Tag Archives: explore

The Lure of the Middle East

Over the years the Middle East has transformed into one of the most loved tourist’s destinations in the world. It has a global impression of having some of the world’s best holiday resorts, airlines and airports for travel. It is a major travel hub for passengers to connect to another flight and has a reputation for luxurious spots for vacations and relaxation.  Among Countries in the Middle East, Nations like the UAE and Qatar  are among top world class in the hospitality, travel and tourism industries. Dubai is also a choice destination for a lot of Nigerians with 3 hours time difference .

   

The United Arab Emirates where Dubai is found stands out as one of the most visited countries in the Middle East and the world, with over 20 million visitors each  year. Of all the oil rich nations in the Middle East, UAE has been able to establish one of the world’s most successful tourism industry.

The world famous Dubai is like a bright shinning magnet that attracts travelers and visitors from all over the planet. It is almost shocking to hear one has not visited this astonishing city, with all that has been told and heard about it. However why do you think travelers desire to visit Dubai over and over again? 

Before setting foot into Dubai, visitors already have this idea of experiencing heaven on earth and getting to explore one of the globes most futuristic cities and to relax in luxury resorts. Dubai may have already set awesome tourists standards for the world to follow. To the extent, people who haven’t visited already have an imagination of what to expect and when they do visit their expectations are often met.

 

Majority of Nigerians love to take a holiday off from work in this amazing city. It’s no surprise that 56% of the total visitation of Africans to Dubai are Nigerians and they were thrilled with the news that the United Arab Emirates had lifted it’s travel ban off Nigerian inbound flights, granting access of flight routes from Nigeria to UAE and vice versa. This officially became effective on 29th January, 2022. The travel restrictions were put in place late last year, by the UAE government to help control and prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the new Omicron variant. Passengers travelling to Dubai must still present a valid negative Covid-19 test certificate and also receive a PCR test upon arrival. 

World Food Festival 

Dubai  hosts multiple world class events like the recently held Gulfood Festival, that was from 13th to 17th February 2022, which is the world’s largest annual food event that brings together international chefs and leading food flavors  from different continents. Nothing less than 120 countries exhibit their national food and dishes, professional chefs, well-known restaurants and Food and Beverage startups secure their spots and showcase their culinary art to the global hospitality and food industries.

Gold Souk

The famous Gold market in Dubai, also called the Gold Souk keeps tourists flocking in and out. This market is known for a wide range of classy jewelry made from gold, diamonds, silver or other precious stones.  The Gold Souk is one of the largest gold markets in the world, with over 300 retailers and lots of visitors dropping by to either purchase gold or  just sight-see the beauty of this glittering market place.  The gold pieces found in this market are sold 60% cheaper than any where else in the world, hence Dubai got it’s nickname “the City of Gold”.

Cultural Diversity – Something for everyone

What’s most interesting about Dubai that makes it so unique from any other country in the world, is that Dubai has a bit of every destination in the world added to it. It highlights cultural diversity from around the globe in a fascinating way. Dubai has an indoor Ski Slope, even though it doesn’t snow in this desert region country, you can find artificial snow in the indoor Ski Slope. The popular Dubai Safari Park has over 2500 animals from different species including elephants, rhinos, lions and so much more, paying homage to the African wildlife safari.  There is also Lego land and Bollywood park in the Dubai parks & Resorts. This shows how welcoming Dubai is to visitors from other nations and who wouldn’t love the feeling of being welcomed in a home away from home.

Man Made Events and Festivals

Dubai has a lot of events e.g. shopping festival, Jazz festival and a host of others  always happening within its walls and a constant attraction to the whole wide world. One of such is Dubai Expo slated from October 2021 to 31 March 2022 with an estimated visitor arrival of 8,067,012. The visitors in their millions will surely impact the nations economy. The Dubai expo offers daily shows, restaurants with world-class cuisine with different countries exhibiting and giving you a taste of their homeland.

Now tell me why you will not want to go to Dubai .

Travel and Passports

Passports are issued by a country’s government and it confirms a person’s identity and nationality for worldwide travel.  Passports basically contain information like the bearer’s place of birth, name, date of birth, photograph, signature etc.  When planning to travel out of the boarders of your home country to any other country, the first thing you would need to process is your international passport and have it ready before any other thing. You don’t need a passport for local flights or trips within your country of origin.

   

In Nigeria, passports are usually issued by the Nigerian immigration service. They are not processed immediately and may take a duration of weeks to be ready. The standard Nigerian passport consists of two categories, a 32 page passport with a 5 year validity and a 64 page passport with a 10 year validity. The 32 page passport has 33 usable pages for visas, stamps or stickers. Frequent travelers go for the 64 page passport, as it has more usable pages.

There are also different types of passports based on purpose of travel and they include

Emergency passports: These types of passports are issued temporarily in urgent situations like when you loose your passport or have it stolen and do not have time available to apply for a new one, upon contacting your embassy, you would be issued this passport. This passport is just for the moment to get you to your destination on emergency grounds, hence you will have to process a new and valid passport on arrival to your destination.

E-passport : These are also known as electronic passports which are also available in Nigeria. This type of passport booklet has a electronic chip in it which helps prevent passport fraud.  This electronic chip on the front of the passport booklet holds the same information that is in the passport data page and also has a bio-metric identifier. It makes it way too difficult to impersonate another person.

Official passport: This type of passport is meant for government employees, entering another country for official purposes. The official passport doesn’t come with any special privileges.

Diplomatic passport: This is a special type of passport meant for diplomats sent to foreign missions, representing their home country for official purposes. This passport comes with special privileges and immunities, like exemption from taxes or prosecution.

While travelling out of the country you need to actually present your passport several times at the airport and even at border checks while travelling by road. A passport should have at least 6 months validity before using it to travel. The Nigerian passport is ranked 82nd in the world by the 2022 passport index, with access to 48 nations without visa.

It is important to be a law abiding citizen especially while leaving your country and representing where you are from in a foreign land.  The Nigerian presidential committee recently deactivated 200 Nigerian passports as they were Covid-19 test defaulters. They were found to posses fake vaccination cards and fake PCR tests.  The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi  stated “It has come to the notice of the State Government that certain returning passengers present themselves at the airport either with fake COVID-9 PCR tests or fake vaccination cards or registering as children under 10 years to bypass the National guidelines or providing false COVID related information.”

“These acts will not be tolerated as they represent the main catalyst of all the four waves which have had a major impact on the State public health systems and the economy.”

“We have submitted the first 200 names of individuals who have failed to present themselves at the mobile courts to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) and their passports have been deactivated for a period of one year”.

Passport Hack: Always have a soft copy of your Passport backed up in the cloud in case of loss of belongings  or theft, to enable easy access at borders.

 

Is Green Africa the cheapest airline in Nigeria?

   

 

It may have been challenging for other airlines in the Nigerian aviation industry as Green Africa Airways announced launching its much awaited airline services in June 24th, 2021, with flight tickets available for purchase by the public for as low as ₦16,500. Considering the negative effect of covid-19 vividly affecting the progress of other airlines in the country, the industry’s newcomer, Green Africa choose a perfect time to hit the Nigerian aviation world, stand out and make a glaring difference. 

 

They were offering to carry passengers almost less than half the amount other local airlines were conveying their passengers! Destinations routes included Abuja, Akure, Enugu, Ilorin, Lagos, Owerri and Port Harcourt. 

The CEO of Green Africa Airways, Babawande Afolabi,  made it clear that one of the main areas of concentration was to focus on the economic interest of it’s customers and provide low cost fares for passengers. 

“We are crafting a network plan that will afford more customers the opportunity to pursue their economic interest or simply spend more time with family and friends,” Afolabi said while announcing the new route.

     

However, months later along the line, after kicking off operations and bringing in fresh competition to the aviation industry in Nigeria, industry experts argue that Green Africa Airways is by far not the cheapest airline in Nigeria. 

Aviation professional analysts suggests that when airlines charge less than  ₦40,000 per passenger, there would be a loss in operational costs of the airline which is risky, as aviation fuel is estimated to cost about  ₦220 per litre and a whooping amount of 8000 litres ( ₦1.7 million)  or more is needed to operate a one way local flight route! 

An unhappy passenger simply identified as Wanger Barnabas Akaazua, stated “If anyone told you this airline is cheap then they don’t know the truth about this airline. They’ve painted a picture that they’re affordable but in the actual sense they are one of the most expensive,” he stated.

 Akaazua lamented that there are so many hidden charges that are only revealed at the counter and not included anywhere on their website.

“What they don’t tell you is that you are entitled to only 7kg (both hand luggage and baggage). So, for every extra 1kg you pay N600.

“Imagine travelling with your family. For a flight of N25,000 I was made to pay an extra N10,000. Even hand luggage is weighed. How will I pay N25,000 and be entitled to only 7kg? That’s how I ended up paying N35,500 when Air Peace was N30,000,” the passenger complained. 

There are three types of economy class on the Green Africa Airways, which are the gSaver,  gClassic and gFlex.  The prices of these ticket types differ on baggage allowance. Passengers’ flight fares vary based on the amount of luggage they carry. 

The gSaver flyer enjoys 7kg hand luggage, the gClassic flyer enjoys all the benefits of the gSaver ticket plus an additional 15kg checked in luggage while the gFlex passengers has access to 7k hand luggage, 15kg checked in luggage, free seat selection, free online check-in and flight ticket changes at no additional fee.

 

Is flying first class really worth it?

 

Flying first class most likely means luxury seating on a plane, preferential treatment in services rendered, more comfort and most importantly, the very pricy flight fares! The kind of ‘exclusive’ flight fares that makes you wonder, if it’s really worth it?

On all occasions, when you get on a commercial plane, there are always the first-class passengers who are a limited number of passengers (usually not more than 10), who are seated towards the front of the airplane enjoying more space, comfort, service and privacy.

       

First class is categorized as airplane luxury. Different airlines provide different services and special treatment for first class passengers ranging from private suites, fast in-flight WiFi, access to exclusive lounges to even on-board showers. In turn, first-class flyers pay an expensive flight fare, which is way more than any other class of flyers.

 

First class travel experience includes being the first passengers on board the aircraft, averting the long waiting lines at the gates, extra large seats with enormous carry-on space, complimentary gifts from the airline, first class bar with champagne and all the other wonderful things you can think of. It’s arguably clear that the benefits of first class play in even before your flight takes off. Amazing, isn’t it?

Other flight classes include the business and economy. Business class is above economy class. Flying business class also offers a premium experience in flight with upgraded amenities and even before boarding, there are separate check-in for them and business class lounges that offers showers and nap rooms. The main difference between business class and first class is the seat type, as some first class seat types are generally bigger, having a private space or suite and may rotate or even turn into a bed unlike business class seats.  Also the price difference stands out between a first class and business class traveller. In most cases, a first class traveller is expected to pay about 60-200% more than a business class traveller.

What about the economy class travellers? Economy class is also known as standard class, which many travellers make use of.  Generally speaking, compared to the other cabin options of business class and first class, the seats in economy are smaller with less legroom. Also the level of service, flight entertainment, type of tv screens and food options are limited and surely you can not keep asking for more champagne. A lot of people argue that economy class is just a way of travel, comfortable enough to get you to your destination and the extra travel fuss is not needed. However, Ralph Waldo Emerson says “it’s not the destination, it’s about the journey.”

 

It is important to note that all seat types and options of in-flight service depends on what airline you are flying, as different airlines sets different service standards for their passengers.

 

Flying is a fun experience for many, however who wouldn’t love an extra luxury added to that fun?  It is said that ‘fly business class once and you’ll never be happy in economy again’.  The benefits of flying first class are so many, but we will leave it to you to decide in the comment section if it’s really worth the money or not?

 

The Eiffel Tower 

France’s Eiffel Tower is one of the country’s top tourist spots and just taking a picture beside this astonishing Tower is the signature clue that you are in Paris, without even having to tell anyone!

Believe it or not, at 1050 feet, this structure was the world’s tallest building for over 40 years before it was overtaken by the Chrysler building in New York in 1930. Also, it was initially built as an entrance to the World Fair Exposition in 1889 to mark the 100th anniversary of the French revolution.

 

It took roughly two years and two months to complete this stunning structure, which was from 1887 to 1889. Three hundred steelworkers and well over 17000 metallic parts, 40 tons of paint, and 2.5 million rivets are what it took to birth the glamorous Eiffel Tower. 

An amazing fact about this great structure is that it moves while also being able to withstand the heaviest winds, and never sway more than 4.5 inches! In 1913, a renowned expert on aerodynamics named Eiffel published “The Resistance of the Air.” He and his team actually designed the Tower never to sway more than 4.5 inches and have heavy wind resistance.

 

Eiffel Tower is named right after the talented genius who brainstormed and designed this structure, Gustave Eiffel. France remains top of the list of most visited countries in the world.

Paris, the capital city of France is definitely on so many travellers’ must-visit list for a reason, the popular French cuisines, wine, croissants, cheese, baguette bread, historic monuments, friendly locals and so much more.

France is a globally loved nation, also famous for high-end fashion shows, skincare products, and designer perfumes. 

Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja, now open.

The wait was definitely worth the while, as the newly constructed Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja, officially opens its doors to the public!

 

 Setting an almost unbeatable standard in the Nigerian hospitality industry, Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja stands out with 206 guest rooms and 44 suites, inclusive in all rooms are 55′ inches smart televisions, complimentary WiFi, exceptional Marriott luxury bedding, and many more amenities. 

Marriott brand, making a debut in Nigeria will definitely remain a lucrative move considering the population and level of travel in the country. Also, the location of the hotel is the heartbeat of Lagos making it close and accessible to a wide range of individuals.

 

The newly built hotel also has specially designed amenities for it’s guests including the Great room, the M Club for elite club members, a luxury spa, a fitness center, and an outdoor swimming pool, making it perfect for business and leisure and the modern-day travellers.  

Volker Heiden, the Marriott International – Sub Saharan Africa area vice-president stated: “We are excited to have opened the Lagos Marriott Hotel Ikeja, bringing ‘Marriott Hotels’ transformed vision to Nigeria.”

 

“Lagos is a vibrant and bustling city with much to see and do for leisure and business travellers.

 

“What better place to debut the Marriott Hotels brand in Nigeria with its thoughtful service and intuitive spaces that enable guests to be inspired during their stay.”

Marriott brand has a whooping 580 Hotels and resorts in over 60 countries across the world! The Marriott brand is of USA origin and is among one of the most popular hospitality brands in the world presently. 

Popina fine-dining restaurant of Ebonylife place is back!

Exciting news for Lagosians as Ebonylife Place located in Victoria Island, Lagos, well known as the classy multi-purpose event venue has reopened it’s luxury dining restaurant, Popina.

Popina fine-dining restaurant is one of a kind and will continue to have the attention of gourmet lovers! It was temporarily shut down on 19th March 2020 to comply with covid 19 precautionary measures and ensure customer safety.

 

Now life is slowly returning to normal and having fewer covid-19 cases, Popina fine-dining is back to steal the show!

 

Famous visible artist, Gerald Chukwuma put together the incredible style and design of the posh restaurant. The interior has a touch of elegant foreign features and a fusion of colorful African culture. There is also an enchanting poolside terrace for those who prefer fresh air and the outdoors.

       

Gavin Blaauw who is the chief chef elaborated on the unique menu having a rich blend of French methods, Italian flavours, native ingredients, and a top-notch meal presentation. 

Now the tip of the iceberg which a lot of people do not know of yet is that there is a 50% discount on three-course meals ordered from the common menu! This offer kicked off on Saturday 22nd May 2021 and lasts for seven days. The final day for this offer will be 28th May 2021.

 

Who wouldn’t want to be present at this glamorous dining with delicious cuisines at just half the original prices? Make those reservations on time now!

 

To book and for enquiries, +2349139264355 and also connect to them via Instagram on @popina.lagos

 

Explore Kwara state

It’s a thing of pride to learn more about your country’s culture and natural wonders!  It’s totally better to be well informed than having foreigners tell you about what you have in your own home country. Nigeria has a handful of captivating spots that lots of us do not know of.

 

Kwara state is a well-visited tourist spot in Nigeria and I bet you didn’t know that! Be rest assured to expect every and anything in this scenic wonderland! There are lots of exciting activities to do and places to visit in Kwara state. Just keep it at the back of your mind, you are in for an adventure of a lifetime.

 

Here is a glimpse at some places to explore in Kwara:

 

(i) Owu Waterfall: This natural delight is one of the most outstanding natural wonders in Kwara state and Nigeria at large. It is the highest waterfall in West Africa at 120m above the water level, cascading 330 feet down an escarpment. Visiting this waterfall and getting to dip in the icy pool at the bottom is an amazing feeling. Health professionals insist waterfalls play a major role in reducing stress levels, depression, and anxiety. So if you are having a moody day or just want to relax and get away from it, Owu waterfall is the place to be!

(ii) Dada pottery: Found in the Dada district of Ilorin, Kwara state. Dada Pottery arguably has the largest cluster of potters in the state. It is a sight to behold, coming in close contact with professional potters and watching art being created first hand. The amount of potters present, their dedication, and professionalism makes watching them and even trying to mold up clay yourself such a delight!

 

(iii) Esie Museum: The oldest and first museum in Nigeria established in 1945, holds many cultural and artistic features that date way back in time. It’s one of the most popular museums in the country and making a stop at the Esie Museum is a great way to adventure and enrich your mind with knowledge at the same time. 

(v) Emirs Palace/Central Mosque: The Ilorin Central mosque is the second largest mosque in Nigeria and it has a capacity of about 20000 worshippers! It is located at the Emir’s palace, Oja Oba. Also, around Oja Oba is the popular Ilorin Gold Souk/market so you can kill 2 birds with one stone.

     

(vi) Unilorin  Zoological Garden: Kwara state has it all and that includes a zoological garden with an incredible zoo for wildlife lovers. 

 

(vii) Aso-oke Weave Centre: The beautiful Aso-oke material handwoven by professionals dates far back to ancient African history and it remains one of the most recognized African fabrics worldwide. This art of cloth weaving began centuries ago among the Yoruba tribe, however predominantly in Kwara state, Oyo state, and Osun state.

When you think of touring Nigeria, do not forget you can get a journey filled with pleasurable moments in Kwara!

 

Out of office and in for a staycation!

A few days ago was international workers day, a time to appreciate workers and their contributions to society and also a time for workers to reflect on their lives, careers, and happiness. The importance of mental and physical health to keep up great work ethics can never be over-emphasized. One of the best ways to keep the mind, body, and soul healthy is taking time off. Yes and that includes taking time off work.  

 

The purpose in life is definitely not just work. Being dedicated to your job is a beautiful thing, however, turning yourself into a workaholic with little or no time for yourself is not right.

Most times, life flies by so fast and we realize too late how much time we’ve missed. We can’t get back time and that’s why time needs to be well spent. Creating time to spend with your loved ones should always be a priority and setting aside special dates for a quick holiday or dinner outings makes life a splendid ordeal!

 

Most people do not have pictures together with their close family or friends, because we see them every day and at some point forget how important they are and how time is slipping away. Planning out a staycation once in a while and having precious memories to hold on to with our dear ones is priceless. Staycations are short-distance holiday destinations, usually within the same country you reside in for 1 or 2 nights.

 

Research has proven holiday getaways are the best spots to refresh and de-stress. The mental health benefits are endless and those who have tried this method of a break from work claim when returning to work they are filled with motivation, inspiration, creativity, and more focus for work duties. 

 

Subsequently, with more people understanding the importance of travel, a lot of establishments are now including vacation packages for their employees who meet set targets as a way to increase competition and motivation among staff. 

 

Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School, states that visiting a foreign place and immersing yourself in their local environment increases your cognitive flexibility. 

As a worker, whether you are an employer or employee, it is necessary to set aside and save a certain amount of money from your monthly income for exploring new places with your loved ones. Make an annual holiday budget and keep to it. The truth is we should all aspire to be happy and make others happy! Do not allow life to pass you by as a worker, always work, save, travel, and repeat!