By the mid-19th century, Sapele was established as a trading centre which was occasionally visited by Europeans. The origin of the name is believed to be an anglicized derivation of the Okpe word 'Uriapele', named after a local deity, the shrine of which can still be found in the centre of the city today. The British colonial authorities were reported to have changed the name of the then hamlet to Sapele as it was easier to pronounce. In 1891, the British government established a vice-consulate at Sapele.
The population grew to just over 30,000 by 1952, because of the cosmopolitan nature of the city, people from many Nigerian ethnic groups have settled there, alongside the many Okpe people, these also include the Itsekiris and Ijaws, as well as the Urhobo people from surrounding towns and villages. Sapele is a great place to interact with the locals.
Sapele is very close to Benin and literally linked to the city by ferry boat. Till today, Sapele Ferry which was started in January 1929, remains the only means of carrying heavy loads such as motor vehicles across the river Niger.
Sapele people are well known for a special type of dry gin called sapele water. It is a nickname for their type of locally produced dry gin. It is derived from how easily available it is and the profuse amounts in which locals consume it, as though it's water. This dry gin has a unique flavor, it's unlike other type of dry gins and is assumed to be consumed by only doughty people.
There is a river called River Ethiope which is thought to be Africa's deepest inland waterway that is located in Ukwuani Local Government Area, very close to Sapele. The river gets broader as it passes through Sapele and continues past seven other local government areas before flowing into the Atlantic. The River Ethiope is quite popular as a tourist attraction because of its spring-like clear waters which also makes its quality very unique.
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Commercial buses, taxi cabs, motorbikes and tricycles popularly called Keke Napep are the major means of getting in and around Sapele with ease.
If one is feeling a little bit adventurous and have never visited Benin city before which is very proximate to Sapele, he or she may want to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the town, rent a canoe or ferry boat from Sapele and row him/herself all the way to Benin to have a fun time without hitches.
Sapele has a stadium known as Sapele Township Stadium which is a multi-use stadium in Sapele, Nigeria. This stadium is used mostly for football matches and athletics in the area and it can accommodate up to 16,000 people. It is the temporary home stadium of Bayelsa United Football Club.
Sapele Township Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Sapele, Nigeria. It is used mostly for football matches and athletics. It is the temporary home stadium of Bayelsa United F.C. The stadium has a capacity of 16,000 people.
There is also Sapele Athletic Club which is the oldest club in Nigeria. It is believed to be so because it was founded in 1880 before so many notable clubs in Nigeria such as Ikoyi Club, Kaduna Club, Benin Club and several other clubs across the country at large. Regardless of how long this athletic club has existed, it is still a centre for various athletics exercises for lovers of sports and tourists/visitors or even anyone looking to have an adventurous day.
Markets in Sapele are widely open 24/7 for people to purchase items such as, foodstuff, souvenirs, clothes and basically everything the inhabitants and visitors may need. Bend down select also known as second hand wears or Okirika can also be purchased from the Sapele market. Some of the prominent markets in Sapele include:
- 1 Sapele Main Market, 13 Reclamation Rd, ☏ . 8AM - 6PM.
- 2 Koko Market, Heart of Sapele. 8AM - 6PM. Provides indoor shopping and delivery services.
- 3 Affiliate Marketing, Adams street off ugbeyiyi, ☏ .
- 4 Uruakpa Market. 24 hours. The market has various grocery stores and supermarkets.
- 5 We Pos market, New Ogorode Road, Amukpe.
- 6 Concord Spermarket, 45 Owunim Road by Abeke Road. open 24 hours.
- 7 Memeories Supermart, Amukpe. 8AM - 10PM. Offers in-store shopping.
There are a couple of restaurants in Sapele that can offer visitors quite an affordable and delicious meal seamlessly. Prominent among these restaurants include:
- 1 Lizzy Food, 5, Adeola Rd, ☏ . Daily 9AM-9PM. Dine-in, takeaway, delivery.
- 2 Great Food, New Ogorode Rd, Amukpe. Daily 8AM-10PM. Dine-in, takeaway.
- 3 Turn Up Restaurant, Cemetery Rd. Daily 8AM-10PM. Dine-in, takeaway, delivery.
- 4 Aroma Food Land, 74, Okpe Rd, ☏ . Daily 7:30AM-9:30PM. Dine-in, takeaway, delivery.
- 5 Shanghai Restaurant & Bar, Adjacent Hamsphire hotel, Miller Estate, GRA, 331107, ☏ . daily. Dine-in, takeaway.
- 6 African Kitchen, Sapele-Warri Rd, Amukpe. Daily 8AM-6PM. Dine-in, takeaway, delivery.
- 7 Owo Soup Joint, Reclamation Rd. M-Sa 10AM-6PM. Takeaway.
- 8 Mama Vivian Restaurant. M-Sa 7AM-10PM. Takeaway, delivery.
- 9 Creamy Treat, 189 Sapele-Warri Rd, Amukpe, ☏ . Daily 7:30AM-8PM. Takeaway.
- 10 Mama Ola's Restaurant, Elsa way Rd, Amukpe. Daily 8AM-11PM. Dine-in, takeaway.
Sapele has a couple of hotel accommodation options for visitors and travellers to pass the night in. Notable among them are:
- Dallas Grand Beach Hotel and Resort has a bar and 24-hour front desk service. They also provide guests with a restaurant.
- Room in Lodge - Amena Hotel Resort: The hotel and resort provides a garden for a small extra charge and terrace.
- Room in Lodge - Hamsphire Hotel and ResortBudget Hotel: The hotel provides free WiFi throughout the vicinity. The resort and hotel has a garden, and also a terrace.