Hands up if travelling round Nigeria's 36 states was on your bucket list. No one? I imagine you would wonder what's there to do in most of those 'dead' states.
Well, Toke of Toke Travels set out on an adventure of a life time and visited every single state in Nigeria. If you follow her on Instagram, you would have seen pictures of her discovering places we didn't even know existed.
From the Mambilla Plateau to Jigawa State, Toke showed us that anything is possible if you set your mind to it including navigating Nigeria's trying terrain. So we reached out to her to share her experience with us and we hope you enjoy it and inspires you to do something adventurous when this trying corona season is over.
Give us a brief description of yourself.
My Name is Omotoke Fatoki. I'm 27 years old and a travel Expert/ blogger in Nigeria.
What inspired you to travel across the 36 states in Nigeria?
Traveling was a decision I made in 2018. I started with exploring Lagos which is where I’m based, after which I visited my hometown - Abeokuta,Ogun State as a tourist.
Exploring Olumo-Rock at the time was all the revelation I needed to see more.
As I started researching more places to go, the scarier and very impossible the media made them seem. It was at this point I made up my mind to travel to each and every state to change the negative narratives.
Which state was your favorite to visit and why?
Every State has its own uniqueness and had a different experience. I would be lying if I said have a favorite. The states I loved the most were in Northern Nigeria.
What was accommodation like during this adventure. (Local living, hotels or a mix)?
I mostly stayed with strangers in 34 States. I only lodged twice.
I have a brother in the force that helped source for accommodation in States that have air force bases. Sometimes I stayed with friends I met on Instagram or referrals from friends to their own friends.
What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was surprised about how beautiful Northern Nigeria is. I've lived all my life with the picture of Lagos and Western Nigeria in my mind so I was surprised to see beautiful hills, mountains, waterfalls, and so much nature in this same country.
What was your best moment of the entire trip?
I had quite a number of amazing moments. One of them was be interacting with the locals in Mambilla Plateau(Gembu) in Taraba State.
What was the scariest moment (if any)?
There was a point I thought I was going to die when I slipped at a waterfall in Mambilla, Taraba State. I thought I wouldn’t make it back home 😂
Did you find any sights or activities a bit off the beaten track ie beyond the tourist traps?
Hmmm, well one thing is for sure, there are some destinations that actually needs to be unlisted as tourist attractions e.g River Ethiope in Delta State.
What are two interesting things you learnt during your trip that the average person doesn’t know?
Northern Nigeria is not a dead zone; As much as I preach about the positive sides of Northern Nigeria, I always like to add that not all geographical zones are safe. Most of the capital cities are extremely safe with a few villages/Lg under attack or being used as hideouts for bandits. However, the truth is we can’t spread fear and news that it’s unsafe to explore northern Nigeria because the media shows us that they are constantly under attack.
How do you want them to survive or meet up to par if we constantly shut our borders behind them. Northern Nigeria is safe.
Did you meet any locals? If yes, what were they like?
Happy, Helpful, supportive, Caring and merciful.
Trust me, I have met different people throughout this trip and that is how they made me feel.
What was the funniest/strangest/most insightful thing a local said?
A stranger once said to me “Have you been attacked since you got here and is this place as bad as they show you on tv”
This was from a local suya man in Katsina State. Honestly I was ashamed, because Katsina is one of the most peaceful Northern States in Nigeria.
What was the hardest or most frustrating part of the trip?
The struggle to get to some attractions can be really frustrating. Sometimes I just wanted to turn back like; who send me message. But I’m glad I didn’t.
Did anything go wrong that seems funny now?
Well, my experience with some known Logistics company went wrong, but now that I look back at it, the situations were really funny.
Did you eat anything locally, if yes, what was your favorite?
Fura’d nunu, Masa, Abacha
If you ate locally, what was the strangest thing you ate?
Honestly, I’m not a foodie and I rarely eat on these trips. However, I was once made to eat raw cassava as snacks In Mambilla
What were the cost implications of this trip?
All I can say is I’m an extreme budget traveler. Sometimes I could explore 5 States with 30k other times it would higher. You can explore this country on a budget without needing to break bank.
Now that you’ve been round Nigeria, when you think of your trip what’s the first image that comes to your head?
Gaddamit! Nigeria is beautiful and filled with really nice and accommodating people
If you were to choose a state to move to, which would it be?
I have quite a few KANO, Plateau, Taraba, Jigawa, Ondo.. Ok bye 😂
Would you ever do this again?
Definitely, but this time with people that would like to explore with me.
Any last words?
Traveling is doable and traveling by road in Nigeria is not as terrible as they make it seem with respect to bad roads.
Also, No part of the world is entirely safe, so Stop spreading the negativity of how insecure it is to explore Nigeria.
Go for it, make your research, Stay Safe, Be nice and most importantly put God first...
Our away from this is nowhere is completely safe but that doesn't stop you from exploring. What do you guys think?