Popular Ghanaian actress, film producer and singer, Juliet Ibrahim, shares fond memories of her trip to São Tomé with JOY MARCUS
what country did you have your most memorable travel experience? In
I have travelled to many countries and they have all been memorable in one way or the other. However, my best trip was that to São Tomé, the capital city of São Tomé and Príncipe, Central Africa.
When and why did you travel to São Tomé?
It’s been a long time that I travelled there but it was for holidays, work and other events.
Did you travel alone or did you travel with a group?
I travelled alone and it was exciting because I explored the beautiful city which is just 45 minutes by air from Accra, Ghana.
Do you recall some of the things that fascinated you when you arrived at São Tomé?
I was stunned by the beauty of the island. I love nature and I enjoyed touring the city. It was a great experience and I will definitely go back again this year.
How would you describe the culture of the people of São Tomé and what are the things that stood them out?
São Tomé is unique. It is a tourist country and their first language is Portuguese. Inasmuch as they live on the island, they are an extremely happy people and I love how they embrace their culture. I found out that they also produce cocoa, and tourists travel in and out of the city daily. Tourism is a major aspect of their economy.
Did you try some of their local dishes?
Whenever I travel, I try everything traditional because that’s the essence of being a tourist. I tried the local dishes and the one that stood out most was a dish with one piece of banana and fried fish. I was hungry that day; so, I decided to try this particular local dish. It was tasty and I ate it all.
How was the attitude of the people towards you?
They were very receptive and nice. I didn’t have any bad experience during my trips and I thank God for that.
Are they well informed about Nigeria?
They are well informed about Nigeria and Ghana. They listen to our music and watch our movies. Some people even recognised me there and I felt good.
What were some of the tourist sites and attractions that you visited during your trip and did you bring back any souvenirs?
I visited some of their historic sites and the best hotels. I climbed a mountain and I also visited the museum. In all my travels, I have seen that tourism is a major money-spinner for many countries and they do their best to invest in it so that people will keep coming.
Were there downsides to your trip?
There was none. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip.
How would you compare the movie industry in São Tomé to what obtains in Nollywood/Ghollywood?
I can’t make that comparision because every country is different and each has a different target audience.
Which other places would you like to visit?
I would like to visit Maldives, Bora Bora, Greece, Fiji, Spain, Cape Verde, Angola and many other countries.
What advice can you offer to prospective travellers?
Before travelling to any country, carry out research about the place. Don’t rely solely on information provided by your travel agency. Whenever you arrive at any country newly, don’t talk to strangers. If you need more information on anything, ask the authorities or authorised personnel for assistance.
Did you buy any artefact during your trip?
Yes, I did and I still have them.
In terms of security of lives and property, how would you rate São Tomé?
I can’t rate their security system because I don’t live there but I believe that the country is safe.
While you were there, did anything remind you of home?
Whenever I travel, it is for a getaway, so, I try my best not to be reminded of home.
How was the weather during your trip?
The weather in São Tomé is very similar to ours.
Was there anything you saw in São Tomé that you would like to see replicated in Nigeria?
Yes. We need to invest more in tourism. It will really improve our economy and national growth.