Nigerian Field Society, Lagos Branch
October 2016 Newsletter
There are 5 OPEN plus trips so far in our October- December Program! And what an incredible array of trips they are, both within Nigeria and in Benin Republic!!
Trips include a weekend hiking and exploring the ancient, sacred hills of Idanre; a boat trip and tour of the historic slave port of Badagry; a visit to the first coffee roasting factory in Nigeria, Kaldi Africa (and the best cup of coffee you will ever drink!); a 3 day visit to Benin Republic, the capital of Voodoo; a 5 day camping and adventure tour of Afi Mountain and the Drill Ranch in Cross River State as well as our ever popular trip to Makoko, the stilt village!
Also, please see the FOR YOUR DIARY section. There is a great music event, Fela Remembered, on Friday, October 7th and a terrific film festival: the Lights Camera Africa starting on Friday, September 30th!
Sign up NOW for OPEN trips, so as not to be disappointed. Space for many of the events is limited!!
Signing up for Trips Each trip is run by a volunteer NFS Trip Leader who plans and prices the trip on a break-even basis. Everyone pays their equal share. All participants must be paid up NFS members. Trip Leaders accept names when a trip is OPEN or EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST are requested. Also, if you have registered and then need to withdraw for personal reasons, please let the Trip Leaders know so people on the Waiting List have a chance to partake. Payment may be required if you withdraw without sufficient notice to find a replacement. Deposits may be required for some trips.
If a trip is PENDING, this means that the trip details are not yet confirmed and the dates could change.
The NFS relies 100% on its dedicated volunteers. Many thanks to our trip leaders last month: Dennis Speight, Lynsey Elston, Nella Hengstler, Veronica and Mark Snoxell, Puspa Ramloo and to Oana and Vlad Ionescu, our dedicated Membership Secretaries.
FACEBOOK group exclusive for NFS members! We have created a facebook group for the NFS. Use this group to connect with other members you meet on trips, share pictures and experiences. It is a closed group for registered NFS members. Search for “NFS Nigerian Field Society Lagos” on facebook.
NFS Members! Cost: 3,000 Naira/family/calendar year. Attached is the form to deliver to Quintessence in Ikoyi! Please pass the form along to friends! Note: only NFS members can join events unless otherwise noted.
The Nigerian Field Society, Lagos Branch The NFS, Lagos Branch, is a voluntary organization which is part of a national organization founded in 1930. Our Mission is “to explore the culture and environment of Nigeria, specifically, and West Africa, generally”. If you would like to join a keen group who loves to explore this fascinating country and region, please just email.
We always want to improve our events and your feedback on the NFS is always appreciated! Please do not hesitate to get in touch!
Hugh and Robin Campbell On behalf of the NFS Committee
Saturday, October 8th: A Tour of the Private Art Collection of Prince Shyllon, Nigeria’s Largest Collector of Modern and Traditional Art WAITING LIST ONLY Saturday, October 8th: Boat Trip and Tour of Makoko, the Stilt Village OPEN Saturday, October 15th-Sunday, October 16th: Adventure and Trekking in the Sacred Hills of Idanre OPEN
Saturday, November 12th: Boat Trip and Tour of Historic Badagry OPEN Saturday, November 19th: A trip to Nigeria’s First Coffee Roastry: Kaldi Africa (and the best cup of coffee you will ever drink!) OPEN Friday, November 25th- Sunday, November 27th: Explore Benin Republic, the Heartland of Voodoo in Africa OPEN DATE TBA: Boat Trip and Tour of Makoko, the Stilt Village PENDING
Friday, December 9th to Tuesday, December 13th Adventure Trip to Afi Mountain and the Drill Ranch in Cross River State OPEN
OCTOBER Saturday, October 8th (afternoon): Boat trip and Tour of Makoko, the Stilt Village STATUS: OPEN
Due to the high demand, we try to organize trips to Makoko, the stilt village, every month.
Makoko is an informal community that has been part of the fabric of Lagos for a very long time. The people of Makoko have schools, churches, and businesses, most of which are on stilt structures over the water. As guests of the Baale (the Community Leader), NFS Members will visit the only English school in Makoko (French is widely spoken), and then will be taken on traditional canoes through the village channels.
The trip takes about 3 -3.5 hours. The group will leave from Paradise Marina in VI, take a 30-minute ride in a banana boat to Makoko, tour the village and return to VI about three hours later. The 4,000 Naira per person charge includes the cost of the boat plus a donation to the Makoko Primary School. The NFS pays for two teachers from the money raised on these trips.
The number of participants is limited to 15 people, so please book early! If you have to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, please let the Trip Leader know in advance, so that the Trip leader can try to fill your spot. If you have to cancel without enough notice, you will be asked to pay the fee so that the NFS is able to meet its financial commitment to the Makoko Community. Nadim Khoury will lead this trip.
Contact Dennis Speight the Trip Organizer for all the trip details!
Saturday, October 8th: A Tour of the Private Art Collection of Prince Yemisi Shyllon: Nigeria’s Largest Collector of Contemporary and Traditional Nigerian Art STATUS: WAITING LIST ONLY
Prince Shyllon’s house and art collection need to be seen to be believed! Crown crested cranes and peacocks walk amongst life sized sculptures in his magnificent garden! The multi roomed house is filled with masterpieces which form a collection amassed by Prince Shyllon over more than thirty years. It is a great privilege for Members of the NFS to be welcomed into the Prince’s home.
Prince Shyllon’s name is synonymous with Art in Nigeria. Not only has he put together the largest collection in the country but he nurtures the Nigerian Art sector. Prince Shyllon is one of the people who can be credited with launching Nigerian Contemporary Art onto the international scene. Through his personal Foundation, The Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF—check the website) the Foundation encourages emerging artists, supports visiting art history scholars to Nigeria and promotes Nigerian art with the Smithsonian and other International Art institutions.
The group will convoy to Prince Shyllon’s house in Ikeja to arrive by 12 noon. Space is limited! There is no charge for this excursion. Trip Leader is Natasha Lykova Sherwood.
Saturday, October 15-Sunday, October 16th: Fresh Air and Trekking in Idanre, Ondo State (Exploring Chocolate too!!) STATUS: OPEN
Calling adventurous, outdoors people!! We will be going to the hills of Idanre to breathe some fresh air, trek ancient mountain paths and learn more about where that yummy stuff that makes chocolate comes from!
We will take off early Saturday morning for a fun filled road adventure to Ondo State. This will take around 6 hours, give or take a few, depending on what surprises come our way. We will first visit a Cocoa Farm to learn more about where that magical substance comes from!! Next we will check into our simple yet functional sleeping quarters and order dinner. A walk through the village may follow depending on our timing.
The next morning, we will rise nice and early to set up the mountain. The hills of Idanre are one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Nigeria. The hills are “inselbergs” or rocky outcrops which form the highest elevation in south-western Nigeria. Traditionally they are known to be sacred.
600+ stairs will take us to the top of the rock giving us breathtaking views of the valley below. We will then have the opportunity to discover the remains of the old village, which is deserted though largely intact. We will also use this opportunity to explore the mountains. Lynsey will focus more on climbing and trekking around the beautiful mountain since we have the opportunity to be outside in some fresh air. We will return early Sunday evening –again, timing is dependent on the roads.
Based on the numbers the group will either convoy by car or go by bus.
Some of the costs are still being determined at the time of this newsletter. Please email Lynsey for details and register ASAP!!
Saturday, November 12th: Boat Ride and Tour of Historic Badagry STATUS: OPEN
The ancient city of Badagry was founded in 1425. It is located along the ancient Slave Coast of West Africa, now known as the Bight of Benin. By the 1600s, this ancient city had become a thriving community initially reputed for trade in salt but Gberefu beach was to become known as the slave port of Badagry. For four hundred years, the slave trade dominated Badagry as it grew into an important commercial centre flourishing on the export of slaves across the Atlantic to Europe and the Americas.
The Badagry-by-Boat Heritage Tour will depart from Lagos by boat. After approximately a 1 hour journey, the trip continues with a 4-5 hour walk through the some of the somber venues associated with this history of Badagry. We will visit the Seriki Abass Slave Museum, the Mobee Slave Relics Museum, The District Officer's Residence, the Badagry Heritage Museum, the First Story Building and finally, after crossing the lagoon by boat, we will walk the route of the slaves to the Point of No Return. Badagry boasts the largest Coconut Market in West Africa which we will pass by.
Self catered lunch will be eaten at a restaurant overlooking the lagoon. We will return to Lagos by boat after a day full of history and heritage. This is an active walking trip although you can be sustained by eating Ajogun, the local biscuit!
This trip is a must for anyone who wants to learn and understand the historical significance of Badagry. Apart from its role in the slave trade, you will also come to understand that Badagry is the first place in Nigeria where contact was made with Europeans. It was also the place where the British flag (Union Jack) was first hoisted here in 1842 as symbol of authority to stop the slave trade. Finally, western education also first began in Badagry and it was the place where Christianity was first preached in Nigeria in September, 1842 by Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman, a Wesleyan Missionary.
The cost will depend on the cost of the boat (not yet been confirmed) but will likely to be approximately 20, 000 Naira per person.
This is a full day trip. Space is limited!! Do not delay in registering.
Saturday, November 19th: Kaldi Africa: Gourmet Coffee, Tea and Cocoa at Nigeria’s First Coffee Roastery STATUS: OPEN
Many of us drink our coffee out of habit, but have you ever tried to appreciate the drink in a way similar to a good wine? This is your opportunity! The NFS is invited to a coffee tasting, as well as tea and cocoa, and factory visit at Kaldi Africa, Nigeria’s first coffee roastery.
Coffee, tea and cocoa are now part of our daily lives. Beautiful natural products, their flavours are derived from the plant variety, soil and climate, and the way they are processed. Kaldi Africa’s mission is to roast the finest, hand selected, export beans available from the premier coffee growing regions of Africa. Coffee is hand-roasted in small batches using state-of-the-art equipment for maximum quality and freshness. We can promise you that you this will be the best cup of coffee (latte or cappuccino if you prefer!) that you have ever tasted!!
Nasra, who is of Kenyan origin, and her husband Vassily, owner of Nigerian Foundries, converted one of their factory premises into a state of the art coffee factory! They use both locally grown beans and imported beans from Kenya and Ethiopia, Each cup of coffee is lovingly made by a master barista from Kenya using a top-quality espresso machine. You will also be shown the growing process, allowing you to understand the value chain. And there is an opportunity to roast your own coffee!
For those who prefer a coffee alternative, you will also have the unique opportunity to taste several varieties of black, green and purple tea, and Nigeria’s export-quality cocoa!
We will meet at V.I. at 10 a.m. and convoy to the mainland in our own cars, leaving for our return around 1.30 p.m. The trip is limited to 20 people, and will be of interest mainly to adults.
Cost of the trip is 1.000 NGN per person to be paid in cash on the day. Kaldi’s coffee, tea and cocoa, as well as brewing accessories, are for sale if you wish to enjoy them at home.
Krish Daswani is the Trip Leader.
Friday, November 25th- Sunday, November 27th: Trip to the Voodoo Heartland of Africa: The Republic of Benin STATUS: OPEN
Benin Republic, our neighbour to the west, is so close yet so very different! The traditional religion, “Voodoo” (or Vodou as it is called in Benin), is the national religion and practiced by the majority of Beninous; its population is small-only 10.3 million, and French is its official language.
This three day trip will give you a taste of this fascinating country and a yen for future visits!! The focal point of the trip is Grand Popo, a small seaside village a stone’s through from the Togo border. We will be staying at the charming Auberge Grand Popo run by the equally charming historian and raconteur, Guy Catherine and his lovely Beninous wife. The Auberge is situated in a lovingly restored colonial building facing the ocean with beautiful gardens. The atmospheric open air dining area once was a school house! The rooms are simple yet extremely tastefully appointed with four poster beds with mosquito netting and ceiling fans.
On Day 1 we will car convoy to the Seme border leaving at 5 a.m. sharp where we will be dropped off and cross the border on foot. (The border is pretty rustic to say the least and some perseverance is required!! It’s all part of the adventure!) On the other side we will be picked up by transport provided by the Auberge. After a quick stop for an espresso and croissant (one of the many food legacies of the French!) we will proceed to the Auberge Grand Popo. We will spend the rest of the day relaxing by the pool, dipping toes in the sea, enjoying the bird life (Grand Popo is a birding hot spot), drinking wine, and eating excellent seafood!!
On Day 2 we will take full advantage of the interesting cultural and outdoor options available. They include: a canoe trip in a traditional pirogue to the mangroves with a stop at the village across the estuary to visit the numerous Voodoo shrines; okada/scooter hire for those who want to drive around the lake and visit local villages; a boat trip to the confluence of the river and ocean visiting villagers who make salt in the traditional way or, alternatively, a local hike for those who want to explore by foot.
On Day 3 we will leave Grand Popo with enough time to stop either in Ouidah, the Voodoo capital of the country, and the original slave port with its Point of No Return, or lunch at one of the excellent French/Benin restaurants in Cotonou before returning to the Seme border where our cars will pick us up to return us to Lagos before dark.
The cost details are still being worked out by Harriet Blest, our Trip Leader. Visas are required in advance for all but citizens of ECOWAS. Yellow cards are required by all.
Please contact Harriet at the email address above if you are interested in joining the trip. She will send you more details.
Saturday, Date TBA: Boat Trip and Tour of Makoko, the Stilt Village STATUS: PENDING
Due to the high demand, we try to organize trips to Makoko, the stilt village, every month. Please see the trip description above in October for details.
Friday, December 9th – Tuesday, December 13th: Adventure Trip to Afi Mountain and the Drill Ranch in Cross River State (over December 12th holiday weekend) STATUS: OPEN
For Adventurers Only!! Are you interested in camping, trekking and visiting the only place in the world where you will see drills, one of Africa’s most endangered primates in their natural habitat? If yes is your answer, then this is the trip for you!!
Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, featuring jutting sheer rock faces and dense rainforest jungle, is one of the most scenic areas in Cross River State. The Afi Mountain Drill Ranch, which will serve as the base for this trip, is located on the edge of the reserve. It is a stunning remote spot and the views of the giant tangled tree and brooding mountains are outstanding.
Afi Mountain is the natural home of the endangered drill monkey, Cross River gorilla as well as chimpanzees. It is here that world renowned conservationists, Liza Gadsby and Peter Jenkins, established a safe haven for orphaned endangered drills as well as chimps, releasing the primates into their natural habitat protected by electronic enclosures. This remarkable couple established the first and only breeding program for the endangered drills in the world through the NGO they founded called Pandrillus (https://www.pandrillus.org/). More than 450 drills have been born since the program started in 1996.
The group will fly to Calabar early Friday morning and immediately head out on a 6-7 hour road trip to the Wildlife Sanctuary. The first night will be spent at the Drill Ranch. The accommodation is simple stilt huts overlooking the breathtaking Afi Mountain in the middle of the jungle. Each cabin comes with a private deck. That night you will hear the calls of the wild as the tree hyrax and other nocturnal animals let their presence be known. You may even have a chance to watch the drills climbing high up in the trees from your bed! We will bring in our own food and the group will cook together in the charming camp setting.
On day 2 the group will set out with a guide to hike up the mountain and will camp that night, cooking over an open fire. Personal camping gear will be required. If we are lucky we will spot nests of chimpanzees and maybe even the nests of elusive Cross River gorilla. On day 3, after a day of hiking, we will return to the comforts of the Drill Ranch camp.
On day 4 we will have the morning to explore the Drill Ranch including options such as viewing the primates in their enclosures, visits and dips in the pools and waterfalls of the Bano River coming straight off the mountain or a trip to the nearby villages Buanchor and Katabang – each just about 5 km from camp. We will then drive to Calabar and spend the night in a hotel.
On the final day, we hope to be able to capture a couple of the sites in Calabar before catching the 11 a.m. flight back to Lagos!
The group will be small (8 pers. max). The trip is suitable for NFS Members with reasonable fitness (able to hike 2 full days in dense forests and carry 8-10kg load), their own camping equipment (tent inclusive), a loves adventure, and a huge dosage of humour as conditions are basic and may be unpredictable!!
For more information including costs, please contact Emilien Di Gennaro and Pauline Low, our Trip Leaders!
FOR YOUR DIARY
MUSIC Join fellow NFS members and others for an evening of great music which is truly an expression of the NFS Mission: the exploration of the culture and environment of Nigeria and West Africa!
FELA REMEMBERED with Duro Ikujenyo and the Age of Aquarius 7th of October, 2016, from 6pm – 12 midnight. Bogobiri House, 9, Maitama Sule Street off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi,
This concert is dedicated to Fela Anikulapo Kuti, activist and world renowned musician who was born on the 15th of October, 1938.
The show is anchored by Duro, one of Fela’s inner circle of young activists and inspired musicians from the 1970’s. The evening will also feature Showboy (Fela’s Egypt 80 Singer and former Baritone player), Barry Sachs and other friends. This evening will feature songs from Duro’s new album, ‘’Tribute to the Master’’ which is dedicated to the African struggles of the past 2,000 years.
The album is dedicated to music heroes including Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Miles Davies, Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver, Sonny Rollings and Baba Kokoro (the blind maestro aka Benjamin Aderounmu) whose Samba music was played all over Lagos. It also features other great Nigerian musicians including Keziah Jones who is likely to be part of the show. There will be a modest entry fee and/or volunteer contributions.
FILM Take advantage of this unique opportunity to see films from across the continent. For Program Details see www.lightscameraafrica.com including a film by historian Ed Keazor and NFS Committee member at Lagos from 1861 -1960 at 6:15 pm on Sunday!
Lights, Camera, Africa: Film Festival Saturday, September 30th –Sunday, October 2nd Federal Palace Hotel, VI