I spent my last Saturday in February hanging out with amazing people on the outskirts of Lagos. We all signed up for a tour by Unravelling Nigeria to learn how palm wine is tapped, how ogogoro (local gin) is made and how to have a good old relaxing Saturday.

Our experience began with a ride to a local ogogoro factory in Epe. There, we met Jonathan, the factory owner, who took us on a journey, showing us how the beverage is gotten from the palm tree and distilled to make local gin.

Epe canoes

The tour was fantastic. First, we rode in tiny canoes through the swamps and watched as Jonathan climbed a palm tree so skillfully and swiftly. He made some incisions to the bark and left a can there to collect the sap from it.

Palwine Tapper EpePalm wine

He then took us through the process of making ogogoro in his distillery. First, the sap is turned into large blue drums and left to ferment for a few days. It is then transferred into a large iron container and boiled. Then the steam is condensed and collected for consumption.

Sometimes, it is sold raw and sometimes, ethanol is added to the mix – which has proved lethal in some cases, leading to a ban of its production and consumption by the Federal Government in 2015.ย But obviously, that’s not stopping these guys. And me! Look how happy I am!

Ogogoro be like woman…

Okay, disclaimer: I didn’t try the local gin but still, look how happy you can be just by being in an Ogogoro factory!

Epe Village Hangout…

Anyway, once we were done with the tour, we headed off to a village close by to have a picnic. This was so much fun. We had lots of food, drinks and games and I finally got the chance to taste Kitchen Butterfly’s cooking. It was absolutely delicious! I mean, there’s a reason she’s a top Nigerian chef who has been featured on CNN’s African voices and Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series.

TravelwithaPen X Kitchen Butterfly

We also got customized calabashes (mine had a nipple) and body paintings.

All in all, it was a really good outing and a pretty relaxing and exciting way to spend a weekend in Lagos!

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  1. Thank you Amarachi. I know this is like 3 years after. I intend to make a trip here with a few friends. Do we have to pay a gate fee or pay a certain amount to a tour guide?

  2. Love your picture angles.
    Is the production process illegal, if not, why is the factory hidden in the bushes and why is access restricted by canoes?

    • Thank you!
      Technically, local ‘breweries’ like these are illegal because of reasons mentioned in the post. This particular factory isn’t hidden. You can see it from the main express way and you can get to it without canoes. We rode canoes to watch Jonathan tap palm wine. You don’t necessarily have to do that.

  3. I’ve been wanting to go on this Epe trip since forever. Unravelling Nigeria, can you please plan one during Christmas period? Thank you! That’s all!

  4. Hey
    Beautiful pictures and experience…. Bringing it all to life with your great writing skills. Keep it up. I am also looking forward to visit the mangrove soon. All the beautiful

  5. This looked like fun!
    I love palmwine, the one refered to as Tombo…. Not the ogogoro.
    Kitchen butterfly!! I look forward to eating her food some day.

    • Tombo? Haven’t heard of that before. Is it fresh palmwine or also a by product? Kitchen Butterfly is amazing, and so is her cooking!

  6. Beautiful experience with equally amazing pictures! Have you seen this video of a Naija Delta woman talking about Ogogoro? She said Ogogoro na wetin God give us, e no dey kill person!

  7. I love the photos! Thanks for sharing your experience – it sounds really interesting indeed. I’ll look into visiting a factory the next time I’m in Lagos. Is the one in Epe the only one in Lagos state? How was the journey there? || http://www.lorikemi.com

    • Thanks LK. This isn’t the only factory in Lagos. Probably not the only one in Epe either. I hear there are some in Ikorodu as well. They are family owned, so there must be more. The journey was hitch free as Unravelling Nigeria organized everything themselves. Literally just showed up. The road was smooth too and traffic was light. So pleasant to and fro.

  8. Lagos has so many experiences though. When you think you’ve seen enough, even more amazing things come up!
    I can’t wait to do some of these things, but until then, I will always live vicariously through you.
    Thank you for sharing all that you do Amarachi!

    • Thanks for your comment, Desire. I absolutely agree about the many experiences you can have right here in Lagos and I’m especially grateful for companies like Unravelling Nigeria who consistently bring out unique things for boring kids like us to do within Nigeria.

  9. Would love to try the Palmojito! It’s great that you got to see how Palmwine is made. Palmwine Sessions should be the title of a series of blog posts you post on here.


    • Thanks Madeline. It was a funteresting tour (I made up a new word ๐Ÿ™‚ ) Would definitely love to see how Palmwine is tapped in other places – I’m sure the basis are the same and perhaps what other products they get out of it.