Live like a local: Explore Ibadan in 24 hours

By Nkem Ndem

Although one of the oldest and most ancient cities in Nigeria, Ibadan is often overlooked by tourists. However, when you explore this African city, you will see how easy it is to indulge in all its hidden beauty, food and history. There is an incredible variety of worthwhile activities and attractions to explore, and while it would be impossible to fit all of them in to 24 hours, there is much you can do with just a day to spare., Africa’s largest hotel booking portal shares a few things you can do on a day spent in this cultural treasure.

9am: Breakfast time

To start your day, you need to get some breakfast. If you are lodged in a hotel like Kakanfo Inn close to Ring Road , La Maison Hotel at Iyaganku GRA or Owu Crown Hotel on Iwo Road, you will be offered complimentary breakfast. However, if you have private accommodation arrangements and not in the mood to cook up something, you could find a lot of breakfast options at Bodija. From Tantalizers, Creamy Inn, Village Kitchen, Mr. Bigg’s, Big Treats, Foodco and others , a myriad eateries and cafes are located so close to each other that only a few buildings and roads separate them. The people in Ibadan love their food, and it is almost impossible to get a bad meal.

10am: Shop till it hurts

Ibadan may not be as metropolitan as Lagos or Abuja, however, it has its share of ultra-hip shopping enclaves and offers quite a number of the stores for shopaholics. From the Agbowo Shopping Complex to Elisabeth II Road and Ogunmola Street –a Mecca of haute couture and hot new labels, and the local markets including Dugbe Market there is so much to see and buy. Again, if you prefer to simply window shop or you just crave a mall experience, there are a number of malls that you will find appealing, including Heritage Mall.

1:30pm: Lunch like a local – amala, gbegiri and ewedu

After shopping, you would be exhausted and hungry. If you are not adventurous with food, you may want to stick with the local options offered in your hotel. But for a real taste of local food in Ibadan, visit local bukkas. Restaurants like Mama Ope restaurant, Sade Eleja (a fish-and-drinks-only joint) and Ina Strait are good options for a taste of original local cuisines. Other well sought after eateries can be found at hotels, or can be catered in to your abode. The best meal to go for, which is also the most popular local dish is amala, gbegiri and ewedu. Ensure it is steaming hot before you gulp it down.

3pm: A tour of Agodi Gardens

Next should be a tour of Agodi Gardens, a lovely landscape located on Parliament Road, Ibadan. There are always different activities going on all over the park as there are many amenities such as a swimming pool, boating cruise, zoo and bouncy castles there. It is excellent for picnics. However, food and drink prices are steep at the restaurant and bar area. It is the perfect spot to chill mid-day and admire nature.

5pm: Soak in the culture with a drive through the city

Although it sounds touristy, a visit to Ibadan is not complete until you go on a pilgrimage to the different landmarks in the city. From the Cocoa House to Bower Memorial Tower, maybe the IITA Hotel and Resort and University of Ibadan to Olorunkole and the Ibadan Museum, there is enough history waiting for you to discover.

6pm: VIP dining

For the ultimate high-end culinary experience, try one of the high-class hotels in the city. You are bound to get a truly unforgettable dinner experience at Premier Hotel. You can however also try other great spots around town that offer continental and intercontinental dishes as well as buffets. If you are craving Chinese food though, your best is Kabachi Chinese Fusion Bistro.

8:00pm: Drinks, cocktails and dancing

Latitude Bar is the best place for cocktails, drink and dancing . It features  a bar and lounge, karaoke and live music and it is great for meeting new people. There are other Ibadan bars and pubs that offer awesome nightlife. If you decide you want to go deeply local, you can visit any of the beer parlours around town and be sure to request for the local emu (palm wine),  a natural juice from palm trees that has higher alcohol content when fermented.

Nkem Ndem, Travel/Tech Writer, Jovago Nigeria

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