There is something uncanny about this place. Staring into the eyes of the figures in the pictures, some rulers, some merchants, some slaves; each seem to tell a different story, but you soon realise that they are merely telling you different perspectives of the same story: the era of slave trade.
As you look through the rooms in the Baracoon Cell built by the Brazilians, walk through the items in the Heritage Museum, and place your hands on some of the relics in the Mobee Slave relics museum, you can almost feel yourself transported to an entirely different time in history. From the first story building in Nigeria to the site of the slave market, and walk through the path that leads to ‘point of no return’ at the Gberefu Beach in Badagry, a time machine of sorts truly exists in Badagry. This place is off-route to one of Nigeria’s busiest boudaries – Seme Border which ironically fuels much of Nigeria’s trade with her neighbours to her west.
Some of the people you meet here are actually the relatives of the slaves in the pictures, some are descendants of the rulers. Today, they live freely together and eagerly show visitors the routes walked by their ancestors as they were carried to the place called the “point of no return”. You can almost feel the despair the slaves must have felt as they walked towards the sea to the waiting boats. Walking back from the sea you begin to sense the feeling of adventure the Portuguese and western sailors that first came ashore on this land must have felt as they contemplated their first contact with the natives of this land.
You cannot visit this place and remain the same. I left sombre after my visit to this place, but happy that I saw this place myself. I really do feel I should visit this place again. It provided a good spot to simply stand or sit quietly and contemplate history, the present, and the future. There is also a site one can canoe to for some bird watching, but you’ll need to rise very early before sunrise to get there, here you will find different species of birds.
To write about my whole experience here, I may have to publish a book, there is just so much history to learn here; the first Bible, the first safe in Nigeria (with some cowries still in it), chains and locks used in the slave era, a remarkable store of history is here. Far better it is that one comes to see this place one’s self. It remains almost untouched by the mega urbanisation that has swallowed up the popular and populous Lagos city which is less than two hours drive away. This place embodies a rich history of this country.
Your visit to Nigeria should begin here, since it’s said to be the place the explorers first came ashore on
ground that today is Nigerian territory.
Tour guide services are available. Click here for more information on tour guide services.