IITA, and everything about it that promises true Serenity for travelers

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I had been to Ibadan just once. For a city that is awfully close to Lagos, you’d think I might have visited more times. However, this was my second trip to Ibadan and I was very intentional about it. I started planning this trip about 3 weeks before because I needed everything to be perfect. The initial plan was for a group of 4 people (counting 3 other friends who said they were interested). The itinerary was drawn up to cover daily, hourly and even “minutely” activities. Yes, I plan to the second. However, none of these friends showed up and I had to go ahead by myself. Here’s a detailed recap. IITA, and everything about it that promises true Serenity for travelers.k

The plan:

Ibadan had always been on my list of places to visit in Nigeria. Infact, in this article where I wrote about my bucket list of places to visit, Oyo state tops that list. It only felt fair that if I were ticking my bucket list, I start from the first place on the list. It was an even more exciting plan considering that the train service to and fro Ibadan had commenced operations. This made my planning even easier. 

I had to choose the means of transportation to Ibadan, accommodation option, and list of activities to indulge in. Drawing up this list helped get my financial estimate for the trip. At the end of the article , I added how I planned my finances for this trip and the total cost.

Transportation From Lagos:

I left for Ibadan from Lagos. The trip was pretty easy and seamless. Thanks to the Lagos-Ibadan train service. The ride took 2 hours and 40 minutes. Everything you should know about the train service can be found here

IITA (international institute of tropical agriculture): 

IITA is the acronym for International institute of tropical agriculture. It is a not-for-profit research institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges.  This setup is present in about 30 countries across Africa with the west African headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo state. 

Simply put, IITA is a research institute that helps feed a continent while offering a serene getaway for tourists and holiday-makers alike.

Accommodation at IITA: 

I planned to visit IITA by the end of January. My initial travel date was slated for 28th January. However, by first week of January, IITA was already fully booked for the month. As anyone who has tried to make any last minute travel plans lately has found out, you really need to plan ahead these days. Resorts are limiting their numbers and social distancing measures have reduced availability at recreational areas, adventure parks, and other places, leaving would-be travelers with no place to go. Despite this setback, I got an inside contact who slotted me in for the first week of February. One week delay didn’t really hurt.

At IITA, reservations are to be made at a considerable time before hand. This means that you may not get available accommodation at the research institute if you make reservations a few days to your proposed arrival date. 

How to make reservations at IITA, Ibadan:

Step 1: Go to the official IITA website and browse through their accommodation options.

Step 2: Select your preferred accommodation option. 

Step 3: Call or email the institute with your preference. 

Step 4: An email with your preferred accommodation type and travel dates would be sent to you. You are required to respond to this with a confirmation message.

Step 5: An invoice would be generated for you to this effect. 

Step 6: Make payment and forward transaction receipt to the institute via email thread. 

Step 7: A final confirmation of payment and accommodation reservation with details would be sent to you. 

Ibadan:

On arrival at Ibadan, I had a cab driver waiting at the train station already. Due to the way I plan, I have everything ready and waiting for me. I pay for services beforehand just so it can be made ready for me, without delays or hassles. Sometimes life happens, but I always try to avoid any discomfort. 

The chartered cab took me straight to IITA. It was an interactive 15 mins ride as my driver kept pointing out places we passed through while filling me in with details and history about these places. We passed the Moniya market, which he explained, was a large food commodity market and how the area was undeveloped until the train station was to be built. We drove on a straight road for about 13 mins before the IITA environment come into view. 

At IITA:

Eventually, we made it to IITA. I knew it was IITA even before sighting the signboard. The environment leading up to the entrance of the compound is well groomed and lined with evenly cut grasses and shrubs. It defines “Serene” explicitly. We drove up another 200 meters before turning right into the IITA compound. At the gate, we were subjected to a couple of procedures before we were granted entrance.

Access Procedures:

Due to the sensitive nature of the business at IITA, extreme security measures are put in place to safeguard the place. Even further measures have been added, since the coronavirus outbreak, to protect its workers. 

At the gate, we were asked to identify ourselves and where we were headed. I showed my permanent voters card and my reservation confirmation email. Our temperatures were taken and hand sanitizers sprayed generously into our palms before we were granted passage to another gate. A major security gate. At this major gate, where the security offices and scrutiny takes place, we were asked to come down from the vehicle. 

First off, we were led to the first office where our reservation confirmation email was checked and reconfirmed. Then we were asked to identify ourselves with an ID document. Any ID document. Secondly, we had to input our details in a register. Details like name, phone numbers, devices we brought, home addresses, etc. Thirdly, we were asked to go to a different office to register any devices, other than mobile phones, that we were with. The device names and serial numbers were registered alongside the owner’s name. I registered my laptop and iPad. However, before all these, our temperatures were taken yet again and hand sanitizers abundantly sprayed into our hands. 

Even though some people may complain that these measures are too much, but we cannot be too careful. 

Checking in at IITA:

After the gate scrutiny, we were directed to the IITA international house (i-house). The international house is where all hospitality and travel related services of IITA is handled. The restaurant, bar, pool, accommodation and reservation, etc, are all sections under the international house. This building is close to the conference building and houses the restaurant(s), bar, reception, some accommodation rooms, the kitchen, etc. 

We arrived at the i-house by 7:50 and had to re-confirm our reservation. I was asked to sign a printed out form containing the details I had already filled previously when making the booking. Soon after, I was allocated the accommodation type I choose, a one bedroom flatlet. A booklet was brought for me to input my room details and sign, which I did, and I was shown to my room. Finally! 

PS: Check in starts from 3 pm and checkout is by 12 pm. Checking out later than 12pm may result in additional charges.

The accommodation at IITA:

Accommodation type and cost:

Accommodation typeDetails Number of Occupants Cost (week day)
Standard Double A king sized bed, fridge, a bathroom with high quality amenities, and rich landscape view from the balcony235,200
Superior SingleA comfy mattress, a fridge, bathroom, and a good view.128,600
Single ACSingle room with AC122,000
Double roomDouble room with AC226,400
One bedroom flatlet A living room, dining set, comfy bedroom, private kitchen with cooker,fridge and oven, safe deposit box.227,250
Two bedroom flatlet A living room, dining set, 2 comfy bedrooms, private kitchen with cooker,fridge and oven, safe deposit box.431,100
Non AC roomRoom without AC219,800

Note: 

  • All prices are in Naira.
  • Extra beds are available for kids at an additional cost of 5,000 Naira per night.
  • A complimentary breakfast is included for the number of guests indicated.

The accommodation reserved for me was a one bedroom flatlet. It had this blandly-styled look, and an “okay” feel. The room was well aerated, and surrounded by awesome scenery. It had a living room, a bedroom, and a kitchen.

The living room: 

The living room had a TV, a dinning section that over looked the balcony, a set of sofa and center table, side tables for the reading lamp and telephone, a shelf (for wine or books.. your call.. lol), and a closet for clothes and shoes and stuff. 

The kitchen:

The flatlet had this sizable kitchen that contained the basics needed in a kitchen. There’s a big sized refrigerator, a gas cooker and oven set, cupboards with plates, cups, mugs, and cutlery, and a sink for washing dishes and stuff. Longer staying guests can make their own meals , comfortably here. 

The bedroom:

The bedroom is a spacious one. It had a reading table that overlooked the balcony, a laidback chair for relaxing, a big sized bed, a closet with a safe, a bedside book furniture, and a dressing table with drawers. 

Accommodation cancellation rules:

Cancellation must be made 48 hours before check in date to avoid a cancellation fee. Cancellation later than 48 hours will attract a fine of 50% of room rate for the first night. A no-show will be charged at a rate equaling the cost of the first night of reservation. 

Feeding:

The thing I like about IITA is the flexibility when it comes to feeding options. Guests can either make their own meals in the kitchen (for accommodations with kitchen option), but that translates to purchasing the cooking commodities from the market, or try out restaurants in town, or better still, eat at the restaurant at the i-house. 

The restaurant serves Nigerian and continental food everyday. 

Food options at IITA:

Guests IITA are entitled to a complimentary breakfast for the duration of their stay. There’s a variety of breakfast options, ranging from local to intercontinental and even english breakfast options. Breakfast is served at the i-house in a buffet style. 

Lunch and dinner are served at the i-house cafeteria. At the i-house, there’s also the Fullcrumb private dining, the snacks bar and the Cappa bar. 

The i-house cafeteria: Serves Nigerian and continental food everyday. At the i-house cafeteria, there’s allocated time for every meal. After these times, the meals for those specified periods can no longer be served. 

Food options
Main dishesWraps Sides
Home made burgers 
Made from freshly ground beef or chicken.  J and J – simple  Bacon and cheese  Vegetarian burger
All served with French fries or coleslaw
Vegetarian 
with grilled vegetables, tofu, sweet and sour sauce
Mini samosas 
Beef or vegetarian 
Yam or French fries
On their own with spicy mayonnaise or stew (pepper based tomato sauce) with melted cheese.
Chicken 
With grilled vegetables, sweet and sour sauce 
Rice of the day
Dishes served on a bed of rice or buttered noodles
Sweet and sour chicken with vegetables  Beef curry with poppadum and white rice.
Chicken satay (peanut sauce)
With mixed salad 
Fried eggs
Vegetarian special
Potato, spinach and chick pea curry Tofu with pan fried vegetable sweet and sour sauce  Served with rice or noodles

French or yam fries with coleslaw 
Nigerian specialties 
Beef stew  Goat meat stew Served with the swallow of the day (eba, Amala, or semolina) or rice

Moi-Moi
A traditional Nigerian meal made with beef, crayfish, corned beef and egg poached in a traditional leaf.
Served with chicken, rice and dodo


Dodo 
10 pieces fried plantains. 


Gizdodo 
Plantain with Gizzard.

The full-crumb private dining: 

This is a private dining experience with table service. The full-crumb private dining experience is only on Saturday nights from 7:00pm to 8:45pm. 

Snacks bar:

The snacks bar is available for when you miss out on breakfast, or need in-between meal snacks. The are varieties of snacks available are served hot, rich and affordable. The bar also has specialty in the area of cold beers, great drinks and a good time overall. I particularly liked the friendly staff and the view from the outdoor sitting area. It is breathtaking.

At as when I visited, there was no room service available. This could be due to the Covid-19 protocols observed by the Institution. 

Transportation/Mobility at IITA: 

Guests who come with their personal cars are allowed to drive around the institute. The only other means of transportation around the institute is by bicycles provided at the i-house, at a cost. The bicycles are rented with the sum of 500 Naira per day. 

A Map of IITA is provided for all guests in the institute to enable easy navigation around the institute.

Total trip cost:

ItemDescription QuantityCost per unit (Naira)Total cost (Naira)Remark 
Uber From home to train station and back23,0006,000
Train ticket Return Business class ticket25,00010,000
Cab from train station to IITA and backPrivate cab return trip to and fro23,5007,000
Accommodation One bedroom flatlet3 nights21,27082,000For 3 nights
FeedingAt IITA3 times daily for 3 days2,50022,500
TouringTour around IITADaily5,00015,000
Visiting Ibadan cityGoing round IbadanOne day10,00010,000Mostly covers transportation.
Shopping for supplies Getting essentials for the trip 

20,000Basic travel essentials specifically for this trip. Includes snacks, toiletries, wears, etc.
Miscellaneous 


20,000To cover anything else that comes up.






Total


192,500

From this, would you be interested in visiting IITA? Alone or in a group?

My IITA personalized custom itinerary would soon be out for purchase. This itinerary is a guide to travelers who want to visit IITA, get a detailed tour schedule and contact of travel services they would need while making plans. Be the first to know when the itinerary is available… sign up below!

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