Throw in a make shift train ride, a potluck picnic, history and a bunch of a travel enthusiasts and you have the perfect recipe for a travel blogger meet up.
As the travel community in Nigeria continues to expand, a couple of us decided to put a face to the brands and meet up. After throwing ideas of where to meet up, we decided that a place that would let us sight see, have some fun and also provide a picnic atmosphere would work best.
Where: Jaekel House at The Nigerian Railway Compound, located in Ebute Metta
What: Jaekel House is a mini museum dedicated to showing the nitty gritty of the Nigerian Railway system when it was at its prime. The museum is managed by Legacy 1995 and they’ve tried to keep it as authentic as possible and continue to do restoration work.
Once all the bloggers were present, the guide greeted us and proceeded to lead us round and tell us about the railway system. He was a former employee of the Nigerian rail so he was quite knowledgeable.
We learnt that Lagos was one of the first cities in Africa to get a railway line. The Nigerian Railway came into existence on October 3, 1912 and became an autonomous public corporation in 1955.
The gauge of the NRC track is 3ft 6in with a countrywide mileage of 2,680 equating to 4,313 kilometres but this will probably be replaced by the standard gauge track that is presently being worked on. The highest point on the system is 30 km outside Jos and is 1318 meters above sea level.
There are 3505 narrow reach rail networks currently but with the on going plans to develop rail transport it should increase.
As we continued our walking tour, we saw the various equipment used back in the day at railways. (pictures aren’t allowed inside the main museum but I managed to go back and beg do some James Bond move to take some).
This was used to alert workers of oncoming trains
Equipment, signage and brick from the railway
Throwback. Felt like we stepped back into time
Tools used/pictures of the workers
The guide took his time explaining each piece in the museum and due to time we couldn’t go to the other section where we could see the trains, labs and workstation. Definitely going to go back at a later date.
We had worked up an appetite and were ready for our picnic. We were pleasantly surprised that legacy had set up some mats for us in their garden and we all sat down and stuffed our faces as we spoke on the general state of tourism in the country.
*side note we all brought food to share, Legacy only provided the mats
Tourism is clearly dominated by women
Legacy also asks people who stop by to volunteer in their gardening so if you’re into that, it’s a great opportunity to get your hands dirty.
It was a good way to spend the day and learn a bit on Nigeria’s history. It was also nice to hear our views on how tourism could move forward and become better in Nigeria. Plus hilarious tales on the mishaps that happen when travelling round the country were shared.
We got to play with the make shift train since we couldn’t go to the real ones. Some of us were pretty scared excited as we had to manually move it.
They are the mainland center for movienic so watch out for when next they’re screening.
It definitely made me ‘gingered’ as Nigerians will say to go on a train ride around the country and hopefully the rail system is top notch and comfortable by the time they’re done with the revamping.