Magic sometimes resides in a box.
A train ride is a beautiful experience. Outside, you get to see the beautiful landscape transverse behind you and inside; you meet new people on your journey. Since the new ultra-modern train begun in December, routing Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan, traveling, and having a good time on a weekend out of Lagos has been made easier.
Abeokuta is a historic town and a city in Nigeria that has produced two states. It is also home to many significant figures in Nigerian history- Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s family, Prof Wole Soyinka, and former President Obasanjo.
A trip to Abeokuta will make you experience the entire culture of the Egba people. During weekends, the train from Lagos leaves at 8:30 am from the old terminal at Alagomeji in Yaba; the new mega terminal is at the final stages of construction.
Start – Ebutte Meta, Lagos; End – Wole Soyinka terminal, Abeokuta; Departs daily; Distance – 102km – Duration – 1hrs 40mins.
Sun hat/cap, medium backpack, sandals or hiking trainers, sunglasses, cash (withdraw enough money for the trip), water bottle/drink + snacks, power bank, camera (if you have one), and a good mood
A standard ticket to Abeokuta cost around N2000, business class and First class cost more, N4000 and N6000. The trains leave at exactly 8:30 am; it is crucial to get there early enough to purchase your ticket. Payment for a ticket at the train station in Alagomeji is only by cash. It takes around 1 hour 30 minutes to get to Abeokuta station- Prof. Soyinka Terminus stop.
Once you get to the stop, you will find that taxis are unavailable, and have to hail a taxi. To explore Abeokuta in one day, here is a guide and itinerary: On getting to the terminal in Abeokuta by 10:30 am, take a taxi to the first destination, Alake’s palace. By 11:00 am, you should arrive at your destination. The Alake of Egbaland is the traditional ruler of the Egba clan in the city of Abeokuta. The beautiful palace serves as the home to the king, who is also the custodian of the Egba people’s culture and tradition.
In the Alake’s palace are different figurines of deities that protected the old Egba kingdom during the numerous wars. Opposite the palace is the centenary hall built by the Egba people to commemorate their one hundred years of peaceful existence in Abeokuta after the numerous inter-tribal wars they’ve experienced. In the building, you will find pictures of notable Egba people. From here, you can begin your walk towards the historical Abeokuta mosque, which stands out in its red-coloured beautiful architecture. The walk from the centenary to the Abeokuta mosque takes about 27 minutes (13km).
The next destination is the most popular place in Abeokuta- Olumo! A visit to Abeokuta is never complete without visiting the famous Olumo rock. This rock provides sanctuary to the people and a vantage point for meetings to map out a strategy to conquer wars. The first dwellers of Abeokuta settled here on the rocks and in caves and gradually spread out from this location. The rock still serves as the home for a few old Egba women who are the spiritual heads of Abeokuta.
By now, the time is already 13:00, and it is time to take a break. There are restaurants 1.3-mile radius of Olumo.
Have your lunch and rest.
Now it is time to head towards President Olusegun Obasanjo’s library and museum. It is a private museum built by the former president, and it sits directly on a hill overlooking the waters. The library is a place to be as it sends you on a time journey to everything about the former president’s life; a mock-up of his presidential office then, items he owned, among many others. The library also houses a wildlife zoo.
To round up this trip, a visit to the adire market for souvenirs and watch the old traditional methods of making tie and dye. Abeokuta’s adire is known to be the best in the world.
By now, the day is heading towards the evening, and the time is about half-past 5 – time to get a taxi and head back to the terminal. The train arrives by 6:50 and leaves by 7:00. In one thirty minutes, you should be back in Lagos.
Tour of Abeokuta
Start – 1.Alake Palace 2. The Centenary Hall. 3.Central Mosque 4.Olumo Rock 5.President Obasanjo’s Library; End – Adire Market; Duration – 6 hrs 40mins