Ikoyi is an upmarket residential island separated by a narrow waterway from Lagos Island to the west inhabited by expatriates and Nigerian military rulers. Formerly inhabited by British colonial officials, after independence in 1960 the big, airy houses on large plots of land were set aside for government officials as part of a so-called government reserved area (GRA) before being refurbished and sold off to private owners. Recent development has seen the construction of high-rise apartment blocks and much of the leafy charm is now gone. Most people opt to live in a serviced estate i.e. with a shared pool and gym, but most importantly where security and electricity are guaranteed. Prices are expensive: a serviced 3-bedroom flat can cost in the region of N6 million ($50,000) with a service charge of N2 million ($15,000). Further, in what is now called Old Ikoyi, detached colonial houses can fetch up to N15 million ($120,000) a year. Parkview and Osborne estates are also popular, although these are not generally serviced. Banana Island, next to Parkview Estate, is also prime land. Built on reclaimed land, it is named after the shape it took. Waterfront 3-bedroom terraced houses cost N11 million ($85,000) with service charges of N2.6 million ($20,000). The popular Rebecca Courts (so popular that there is a waiting list of two years) is also in this price range. Built on expensive land with swimming pools, well maintained lawns, a squash court and a children’s play area, it is home to expats working in top management positions with oil and telecommunications companies.
Ikoyi is served by buses and taxis and car-hire services are also available at Ikoyi Hotel car park. However, most residents have their own car and on Banana Island public transport is banned altogether. Roads in Ikoyi are generally good but traffic can occasionally come to a standstill, especially when the government announces a rise in fuel prices triggering panic buying and untidy queues of cars at the numerous petrol stations in the area. Shops are mostly to be found along Awolowo Road in the south and there is also the popular Falomo Shopping Mall in the area. Ikoyi boasts several recreational clubs such as the Motor Boat Club, the Ikoyi Club and the Polo Golf club. However, they are all elitist: you need to own a boat to join boat club, a horse/play polo to join polo club etc.
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