A Walk of Lifetime through Badagry Slave Route

Badagry is a small coastal town located between Lagos and Seme Border, Benin Republic. The town has a personality of its own. Its proximity to Lagos has always made it more significant than some small towns in Nigeria. Although, Lagos has a hassled and rugged atmosphere, Badagry has a quiet vibe with laid-back locals. The town seems to have a blustery relationship with modernity; however, anything unattractive was counterbalanced by far more irrepressible beauty surrounding it.

I’ve always loved going to places that give me opportunity to see and discover exciting things. Visiting Badagry was an amazing experience for me; I was able to learn the town’s most beautiful culture and heritage.

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The King’s Palace – Oba Akran of Badagry

On May 29, 2014, I joined a team of travel enthusiasts on a bus tour to Badagry, organized by TravelNextDoor. It was really an exciting way to spend the democracy day in Nigeria. I was eager to not only explore the town but to learn more about its history. It was an educative and inspiring tour; it left me with anticipation for my next adventure.

Badagry serves up the most elating blend of incredible art, momentous history and amazing town lifestyle. It was incredible and I was lucky to have Pelu Awofeso and the local guide as guides, it was like having my favourite history teachers on board. They both distilled history into such an entertaining storyline – full of unforgettable hilarity and anecdotes. They were so friendly, well-informed and accommodating.

The Badagry tour began with a visit to Badagry Heritage Museum, which is located at Boekoh Quarters along Lander Road. At this museum, I learnt about the slave trade history which took place in Badagry around 19th century. It was amazing to see comprehensive collection of slave trade history and relics. I marvelled at the untamed energy of the slaves and some of them were able to survive all they went through. There are jaw-dropping images that describe what really happened during the slave trade era in the museum.

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Welcome Board at Badagry Heritage Museum

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Badagry Heritage Museum Building

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Badagry Heritage Museum Building

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Slave Chains

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Slave Ship Replica

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Slave’s Drinking Pot

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A statue of a slave couple

 

Our next stop was at one of the iconic houses built and designed in Brazilian architecture. From there we visited an historic place, where Christianity was first preached in Nigeria. There used to be an Agia Tree and Christianity was first preached under the tree by Rev. Birch Freeman of Methodist Church. Discretely, everyone said a silent word of prayer here because we were told that prayers said here always get answered.

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Building designed in Brazilian Architecture

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Where Christianity was first preached in Nigeria – Agia Tree Monument

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Rev. Henry Townsend’s Statue

We continued our tour by visiting the Chief Seriki Abass Slave Museum, Brazilian Slave Barracoon and Mobee Family Museum where we learnt more about the history of Badagry Slave Trade. The Brazilian Slave Barracoon is located opposite the Slave Port and within the Seriki Abass Court. The Slave Barracoon used to be a prison where slaves were kept before they were sold and then taken to the slave ships and shipped from Badagry. The museum features relics and antiques gained from slave trading with the European slave dealers, such as Umbrella, Ceramic plates, Jugs etc. It was an inspiring experience for me and the local guide made the history come vividly to life.

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Brazilian Slave Barracoon Building

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Seriki Abass Slave Museum

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Art Work displaying the sorrowful tears of a slave in the Barracoon

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The Entrance of Seriki Abass Slave Museum

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The Entrance of the Museum

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Items used in exchange of slaves.

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An image displaying how a slave’s mouth was curbed with an Iron Muzzle

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Where Chief Seriki Abass of Badagry was buried

The most interesting part of the tour was our walk through the Slave Route; we had to board a boat at the Slave Port and cross the lagoon to walk through the slave route to the Sea where the large ships were docked. The Slave Port used to be where the slaves were loaded into boats for shipment to Europe or America via the Atlantic Ocean. We boarded a boat to cross the Lagoon and started walking along the route the slaves walked through in times of yore.

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The Slave Port, Badagry

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Pelu Awofeso and a travel enthusiast

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Crossing the Lagoon to begin the walk of a lifetime through the Slave Route in Badagry

At the beginning of the route, we saw a sign post that says “This is the route of the journey to an unknown destination”, at this stage, I was so almost tearful, I wondered what would have happened or run through the minds of those slaves whenever they got to that place. Along the way, we saw the Attenuation Well, we were told that the water from the well may have been ‘jazzed’ with charms to make the slaves forget whatever they have gone through or whatever life they have lived in the town. We walked about 5 km before we got to the sea shore.

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The Beginning of the Journey along the Slave Route

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A small local shop

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The sign post, which denotes the beginning of our walk

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Original Spot Slaves Spirit Attenuation Well

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Attenuation Well

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Walking along the Slave Route – Pelu Awofeso and our local guide leading us through.

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Walking along the Slave Route

When we got to the sea shore, there was another sign post that says “Point of no return”, it was so depressing but I’m glad we returned. The sea was calm and serene; some students were having fun while some young boys were swimming. I breathed in the chilly sea air and gaped at the stunning coastline and wondered why most Nigerians have not discovered this hidden gem. Even though, I wasn’t really happy with the history behind the sea, I was at the same time calculating the beauty of the place and how many resorts and developments could actually be put together to improve Badagry tourism and partially erase the painfulness of its history, if not completely. (After all, I’m a Nigerian and we love the way forward!)

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The point of no return sign post at the sea shore

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Walking towards the sea

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My humble self – at the sea shore

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Unsurpassed beauty of Badagry beach

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Sea Water

We walked 5 km back to where we started the journey and from there we walked about some kilometres to Permaculture Forest Garden at Gberefu Island, where we learnt about how to sustain our environment via agriculture, hydrology, natural building, waste management and forestry.

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Walking to the Permaculture Garden

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Relaxing at the Permaculture Garden

Here, we also talked about other interesting things including TravelNextDoor tours and projects. I interestingly listened to Dr Raphel James talk about his Museum and Gallery with so much passion. Dr. Raphel James, a Nigerian historian and the founder of Center of Research, Information Management and Media Development, located in Ejigbo, Lagos. He runs the largest research and information center in Nigeria. I look forward to visiting his museum to learn about exciting history and culture of different cities and towns in Nigeria.

And the best part: l got to sample the tasty Badagry snack, ‘Ajogun’ with coconut water and other refreshments.

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Popular Badagry local snack ‘Ajogun’ and Coconut Water.

Badagry is a city of secrets but its charm is far more than its natural beauty. I looked beyond the painful stories and allowed myself to appreciate the natural beauty the town offers. Lush green plants and trees surrounding us in every direction, it was a sight to behold.

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Cows grazing the plants

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Cows grazing green pastures

Walking through the Slave route was an unforgettable experience for me and absolutely insightful, it’s worth sharing. There are many places to visit in Badagry, unfortunately we couldn’t visit Badagry Slave Market, Topo Settlement and First Storey Building in Nigeria, but I look forward to another visit to Badagry. Unique yet significant, such tour is not worth passing up.

Pelu Awofeso knows Badagry like his favourite song and I’m glad I went on Badagry Tour with him, his crew and the great group of people. If you are really eager to experience from Badagry appropriately, I highly recommend that you choose a guided tour and I can’t think of any suitable one except TravelNextDoor. It really is value for money, and truly the best way to experience Badagry in a unique way.

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Our Readers Comments

  1. Seriki Abass slave Barracoon, a must visit tourist site.
    You’ll be amazed of how beings were treated. Where 40 adult were squeezed into a small hut.

    ‘Man’s inhumanity to man’!!

  2. pls, i need a tour operator that can easily lead a team of youth to some tourist centers in badagry, i have been to many places but cannot vividly led the team.
    im just asking for a volunteer or curator that know badagry very well.

    • Hi Taiwo, You will be contacted via email or phone number soon.

  3. i believe its a go experience
    how can i get to the slave port from ikeja lagos

  4. how can i get to the slave port from ikeja lagos

  5. Can someone kindly give me an information on all it takes to visit the slave port with a group.

  6. I need a guide on how to visit the slave port with a group.
    Kindly give me information if you’ve got some.
    Thanks!

  7. At last I now know what is called place of no returned during the slave trade oh and what a hell for the so called Brazilian slave masters to taken us to an unwanted destination, I need to shed tears in my closes for the in-human condition my for fathers/mothers pass through ignorantly.

    May God deliver African completely from modern day slavery too

  8. Please leave your comment… Pls help me with details, I want to visit this place. Thank you

  9. I need someone who can guide a group of youths, we want to pay a visit to the slave trade kindly call this number 7063237768 asap…

  10. How I wish every African and Nigerians in particular will have an opportunity to visit this area in order to stop foolish travelling through saharan Africa to Europe where much lives are still lossed and other forms of slavery exist.

  11. Every African (as long as you are a Black you’re an African) should make it his duty to visit and walk the Slave Route. If there is one thing we should preserve… it should be our history. If we don’t know where we’re coming from then how can we know where we are going?…maybe that’s why we are where we are today…lost. The FG should be investing heavily to first preserve the Slave route and make it a tourist attraction…..not erasing our history as a people… not community or nation… our history as a people. This part of our history should be a must in the curriculum of our education system. Abeg…let the proposed deep water harbour and hotels and whatever else find another location. Does the US ever approve of any development around their Statue of Liberty? Op…thanks a lot for sharing.

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