Recently, some team of aviation writers were taken to Dubai for a 5-day familiarisation trip. ANTHONY AWUNOR who was among the select journalists that attended the event writes about his experiences.

Burj Khalifa

From the EAC, we moved on for lunch at the Dubai Mall and from there went to the top famous Burj Khalifa. The team went as far as 124th floor. At 828 metres (2,716 feet), Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. We visited the main observation deck and outdoor terrace on level 124 which offered 360 degree views of the city. We were later picked up from Burj Khalifa to the Address Boulevard. After some minutes rest, we then went for dinner at KIZA Restaurant

KIZA African Restaurant

At the ground floor of Emirates Financial Towers along Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates lays the KIZA Restaurant and Lounge popularly known as the only pan African Restaurant in the Middle East.

To a new visitor, the premises adorned with map of Africa immediately reminds one of the African continent, right from the entrance to the varieties of authentic pan-African cuisine. A recent visit to KIZA shows that the cozy and large restaurant has become a platform through which premium African artists like David Adedeji Adeleke, aka Davido and Innocent Idibia, popularly known as Tuface and many other African artistes have performed in Dubai.

Apart from mere eating and drinking KIZA equally offers best-in-class pan-African hospitality and entertainment services, spanning across dining, music, fashion, art and entertainment.

While we were still eating and dining, CEO and Managing Partner of KIZA, Joseph Osawaye informed that KIZA brand was established in 2012 as a casual dining and entertainment brand, quickly developing a unique market position across all of its segments.

Also receiving the Emirates media team at KIZA was the Operation’s Manager, Glen Vambe who urged the visitors to experience KIZA’s warm African hospitality.

To Vambe, KIZA is the first authentic pan-African restaurant in Dubai, just as he pointed out that their menu consists of a selection of popular dishes from across the continent.

“This is the only pan African restaurant around. We try to offer cuisines that encompasses African choices and options”.

According to Vambe, KIZA is a multi-cultural outfit as they have been able to employ workers cutting across Africa nations like Nigeria, Cameroun, South Africa, Ghana and even non Africans.

Others who were at the dinner at KIZA restaurants were Emirates PR team, including Smita Natalia Deans, Bardees Badr amongst others.

Delicious African cuisine such as pounded yam with egusi soup, Ghanaian kele wele, goat meat pepper soup, special BBQ chicken wings, peppered chicken, beef or gizzards, dulet, Sudanese Tamiya. All these were complimented with KIZA wide range of African inspired cocktails and mocktails.

There were also peri-peri prawns, tilapia fillet, princess KIZA, KIZA BBQ ribs, red snapper fillet and others

Spice, Golden Souk/Sundowner

On the third day we were picked up at abut 11:00am for Dubai city tour. Led by our wonderful tour guide, Amira of the Arabian Adventures, we stopped by Dubai’s most famous landmarks and had an Ara ride through old Dubai to the spice souk and golden souk. We returned to the hotel at about 1:00pm and was again picked up by 4:00pm for sundowner to enjoy an evening in the desert. At sundowner, we had desert safari and also had the opportunity of watching the sunset while dune bashing, camel riding, falcon show and Bedouin style dinner was had in the desert. Our tour guide had earlier warned us to come along with sweater to ward off the dangerous desert cold. Here, I was tempted to try out shisha at the smoking area while the belly dance was going on. It was real fun.

Dubai Parks and Resorts

Dubai Parks and Resorts is an interesting place to be. It was our major location on the fourth day. Staying there for about three hours, we enjoyed and explored Dubai’s newest theme park which includes: Legoland, Bollywood Park and Motion Gate Park. We had lunch at about 1:30pm before returned to the hotel. Later in the evening, we were picked up from hotel to Le Perle by Dragone experience at the Habtour City. At the park, one thing happened. After enjoying the environment coupled with swimming and all that, some of us had our dresses wet. At that point we were asked to go and dry our dresses in a well-built small hut made like a cubicle. Here it costs about AED 20 Dirham to do that. But we refused after checking the equivalent of 20 Dirham when compared to Nigerian Naira which is about N1, 600 approximately.

Burj Al Arab

After a long day at Dubai Parks and Resorts, we also drove to Burj Al Arab, meaning a tower of the Arabs. Burj Al Arab is a luxury hotel located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the third tallest hotel in the world and stands on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) from Jumeirah beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to resemble the sail of a ship. It also has a helipad near the roof at a height of 210 m (689 ft) above ground. Before we approached the beautiful beach, our tour guide had also warned us not to trespass areas outside the relaxation area. According to her, we were to be careful of interacting with the local ladies so that we would not contravene the laws of the land. To her, the local Emiratis are seen as sacred individuals and are well respected by immigrants coming into the city because their forefathers own the land originally.

La Perle by Dragone

La Perle by Dragone is the region’s first permanent show, located in the heart of Dubai at Al Habtoor City and brought to Dubai by Al Habtoor Group. La Perle features a breathtaking fusion of immersive artistic performances, imagery and technology and it is influenced by Dubai’s rich culture, vibrant present and aspirational future, which is brought to life by awe-inspiring stunts and special effects that will leave viewers speechless. La Perle ended at about 8:00pm after which we returned to the hotel.

Back Home

At day five, we were already missing Nigeria despite the treats by Emirates Airlines in conjunction with JSP Communications. With a warm whether of temperature varying between 22 and 29 degree Celsius, there was no difference between Nigerian and Dubai whether. The city was really hot but inside the comfort of The Address Boulevard, heat has no impact because the airconditioner works 24/7 year in, year out. At about 6:30 am, Arabian Adventures team came and drove us away from the hotel straight to the airport. It was on a Sunday and I was surprise that Sunday was a working day in United Arab Emirates’ city. In fact, there were traffic gridlock because of the number of people rushing to work. We got to Dubai airport and waited for a Nigerian pilot flying Emirates Boeing 777, Mr. Ambrose Ojobo. We had a brief chat with him for 10 minutes before we boarded flight EK783 flight from Terminal 3 back to Lagos. We touched down at exactly 2:55 at the Murtala International Airport in Lagos on the 25 March, 2018. It was a mission accomplished.