has been won by Plateau State and it will be a big opportunity to show that the Tin City has gotten its mojo back as a tourist town.
Ofala festival, Onitsha
There is no better place to experience the rich Igbo culture than at the Ofala festival, celebrated in October, as a rite of renewal of the Obi of Onitsha. The rich Igbo culture is fully displayed over two days of activities.
Drum Festival, Abeokuta
For many years, the Olumo Rock was the biggest attraction in Abeokuta until the state government came up with the African Drum Festival that brought in troupes from within and outside the shores of the country.
The festival turns Abeokuta into a melting pot of colourful troupes, exquisite drums and artistic costumes as contingents from Europe, Africa, Nigerian states and independent performers converge on the city.
Experience superlative cultural perfor- mances from countries like Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Congo, Uganda, Haiti, Senegal. The fifth edition is coming up in 2020.
Arts and Crafts Expo, Abuja
The International Arts and Crafts Expo is yet another event of NCAC that has become a must-attend event of the year in November. Previously known as African Arts and Craft Expo (AFAC), it was rebranded and the transformation gave it an international allure that has attracted embassies of countries such as China, India and Bangladesh vying to have their day at the weeklong expo. Last year, Venezuela joined the rank. Cuba has already joined the beeline for 2020 edition. INAC is an exhibition of arts and crafts from faraway lands and an experience of new cultures. It is also an open vista on the hidden gems and the creativity in the country.
Calabar Carnival, Cross River
Presently, there is no better end of year event on the continent than the carnival in Calabar. Break your boredom in 2020 to have a taste of this year-end ambrosia––Brazilian- styled street carnival, bikers parade, band music, beauty pageant, cuisine and lots more packed into one month of endless fun that makes December a month to remember.
If you are travelling along the coast of West Africa, from Lagos to Abidjan, Aneho is a picturesque tourist town, some five kilometres from Benin-Togo border. The town’s southernmost part is like an oil painting: A stunning view of the ocean (calm and very blue) with mahogany canoes bobbling on its surface, a strip of sandy beach lying close to the Atlantic, a the lagoon that runs through the city and flows placidly into the sea, a town reminiscent of the Greek Idyll jutting into the soft-blue of the Aegean Sea. A photo-genic town. Previously known as Little Popo, this fishing town with UNESCO-listed centuries-old church buildings, have a nice beach, ocean-side restaurants and bars and upmarket Swiss hotel with a pool on the roof to make your stopover memorable.
The city that is the cradle of life is full of mysticism, culture and tradition. The city has been undergoing a cultural renaissance in the past four years, which has been manifesting as eye-popping transformations. A visitor to the city must visit the Ife Grand Resort.
This is the city that competes with Rome for the biggest basilica in the world. The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro is a modern recreation of the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica that lays claim to the title of world’s largest church. Yamoussoukro declared the capital of Cote d’Ivoire in 1983, has several massive building projects, including a Presidential Palace (surrounded by a body of water) and its magnificent Grand Mosque.
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Perhaps you have heard the saying, “Nothing is free even in Freetown.” You can only find out what is free and what is not free in this dynamic African city by visiting in 2020. While you are there, take a jaunt to the Banana Islands that lie off the coast of Yawri Bay, south-west of the Freetown Peninsula.
Located on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Hi-Impact Planet is the last word in amusement and recreational park. It is a paradise for kiddies and adults alike.
Inagbe Grand Resort
Located on an island detached from the Lagos mainland, Inagbe offers an escape from the bustle of the Lagos city.
Treasured for its charm and tranquillity, its bouquet of attractions include “sumptuous food and soothing drinks in the ‘floating bar,” a ride on the jetty and kayaks, a drive around the beach on quad bikes and a dedicated children’s park.
La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort
The resort is hard to ignore. For many years, it has stayed on top of the list of go-to beaches in Lagos.
Located in Ibeju-Lekki, far from the ruckus of the Lagos metropolis, timeout at La Campagne’s natural environment–– mangrove forest, freshwater lake, the roiling Atlantic waves, thatch huts, and a stretch of sandy beach––is a good therapy anytime the hustle and bustle of the city becomes overwhelming.