Swiss Tourist, Robin, 24, has been roadtripping WestAfrica for the past 5 months. He took off from his home in Switzerland, crisscrossing Spain by train, hopping on a Ferry to Morocco and meandering his way through Mauritania by bus.
Robin practically visited every West African country on the coast including Libera, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Conakry, Togo and Benin Republic.
He particularly gushed about Guinea-Conakry, how beautiful and amazing it is.
To be honest, I was really stunned when he told me about his odyssey. And I’m not the guy who’s easily impressed. Gosh! This guy’s story and journey is a traveler’s delight. He practically backpacked his way from Europe to West Africa without flying.
A Masters student at a university in Vienna, Robin took one year off to explore Africa. He practically immersed himself in the culture and experience as he journeyed along such that he practically speaks Africanese – dropping “how far?” to everyone who hails him.
Bold and fearless – even though his skin stands him out wherever he goes – Robin couchsurfed with locals in Lagos, ate street food – Indomie and Egg – jammed to our local music, watched lots of Nollywood, attended a church service, explored Fela’s Kalakuta Republic Museum, the Afrika Shrine, and the impenetrable Eko/Idumota Market.
Robin is just one perfect example of a young, curious and thirsty soul, open to know for himself as against the Africa narrative painted by the western media.
Now in Lagos, after experiencing Abeokuta, Oshogbo & Ibadan. For the first time, Robin experienced the best of #ReligiousTourism with the finest African Pentecostal Christian Music, Worship & Word. It was kind of a culture shock for him. Clapping, singing, dancing and listening to the priest amidst a sea of colorfully dressed worshippers.
On his final week in Nigeria, I joined him in exploring the Venus of Africa, the famous city on water, Makoko. It was a surreal experience for him. A floating city of more than 100,000 people on the coastline of the Lagos lagoon, Makoko opened up its arms to Robin, revealing its inner strength, survival and adaptive qualities of such a diverse yet cohesive community.
The children waved, the girls giggled and the old men hailed as we sailed across the streets. We saw the spot where they fetch pipeborne water, the community hospital, school, restaurant, bar, church, mosque, boutique, supermarket, ‘boat port’, carpentry shops, fish processing factories, among others.
For the final leg of his tour, he’s thought of doing Lagos-BeninCity by road…😱 But later ditched the plan due to perceived safety reasons. Earlier that week, a kidnapping and murder incident happened on that route. Despite my reassurance that all is well, he’d rather be safe than sorry.
Robin flew home on August 15. He apparently left a changed man – with a new narrative on Africa. And he tells me he hopes to come back someday – to settle down in Africa – specifically Lagos – as an expat working with NGOs on Development issues.
‘Twas nice having you around Robin. Safe travels.