The sun danced along the skies as fingers of its light pierced through the air and race to the earth. The distant skyline blows up in shades of vivid blue hues as the sea kisses and melts into the clouds.
The raging waters run towards the West-African coast in multiple waves and break into series of silvery foams as it crashes upon the sun-tanned sands of the beaches. At a corner of Lekki Peninsula of Lagos city, a new tourist resort evolves, lightening up the recreation cloud of Victoria Island and drawing visitors from the very ends of the massive city.
I stumbled on the resort’s website, studied its location on Google map and decided to go grab a taste of what it has to offer. The resort is called ‘Lekki Leisure Lake‘.
I suspected that there might be too many visitors at the resort on Saturdays, so i planned my visit for Sunday noon. At about 12pm, I pulled up at the front gate of the resort. The road was wide, smooth and sweet; a short wind through the serene streets of the high-brow Lekki area and just about 5minutes drive from Lekki 2nd round about. The resort is nests beside the three-story Vantage Beach Hotel (which initially claimed a part of the new lake resort and used it as a seaside extension of its property).
A young lady blew a welcoming smile at me as i approached the entrance to the resort. “Good afternoon sir… Please buy your gate pass here”, she said. As I paid for the pass, she gave me a brief form to fill and strapped a light but waterproof paper band on my wrist. I strolled into the compound and immediately noticed a set of newly unboxed Go-carts lined up under a shed on the right. I began to imagine myself cruising one of them on a long stretch of compacted beach track. My thoughts were immediately cut short by a sharp, irresistible aroma which seemed to have pervaded the entire ambiance. It rose from a bulging smoke at a big barbecue stand just a few meters ahead, resting beside a half-open building where a number of young people worked hastily at meat slicing, sauce making and potato chip frying, while another person arranged drinks inside fridges.
The big barbecue stand held and turned a full goat, roasting it above a pile of flaming hot coal. My mouth watered, my tummy ached and I longed for a bite of the roasting meat. I quickened my pace and walked past the barbecue stand and a breath-taking view met me. The raging blue sea sprawled far ahead, but has been kept away by a beautiful lake which stretched to my left and right and has dissected the beach into two separate parts. Two horses sauntered gracefully on the far narrow sandy stretch that separated the lake from the ocean, as a quad bike blew a cloud of dust at the horses and their riders as it swept-by on high speed. The bike rider laughed and waved at the horse riders as the cloud settled. He drove to the far end of the lake and turned towards the reception area of the resort where I was. He is apparently one of the resort staffs on patrol. His job is to ensure that the bounds of the resort is free from ‘area boys’.
The sitting area consists of a set of open sheds with rows of neatly arranged tables and benches. There were only a few tourists at the resort at the time. I was glad that my calculation was right. However, everyone looked happy. A woman and her three children wore and buckled life jackets at the top of the lake jetty, while a couple who sat under one of the sheds laughed at their children who had brought toy trucks to play with sands at the beach. Gradually, more tourists swept into the resort as the noon sun soared up in the skies. At the far end of the sitting area, the quad bike race track twisted, turned and bounced through heaps of sand, with boundaries marked with old vehicle tires half-buried in the ground. The lake itself has a sizable jetty which consist of a set of floating plastic boxes strung together in regular structure. Moored at the jetty are jet skis, pontoon boats, bumper boats and pedal boats. Two marine instructors assisted a group of friends into one of the pontoon boats as wind-swept waves
I strode to the ticket booth and purchased a ticket to ride the quad bike. They charge N2000 for three cycles. As I bounced and sprung through the rolling sandy race track, I sighted one of the tourists speeding off into the lake on a colorful Jet Ski. He seemed to have a good handle of the machine. He is probably an experienced jet skier. A subtle pang of jealous caught me immediately. I began to hunger for a taste of what the skier was enjoying. I began to rev up my quad bike so as to quickly finish my three rounds, so much that the machine bounced higher along the track. The quad bike instructor at the end of the track kept waving gestures of warning at me. However, I managed to obey till I finished my rounds.
Although, I wished the ride did not end, the promise of stronger thrill on a jet ski would not let me pay for another round of quad biking. I dumped the bike and dashed down to the ticket boot to buy a ticket for jet skiing. It cost N3000 for fifteen (15) minutes. I quickly bought one hour, took off my shoes, picked and strapped up a life jacket. I noticed there were lots of visitors at the resort already and the queue at the ticket booth was building up. I descended the steps leading to the floating jetty as one of the marine instructors beckoned me to come down and pick the only available Jet Ski at that moment. The instructor who was garbed in a wet swimming suite, gave me a shocking look when he took my ticket and saw ‘one hour’ on it. I smiled and climbed the Jet Ski. He sat behind me and rode with me on my first round on the lake, teaching me the basic controls. I was initially scared of being left alone to ride the machine. The thought of falling of the machine at high speed tugged at my mind. The instructor suddenly slowed down at the middle of the lake, with waves soaring up and down on either side of the ski. He screamed at me to take the control because he was going to jump into the water and swim back to the shore. I stared at him in shock.
“Which kind wahala I come put myself now”, I thought, but quickly controlled myself since nobody forced me to come and Jet Ski; I used my own money to buy myself the fright that now held me captive. The instructor leapt off the Jet Ski and dove into the lake with the adroit stroke of an expert swimmer. I braced myself to the challenge, revved up the Jet Ski and began to sail farther into the lake. I took a turn at the far end of the lake and jerk almost took off balance. It was as if the machine was going to topple. It automatically slowed down at the turn and maintained a good balance. The thrill amazed me and sent a charge of adrenaline flooding through my veins. I caught the fire and began to speed, making sharp turns at the edges of the lake and speeding up till I reached the maximum limits of the speed gauge. The fun was beyond description. It satiated a long-standing hunger for unusual recreation. Other visitors at the resort watched me from the high shores of the lake. They could perceive that I was having the fun of my life. I rode ceaselessly for about thirty minutes, splashing water on other skiers and receiving multiple warning signs from the marine instructors at the lake jetty. After thirty-five minutes, I began to get bored and weak. I thought I was the one rocking the machine; I then realized it was the machine that rocked me. The waiting queue of jet skiers had now increased. I began to wish I had bought just thirty minutes. The other jet skiers who started at the same time I did had already completed their turns and newer skiers had taken turns after them. I began to explore different sitting positions, standing (got warning from the instructors), raising legs etc. Spectators at the lake shores laughed at my antics. It was extreme fun. I finally moored the Jet Ski after riding for fifty minutes. I had enough.
For more information about Lekki Leisure Lake, kindly visit www.lekkileisurelake.com
Later, I met with the management of the Lake resort and had an interesting discussion on the whole project. According to Alexander Adegbola, the General Manager of Optima Leisure Limited- the hospitality company managing and operating the resort, “the vision of the ocean-side lake resort was caught and bred by Mr. Segun Animashaun who is the Managing Director of the company. He saw it years ago and thought it was a great and unique idea for a location as the Lagos beach shoreline.” He explained that most leisure providers in Nigeria puts excessive focus on the refreshment (food and drinking) and entertainment aspects of leisure, while neglecting the activity aspect, which is what the lake resort aims to provide. “Nigeria has a large middle class market which has to be tapped into. We do not believe that high quality tourism and recreation products are meant for the elite class alone, we want everyone to experience what every other person has the opportunity to experience”, he said. He adds that although running a high quality recreation outlet in Nigeria is expensive, the company tries to bring down its charges to lowest possible rates, while not comprising quality. He reiterates the fact that their charges are not elitist. For future plans, he says that they have only opened up the first stage of the lake resort project which is the activity center which features the jet ski, quad bike, pontoon boats, bumper boats etc. He added that they will soon launch the beach buggy with a dedicated track lying along the coast line. The second phase consist of the hub building which is presently under construction. It will contain a restaurant, a conference hall, kiddies’ center, a night club, a sport-themed bar which will feature a blend of arcade games and bar etc. The third phase of the project will feature a water world with water slides, lazy lake and adventure course which will feature about thirty games. Mr. Alexander emphasized the commitment of the company to the lake resort project. “We are here to stay”, he said, “we are committed to maintaining and sustaining the great quality of touristic product we are offering; we have noticed that a lot of resorts in Nigeria start off well and decline overtime, and we have decided to make sure that will not happen in this project”.
As more tourists swarmed the lake resort, the sun began to descend in a slow but steady drift, setting the skies ablaze with golden hues, casting a dazzling strip of glitters across the now golden brown-coated sea, lake and beach below. By-standers at the lake-side paused to admire the wonder, enraptured in adoration of nature’s gracious bequest upon our nation’s coastline.
This article was written by Folarin Kolawole
Founder of Naijatreks, Nigerian-born Folarin Kolawole is a geologist, travel writer and researcher. When not at work, he travels the length and breadth of Nigeria, exploring, taking photos and writing about her numerous hidden tourist potentials. 'Naijatreks' is a product name registered under the Ntreks brand, which is also duly registered by Nigeria's Federal Corporate Affairs Commission. The contents on this blog are re-usable. However, it must be ensured that it is linked back to this blog, and correctly attributed to Naijatreks or the author. Please do not edit, rewrite or commercialize the original works on this blog without direct and written permission from the Founder (Folarin Kolawole). For inquiries and advert placement on the blog, kindly contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.