Photos and Feature by Empress K for Reggae Reflection
On the road in Port Harcourt
Traveling to Africa for the first time is quite an experience. Add to that a distance of 5388 miles*1 one way and a time difference of 6 hours ahead of my local time and you realize that this is going to be an quite an interesting journey. My destination for this trip was Port Harcourt in Southern Nigeria.
Travel From JFK to Lagos to Port Harcourt, Nigeria (click on pictures below to enlarge)
Nigeria is one of 16 countries located in West Africa and it shares land borders with the countries of Benin, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. To begin this journey I left my house at 4:00AM ET for my 6:00AM departure to JFK NY. At JFK, I boarded a direct flight of 10 hours to Lagos (the most populous city in Nigeria reporting a current population close to 9million people)*2, then transferred to the Lagos Domestic Airport for a flight to Port Harcourt in the Rivers State. Finally after about 26 hours of elapsed travel time, the plane landed in Port Harcourt about noon local time (6:00 AM ET)! The nickname for Port Harcourt is the Garden City. This is a well deserved description as I observed on the descent into Port Harcourt some of the most lush green landscape that I can recall in any of my travels. December and January are considered the dry season for this region so the weather was as expected – hot and dry with temps in the high 80s / low 90s.
Port Harcourt, the capital of the Rivers state is a bustling port city and key centre for Nigeria’s oil industry.*3 While my sight seeing was fairly limited given my short stay of only two days, I enjoyed taking in the city scenes which included various markets selling all types of goods. The roadways were quite congested during the day with car traffic as well as many people traveling by foot.
City Scenes in and around Port Harcourt, Nigeria (click on pictures below to enlarge)
African Art in Port Harcourt, Nigeria (click on pictures below to enlarge)
It’s Christmas time in Port Harcourt (click on pictures below to enlarge)
Giant Billboard on the road in Port Harcourt
The main event taking place in Port Harcourt was CARNIRIV, an annual week long cultural carnival. CARNIRIV (CARNIVAL in the RIVERS state) is in it’s 5th year and this year was of special significance as it celebrated the centenary anniversary of the city of Port Harcourt.
Shaggy at Carniriv2012
The official opening of CARNIRIV 2012 took place on Monday, 12/10 at CARNIVAL Village hosted at Liberation Stadium, a large stadium which is home to many football (soccer for my US friends! ) matches. The night was complete with fireworks, cultural displays and performances by popular Nigerian acts 2Face, Burna Boy, Duncan Mighty and Scalawee prior to sets by international headliners Patra and Shaggy with the Tantrum Band and special guest singer Rayvon. Shaggy closed out the opening night celebration with over 40,000 fans in attendance making this a night to remember and a great kickoff to the week long celebration.
Patra and Shaggy give outstanding performances on the Opening Night of CarniRiv 2012 (click on pictures below to enlarge)
Early evening fireworks
Just 4 days after my original departure and I was safely home again via London and NY! All in all this was an enjoyable experience for my first trip to Africa not withstanding numerous travel delays which are difficult to avoid and to be expected with this type of travel. Reports are the rest of the week’s events also went very well including an enjoyable Reggae 360 night featuring a crowd pleasing performance by Morgan Heritage on 12/13 and R&B singer Joe was a highlight at the ECOWAS Peace pageant on 12/14 where Miss Zirra Banu from Nigeria was crowned the ECOWAS Peace Ambassador for 2012. Congratulations to Ms. Lexy Brooks, CEO/President of Vip Connected Entertainment for her efforts in organizing another successful year of quality entertainment at CarniRiv. Vip Connected Entertainment is the the largest Caribbean-American booking agency. Link with them on www.vipconnectedentertainment.com for all your entertainment needs.
View more pictures from Port Harcourt and CarniRiv 2012 below.
Port Harcout & Travel Slideshow
Sound Check & Opening Night Slideshow