Thursday, July 30, 2015
By Wuraola Ogunsanya
Semi-finalists of the Fayrouz L'Original Expression Show will not forget their trip to Calabar, Cross River, in a hurry. From the 19th to the 21st of June they stayed in the beautiful city, and the premium natural drink from the stables of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Fayrouz gave the semifinalists and judges an unforgettable experience.
Right from the Margaret Ekpo Airport, the city of Calabar unfolds into a scenic layout that resonates the state's slogan 'The Nation's Paradise'. Being a coastal city, it exudes a serene ambience with its aquatic and vegetation elements. The streets are lined up with trees on both sides and the grass are neatly arranged as if it's constantly combed. Also, Calabar takes pride in its unique culture. A copious evidence of this is the way the Roundabouts are designed with traditional artifacts. For instance, the 8 Miles Roundabout has a big signage that welcomes guests to the city. The Harbour Junction which links to the Muritala Mohammed Highway also have sculptures of the popular Ekpo Masquerade, the earthenware pot among others.
The contestants' first adventure of the city was at Tinapa Resort where they were lodged at the Tinapa Lakeside Hotels. Tinapa is a beautiful haven that was initiated by former governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke. It is about 20-30 minutes drive from the airport. It is surrounded by a rich rubber plantation and located within the Adiabo district.
It has a breathtaking landscape and occupies a vast expanse of land for business and tourism. Facilities in this oasis of paradise include the movie production studio commonly called Tinapa Studio but is currently occupied by EbonyLife TV. There are also emporiums for shops, warehouses and exhibitions. There is also the Event centre where the semi-final of the fashion show took place. Although, there is a dearth in business activities in the resort, the resort still retain its entertainment and leisure facilities. Behind the Tinapa Lakeside Hotel is an artificial lake that links to the Calabar river . The spectacular lake can be viewed from the restaurant of the hotel, providing its guests the beautiful splendour of nature. One can also see the state of the art International Conference Centre (ICC) from the hotel. In fact, the two structures are separated by the lake and there are boats to convey one from the hotel to the ICC which is still under construction. It was at the International Conference Centre that the swearing-in of the new governor of the state, Ben Ayade took place. The swimming pool of the resort is a few walking distance from the hotel. The contestants had fun playing games and swimming at this leisure spot on Monday before their departure.
On Sunday, the Fayrouz team took the contestants on a mini city tour. The contestants visited the Marina Resort, another spectacular architectural design of the city. The resort houses a museum where there are relics of re-enactment of slave period. While the museum was closed at the time of this visit, the tour guide regaled the contestants with the harrowing history of the slave trade. Little boats and ships being pulled by tugboats were seen on the water while the vegetation lining the Marina poised like a shield against the Atlantic ocean. Also at the resort are the Film House Cinema, a mini Amusement Park and hang-out zones for tourists to revel in. Perhaps, the most distinctive feature of the Marina is its scenic layout and serenity. The landscape is beautifully designed and adds splendour to the elements of nature in view. The contestants could not resist the temptation of taking selfies and wefies at this stunning resort.
The Marina Resort also shares the same vicinity with the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. There is also the Millennium Park where the tree-lighting ceremony of the annual Calabar carnival holds. It is also at this place that longest national flag is situated. Surrounding the park are relics of slave trade and war heroes of the city. Popularly called the finger park or love garden by the locales, a beautiful sculpture of the human hands facing each other is set at the middle of the park. Situated close to it is its equivalent: a sculpture of a chained feet. Behind the Marina is the tallest building in the city Okoi Arikpo House. This is also the secretariat of the Cross
River State Tourism Bureau and the Carnival Commission and the Cross River State Export Promotional Council.
From the Marina Resort, the team proceeded to the National Museum where they were further regaled with the history of Calabar. The building was formerly the old presidency building in the pre-colnial days. This store of history has on display relics of the slave trade, old currencies, traditional artifacts like the fishing boat, the old election ballot boxes, the first telegram, mail sack, the old building structures of the city among others. On its walls are pictures of past rulers and other historical facts like the Scramble for Africa, and even pictures of brides in the fattening room. There is also the museum shop where souvenirs, clothes, beads accessories are sold. At the entrance of the museum is a small hang-out zone called the museum village. Drinks and local delicacies like the barbecued fish and roasted plaintain garnished with local spices and vegetables are sold.
At the hotel, the contestants had the pleasure to sample some of the delicacies of the city like the popular Afang soup and Edikaikong soup. There is also Ekpang Nkukwo, a meal made from grated cocoyam, water yam, cocoyam leaves and periwinkle.
Although, they had limited time to explore the city, they had a swell time in Calabar. "I wish we could stay more here. It's such a beautiful city and I like the fact that they preserved their culture." commented one of the contestants.
Bringing the contestants to Calabar is another way the brand Fayrouz is reiterating its commitment to celebrate creative talents in the industry and as well as promoting tourism in the country.
Through its Fayrouz L’Original Expression Show, the brand provides a platform for young undergraduates and fresh graduates with unique creative abilities to showcase their original works for a chance to win amazing prizes and opportunities. The contestants are in teams made up of a model, photographer, fashion designer and make-up artiste. They were required to put together original ensembles. About 453 youths applied and 134 auditioned for this year's edition in the various regions.
The Senior Brand Manager Fayrouz, Nnenna Ifebigh-hemeson stated that, "The Fayrouz L'Original Expression show is all about rewarding creative young adults. We understand that our youths have amazing talents in the creative industry and choosing fashion and style, we want to encourage these youths to express themselves in all originality and creativity."
She continued: "Bringing them to Tinapa, Calabar is a way of creating the right ambience for them to harness their creative skills. Tinapa Resort has breathtaking views and scenery where the teams can have their photo sessions and at the same time revel in the wonderful works of nature in this city. Moreover Fayrouz is all about natural elements and Tinapa resonates this in its rich vegetation, the lake and of course, its terrific landscape."
Team Meddlelane and Team Hai will compete in the finals which will hold next month in Lagos to clinch the coveted cash prize of N4 million.
By Jimoh Babatunde
Nigerian youths travelling to Israel as part of the maiden youth pilgrimage have been urged to tap into the innovative spirit of the country in the area of agriculture and to remain eternally grateful to God for the opportunity that has been provided for them to encounter God in the Holy Land.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Dogara Yakubu, who gave the charge while flagging off the maiden youth pilgrimage in Abuja Monday said that pilgrimage is a life changing experience with a lot of spiritual benefits attached to it.
Dogara noted that Israel is the most productive in terms of its agricultural achievements. Thus, urged the intending youth pilgrims to open their minds and learn from the innovative spirit of Israeli through the skill acquisition programme that has been designed for them while in the Holy Land.
He used the opportunity to call on the youths to resist every form of temptation that would hinder them from enjoying the full benefits of the pilgrimage exercise but should rather do everything possible to be worthy ambassadors that would make Nigeria proud and portray her image in good light to the outside world.
The Speaker commended the management of Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission for the manner in which they have brought great glory to God and the nation through their hard work, commitment and resilience in ensuring successful pilgrimage exercises, loaded with so much spiritual contents.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mallam Mohammed Bukar, commended NCPC for their hard work, commitment and excellence, adding that the government will continue to support the commission’s drive towards self sustenance.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, Mr. Kennedy Opara encourage the intending Youth Pilgrims to pray for Nigeria and the President, even as they ask God for their individual desires.
He explained that in addition to the spiritual content of reconnecting them to the Lord Jesus Christ, they would undergo some skill acquisition trainings that would enable them become employers of labour.
Mr. Opara urged the youths to go with a clear objective of what they intend to achieve from the pilgrimage.
He urged them to be good ambassadors of Nigeria. In his words, “You are seen as Nigerian youth ambassadors, you are the image of our country as worthy citizens of Nigeria; seize this opportunity to portray Nigeria in good light.”
The NCPC boss charged the intending youth pilgrims to stay out of trouble but rather have an encounter with God that would affect their lives and the lives of other Nigerian youths on their return. In his words, “allow God to use you as agents of change.
By Jimoh Babatunde
Kano state government has promised serious investors in the hospitality sub sector of the tourism industry ready to build five star hotels in the state of free land and other benefits.
The state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, disclosed this in Kano while receiving the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, who led the management team of the agency to pay him courtesy call at his office .
“ We are willing to partner any serious investor that want to build a 5 star hotel in the state to help boost its tourism and commercial potentials of our state. The state government will give free land for that purpose.”
Abdullahi Umar Ganduje added that the state population is the highest in the country, which is part of tourism attraction, “because you need the people, you need business, you need trade and whatever you do, you need people to patronize whatever you do.”
Kano, he maintained, boasts of several attractive sites like the over 500 years old Kurmi market, while the Kano Zoological Garden which recently enhanced and stocked, as well as the new zoo established along Zaria road are excellent sites for tourism attraction.
While maintaining that the people of the state are culture - minded people who traditions and historical sites entail huge potential for tourism, he said despite the exposure of Kano citizens to the outside world, especially long-term interaction with Europeans and Arabs, the people of Kano have not discarded their culture and tradition.
"You would not see any cultural incursion in Kano because the dominance of Hausa Language is beyond the borders of the state and that assisted in protecting the culture of Kano people.”
The governor then invited the NTDC boss to attend the forthcoming Edil Kabir Durbar in Kano so that she and other dignitaries that would accompany her would better appreciate the rich cultural heritage of the Kanawa.
On her part, the NTDC Director - General, Mrs Sally Mbanefo said she came to Kano with some investors to see how they could partner with the government in promoting the state’s prestigious tourism sites, with the view to contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
Mrs. Mbanefo lamented that although Nigeria is the giant of Africa, it is at the lowest level in contributing to GDP, which is just four percent, while countries like Kenya are contributing over 15 of their GDP through tourism sites attractions.
She noted that Kano Durbar is rated as best in the whole world, assuring that NTDC would do its best to promote it.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Destinations for children during summer break
The best family memories are made during holidays and on exciting journeys. Here are things to do with your kids this summer holiday or before they go back to school in September. Some you can do over a weekend in your own city, others will take some serious saving and planning on your part.
Here are some of the tourism destinations for kids in the country .
HAVE A PICNIC
Children love a picnic, even when you are having it in your own backyard. Luckily you don’t have to look far for an ideal setting, La Campagne Tropicana Beach resort offers an ideal setting for a memorable family picnic.
The resort located in Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State offers a unique blend of natural environments which include a fresh water lake, accessible mangrove forest, a savannah, extensive sandy beach and the warm Atlantic sea.
The kids can partake in activities like hiking, hunting, horse riding, canoeing, ocean water fishing, aqua aerobics, beach volleyball, and soccer.
Lekki Conservation Centre: The Lekki Conservation Centre, LCC is a conservation initiative to protect wildlife found in southwest coastal environment of Nigeria in the face of sprawling urban development. This 21-year-old conservation education centre has continued to attract both local and international interests.
The Centre has served, as an education and resource centre to varieties of group’s majority of which are schools and tourists. The nature reserve traverses a mosaic of vegetation types, namely: secondary forest, swamp forest and Savanna grassland.
A trail boardwalk was constructed in 1992 to the enrich tourists/visitors view of the vast resources of the nature reserve which is encapsulated on a mangrove terrain. The trail stretches a length of 2 Km. some of the side attractions along the trail are swamp outlook, bird hide, rest stops and the tree house.
The swamp outlook affords tourists, especially nature lovers’ mouth watering opportunity of sitting back to beyond aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem interaction. On the other hand, the bird hide enables avid bird watchers snipe at unaware avifauna that are wading through the pool overlooked by the hide or foraging within the vicinity.
The tree house is one of the most fascinating features one can ever come across in an ecotourism zone. The tree house, stylishly seated on a stout dawadawa tree (Pakia biglobossa) rises above 25m. A well protected ladder is ruggedly mounted behind the tree to enable nature enthusiasts reach to tree house to savour the panoramic view of the tree canopy.
The rest stops as the name implies serve as rest points and picnic site for small groups of visitors. They are located at about 250m apart on the nature trail boardwalk.
At the end of trail boardwalk seats the nation station. The nation station is a recreation island in the middle of a forest. It has a semi-enclosed block structure containing the indoor picnic facilities and conveniences. The outdoor has outdoor game facilities mostly for children.
Semi-finalists of the Fayrouz L’Original Expression Show will not forget their trip to Calabar, Cross River as the contestants were taken on a mini city tour recently. The contestants visited Tinapa Resort where they were lodged at the Tinapa Lakeside Hotels. The resort has a breathtaking landscape and occupies a vast expanse of land for business and tourism. - See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/07/destinations-for-children-during-summer-break/#sthash.LMpEaZbd.dpuf
Obudu Mountain Resort in Cross River State nestled at the top of the mountain the Obudu Mountain Resort is situated on a plateau at 1576 meters above sea level on the Oshie Ridge of the Sankwala Mountains.
The temperate climate offers a total contrast and welcome respite from Africa’s tropical heat. Idyllic tranquility, beautiful scenery and breathtaking views make it ideal for the lone adventurer, families on reunion, young couple or holiday group.
The food and beverage offering is found in the Terrace Restaurant and Bar with a cozy and relaxing atmosphere made complete by the blazing log fire. National and international cuisine is guaranteed to suit all tastes and the healthy appetites from a day’s nature walk or round of golf.
The resort provides accommodation in the form of African round huts and chalets on stilts maximizing the breathtaking views.
It also offers self-contained suites varying in size from the 2-bedroom Governor’s Lodge with its own lounge/dining room and kitchenette to the 20 Mountain Villas, each with three bedrooms, lounge, dining room, kitchenette and balcony.
There’s a fully equipped gym, two floodlight tennis courts, a squash court and a natural swimming pool. Keen golfers can show their prowess on the hotel’s 9-hole golf course.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/07/destinations-for-children-during-summer-break/#sthash.LMpEaZbd.dpuf
Thursday, July 9, 2015
By Jimoh Babatunde with agency reports
It is not for nothing that The Gambia is known as the smiling coast of Africa because as a tourist destination it sure offers visitors all sorts of attractive and fascinating options to explore the best of the leisure world, leaving them with exciting and pleasurable memories.
Flourish Wellness Resort is one of its top rated hospitality properties, a luxury boutique property, which besides its leisure appeal, is classified as Africa’s number one wellness and health resort, as it offers patrons premium wellness facilities and services while basking in the euphoria of its well crafted facilities and professionally delivered services.
For the Marketing Manager, Mr. Arafang Saine, the resort is a class act, which is designed to give first class treatment to patrons with discerning taste, particularly the high-end client desirous of private and exclusive treat.
According to him, the resort, which has Nigerian ex-international football player, Kanu Nwankwo, as its ambassador, cherishes its patrons and is devoted to attending to their needs at all times, hence the resort is highly rated when it comes to personalised services.
“No matter how sophisticated your taste is, how well-travelled or exposed you are, Flourish Wellness Resort is designed to meet them and encourage you for a repeat visit,” said Saine while making a pitch for the resort.
Located in a beautiful, naturally alluring landscape and nestled against the ocean in the Kotu area of Banjul, the resort offers 40 exclusively furnished deluxe suites, all offering good view while enjoying rich décor and amenities such as free high speed WIFI and entertainment centre among others.
The exclusive suites offer expansive and aesthetically inviting living rooms with large and beautifully furnished bedrooms with inbuilt wardrobes while you have the luxury of enjoying a free walk to a private veranda or balcony to relax and explore nature and bathe under the canopy of stars.
Given its luxury nature, it delights patrons with fascinating restaurants with rich aesthetics and appealing sceneries on display at its two terraced restaurants where rich continental and African menus are served. There are two bars offering cocktails, beverages and wines from Flourish’s cellar, and a juice bar where guests can pick from 50 locally brewed fruits.
As a resort which places high premium on wellness, eating healthy food is a major concern as it offers dedicated healthy diets.
Offers a number of fitness and sports facilities, ranging from tennis to beach volleyball, and for golf enthusiasts there is a lush green Fajara 18-hole golf course, which is located 15 minutes away from the hotel.
Its wellness facilities and offerings are regarded as top range with its Ayurveda spa services leading the pack.
If you are seeking to maintain a healthy regime, with a trendy look, lose weight and cleanse your system or have a detox and eliminate stress as well stay young then this is where you should visit to experience their prized services as the resort is designed to be the ultimate getaway for a wellness retreat for adults, promote relaxation and inspire rejuvenation and overall well-being while encouraging a change of life style.
Ayurveda spa offers include whole body wellness retreat, which improves wellbeing and healthy life style; stay young and healthy (Anti-aging) retreat, designed for those aged 55 and above – as it is to keep them looking young and trendy; cleanse detox de-stress retreat, ideal for those seeking an escape from hectic and stressful lives and to experience the benefit of a holistic treatment programme; and then there is the healthy weight loss retreat, which is geared towards sustainable weight loss.
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/07/flourish-wellness-resort-redefining-leisure-in-gambia-2/#sthash.Z3xXtm1Y.dpuf