Most people don’t know that there are fun places to visit while on a vacation in Awka. There are 5 south-eastern states in Nigeria. Imo, Anambra, Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi states. I am from Awka in Anambra state. My people are known for their blacksmith and top-notch wood carving. It is one of the best places to visit in Nigeria (am I bias or what?).
2020 was one tough year. Considering the pandemic, travelling home was a risk. Yet having a change in environment was something I looked forward to even though it was still with the necessary precautions.
Christmas spent away from school has always been associated with travelling to my hometown ever since I was a kid. I’ll break this article into my recent travel to my hometown and things you can do if you plan to travel there.
THE JOURNEY TO AWKA FROM LAGOS
“Wake up!”, my mum’s voice woke me from sleep. I grudgingly checked my phone for the time. 2:51 a.m. I was furious, but I knew if we wanted to avoid traffic on the way to my hometown, then it had to be that early. That’s one tip for my road travelers during Christmas. Leave early!
We all got ready and left home after my dad said a word of prayer by 4am. It was an uneventful ride save for the frequent stops to relieve ourselves. Until we got to Delta. We met some hoodlums who disguised as officials checking cars.
One word of advice- always lock your car and never wound down your windows if you’re going in a private car. These men literally hit the car doors and attempted to open them. It was terrifying.
By the time we arrived, it was past 12 p.m. There was also some traffic on the famous Onitsha bridge. Seeing the blue keke made it clear in my head how far away from Lagos we were. By then, my sisters were watching movies on their phones and slightly commenting while the speakers kept blasting with music.
Amazing Places I Visited
When people think of travelling to places in south-eastern Nigeria, they don’t believe there are cool places to visit there. Especially if you stay in Lagos, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are lots of cool places you can visit in Awka. It was a bummer that it was now when I got older and was willing to visit some of these places that covid-19 decided to make an appearance. My outings were limited due to the pandemic and instructions. If you plan to visit Awka, there are some places to bear in mind.
Another cool thing about the South-eastern states (for those who may not be in Awka for the holiday), is that they are interconnected. This is helpful if you want a tour around them. I know a family that visited top spots in Imo state on a trip and came back to Anambra on the same day. Enugu is literally less than an hour from Awka and it has lovely fun places to see. Talk about a wholesome experience of the east at little to no cost!
Below are some suggestions based on where I visited. Bear in mind that I categorized them as places to see and to eat:
Tourist sites to visit
These places are purely for tourism. You could take pictures for memory sake and enjoy the view.
- Onitsha bridge
Onitsha bridge is the main dividing “line” between South-eastern and Western Nigeira. It is literally what you pass through to get into Awka, but I think it deserves a spot on the list of tourist attractions for its historical meaning as well.
- Nnamdi Azikiwe University
You might be wondering what a university is doing on this list but trust me when I say it is a beauty! Passing through the expanse of this school with my family was interesting. The infrastructure there would leave you impressed.
Eateries and Restaurants
Now to my favorite part of any travel-the food places! One thing I noticed in Awka was the sheer amount of hotels. My cousin even told me that there are reports that the hotels are not even enough. You can imagine my surprise.
- Trig-point hotel
My family went to Trig-Point hotel on my mum’s birthday. The entrance was so refreshing and I was awed by the view. Trig point has a swimming pool, bar, suya (a popular Nigerian spicy grilled meat) spot and even a well-equipped gym. My only criticism would be how long it took to get the food. I also wished they had menu book for people who chose to eat in their outside area.
- Bamboo Garden
Visited Bamboo garden during an aunt’s birthday party. It was late in the night as we had stopped somewhere before. Awka has a rather calm night life compared to Lagos for instance, but I was surprised at the activity by that time. They serve pepper soup and other meals here. They also had a huge viewing spot for football matches.
I had plans to visit more places, but in between the restricted movement due to COVID-19 and family activities, I couldn’t. Nonetheless, Awka is a beautiful place with so much potential. As I get more matured, I appreciate my home town.
The Return Home
My family and I left home some weeks later. Our departure was by 5:00 a.m. and by 12p.m., we were in Lagos. It took roughly an hour after that to return to our home. The journey was even more uneventful except for the regular stops to relieve ourselves and buy some plantain chips. Oh I almost forgot the DJ battle among my siblings in the car. That was just hilarious.
Have you been to Awka before? Let me know in the comments!