At the beginning of the year, I made a bucket list of places in Nigeria that I wanted to visit this year, and I am happy to be kicking that off with Akwa Ibom State.
I was so excited about traveling to Akwa Ibom that I created a whole itinerary long before I had any means to. So, when my partner offered me a travel opportunity this month, it was easy to decide where to go.
Another thing that helped me choose to visit Akwa Ibom was that it had a beach, and we were both dying for a beach experience.
Booking an Accommodation
Finding a nice place to stay was tricky because we wanted to cut down on budget from lodging while getting a good value because other major costs (like transportation) would be fixed. Secondly, we wanted our hotel to be close to the places on our itinerary, but these places were so far apart.
Since the beach was the highlight of our trip, we decided to go for a hotel closer to the beach and find a way to squeeze in other activities the next day before returning.
We contacted one of the most affordable hotels I found on Google Maps with a fair rating, and discussed bookings with them, although we didn’t pay until we got there in person.
Traveling to Akwa Ibom from Owerri
We planned to leave Owerri at 7 a.m. to get to Akwa Ibom early enough for the beach.
My brother, who recently moved to Eket and was also traveling from Owerri later that morning, informed us that the fastest way to get to our hotel was by traveling to Aba first, then boarding a direct bus to Eket from there since there wasn’t one in Owerri.
We were skeptical because we wanted something other than the back and forth. Still, it seemed like the only reasonable option since whatever time we would save by traveling from Owerri to Uyo (the capital city of Akwa Ibom), we would lose by getting on another bus to Eket. I was also uncomfortable with the idea of a layover in a foreign land. We finally decided to fly with the Aba idea since I already knew every nook and cranny of the town.
At 7:30 in the morning of our departure, we took a bike to FUTO junction, and the bike broke down several times on the way, which was a bad sign. Since we didn’t pay with cash, we were already committed to this bike. We endured the ride to our destination.
From FUTO junction, we hopped on a bus to Owerri, and the unfortunate driver took a very long route to deliver one tiny Dettol to a woman. I was vexed to the point of an explosion, but I faked calmness when I saw the rest of the passengers didn’t mind.
The bus finally reached Amajieke, Owerri, at about 9 a.m. We were going to my usual bus park when a man approached us and tried convincing us to join his bus. After some persuasion, we agreed to travel with them, and our day took a downward spiral from there.
When we got to the park, I discovered it was a Sienna, which was a major turn-off for me because the seating arrangement is usually very tight. Secondly, the price was unreasonably higher than regular buses. I was about to turn my back on them when the driver told us that he would carry three passengers per seat, and there was one person left for the bus to get filled up. He also said he would accept transfers. We were sold at these and headed over to their preferred POS agent to make payments.
We entered the bus and settled in. We waited for one last passenger for over an hour. Buses loaded and left, and our one passenger did not come. We got hungry and bought snacks. I knew I was looking for trouble because my stomach wouldn’t accept what I was about to feed it, but I didn’t have many options, and the day couldn’t get any worse than a stomach ache.
Shortly after, one last person joined in, and we breathed a sigh of relief. However, the bus still didn’t leave, and the driver was entirely out of sight. When he returned, he was still waiting for more passengers, meaning he was never carrying three passengers per seat. Everyone at this point was frustrated, and we took it all out on him until he decided to begin the journey like that.
Five minutes into the trip, the passenger who joined us last pointed out that she was going to Onitsha! And there went our excitement. We reversed course and headed back to the park. She was transferred to a bus to Onitsha, and we waited again for one last passenger.
Finally, we could leave Owerri without any more obstacles in our way. We got to Aba an hour later and headed to AKTC Park for a bus to Eket.
The day only got worse from there, and I wrote all about it in this second part of the post. Please subscribe below to get notified when I publish new posts on the blog.