I hadn't taken a trip in a few months; the travel bug had begun to bite with a vengeance. My friend and I decided to go visit our third musketeer for a 2-week decongestion. We had really been feeling all the stresses Lagos had to offer and a break was necessary.
We landed in the Federal Capital Territory early in the day and it felt good to breathe different air. The terrain is stunning; rocky but healthy with vegetation. I had visited the city before, but didn't really explore it intentionally. This time would be different however, I wanted to see it all!
Getting around is a breeze in Abuja because the city is well planned. The roads are smooth and wide so driving is way less hectic. Most places are within 15 minutes of each other and the Bolt trips NEVER cost more than ₦1,000. For shorter distances, we just used tricycles; which only require change.
What I've been eating
Abuja people are very hospitable and my friend made sure I felt the love. She treated me to some boozy breakfast. It's a weekend brunch event at the Siam Thai restaurant and it has a brick walled open-air space and a lovely garden scape.
The vibe is fun, the food is great and the mimosas are free. You can check out their Instagram @boozybreakfast, but a proper review will come soon!
Trying Ivorian food from Attieke republic
I met up with a friend for lunch and she told me about a place that sells Ivorian food. I hadn't had that before and so I had to have it. They don't have a physical restaurant so we ate at the french institute cafe instead.
Attieke is made from cassava, so its got the garri taste to it, a bit milder. The best part is that it has the texture of couscous. The onion sauce was divine - slightly sour, rich and goes great with the attieke. The fried plantains are on decl for the occasional sweetness and some really tasty barbecued chicken. The spread was quite filling and cost us N6000, between 3 people.
Their address is 80 Aminu Kano Crescent in Wuse.
Dinner with Chef Bonz
One of my all time best friends is a chef, so you know we had to spend some time in the kitchen. Chef Bonz uses a blend of culinary techniques and emphasises the use of the natural tastes of herbs and spices to build a flavour profile from scratch. We decided to make a pasta dish and threw in half of Noah's ark - bacon, crabs, shrimp and chicken. The fresh herbs, lemon zest and other aromatics ensured that the whole kitchen smelled lush.
Dinner was plated and served and it quickly was added to the clean plate category! Check out his Instagram @bonzdude!
Dinner at Blucabana
Blu Cabana is a poolside restaurant and cafe with great ambience. Low music, fresh air and lights that frame the palm trees elegantly. One of the servers seemed to be having a bad day so I'm docking some points for the service.
I got the Blucabana burger for ₦3,100 and my friend got the chef salad for ₦3,400. The burger was good - the caramelised onions and jalapeños were a lovely touch but the accompanying fries were basic. The salad was pretty good too, it was large and they were generous with the turkey and emmental cheese.
What I've been up to
Jabi art market
We visited the art market in Jabi to see if we could find some trinkets. It's not a difficult to locate, especially when you have google maps. It's a lot smaller than the art market in Lagos but no less interesting. I got myself a bronze bracelet for ₦2000, my friends got a hat and some jewellery.
Always make sure you wear your bargaining cap when you visit markets so you can get the best deals. There's tons of different art and crafts that would make nice gifts or furnish and decorate your space with and we had a good time checking out what the stalls had to offer. A lot of the vendors accept electronic transfers too, so I appreciate that.
Jabi Lake Park
We spent a few hours at the Jabi lake park just walking around and soaking up the scenes. There are walkways that stretch through the grounds and you really feel immersed in nature here. The lake brings a certain calmness and the sounds of children running around without a care does wonders for your mood.
A lot of people come here to exercise; people were playing table tennis, football, basketball, skating and riding bicycles and horses. It seems like a good place to just get outside and meet new faces and Jabi lake mall is in close proximity.
Drinks and karaoke at Keje Grill
Keje grill is an outdoor dining and bar experience. They have a fun karaoke session on Thursdays and their cocktails are great. It gets pretty crowded so you don't want to come too late. The vibes are great, alcohol and music are a lovely blend.
The drinks are well priced, they have cocktails at multiple price ranges so you can choose based on your budget. My first drink, a whiskey sour cost me ₦2,500 and it was strong enough for the terrible singing to sound good.
This was an evening full of laughs and I definitely recommend. Their Instagram is @kejegrill.
Hiking at the Wonderland Peaks
I don't think you can be in the FCT and not hear a conversation about hiking. The city is littered with hills and large rocks and they make for beautiful hiking experiences. Hiking is great exercise and one of the best ways i've found to get close to nature.
A lot of the trails are marked so you know the safest ways to get to the top. This hike took us about 20 minutes and it wasn't a difficult climb. There are numerous spots to rest on the way up and you can take your time with it. Getting to the peak, you're gifted with the best views of the city and crispy fresh air. There were flowers blooming and butterflies dancing around them, felt like I was in a nature film.
Parts of the hill are being used as farms so you need to be careful not to trample on someones harvest. Please remember that nature is not your dustbin, so dispose your plastic bottles and other trash properly.
Sight-seeing at the National mosque
You can't help but notice the national mosque when you move around the city. It captures the evening sunlight most phenomenally and I had to check it out. It was built in 1984 and is open to non muslims to visit, except during congregational prayers.
If you think what you see from far away is amazing, you should visit the grounds. Islamic architecture is stunning and there is unrivalled tranquility in the air. The arabic calligraphy on the main entrance is quite stunning and I soaked up all of it (I walked around the grounds twice).
Crushed rock Mpape
Crushed rock is a fairly new tourist attraction in Mpape. A lot of raw materials used to develop the city came from this quarry but it has since been abandoned. Now it has become a quarry lake and has started to attract a lot of attention for its stunning scenery.
The rock walls, grassy plateaus and lake water paint one of the most stunning scenery and it's nice for hiking, photoshoots, picnics, etc. Crushed rock is right beside a rural community and right now is being organised by the local residents/area boys. They keep the place clean and provide a local's perspective when you ask about the lake. A lot of people feel unsafe because of them but I promise you they just want opportunities for a better life. Make sure you haggle with them, we ended up paying about ₦1,500 each.
I absolutely love spending time in Abuja for a number of reasons. The food, the hospitality of the people here, outdoor activities and the general calmness in the air remind me of home. I think I am already looking forward to my next trip back, but for now it's goodbye and thank you Abuja.
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