First Storey Building in Nigeria, Badagry
History,  Lagos,  Staycation,  Travel Guides

A GUIDE TO BADAGRY – THE POINT OF NO RETURN

About a week ago (pun not intended😂) I visited Badagry on a little staycation with @ajalaonthemove and @tumithekoko. We went on a historical tour of the town which ended with a visit to the point of no return.

This guide includes all the details about my tour experience and of course, my costs! Which I hope, will help you plan your own trip.

THE TOWN OF BADAGRY

Badagry is a coastal town in Lagos State, Nigeria, between the city of Lagos and the border of the Republic of Benin. It was one of the major slave ports on the West African Coast.

Majorly known as the town where Christianity was first preached in Nigeria (the actual site is now the “Agiya Tree Monument”), the location of the First Storey Building in Nigeria (still standing to date) and Gberefu Island – The point of no return.

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GETTING TO BADAGRY

Most people asked me 1 question about my trip:

            How did you get there? By road or boat?

These are the 2 routes you can take to get to Badagry:

  • By boat: it’s faster (1 hour each way).
    • You can either take a public boat (which is cheaper) or a private boat (which is more expensive).
  • By road: this route is slower (due to the terrible road on the Badagry expressway) it takes about 2 and a half hours (without traffic) to get to the town of Badagry from the main city of Lagos and then another 45 minutes to the Badagry Heritage Museum.

BADAGRY TOUR

This tour was arranged by Whispering Palms Resort, and we visited the following places:

  1. The Badagry Heritage Museum – Open Monday to Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
  2. The Brazilian Barracoon of Seriki Williams Abass – Open Monday to Saturday: 9 am – 5:30 pm
  3. Mobee slave trade relics Museum – Open Monday to Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
  4. The First Storey building in Nigeria – Open Monday to Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
  5. The Point of No Return – Gberefu Island

The tour lasted about 5 hours. We started at 8:30 and finished at 1:30. So, I suggest you go early in the morning to avoid being caught under the hot afternoon sun.

Throughout the tour, we had incredibly knowledgeable guides who explained in great detail, the journey taken by the slaves in Badagry.

THE HERITAGE MUSEUM

Knowing the tour was going to be for at least 4 hours, we started the day off with breakfast from Whispering Palms. Can’t go on a tour on an empty stomach.

The start of the tour!

The Badagry Heritage Museum: this museum takes you on a historical journey (through photos, slave trade relics and artifacts) from the moment slave trade started to when it ended.

Heritage Museum, Badagry

You see:

  • How slaves were traded
  • What they were traded for (40 slaves for 1 umbrella, 10 slaves for a bottle of gin)
  • The treatment of slaves
  • The journey of slaves to lands unknown
  • Their lives as slaves in new lands
  • Their liberation.

I was able to experience history in a way I hadn’t before (I’m a bit of a history buff if you can’t tell).

SERIKI ABASS BRAZILIAN BARRACOON (SLAVE PRISON)

Brazilian Barracoon, Badagry
Brazilian Barracoon of Seriki Williams Abass

Our next stop was the Brazillian Barracoon: the slave dungeons where slaves were kept for 3 months at a time before being shipped off to unknown destinations.

Brazilian Barracoon, Badagry
Me at the Seriki Abass Brazilian Barracoon. Behind me: items traded in exchange for slaves

You will see the actual cells where slaves were kept, and a few artifacts from that time.

THE FIRST STOREY BUILDING IN NIGERIA

First Storey Building in Nigeria, Badagry

The last time I visited this building I was about 10 years old, so it was nice to see that it was still standing (although it needs a bit more upkeep).

The building still contains the original materials used to build it in the 1800s and it doubles as a small museum paying homage to Anglican missionaries and the first teacher in Nigeria – Mr Claudius Philips.

Despite being a national historic site, this property is run and managed by the Anglican church.

Here you can find the first bible translated to Yoruba (which is about 170 years old) by Samuel Ajayi Crowther as well as the first safe in Nigeria which contains some old money including cowries. 

The Miracle Well

In the compound of the First Storey building in Nigeria stands “The Miracle Well” named by the locals as a result of the many miracles credited to it. 

  • It has never dried up (even in the dry season) 
  • It has never been dirty or polluted 

The locals still fetch water and drink from the well. Although I didn’t drink from it, it is clean enough to drink without being filtered.

GBEREFU ISLAND – THE POINT OF NO RETURN

This was our last stop on the Badagry tour.

Gberefu Island – the point of no return. It takes you on the route the slaves took to get to the Atlantic Ocean (where the slave ships were docked). The boat ride to the island takes about 2 minutes.

Gberefu Island
Me on the boat ready to head to Gberefu Island

If walking the slave route, it takes 20 minutes to get to where the “Arc of turning to unknown destinations” stands and another 20 minutes to walk back – we opted to take a motorcycle to the point and walk back.

The walk back was a gruelling one, the sand was scorching, and the sun was unforgiving. Make sure to take sunscreen along!

Gberegu Island, Badagry

Slaves spirit attenuation well

The well the slaves drank from on their walk to the point of no return. It can be found along the route to the point of no return.

It is said that because of how thirsty they’d be from the journey, slaves drank from the well. Unknown to them, the water had been charmed to make them forget their past.

SHOULD YOU GO FOR THE DAY?

The First Storey Building in Nigeria
Me with Hannah & Tumi

Badagry can easily be visited in a day – if you go by boat (it’s 1 hour each way). You can go in the morning, spend 5 hours and be back before 6 pm.

However, if you’re going to be going by road, it is not advisable to go for the day. With the bad roads, it’s fairly certain that you’ll be spending the bulk of your day on the road. Going back, you will also be driving on the Badagry roads in the evening which isn’t safe.

COST BREAKDOWN

Cost of tour organised by Whispering Palms: 6,000 naira

  • This cost covered our entry fees for the Brazilian Barracoon of Seriki Williams Abass, Mobee slave trade relics Museum, First Storey building in Nigeria and the Badagry Heritage Museum.
  • The cost also included a vehicle, drinks, water and snacks to be eaten along the way.

The 6000 naira paid to Whispering Palms did not include the cost of the Point of no Return – where we paid for a boat ride to Gberefu Island (the actual point of no return).

However, at the resort, we were told we won’t have to pay anything more than 500 naira per person for the ride. I’m sure with the way the story is going you may have guessed that we indeed paid more than 500 naira for a boat ride (a motorised canoe) that lasted about 2 minutes.

Yup, we paid 1,500 naira each! We had managed to negotiate it down from 2,000 naira per person. I still think we were scammed somehow.

Other costs:

  • Donations to guides and additional donations to help with the upkeep of the buildings. We made donations at the Badagry Heritage Museum and The First Storey Building.
  • Heritage Museum souvenir shop. I bought:
    • A cup for: 1,500
    • A top made of African fabric: 3,500
  • Motorcycle ride on Gberefu Island: the cost of a motorcycle ride on Gberefu Island (towards the point of no return and back) is 200 naira each way. We took a motorcycle there and walked back so paid just 200 naira.

FAQs

How much are entry fees?

  • The cost of entry to all the sites ranges from 200 – 500 naira.

Can I pay for a Badagry tour with Whispering Palms without being a guest?

  • Yes, you can, but make sure you call ahead to schedule it.

If you use this guide to explore Badagry I’d love to see your trip, so please feel free to tag me in any of your pictures!

Happy exploring!

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