Lekki is what comes to mind when someone refers to Lagos as “Small London”. It is that part of the state which has distinguished itself from the rest. Lekki is a city in Lagos State, Nigeria that has over the years being synonymous to class, wealth, everything fancy and top class. Lekki was formerly a slum before the refurbishment that gained it its current reputation.
The area houses some of the finest and most expensive estates in Lagos Nigeria, which are in proximity to business districts like Victoria Island and residential area like Ikoyi. It is considered an abode for the creme de la cream of the society. There is more to Lekki than what meets the eye. This article is considered the Lekki Guide: Things To Note.
History Of Lekki
As earlier mentioned, the present day Lekki was formerly a slum. It is often surprising to hear this considering its status amidst other parts of Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. Before Lekki came to be, there was Maroko. Maroko was a community in Eti-Osa, Lagos State, Nigeria. It was adjacent the present day Ikoyi and east of Victoria Island. Maroko before its demolition in July 1990, was home to low-income earners and attracted migrants from a different part of the country because of its close proximity to commercial areas.
It was the Lagos State military Government, led by Raji Rasaki, during the military regime that ordered the eviction and demolition of the community. According to the government, the community was below sea level and needed to be sand filled. There were also suggestions that the community needed new infrastructures. The whole process cost about 300,000 people their houses. It is regarded as one of the largest forced evictions in Nigeria till date.
More than two decades on and the old Maroko is what birthed Lekki today. However, the Lekki project is very much not completed with Lekki Phase 2 still largely under construction. As at 2017, only the Lekki Phase 1 has been completed.
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Overview of Lekki
Many things might indeed be exaggerated about Lagos, but Lekki being an abode for the high earners is not one of them. Lekki is home to some of the most expensive real estate assets in the country. It is one of the few places that can boast of good road networks in Lagos. The city is west to Victoria Island and Ikoyi district, at its south is the Atlantic Ocean, the Lekki Lagoon to the east, and the Lagos Lagoon to the north. Lekki is an area surrounded by water and it’s not surprising that there are many beaches in Lekki compared to other parts of the state.
Lekki is also known for its serene environment. Unlike other places in Lagos that are overcrowded with people bumping into one another, Lekki is usually quiet; both at daytime and nights. It is home to many of the finest estates in Lagos. Lekki aside the class factor is that it is more secure compared to most parts of Lagos. You could actually go jogging in the morning or take those walks in the evening without the fear of being robbed.
With some of the best schools in Nigeria situated in Lekki, and a considerable amount of various industries in the area, it is not wrong to say it is a planned city in a city – the area is home to several estates; with an airport, a golf course and a seaport under construction.
Another thing to note about Lekki, despite its good road network, is that the area is poorly served by buses and taxis as you would expect in most parts of Lagos. The reason is, however, not far-fetched because it is due to the fact that most residents have their own car. Lekki, formerly being a slum, is essentially planned as a new city to create jobs, ease the chronic congestion in the state and provide accommodation for the growing upper class and middle-class earners.
Popular Places In Lekki
Victoria Garden City – VGC
Victoria Garden City (VGC) was developed in the 90’s and is one of the first gated community within Lekki. VGC is one of the highbrow residential area situated along the Lekki-Epe expressway. Within the estates, the commercial areas are separated from the residential area. The area is approximately 213 hectares and with close proximity to the Lagos lagoon. The residential area is usually quiet as with most areas in Lekki, with a lot of trees beautifying the roads.
The buildings in VGC are mostly duplexes, thereby creating an array of uniform houses. The drainage system in the area is also good and unexposed. As earlier mentioned, it is a gated estate which explains the uptight security at the entrance and exit of the estate. Unlike most cases in other parts of Lagos, where you can just visit someone without prior notice, it is not so here. Visitors have a designated entrance in which they are allowed in, only after they have obtained a visitors tag.
However, before a visitor can be given a tag, the security must have confirmed from the resident they are coming to visit. There are also security checks carried out on vehicles. Aside from the security stationed at the gate, there are also armed patrols within the estate. Due to the uptight security in the area, the crime level is on the minimal. Though there are cases of failed robbery attempts in the area. However, VGC despite its good drainage system is known to be one of the places that usually experience flood in Lekki, especially during rainy seasons or heavy downpour.
The estate also provides green spaces, as well as parks and playgrounds for children to express themselves. All in all, Victoria Garden City is a good place for those who seek comfort, serenity and safety.
Considering the history of how Lekki came to being, it is not surprising that a place like Osapa London has its own bit of history. The area which is approximately 254 hectares is one of the most popular places in Lekki. It is one of those places in Lekki with the most sought-after properties by real estate investors. Before the name “Osapa London”, this area was originally called “Osapa Village”. The name Osapa (Osapa Lolo, in full) means “The Lagoon Is Calm”.
This part of Lekki is located along the Lekki-Epe expressway between the 5th and 6th roundabouts. One of the reasons in which this area has become a hotspot is because of its proximity to Victoria Island which happens to be a commercial area. From Osapa London, it is a 15 minutes drive to Victoria Island and about 35 minutes during peak hours. Osapa as an area is, however, one of those places in Lekki that is not properly planned, with some of its roads still undergoing construction.
There is no central management authority in Osapa London except in the estates which have restricted entries. Some of the streets in the area have good interlocked roads while others have potholes in them. Since there is no central management of the area, the residents put it upon themselves to join resources to interlock their roads. The drainage system in Osapa London is relatively okay, considering the fact that the channels are on both sides of most roads, while some streets don’t have drainages at all.
The latter is common among streets that have not been interlocked. This is also one of the reasons in which this part of Lekki is usually flooded during the rainy season.
Lekki Phase 1
Lekki Phase 1 is arguably the most popular place in Lekki. It is where people often think of when Lekki is mentioned. It is a well planned and mapped out residential scheme by the Lagos state government. The area is now known as Lekki Phase 1, as earlier mentioned in the article, was formerly a slum called Maroko. The demolition of the then Maroko was led by the Raji Rasaki led Lagos State military Government.
Today, Lekki Phase 1, the once upon a time slum, is considered one of the most expensive places to live in Nigeria. Its reputation as the abode of the society’s upper-class earners and middle earners make the area one of the most expensive real estate’s assets in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole. The high demand for properties in Lekki Phase 1 – for both residential and commercial purposes – is, however, due to its proximity to Victoria Island and the Ikoyi districts.
This part of Lekki is a fast growing area and it is not unknown to anyone living in Lagos. Aside from being home to the high earners and ‘big boys’ of the society, it is also known for having lots of recreational and leisure spots. There are also a good number of hotels in Lekki Phase 1. The area is also commercially oriented with lots of business outfits including shopping malls/plazas, boutiques, hotels, restaurants, etc. The recreation centres in Lekki Phase 1 include the Lekki Tennis Club, Lekki Waterside, Fun Factory for Kids, Funtopia Leisure Resort, Funturf, Flamingo gaming, Playbarn for kids among others.
Below are some of the major or popular places and roads in Lekki Phase 1:
Admiralty Way is undeniably the most popular and most important road in Lekki Phase 1. For anyone who has visited or is visiting Lekki Phase 1 for the first time, it is one road you cannot miss. It is the longest road in Lekki Phase 1 that is approximately 70 to 80 kilometres long and links the different parts of the area. The Admiralty Entrance is popularly known as the Lekki bus stop, which is at the 1st roundabout along the Lekki Epe Expressway.
Admiralty Way also places host to some of the biggest investments in Lekki Phase 1 and is home to many businesses such as schools, hospitals, churches, restaurants/eateries, eye clinics, pharmacies, fitness centres, banks, etc., as well as a Police post, postal service, and fire station. The road also lives up to its reputation as it is home to many relaxation lounges such as Sailors lounge; which is the first floating bar in Nigeria, Bay lounge, etc. Also, Admiralty Way is host to some of the most popular hotels in Lekki Phase 1.
Freedom way is another popular place in Lekki Phase 1. The road is off-Admiralty, at the end of Admiralty way. This the road that leads to the 3rd roundabout of the Lekki–Epe Express – Ikate bus stop. Freedom Way is also host to the popular Dome Church. Freedom Way like other places in Lekki has its fun spot, it is also has its fair share of hotels in Lekki Phase 1.
Adewunmi Adebimpe Drive
Adewunmi Adebimpe Drive, popularly known as Maruwa Bus stop, is located at the 2nd roundabout. This street also links to several parts of Lekki phase 1. At the end of the drive is a T-junction; the right of the junction leads to the Lekki Central Mosque and the 3rd roundabout – Ikate, while the left leads to Dowen College Lekki and Admiralty.
This place is also important because it is often used to manoeuver traffic jams on the Lekki-Epe Expressway. Mobolaji Johnson Place – an estate which served as a military guest house in the 90s – is located along this drive.
Lekki Phase 2
Lekki Phase 2 is the second scheme of the Lekki project in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria. Lekki Phase 2 like the Lekki Phase 1 is a residential area mainly inhabited by the high earners of the society. Though this part of Lekki is yet to be completed unlike the Phase 1, it is still renowned for its ultra modern and expensive real estates.
It is located to some of the best beaches in Lagos state like the Lekki Beach and Elegushi Beach. It is also in close proximity with Victory Garden City which is just about 4 to 5 minutes away. The area is also home to several shopping malls that are present within and around Lekki Phase 2.
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Important Tips To Consider In Lekki
Best Time to Visit Lekki
One of the important tips to consider about Lekki is rather more like a question: when is the best time to visit Lekki? You might probably want to visit this part of Lagos and don’t know when it’s best to make that journey. Inasmuch as there are guides to when to visit, they all boil down to the purpose of your visit. The best time to visit this part of Lagos for recreational purpose is March because the weather is best for swimming in the seas during this time of the year.
For business purpose, February and December remain the best times to travel because there is no rain during this period and the city experiences temperate weather. However, you are guaranteed non-stop fun no matter the time, day or week you visit Lekki. If you are visiting Lekki to mingle or network, the best time for this is Friday nights or weekends. Most fun spots in Lekki are packed during this times.
Lekki Is Not For The Faint Pocket
No matter the number of times you say this, it cannot be overstressed. Lekki is on a level of its own and it is not for the faint pockets. Lekki and its environs have a reputation for being the go-to place to live for the high earners of the society. It is arguably home to some of the most expensive real estate assets in Lagos. The cost of living in Lekki is also notably high compared to other parts of Lagos.
The city, however, is not out of reach for those who want to enjoy themselves and can spend. With its simple, classy and serene environment, visitors are bound to have fun in the area as there are a number of fun spots to go. Lekki is home to some of the best beaches in Lagos, with a bubbly nightlife as music shows are held in the area frequently.
How People Get Around Lekki
Though Lekki is for the high earner, this does not mean everyone in the area owns a brand new SUV or a personal vehicle. So, with or without a car of your own, there are various means of transportation for getting around Lekki. You can decide to take a cab/Uber, a bus (Lekki shuttle) or a motorcycle (Okada). The choice of transportation, however, depends on your preference and budget.
Since walking is not really a good option depending on the distance to your destination, you are likely going to consider one of the options mentioned above. The best option to get around Lekki is to take a cab. It is the most convenient means to move around the area. It is also a good way to blend in. The downside of this option is that it is more expensive when compared to other means of transportation. The cabs can be found at any cab parks or you can just wave an empty cab along the road. Another option is taking Uber. It is widely known that Lekki is a high brow area in Lagos State, and in order to blend into the lifestyle, the inhabitants prefer to use the Uber for its comfort and style.
The buses (Lekki Shuttle) are also another popular option of getting around the area. It is, however, advisable that you know the nearest bus stop to your destination to avoid losing your way. Motorcycles are also available for moving around within the neighbourhood.
The average cost of transportation in order to get around the area is greatly depending on the distance of the journey. However, below are some of the likely estimations:
Buses range from N100 to N350
Keke Napep range from N50 to N150
Okada range from N100 to N400
Cabs and Ubers range from N1000 to N7000
Things To do in Lekki
There are definitely a thousand and one things to do in Lekki. So, the idea of getting bored of what to do while in Lekki is actually not a problem. From shopping malls, resorts, clubs, restaurant, beaches, the city is the perfect entertainment hub for its visitors. You are always guaranteed a place to go or thing to do.
Nike Art Gallery
For an art enthusiast in Lekki, you probably want to find your way down to the Nike Art Gallery. It is a five-story art gallery. It is arguably home to the largest art collections on the continent. The best thing about this place is, it is actually free to explore the gallery. You can enjoy the diverse collection of artworks, textile museum and occasional art exhibitions. The gallery is open to the public from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. The gift store of the gallery is loaded with souvenirs from Nigeria and across Africa that you can always buy.
Walk on the Sandy Beaches in Lekki
What is a visit to Lekki without experiencing its beaches? Being a coastal city, it is home to numerous beaches and resorts. Some of which include the Elegushi Royal Beach, Eleko Beach, Atican Beach, and Oniru Beach. This is one of Lekki’s selling point as visitors come to experience the beach life. So, if you are looking for a perfect getaway place, you can’t go wrong by choosing any of the beaches as they are also pocket-friendly.
Enjoy Nature at its Finest at the Lekki Conservation Centre
The Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) is one of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) foremost conservation project site located on the renowned Lekki Peninsula. LCC covers a land area of 78 hectares. The idea of the LCC was to protect wildlife in the area in the face of sprawling urban development. The LCC has a lot of interesting places you can visit and things you can do, some of which include; Tree House, Nature Station, Bird Hide, Swamp Lookout Station, Rotunda, 96-Seater Gazebos, Koi & Tilapia ponds, Beach Volleyball courts & Spectators’ pavilion, Barbecue joints, and gym facilities.
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Where to Shop in Lekki
There are also lots of options for you if you intend to shop in the area. The popular Palms shopping mall is located in the area as well as other malls like the Centro Lekki Mall, Funderland Mall among others. There are also large markets in Lekki City that are worthy of mention such as the Lekki Arts and Crafts Market, the Jakande Market, and the Lekki Market.
Where to Eat in Lekki
If there is one unique thing about every part of Lagos, it is that you can always find a place to eat. Lekki is no exception as there are lots of options for you to choose from. Whether you are craving for junk food, local or international dishes, the city boasts of a number of places you can have a good meal. The average cost of the meals in the area depends on what you are eating and where you decide to eat from. For the local restaurants (bukka), the average cost is N350, while a meal at a cheap restaurant is around N2000 and about N7000 for the fancy restaurants.
There you have it; the Lekki guide: all you need to know. Kindly share your experience(s) with fellow PropertyPro.ng readers.