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Nigeria & São Tomé

February 10 to 22, 2020


Join us to discover one of Africa’s most vibrant kingdom on a trip that will challenge your pre-conceptions about Nigeria. A much maligned nation, Nigeria suffers from a bad reputation that discourages most travelers, but this trip shows you that there’s a, much more appealing, side to the country. The Oduduwa Kingdom spans from Lagos up to the Central town of Ilorin and we will start the tour in the city of Lagos – surely one of the liveliest on earth and we head to the coastal town of Badagry, linked to the slave trade and with dark secrets to uncover. From here we travel to the old Yoruba city of Abeokuta with its grand Afro-Brazilian buildings, and climb the sacred Olumo Rock, a holy site for local people. Moving further we head to the virtually unknown Idanre Hillls for an opportunity to discover a lost world of sacred sites and hidden civilization, before heading on to the town of Osogbo where we explore a sacred grove and learn about the intricacies of Yoruba religion in the company of revered Ifa priestesses. We round off the trip at Ilorin, the last town of the exploits of the Oduduwa dynasty conquered by Fulani Jihadists in early 18th Century which explains its fusion of islamic cvivilization with the Yoruba culture as will be witnessed on this trip.

“I want to show you the long way to São Tomé...”So goes the old Cape-verdian song,by Cesara Evoria and it is still very true :

It is not the easiest thing in the world to get to São Tomé and Príncipe, but then, who wants mass tourism ? Not many people come to Sao Tome but, as they leave from an airport that still has decaying 1950s propeller planes parked at the end of the runway, few of those that have can be glad to have visited. Africa, Portugal and natural splendour combine in an obscure country that deserves to find friends. Have you ever been transferred from the local airstrip with an ageing Massey Ferguson tractor towing a homemade coconut-wood cart? Join us on this tour to discover more authentic experiences of these little know islands of Sao Tome & Principe.

This trip can be combined with Horn of Africa Jan 26 - Feb 10, 2020 OR Sudan (Jan 28 - Feb 08, 2020)

Nigeria & São Tomé Tour cost (land ONLY): $5,500.00 per person sharing in double occupancy
Single Supplement: $700.00    

Nigeria ONLY (Land cost): $3,750.00 per person sharing in double occupancy

Single supplement (Nigeria ONLY): $550.00

Price based on a group size minimum of 4 and maximum of 14 participants

Led by professional tour manager David William

Your tour does not include

  • International air USA to Nigeria & back from São Tomé (approx. fare from NYC $1,100.00)

  • All Visa expenses & country departure taxes.

  • Vaccinations - yellow fever immunization is required.

  • Trip surcharge to operate below required minimum participants.

  • Items of a personal nature: beverages, laundry, phone calls, email, souvenirs, etc.

  • Hotel accommodations necessitated by changes in air schedules or misconnections.

  • Travel protection insurance (highly recommended).

  • Visa fee for Ghana if required for connection.

Your tour includes

  • Accommodation at hotels mentioned or similar (mixture of 3 and 4 star properties).

  • One way airfare from Lagos to Malabo with possible connecting flights through Accra, Ghana IN CASE no direct flight was available

  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B: breakfast, L: lunch and D: dinner).

  • Transportation in a minibus with A/C in Nigeria and A/C 4x4 cars in São Tomé.

  • All visits to sites, villages, monuments and museums.

  • English-speaking guide and local guides at various villages.

  • Tips to guides, drivers, hotel staff and porters.

  • Mineral bottled water on vehicles.

Trip Grade:

II Active – Some hikes, slightly more demanding walks at or to sites, few elevations, comfortable but busy schedule and some long rides.


*** Superior: Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined service and comfort level acceptable to western standards. (3 or 4 stars)

About your expert guide...David William: For as long as I can remember, I always had a deep rooted need to travel. After graduating from university with a degree in hospitality & tourism management that included two years abroad, one in Oxford, England and the other at École Hôtelière in Lausanne, Switzerland my career as a hôtelier was on a successful track, but I longed to get away. Twenty years ago, I finally found my niche as a travel consultant and tour leader. During the last two decades, I have had the opportunity to organize and lead groups worldwide. I have organized every imaginable tour from remote, rugged expeditions to overland African journeys to luxury yachts in the Mediterranean. Leading groups and experiencing their excitement as we travel together is the best part of my job. This path has given me the opportunity to visit 50 States and over 160 countries on all seven continents. My passion for travel and my tour leading skills and my love for Africa are the perfect mix that equip me to share this special tour with you. It’s Spiekermann’s first/exploratory tour of Nigeria and I am honored that they have asked me to lead it for them so they can ensure smooth sailing along the way and careful supervision of all the trip details. I look forward to meeting you.

Important special trip notes:

At the time this trip brochure was printed, the flight schedule between Nigeria and São Tomé was not confirmed and may change. Currently, the best option is on a connection via Accra, Ghana. However, we hear of a possible direct flight that may be initiated soon. Because of such uncertainty, in the event of flight changes, we reserve the right to amend the itinerary and switch things around once the air schedules have been confirmed.

Participants must understand and agree that by joining this trip, they are committing to being very flexible and will accept any sudden changes that may be imposed on us to alter or change the tour sequence, itinerary, accommodations, or facilities depending on many factors such as political conditions, security concerns, sudden availability shortages, or changes to hotels due to unexpected events.

When traveling, you need to bear in mind that things won’t always work the same as we’re used to them working at home. The food is rather bland and they have limited options. There may be problems with infrastructure, attitudes may be different, and maintenance may not be as high a standard as we would always like, but this is very much part of traveling in such places like these. This is an exploratory tour for us, so things may need to be adjusted and learned from this adventure. 

View Tour Itinerary

Monday, Feb 10
Depart USA

Depart the USA, arriving the next day in Lagos or, if you are continuing on from the Horn of Africa, leave February 10 and arrive the same day.

Tuesday, Feb 11
Lagos Arrival (Nigeria)

On arrival in Nigeria, our staff will be at the airport ready to greet you and assist with the transfer to your pre-booked hotel for check-in. Depending on your flight arrival time, you will receive a tour briefing from the tour director. Overnight at the IBIS Hotel or similar. (D)

Wednesday, Feb 12
Lagos – Badagry – Lagos

From the mainland, head off to Lagos Island to explore the Afro-Brazilian quarter. During the 1830's, emancipated slaves from Brazil, known as the "Aguda", settled on Lagos Island, introducing their lively culture and unique architecture. If open, you'll visit the remarkable National Museum, which houses an array of artifacts and antiquities from all over Nigeria. The museum also has display of objects and photographs illustrating the evolution of Nigeria’s government over the years. From the museum, you'll move over to Broad Street and the Marina - Nigeria’s financial hub. Continue on through Old Lagos - from Campos Square to the Popo Aguda area where you'll see the Catholic and Anglican Churches and Imam Shitta Bey Mosque, the oldest mosque on Broad Street. Afterwards, travel either by car or boat through the lagoon to the coastal town of Badagry where the tour commences with a visit of the historic sites. You'll visit the First Storey Building, where the first missionaries settled in Nigeria and the family house of Seriki Williams Abass, a renowned slave merchant during the 19th century. You'll also visit the “Point of No Return”, where most slaves were kept while they waited to be shipped off to the Americas - without any hope of returning. This is a place where the sad history of slave trade is sure to be rekindled in your minds. At the Heritage Museum, you'll find relics used to restrain slaves including leg locks, security clasps, neck chains, and mouth padlocks as well as documentation accounting for the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade activities between Africa and the Americas. Afterwards, return to your hotel in Lagos city for another overnight. (B,L,D)

Thursday, Feb 13
Lagos - Abeokuta

After breakfast, you'll head out to the Yoruba city of Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State and of particular significance to the Yoruba people. Olumo Rock, the town's main attraction, is supposedly where the Egba clan hid during what became known as the Yoruba Wars of the 19th century, and then established their powerful kingdom. The rock itself is around 425 feet high, with steps carved into the rock that lead up to it. There is also a rather out of character concrete lift shaft if you are unable to make the climb. The rock contains caves where you can still see the remains of rudimentary settlements. Towards the back is a small shrine where the Egba people still worship and you may be expected to make a donation. Another interesting feature of Abeokuta is its profusion of Afro-Brazilian architecture in some parts. These impressive buildings were built for local merchants during the 19th century by freed slaves returning from Brazil, thus bringing their influences from there. Although many are now in various states of disrepair, the pastel colors and ornate designs on their facades are evidence of their past grandeur. Abeokuta is a rather charming place to walk around because of them. Overnight accommodations will be at the House 56 Hotel, Abeokuta. (B,L,D)

Friday, Feb 14
Abeokuta – Ile-Ife

In the morning, depart for Ile-Ife, home of Oduduwa – legendary father of the Yoruba race. Here you'll meet the Ooni of Ife, the traditional head of the Kingdom and spiritual leader of the Yoruba. Also see the Oranmiyan Staff, a 16-foot-tall granite obelisk, believed to represent the staff that Oranmiyan, the grandson of Oduduwa, used to take to war. Visit some other historical sites in Osun State and then transfer to the Cameron Hotel or similar for your overnight. (B,L,D)

Saturday, Feb 15
Ile-Ife - Osogbo

Make sure you bring cameras along for your visit to the city of Osogbo, home to one of Nigeria’s few UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You'll explore the Sacred Grove of Osun, where extraordinary sculptures of Yoruba deities are nestled among the trees and monkeys run amok. Next, visit a traditional Orisha temple, where Ife priestesses can explain the intricacies of their religion – a truly fascinating experience and one not to be missed. Enjoy a traditional lunch at a local restaurant and then transfer to Ideal Nest Hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Sunday, Feb 16
Osogbo - Ilorin

After breakfast, make the drive to Ilorin, a predominantly Muslim city with a mixed culture of the Yoruba and Fulani dynasties. Here you'll visit the Esie Museum, the first Museum in Nigeria, established in 1945. The museum houses the largest collection of soapstone sculptures believed to have been excavated in 1775 AD. Lunch will be at a local restaurant serving continental dishes, then you'll spend time exploring the traditional quarters where Ilorin’s renowned weavers ply their trade. In the late afternoon, you'll visit the palace of the Emir of Ilorin before retiring for the day at your hotel. Overnight at Whitefield Hotel or similar. (B,L,D)

Monday, Feb 17
Ilorin - Abuja

This morning, drive to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria built in the 1980’s as a new city to avoid the congestion of Lagos, stopping along the way at Lokoja for sight-seeing and for a traditional lunch. Arrive Abuja in the late afternoon and check into the Newton Park Hotel or similar. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, Feb 18
Abuja – São Tomé

After breakfast, you'll check-out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight to São Tomé via Accra. On arrival, you'll be transferred to the Hotel Omali or similar for your overnight. (B,D)

Wednesday, Feb 19
São Nicolau & Monte Café

As you head into the mountains at an altitude of 2,624 feet above sea level, you'll enjoy panoramic views of São Tomé. Make a stop at São Nicolau Waterfall, which appears to flow right from the walls of the jungle. Continue on to Monte Café Plantation, a hillside village of plantation houses, and enjoy the beautiful buildings dating back to colonial times. This plantation was the biggest and the most prosperous among all the coffee plantations in São Tomé. Some of the best coffee in the world was produced here and exported all over the world. Return to your hotel in São Tomé for your overnight. (B,L,D)

Thursday, Feb 20
São Tomé City tour

Today you'll visit the capital of São Tomé and discover the wonders of the city's Portuguese colonial architecture. Some of the most important places in the city include São Sebastião, a fortress that houses the National Museum, the National Library, the 19th century Presidential Palace - "Palácio cor-de-rosa", the Cathedral, Independence Square, the local market and the Holy Lady of Conception Church. In the evening, witness a traditional music and dance cultural performance specific to São Tomé and Príncipe. Return to your hotel in São Tomé for your overnight. (B, L, D)

Friday, Feb 21
Coco Tour (North)

Head out to discover the wealth of São Tomé - Cocoa. Your first stop will be Fernão Dias Beach where hundreds of people were killed in the "Batepá Massacre" in 1953 under the orders of then governor, Carlos Gorgulho for refusing to work in poor conditions. Next, visit Agostinho Neto Plantation, the largest plantation in the country to learn about the process of drying the Cacao. You'll then pass by Boa Entrada Plantation and enjoy some of its beautiful colonial architecture. Drive along the West Coast to historical Anambô, where the Portuguese first arrived in 1471. The tour comes to an end at Monte Forte Plantation and back to modern times. This is one of the last working plantations in São Tomé, where the people still work in agriculture. Return to your hotel in São Tomé for your overnight. (B,L)

Saturday, Feb 22
Sao Tome - USA

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your onward flight back home. (B)

We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed