Travel Guides · April 14, 2018

How to Organize a Beachside Retreat in Nigeria (+ Breathtaking Photos)

Did you know that a good retreat experience is possible in Nigeria? Here is how to organize a memorable retreat for your prayer group, yoga team or friends.

A lot of detail goes into ensuring that travel guests return home with spectacular memories. Some times, we go far away to seek adventure and some times, we travel at home to relax and rejuvenate. One of the best ways to create an experience without going too far is to host a themed retreat. Our TVP Adventures team hosted a yoga retreat with and we had a blast. Here are 10 suggested steps on how to plan an excellent retreat:

  1. Choose a theme and location: 

Photo: Nora Awolowo

You should decide a theme for your retreat before doing anything else. This decision will help you find an ideal location to match the theme and create the agenda for the entire period. In theory, there is an endless list of possible retreat themes. If you are going for a prayer retreat, you might prefer a space in nature that is quiet, relaxed and allows the group pray and worship without interruption. For a girls’ weekend retreat, a beach house or all-inclusive resort will provide access to spas and hot tubs for fun activities. For a yoga retreat, a natural space with picturesque views and open spaces allows for guests to truly breathe while they engage in yoga stretches. In our case, we chose an idyllic glam camping beach property stowed away between Tarkwa Bay and Lighthouse Beach in Lagos. The cabins overlooked the ocean and the tides provided the rhythm that allowed guests fall soundly asleep. You have to know what you want and then find a space to meet those needs.

Our Cabins at Tarkwa Bay. Photo by Nora Awolowo

2. Decide whether to create a partnership:

While you can organize a retreat on your own, good partnerships are great. We brought the trip-planning expertise to the table while our friends at Breathe Yoga Studio handled the yoga classes and workshops. It was a match made in heaven. At TVP Adventures, we continue to master how to design spectacular experiences and it was beneficial for us to focus on what we do well. This partnership ensured that we gave our clients the best yoga retreat experience.

3. Determine the size and design the program:
It is best to limit the capacity of the retreat to create an intimate experience and ensure that the agenda remains easy to handle. In our case, we limited the group size to the capacity of the cabins (our 3 cabins could take a total of 18 people). This size was small enough to handle but large enough for people to make new friends and build interesting interactions. After sorting out the size, we put together an itinerary that allowed for lots of rest time, play time and carefully thought-out yoga classes. We also incorporated games, a bon-fire night, a healthy cooking class and lots of swimming in the ocean. The goal was to relax, eat, play and do yoga so our itinerary reflected that!
4. Stock up on a variety of food:

A retreat can easily become a hit or miss, depending on whether or not there is enough food. You may decided to purchase all your food on the bay (this is the more expensive option with limited variety) or make arrangements with a caterer to supply your meals. For our yoga retreat, we wanted our guests to enjoy a wide range of healthy food options including rice, fish, bbq chicken, fruits, salads and fresh fruit juices. Since our location is only accessible by boat, we took all our fresh fruits and vegetables to the island and then hired an experienced grills-man to take care of our lunches and dinners. Breakfast was fun as we all gathered round the grill, whipping up eggs and toast — camp style.

We stocked up on bottles of fresh juices from Scubed Fresh Juices. We also had fresh plates of jollof rice and fish delivered to us by our caterer. Another food hit was our healthy cooking class where we made a mega colorful and delicious healthy salad. Our goody bags were stuffed with snacks (popcorn, chin chin, sweets and juice boxes) so there was never a down time with food. One thing is certain: we had an ample supply of food and good food makes for a good time.

5. Give room for individual free time:

Some of the best memories come from unplanned moments. It is essential that your retreat plan allows for people to wander off and explore the environment around them. Our retreat was held at seaside cabins, sandwiched between two fascinating beaches — Tarkwa Bay and Lighthouse Beach. This was enough incentive for people to take some time out with new friends, ride horses, take photos (we always take a professional photographer with us on our group trips) and just relax. Some people also took this time to sleep, listen to music or read a book.

Photo: Nora Awolowo

6. Relax and enjoy the ride!

It is so easy to get caught up in the plan that you forget to enjoy yourself. To truly enjoy your retreat, let your guard down and soak in the essence of the beautiful place you find yourself.

The beach is perfect for a retreat. ‘Funmi Oyatogun @ Lighthouse Beach, Lagos. Photo: Nora Awolowo

Follow ‘Funmi’s discoveries, travel stories and guides on Instagram — (@funmioyatogun). You can also book a group tour or a custom travel itinerary with TVP Adventures (@TVPAdventures). ‘Funmi is available for writing or travel expo opportunities.