Mayowa Nicholas’s Guide To Lagos

Travel July 22
Mayowa Nicholas is an up-and-coming runway star, shooting the campaign for Dolce & Gabbana and Saint Laurent this season. For the next in our travel series, she takes us around her favourite places in her hometown, Lagos.

“I was in Nigeria just before fashion week, I needed it. And then I had a really good season!” she said. “The best thing about Lagos is the weather, it’s so beautiful. The food is amazing as well, really spicy. The people are really nice, they’re always smiling, there is a really good energy. I love the vibe.”

Photo © Cylphotos via Instagram

Badagry Beach

My favourite beach is the Badagry beach is very popular because of the palm trees and the coconuts. I go with my friends, or with my mom. She doesn’t like to take my little sister who is 12, because she’s afraid that she will drown. We go and just chill, maybe stay for like 5 days at the Bedrock Hotel. I can’t swim that well but I play in the water and I love to be in the sun with my bikini, just soaking it up. When people go to the beach, they go to the private ones because the water at the public beaches has a bad spirit, because people drown, people die. We also have Elegushi beach, Lekki beach, Alpha beach. These are the three best.

Photo © Cylphotos via Instagram

Whispering Palms

The cultural heritage in Nigeria is amazing. There’s a place in Badagry called Whispering Palms because the palm trees whistle in the wind. It’s crazy!

Photo © Mayowanicholas via Instagram

Ikeja

In the evening, I love to go out for a walk. We have parks - you can go with your family, sit and chill out. The one I go to is near where I live, in an area called Ikeja.

Photo © Unravellingnigeria via Instagram

Ikogosi Waterfalls

There’s another place called Ikogosi Waterfalls where there’s hot water and cold water comes from the ground, and when they meet, the water is not warm, it’s hot and cold. It’s amazing! When I was there, I couldn’t believe there could be this hot water coming from where there’s no sun. It’s like, who is boiling this water!? [laughs] In many places in Nigeria, people worship the water. If they want children, they go to the water and they beg for children, and it happens. They dance and pray, “please give us children, bless us”.

Photo © Orangecultureng via Instagram

Shopping in Lagos

I love shopping in Lagos. The most popular shopping place is called Mr Price. It’s a bit like H&M. There are so many designers from Nigeria too, like Orange CultureDeola Sagoe. I love the vintage stores, we have lots in Nigeria. It’s more my style - very laid back. One of my jackets I bought in Nigeria, and when I’m in Europe, people say, “oh, it’s so nice! Did you get it from a designer?” and it’s like, “no!” [laughs] But to them, it’s something new! We also have material, they call it Ankara, it’s printed fabric, I love that print. You see it in a lot of African countries. We wear it to church, it’s really cool.

Photo © Unravellingnigeria via Instagram

Badagry Museum

I love history. There was slavery in Nigeria before, so if you go to museums, you learn so many things. Badagry Museum is about the slave trade. There, you see how they captured the slaves, the chains they put on them, how they were flogged, and the man who was actually buying them, his picture is there. There is a sea called the Point of No Return, that’s where they took the slaves to America - it’s called that because the slaves didn’t return. I have been there to see it. You see how they pierced their mouths and put locks on their mouth so they don’t steal the food.  When I went there, people were crying. They put them in a small space with no windows, 40 people, that’s where they had to sleep, some people died. It’s crazy.This is just one of the museums, but in Nigeria there are so many places to learn how Nigeria was started, colonised, how the World Wars affected Nigeria.

Photo © Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr

Omu Zoo

At Omu Zoo - we have lions, tigers. This is the biggest zoo because it is part of a university and they have almost everything there. I like animals, but I don’t like to touch them - just to look at... and say hi! [laughs] They have a big zoo for the students to learn

Photo © Anne.arts via Instagram

Olumo Rock

I think history is amazing, it’s incredible. I studied history at high school, and I was really into it. They took us to places to see how things happened. There’s a place in Nigeria called Olumo Rock and it’s exactly as God made it. Bad people were attacking the people of that land, so they ran to the rock for safety. It’s the highest rock I’ve ever seen. It’s not in Lagos, but in Ogun State.

Ikeja Cinema

I don’t eat out very often, but when I do, I go to the cinemas because they have restaurants there. The most popular cinema in Lagos is Ikeja cinema in a shopping centre called Shoprite. There’s cinemas, restaurants, shops, there’s everything you need. I go to see a film there about twice a month. Recently, I saw Spectre and the Beast of No Nations.

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