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
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.
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.
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.
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 type||Details||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 balcony||2||35,200|
|Superior Single||A comfy mattress, a fridge, bathroom, and a good view.||1||28,600|
|Single AC||Single room with AC||1||22,000|
|Double room||Double room with AC||2||26,400|
|One bedroom flatlet||A living room, dining set, comfy bedroom, private kitchen with cooker,fridge and oven, safe deposit box.||2||27,250|
|Two bedroom flatlet||A living room, dining set, 2 comfy bedrooms, private kitchen with cooker,fridge and oven, safe deposit box.||4||31,100|
|Non AC room||Room without AC||2||19,800|
- 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 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 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.
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.
|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
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.
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
|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
A traditional Nigerian meal made with beef, crayfish, corned beef and egg poached in a traditional leaf.
Served with chicken, rice and dodo
10 pieces fried plantains.
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.
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:
|Item||Description||Quantity||Cost per unit (Naira)||Total cost (Naira)||Remark|
|Uber||From home to train station and back||2||3,000||6,000|
|Train ticket||Return Business class ticket||2||5,000||10,000|
|Cab from train station to IITA and back||Private cab return trip to and fro||2||3,500||7,000|
|Accommodation||One bedroom flatlet||3 nights||21,270||82,000||For 3 nights|
|Feeding||At IITA||3 times daily for 3 days||2,500||22,500|
|Touring||Tour around IITA||Daily||5,000||15,000|
|Visiting Ibadan city||Going round Ibadan||One day||10,000||10,000||Mostly covers transportation.|
|Shopping for supplies||Getting essentials for the trip||20,000||Basic travel essentials specifically for this trip. Includes snacks, toiletries, wears, etc.|
|Miscellaneous||20,000||To cover anything else that comes up.|
From this, would you be interested in visiting IITA? Alone or in a group?
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