“Nigeria Isn’t Ready For Tourism”- Amarachi

Amarachi of travel with a pen

My quest on becoming an outstanding travel blogger forced me into doing a lot of terrific things, chief of which was consuming contents (esp. blog posts) from fellow bloggers in the same niche home and abroad. While I would later let go of some for lack of depth and quality, I stuck with a few for the consistent accumulation of same and that’s exactly where Amarachi falls.

Aside her amazing personality which permeates via my computer or phone’s screen whenever I follow her chronicles, her unique method of narrating her adventures too is another trait of hers which won me over.

Being a huge fan, I reached out to Amarachi, inquiring if  she could share with me and my audience a few things I’ve always wanted to know about her, her blog and lifestyle. To my amazement, she wasn’t just prompt with her response, she also took her time in doing justice to even questions I thought she’d stylishly dodge.

Enjoy!

1. What prompted you into travel blogging?

Travel blogging started as a medium to document my travels for friends and family. I wanted them to be able to follow my adventures somehow. Slowly, the blog began to grow and I saw how I could contribute to shaping the mindset of the average Nigerian and hopefully inspire them to travel and explore differently.

2. You’ve done almost all continents here on earth, how on earth did you
find the time and money to do this?

 Amarachi of travel with a pen

I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the earth but I hope to visit all someday. As for money: I have a day job and I am able to save up over time for trips I need to take. I also cut down costs here and there and take multiple destination trips. As for time, we all make out time for what’s important to us. I have a fixed set of vacation days a year and I try to take them around public holidays. This gives me longer time to enjoy my travels.

3. You take really good pictures also, what would you say is responsible
for that?

Constant practice and lots of patience. I also own a fairly good camera, so that helps as well

4. Where are those 3 places you’d want to revisit and why?

1. South Africa (Cape Town): I had a great time during my last trip and the city is so beautiful.
2. Italy: Also a very beautiful country with lots of beautiful cities. I would love to go back and explore as many as I can.
3. USA: I think I didn’t do the US justice the first time I visited. I’d like a do over!

Amarachi of travel with a pen

5. What do you think is responsible for Nigerians lackluster attitude towards traveling?

When it comes to travelling within Nigeria, let’s face it, it’s a tough terrain to explore. From lack of information to bad roads, transport services and lackluster sites, there’s very little motivation to explore Nigeria. I also think that a lot of people are fixed on certain destinations and believe that travel is always expensive. Part of what my blog does is to dispel this myth and encourage Nigerians to explore more places on a budget.

6. You once slept in a (male) stranger’s house during one of your travels. What were you thinking? Why did you take such a risk?

There’s really no reward without risks. That applies to travel as well. A lot of people who know me would say that I am very safety conscious and I tend to over-think everything. So Couchsurfing was not a decision I made overnight. As I always advice on my blog, doing your due diligence is a must and so is trusting your guts. I read reviews of people who had stayed with my host in the past and even contacted some of them personally. I also spoke to my host over a couple of days before my trip and felt very comfortable to surf with him.
I agree that couchsurfing isn’t for everyone and if you don’t feel comfortable with it, you don’t have to try it. I also realize that people (read as Nigerians) tend to get a mental picture of what sleeping in a (male) stranger’s house should be like. In the wake of ‘Me Too’ and all the horror stories we read on the media, this is a valid concern but the world is much broader and kinder than it is being portrayed and sometimes, things are just as they seem.
7. What would you say about the level of tourism in Nigeria compared to other African countries?

Nigeria isn’t ready for tourism. Other African countries have put in some level of infrastructure in place to promote tourism within their respective countries, Nigeria hasn’t and doesn’t seem to be interested in doing so. And unlike Nigeria, other countries also have a good backing from their government.

Amarachi of travel with a pen

8. If you were to remain in a country till death comes calling, which would it be?

That’s a bit difficult to choose. Off the top of my head, I might say South Africa (Cape Town), Italy or Nigeria.

9. The weirdest food you’ve eaten in a foreign land.

I haven’t tried that many weird things. I’d say the strangest is Octopus (in France).

10. What’s your Most memorable and regrettable journey since choosing
this lifestyle?

I can confidently say that I have no regrets. I am so glad and grateful for my journey so far and can only look forward to bigger and better things. My most memorable would have to be couchsurfing in Benin. Simply because, it’s just opened me up to so many exciting adventures

11. Advice to aspiring travel bloggers

Do it for passion – I’m sure this has been said time and time again. But that’s what will keep you going when no one reads your blog, or pays you to travel the world. Enjoy what you’re doing. Living in the moment. Find your niche and own it.
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10 COMMENTS

  1. I just came upon Amarachi’s blog as well as yours. As someone who enjoys traveling, I find it very interesting to read the insights and opinions of you two Nigerians regarding travel and Africa. I’ve only been to Africa once (South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia) but I would like to visit West Africa. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks a bunch for the compliments Hilton. It’s interesting to know you’ve visited Africa and would like to come again to West Africa.
      Be assured that I’d be glad to hook up with you anytime you eventually come around.

    • Phillips, I think Africa is very interesting and West Africa has some interesting countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal etc). Thanks for the offer. I’m not sure if I can ever make it to Nigeria but if I do, I’ll let you know. Look forward to more of your writing.

    • Please Come!
      Nigeria is beautiful (I’m slightly curious about your reasons though).
      I’d dedicate one of my subsequent posts to you if you tell me why you wouldn’t want to see Nigeria. Deal?

    • Phillips, it’s not that I wouldn’t want to see Nigeria, but that there are a few obstacles. First, I live on the island nation of Taiwan, which is in East Asia. Flying to South Africa, for eg, requires a transfer to Hong Kong and a 13-hour flight to Johannesburg. Flying to West Africa would take even longer.
      Second, Nigeria is a very fascinating country with a lot of culture and history. However, I’m not sure about the safety or the convenience. Lagos sounds like a very bustling city, but I’ve heard it is a little dangerous.

      I’ve read a good book about Nigeria – https://hcyip.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/looking-for-transwonderland-travels-in-nigeria-book-review/. The daughter of Ken Saro-Wiwa (I think you would know about him) returns to Nigeria after growing up in England and travels around Nigeria to try to understand her country. It’s a very good book but one thing she makes clear is traveling in Nigeria is not easy.

      That said, I think it would be interesting to know what places you would recommend for foreign visitors on their first visit in Nigeria.

    • I now can understand your reasons for not wanting to come. I’d have done same, were I in your shoes. But if you by chance will have a change of mind, Lagos is one of the safest places to be in Nigeria (at least I’m a ‘Lagosian’ who’s spent over 2 decades in it). This is not to take away the fact that there are quite a number of unsafe states in Nigeria.
      Regarding your interest in places to visit, I’d suggest the following:
      1. Idanre Hills: an ancient village in SW Nigeria surrounded by really huge hills
      2. Osun Oshogbo sacred Groove: one of the 2 UNESCO world heritage sites in the country, it’s a groove where the Osun River goddess is usually worshiped.
      3. Erin Ijesha waterfall: one of the most fascinating waterfalls in Africa. It’s unique mostly because it has 7 steps of waterfall which adventurers will have to hike for hours to get to the top.
      4. Kajuru castle too is really an amazing ancient castle up North.

      Hilton, there’s really a lot you’d fall in love with in Nigeria should you decide to come.

    • Phillips, thanks for giving me some good suggestions. I think the Idanre Hills and the waterfall look quite good. In general, I know Nigeria is a big country with a lot of interesting places, so the authorities should try to publicize this better (I trust that Boko Haram is not a big problem anymore?). I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but when it comes to West Africa, Ghana and Gabon have fairly good travel reputations (Ghana for its history, Gabon for its forest wildlife) so perhaps Nigeria needs to its boost its efforts. But Nigeria has a strong literary reputation (Chinua Achebe, Chinamanda Ngozi-Adiche) and that is what realy interests me about West Africa – the history, the literature, and the peoples, not so much the wildlife and scenery.

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