Thursday, February 23, 2017

Space Lovers - The Discovery of the 7th Exoplanets 💫

I grew up surrounding with arts, travels and space! So my love for the few space stuffs came from my childhood 😀

As usual, Google Doggle caught my attention today with this...
And I could not help but laugh and of course check it out 😂

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is celebrating the discovery of the Seventh Earth-size Exoplanets. So what is an Exoplanets? See the video below: NASA has plans to create tourism opportunities for space enthusiasts to visit Exoplanets...though that is a long...long...long term plan 😁
NASA's mock-up 'travel poster' 😀

Monday, February 20, 2017

Naija Tour Operator - Social Prefect Tours

Last year, on my quest to finding Nigeria Tour Operators, I found Social Prefect on Instagram and I got hooked! 😀 I love the way they show case their tours and how exciting and fun they make traveling look. Last year I wasn't able to go for any of  their tours (Motherhood & work saga 😐 Lol!) But this year, Social Prefect shall not pass me by,o! *fingers crossed* 😀
 Social Prefect Tours 2017 Calendar

Kindly see below our interview with their ever bubbling...ever cheerful, Chiamaka Obuekwe, the Co-founder and CEO of Social Prefect Tours 😂

Q1 - Please kindly introduce yourself.
A1 - My name is Chiamaka Obuekwe also known as Social Prefect. I'm an extremely adventurous person, a passionate travel blogger and tour-guide and a people person. I'm the Co-founder of Social prefect tours

Q2 - Describe yourself in three words.
A2 - Fun, Adventurous and Hospitable

Q3 - Tell us more about your tour operating company. When did you start it?
A3 - Social Prefect Tours is a Nigerian tour operating brand that organises epic group tours, school excursions, corporate retreats and offers tour guide services within Africa and Nigeria especially. We are passionate about African tourism and connecting people. So, it's tourism and networking in one fun bag. We started in 2015.

Q4 - What inspired you to start one?
A4 - I did not really set out to start a tour operating company. All I wanted to do was share my newly discovered passion for tourism with people on my blog. So I opened where I record all my trips, experiences and what not. Then, I started getting requests to start organising trips. People said they would like to join. We saw that as a good opportunity and that was how we started

Q5 - What were/are your challenges in managing your tour operating company?
A5 - The challenges in starting or running a tour operating company are similar to the challenges of running any other type of SME. There are challenges with funding, advertising, staffing, e.t.c. However, there are also some challenges that are peculiar to tour operating businesses and one of them is logistics. Trust me, it's not easy at all. The planning, putting everything in place, coordinating. But at the end of the day it is worth it. Another challenge would be getting some people to trust in the brand and feel that it is worth their money or feel that they will be secure. But usually after the first tour, they get hooked on us as the experience is always more than worth it. If the vendor doesn't come early it's on you and not them. If the hotel has a fault you have to fix it.

Q6 - How many states in Nigeria have you, personally traveled to?
A6 - I have personally been to 25 states at my last count.

Q7 - How many domestic trips in Nigeria have you organized so far?
A7 - We have organized 21 domestic group tours and this does not include our tour-guide service tours, school excursion and retreats

Q8 - Where are your “Must-Travel” destinations for individuals, couples, family, and groups in Nigeria?
A8 - For individuals I'll say almost anywhere from Idanre hills in Ondo to Erin Ijesha Waterfalls in Osun, Ikogosi Warm Springs in Ekiti, Olumo Rock in Ogun and many more. Although I always prefer going in groups. Couples should go for resorts and beautiful environments. We have La Campagne Tropicana Resort in Ikegun, Whispering Palms Resort in Badagry, IITA Ibadan, Green legacy Resort in Abeokuta. For families Badagry Slave Route, Point of No Return, Yankari National Park in Bauchi, Ogbunike Cave in Anambra, Omu Resort Bogije in Lagos, Kajuru Castle in Kaduna, Gurara Waterfalls in Niger, Agodi parks. The tourist destinations for families applies to groups too.

Q9 - Where do you see the Nigerian tourism industry in the next 5 to 10 years?
A9 - I see the Nigerian tourism industry in a great place in 5 to 10 years. And this is because of the private sector. The rise of tour operators and agencies have given birth to a thirst in Nigerian tourism which is growing. People are becoming aware of destinations and are interested in going to those places. I know it will only get better. By the time the government notices this they will have to key into it. And hopefully make the infrastructures and the whole tourism system better. I believe what we'll experience in this sector in times to come would be positive change. I am hopeful.

Q10 - Where do you see your tour operating company in the next 5 years? A10 - We see Social Prefect Tours being one of the top African tour operating companies. Whenever people think of tourism and tourism packages we want them to think of Social prefect tours. We also want to cover more African countries. And work with a lot more reputable corporate brands for their retreats.

Q11 - What is your advice to those who want to start their own tour operating company in Nigeria?
A11 - I'll advice that they should be really passionate first. Because during the tough times, it is the passion for the job that will keep you going. However if you see it just as a money making avenue, you may give up easily when the money doesn't come quickly. Secondly gather knowledge about tourist destinations, attractions and all. Good research and knowledge are skills needed for the job. Then you have to have good people management skills. Because that is basically what the job entails. Be ready to serve as the job is a service oriented one. With these and basic business management skills you are good to go. You'll learn the rest on the job. Also let your brand be unique.

Q12- Please give us your personal experience of how your tour operating company has changed your life
A12 - It has changed my life in various ways. I don't even know where to start. I have met some really amazing and people and even celebrities which I may not have met on a normal day because of Social prefect tours. I'll say our company has garnered popularity and good exposure and this has obviously helped. We've had to do several interviews, tv, radio, print media and digital media and this recognition has been amazing. It leaves me totally humbled. Definitely without Social Prefect Tours, I would not have had all these opportunities. I also get lots of DMS, emails and messages of people telling me how our work inspires them and has helped them. People tell us how our tours has made them happy and make new friends and this is just inspiring. I also meet lots of people at various places and events who walk up to me and say they know me or want to take a picture or just say hi and ask about the tours. It's really beautiful.

Q13- A word or two to our readers
A13 - Keep traveling, keep exploring, keep seeing the world. There is so much out there to learn and explore, don't miss out on these. Also don't be afraid to be yourself. We are all unique. You can start from where you are. Start by exploring Lagos for example then Nigeria, Africa then eventually the world

Check out their website and their blog

Check out some pictures of their group tours.

 Erin Ijesha Waterfalls, Osun State

 Gurara Falls, Niger State
  Mapo Hall, Ibadan, Oyo State

Olumo Rock, Abeokuta, Ogun State

 Indare Hills, Ondo State

Naija Tour Operator - Naija Nomad

I got to know about Naija Nomad from Travel-lover buddy, Kemi Onabanjo. I like their 2017 Calendar and I look forward to going for one this year *fingers crossed*
Naija Nomad 2017 Calendar

Enjoy our interview with the Head Nomad *I like this titled. I smiled when I saw it* 😊 

Q1. Please kindly introduce yourself.
A1. My name is Ayomofe Runsewe, Head Nomad at Naija Nomads. My nomadic adventures kicked off in 2012 during my LLM in London. I found myself in extremely diverse circles from people all over the world. Everyone had an insightful stories about their countries and I got curious. I wanted to see all these places first hand. My very first "out of the way" trip was to Marrakech in Morocco. This trip was a game changer and I haven't looked back ever since. 

Q2. Describe yourself in three words. 
A2. I like to think I'm a lot of things. But if I had to pick three I'll say Creative, Spontaneous and Adventurous 

Q3. Tell us more about your tour operating company. When did you start it? What inspired you to start one?
A3. So my platform really focuses is on encouraging/educating Nigerians on the benefits of seeing the world and we don't really focus on tours. However, our first group trip was in 2015 to Kajuru Castle in Kaduna State. 

The inspiration for starting trips really came from the constant emails we got from people on travel buddy needs. We realized that some people really wanted to travel but didn't want to do it alone. So we thought why not create a platform where these nomads can meet and share their experiences and maybe become travel buddies from there! 

Q4. What were/are your challenges in managing your tour operating company?  
A4. First there is the Nigerian factor of unpredictability. Since most of our operations is outsourced i.e. Transportation, feeding etc, sometimes you are at the mercy of incompetent vendors. Secondly Nigerians are TOO last minute. It's actually ridiculous. You really can't plan anything because 24hours to your trip people are still asking if they can make payment 😂. There is also the lack of infrastructure and horrible customer service at various sites/attractions. 

Q5. How many states in Nigeria have you, personally traveled to?
A5. I've been to 12 states in Nigeria 

Q6. How many domestic tours in Nigeria have you organized so far?
A6. Five (5)

Q7. Where are your “Must-Travel” destinations for individuals, couples, family and groups in Nigeria?
A7. Sigh! This is such a tough question because every state has its own uniqueness to it. For individuals i.e. Solo travellers, I'll be honest Nigeria isn't exactly a solo traveller destination. It's not exactly solo traveller friendly. You kinda have to know someone in Nigeria or have some sort of link before you come down. However if you must come, I'll say come to Lagos. Lagos is probably the most diverse destination in Nigeria. It's the commercial hub and the most vibrant city in Nigeria. And from Lagos you can tour the south west easily. 

For couples, definitely cross river, obudu cattle ranch or they could also try out one of these resorts in Lagos; la campagne tropicana, inagbe resorts, Epe resorts. If they are up for an adventure, they can hike Oke Ado Mountain in Oyo State or Idanre hills in Ondo state or go camping in Omo Forest groove. 

For family and groups, there is Abraka turf and country club in Delta State, IITA in Oyo State, Yankari Games Reserve in Bauchi State or the Gashaka Gumti in Taraba State. 

Q8. Where do you see your tour operating company in the next 5 years? 
A8. Doing big things like having tour guides in all regions within Nigeria. I would like to have a proper booking platform where people from all over the world can book and pay for our tours. People will also have the options for tailored specific trips. 

Q9. What is your advice to those who want to start their own tour operating company in Nigeria?
A9. Just do it! Have a unique selling point and think outside the box. Tour operating companies have been in existence for years so give people a reason to go with you. You need to ensure you give people more than just visiting a place.

Q10. Where do you see the Nigerian tourism industry in the next 5 to 10 years?
A10. Not very far. Individuals are doing their own part and people in the industry have great dreams for Nigeria. But if there is no willingness from the government we can't go very far. For example the roads to an attraction/site need to be motor able and easily accessible to encourage people to visit. The security challenges need to be dealt with. If people don't feel safe they will be reluctant to travel. So until all these measures are put in place tourism is less likely to thrive in Nigeria. 

Q11. Please give us your personal experience of how your tour operating company has changed your life. 
A11. It's been an incredible journey. To be honest I never pictured myself doing tours or anything of that sort. I've meet so many people from all works of life who absolutely love to travel. Some of them have become very close friends of mine. We encourage each other, inspire each other and share our travel stories (good and bad). 

Q12. A word or two to our readers.
A12. There are over 190 countries in the world! Look beyond the UK, Dubai and America and explore other beautiful countries. You'll never be the same after it. Also traveling doesn't have to start from international travel, it can start from domestic tourism. Nigeria is so diverse and you will be surprised how much you can learn from home. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

IGNITE GLA 2017 with the Lindseys

IGNITE 2017 was BEAUTIFUL! I felt God's presence!😇👐 And am sure everyone that attended and truly opened their hearts to receive God's revival would say the same. It was GOD-FILLING!!!! 😇 
People fell under the anointing. 
People genuinely wept and asked God for total revival. 
People received the Holy Spirit and the gift of Speaking in tongues. inclusive, did not leave the same way we came...we were truly revived through God's mercy and grace 😇

One of my favorite Christian couple, The Lindseys, came to Nigeria for the first time and preached their hearts out at the program. On the first day, Heather Lindsey preached on "The Pit To The Palace" where she spoke about how God taught her and her husband to go through life challenges by trusting Him through it all and coming out victorious. While on the second day, Cornelius Lindsey preached on "Don't Let Your Fire Burn Out" where he spoke about keeping the alter of God on fire. He challenged Christians to change by moving away from stagnation and setting their communities, workplaces, homes, e.t.c on fire with the Gospel of Christ.

The music ministrations were powerful! Nathaniel Bassey and Mairo Ese brought down the Holy Spirit with their worship. Flo Rocka made us dance and sing our hearts out to God Almighty. Ighiwiyisi took us through a wonderful worship session. And the Choir of Guiding Light Assembly (GLA), the host church, took us through some spirit filled ministrations. 

The program also had a Panel of four Christian guests who were asked questions sent by the audience, about their Christian faith. The guest that stood out for me was Lynxxx. I have known Lynxxx to be a secular artist, so I was surprised when I saw he would be part of a Christian panel. But it was nice to hear his testimony of how God arrested him which led him to rededicated his life. He now evangelizes the Gospel of Christ to his fans and the world.

I got to meet a few Pinky Promise Lagos sisters who did a great work making the event a memorable one. I also got to buy two of the Lindseys' books, Fighting Together by Cornelius & Heather Lindsey and The Purpose Room by Heather Lindsey. You can order their books here, here and here.

L & M:With my little princess, Shekemi & my sister, Toyin
R: With one of the Pink Promise Lagos Sisters, Tosin Alabi

Naija Tour Operator - Globe Jaunters Nigeria

I am so happy to see more Nigerian Tour Operators pop up and organize interesting Nigerian and African tour packages. This is helping to build both our Nigerian and African tourism industry. I got to know about Globe Jaunters Nigeria through my travel-lover buddy, Kemi Onabanjo's blog.

See below their 2017 Tour Calendar. Also enjoy our interview with the CEO of Globe Jaunters Nigeria 😊

Globe Jaunters Nigeria 2017 Calendar

Q - Please kindly introduce yourself.
A - My name is Bukie Idowu, CEO Globe Jaunters Nigeria – a visa and travel/tour consulting firm in Nigeria.

Q - Describe yourself in three words.
A - Fun, Adventurous, Curious                                                           

Q - Tell us more about your tour operating company. When did you start it? What inspired you to start one?
A - I used to be the go to girl in my former place of work for travel ideas (Visas, filling forms, getaway destinations and flights). My mum used to make sure we filled our visa forms uncountable times with a pencil and then fill the final one with a pen. Hence, I mastered the tricks of visas.

Globe Jaunters was officially launched Jan 2016. I remember saying I only wanted to handle visas but people began requesting for flights and I yielded to pressure (Yes, I was pressured). Our first attempt was a UK visa and she was sooo refused. Even though she didn’t give us correct information, I learnt to do intensive research and get better because these rules change and I have to be on top of my game 24/7/365.

Touring Nigeria has always been in the books, I just didn’t know how to start. I just did and it was a blast. Knowing that there are actually places in Nigeria that people don’t believe exist is truly amazing.

Q - What were/are your challenges in managing your tour operating company?
A - My major challenge would be area boys a.k.a people at the gate of every tour center you go. I am a sucker for planning so I book ahead and conclude and we get there and it’s another story. LOL. Bad roads – Roads are nothing to write home about honestly. Bad opinion of the North – Peoples! Peoples! Peoples! Boko haram is not everywhere. No we will not die if we go to Kaduna or Bauchi. Yes we always go with security.
Q - How many states in Nigeria have you, personally travelled to?  
A - Twelve (12) states

Q - How many domestic tours in Nigeria have you organized so far? 
A - Five (5)

Q - Where are your “Must-Travel” destinations for individuals, couples, family and groups in Nigeria?
A- Kajur Castle (Kaduna), Yankari game reserve (Bauchi), Obudu cattle ranch (Cross River)

Q - Where do you see your tour operating company in the next 5 years?
A - A household name and a go-to for solid and practical advice on places to visit in the world.

Q - What is your advice to those who want to start their own tour operating company in Nigeria?
A - Don’t do it, please don’t do it (Joking)
1. Get ready to be a people’s person. Nothing like “nobody should annoy me”.
2. No matter what comes your way, be strong and always learn from it
3. Be creative and ready to push yourself. Wider imaginations, boldness

Q - Where do you see the Nigerian tourism industry in the next 5 to 10 years? 
A - Hopefully, in a better place. Historical places will be maintained and Nigeria will be booming in the tourism industry. 

Q - Please give us your personal experience of how your tour operating company has changed your life. 
A - I am more organized and I am definitely more patient. 

Q - A word or two to our readers.
1.       Exploring Africa does not mean you are poor!! So many beautiful places to explore at a great price. 
2.      If you are not financially ready to leave Nigeria, explore the beautiful places in Nigeria. 
3.      Not every travel agent wants to cheat you. There are some ticket routes and prices that Expedia cannot get you. 
4.      The North is relatively safe. Nobody will take you anywhere that your life will be in danger. 
5.      If you have been exploring Nigeria, thumbs up. If you haven’t, get to it.