FOREIGN NOMAD: “SMILE, BECAUSE THE NIGERIANS I MET ARE VIBRANT PEOPLE” – WINNIE RIOBA
Sometimes last year, we came across a beautiful Kenyan’s page on Instagram and we fell in love with it. Her love for travel especially within Africa attracted us to know more about her. Winnie Rioba is a Kenyan lady who loves to travel Africa. She is a story telling traveller who has travelled to over 15 African countries and love to share her travel stories on her blog. Sometimes last year, her African travel brought her to Nigeria where she spent a short time. During the short period she spent in Nigeria, she enjoyed herself and the new environment she found herself. She stayed in Lagos throughout her stay and she loved the wonderful experience; from the people to the food to the culture and EVERYTHING! In this interview, she shared her experience with us and we are sure you will love it.
CAN YOU TELL US A BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR COUNTRY?
I am a Kenyan traveller with a deep passion for exploring the African continent. Kenya is with no doubt a destination with everything for everyone from the white sandy beaches to the game drives and the culture.
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Fellow 8-5 travelers. How do you get time to travel? I frequently get asked how I manage to travel with a full-time job. I have a blog post that goes into detail about how you can travel with an 8-5 job. Peep the link on my bio. But in a nutshell, I spend some of my weekends traveling within Kenya. I never visit one country at a time. When I finally decide to take two or three weeks off my leave days. I travel to atleast 3 countries. What do I mean? If I’m visiting Nigeria, I know Benin, Togo and Ghana are “easily” accessible so I’ll travel to these countries too. S/o to @amarachiekekwe for the inspiration. I know I can clock off these countries in 2/3 weeks. Same case to anyone going to Uganda. You can easily do Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi in two weeks. Same goes for Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I also take advantage of public holidays especially Easter holidays and holidays that fall on Fridays or Mondays. The trick is to know the public holidays in advance and take a day or two off your leave days and combine with the public holidays. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I know. Its a lot of work but I do it anyway because it’s something I’m very passionate about #justriobainLamu
YOU RECENTLY VISITED NIGERIA. COULD YOU TELL US WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE AND HOW LONG YOU STAYED?
Tourism. I was in Nigeria for 8 days. My initial plan was to travel to three countries in West Africa but my trip was cut short. I will be back in 2019 hopefully.
HOW DID YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP TO NIGERIA FROM KENYA?
I read a lot of blogs but Amarachi’s travel blog convinced me to visit West Africa. Her blog came in handy when I was planning my trip. A Kenyan passport holder gets a visa on arrival in Nigeria for 25 USD. The process took me less than 15 minutes. I flew with Kenya Airways. I was lucky to have a friend of mine host me the entire period I was in Nigeria so I didn’t worry about bookings.
BEFORE COMING, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT TO SEE COMPARED TO WHAT YOU ACTUALLY EXPERIENCED?
I expected to see Aki na Ukwa and my childhood crush Ramsey Noah . Haha. Honestly though, I usually do not create expectations so I walk in to a destination “blindly” expecting the best while being prepared for disappointments. I loved the people and the way they rocked the colourful African prints, and the food. Man! You have not lived until you try Nigerian food.
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Do you ever wonder how travelers take such amazing photos? Peep justrioba.com to find out how you can take stunning #travel pictures. ” I want to look back at my travel pictures with admiration. Not the way I look at my 2012 travel pictures. I cringe every time I look at those pictures. Everything was off from the lighting, the eyebrows (why do we shave our eyebrows again? ) and the fashion. Oh, the fashion was so terrible that fashion cop bashed me on the newspaper (a story for another day). I’m still salty about that although I’m sure I had never heard of the word fashion back then” . #justriobainNigeria
WE SAW A VIDEO OF YOU ON A MOTORCYCLYE, ALONE! HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO NAVIGATE YOUR WAYS?
I was on my way to meet a friend and seeing I had spent hours in Lagos traffic a few days before, I was not about to use taxify. I had my host draw a map for me. The map was so detailed I had no chance of getting lost. I knew what to ask and how much to pay. Plus, everyone I met spoke English so language barrier was not an issue.
WHERE ARE THE NICE PLACES YOU VISITED IN LAGOS THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO A FOREIGNER?
My highlights were actually spending time with my host family members, stuffing myself with Nigerian food. Other places I were visited Epe, Lekki conservation centre, Tarkwa Bay and Light house beach, Nike Art gallery, Lekki Market, a guided tour in Ikeja and so on. I couldn’t make it to Badagry but I know I will soon!
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#Nikeartgallery is a big building that has four floors filled with impressive pieces of art. Why I’m I not artsy again? Why can’t I even draw? The only drawing I do is overdrawing my bank account Probably why I still can’t afford the art pieces I saw at #nikeartgallery. If you’re ever in lagos, Nigeria and you love art….definately pass by Nike Art Gallery…You’ll be mind blown. You might also be lucky enough to have a chit chat with the founder, Mama Nike. FYI. I’m seated on a big ass alligator made out of tyres. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #justriobainNigeria @funmioyatogun
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Have you been to Nigeria? What I liked most about Lagos : The energy and confidence of Lagosians is unmatched. I also liked the danfos and the Ankara that made the state bright. What shocked me: the amount of pepper in the food. Ever eaten so much pepper your nose became hollow and your stomach gets mini heart attacks? That was Asum and Kilishi for me. Nigerians also take their food seriously..they have a multitude of cuisine to chose from. Any foodie would love Nigeria. What I can’t get over: the fact that Nigerians eat snails but why? What I disliked: the concept of ” taking the light” up to three times a day. I couldn’t get used to the sound of generators. Also, I’m never calling out KPLC again. They are angels #justriobainNigeria #blacktravelclub #seeafricadifferently
IS THERE ANY TOURIST DESTINATION YOU WISH YOU VISITED?
In Nigeria? Yes. Badagry! And I have heard good things about a festival in Calabar. I would love too.
FAVOURITE RESTAURANT YOU VISITED IN LAGOS?
Sailors in Victoria Island
FAVOURITE LOCAL DISH?
Asun and Jollof rice!
JOLLOF OR OFADA RICE?
KILISHI OR ASUN?
STREET FOOD OR FINE DINE?
A little bit of both
UBER OR PUBLIC TRANSPORT?
In Nigeria, Uber!
WHERE DID YOU STAY? AIRBNB OR HOTEL?
I was hosted by a friend
FAVOURITE SPOT EVERY FIRST TIME VISITOR SHOULD VISIT?
I weirdly loved the drives at third mainland bridge at night. Absolutely beautifully! And any spot by the Atlantic ocean or the lagoon works for me.
THREE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT NIGERIA YOU’LL LIKE TO SHARE TO NON-NIGERIANS
- Nigerians are not aggressive, just confident
- Nigeria is not a hot spot or unsafe, otherwise would I be here typing this?
- Yoruba demons are real. Haha !
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE LIFE IN LAGOS?
Fast. And the traffic is insanely crazy. Everyone I met in Lagos is business minded and out to make money. Lagosians are wildy talented and I learnt a couple of business skills from the people I met.
COULD YOU TELL US;
- What you liked most about Lagos – the food
- What shocked you – the traffic
- What you won’t get over – the people and the food
ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN NIGERIA AND KENYA?
Nairobi and Lagos both have terrible traffic. Haha!
NIGERIANS LIKE TO GIVE FOREIGNERS NIGERIAN NAMES. WERE YOU GIVEN ANY? IF YES, WHICH AND WHY WREE YOU GIVEN?
An immigration officer gave me the name Fatoumata. He insisted I was a Fulani lady. So that’s on that!
DID YOU LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE?
WOULD YOU LOVE TO VISIT NIGERIA AGAIN?
I am coming back in 2019!
ANY ADVICE/TIPS FOR ANYONE VISITING NIGERIA?
You are not ready for the pepper in the food o! Manage your expectations and smile! Smile because the Nigerians I met are vibrant people. No one has time for too serious.
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