I want to start this post with all the facts that you need to know before traveling to Nigeria. But first things first:
Visit your travel doctor, take your malaria pills, and bring loads of insect repellent. This here country is the first where insect repellent will be more important than your sunscreen.
I came into Lagos and after 2 days I was out with Malaria for 2 weeks. I will narrate this story another day, but please understand – saying the mosquitos in Nigeria are militant is an understatement.
Nigeria is a West African country. One of the top economies of the African continent. Nigeria is not a religious state although the country is known for their religious tourism. The country is made up of 36 states (similar to provinces), there are over 500 tribes and a lot of languages that it’s difficult to put a number to. There are 180+ million citizens, making Nigeria the most populous country in Africa. Religion is a big thing in Nigeria with largely Christianity and Muslim as religions. English is the main language spoken in Nigeria, however most people speak Pidgin English. I have also come to learn that some people I have encountered could understand English but not necessarily speak it. Also, just because the people speak English, some will struggle to understand your accent.
Abuja is the administrative capital of Nigeria while Lagos is the commercial capital of the country. Lagos is made up of Lagos mainland and Lagos Island. There are 3 bridges that connect mainland to the island. Lagos is home to Africas second longest bridge – the 3rd mainland bridge, with a distance of almost 12km.
So what do you need to know about Nigeria before you come to visit. Bring your heart! There is love everywhere and everyone you meet will go the extra mile to show this love.
The local currency is the Nigerian Naira. 1USD – 360N (Of course this changes so do check for yourself what the rate says before your days of travel).
You can never go hungry in Lagos cos there is food everywhere. I will have a post where I share what to eat and where to get it in Lagos.
Bring a powerful powerbank. If you staying in a hotel, then you will be safe as there will always be power, unfortunately power is not consistent and sometimes you can go up to 36hrs without electricity.
Everyone has heard about the traffic in Lagos being a nightmare, here is how it works. I haven’t spent anytime in Lagos traffic because I understood how to avoid it. There is peak traffic times in Lagos so just work around it and you will have no stress.
I would advise you stick to bottled water. Even my local friends don’t drink the local tap water.
Cellphone connection is not the greatest but it is affordable and you will have internet connections. It get tricky if you want to make whatsapp calls to your family and friends back home. The connection will not allow video calls but you can do voice although it will cut often. Also using your phone as a WiFi router will prove to be a challenge. You will obviously need to register your simcard when you buy it so make sure that you have your passport for that. A simcard is something you can buy on the street from a local vendor.
The beauty of the banking system in Nigeria is all banks accept foreign cards for withdrawals. The sad part is you cant withdraw more than N15000 at a time, you have to withdraw a couple of times. Take heart and believe those bank charges will be worth it.
Nigerian visas have to be applied for in your country of residence. You would need to contact the embassy in your country regarding your visa application and the cost as that is dependent on your type of visa, duration of stay and other factors that the embassy will need. The application process happens online, including your payment then you would have to hand in the documents at your nearest embassy or consulate.
You obviously need a yellow fever certificate when traveling into Nigeria. You will also deal a lot with their local cops. They are power hungry and abusive. Do not be nice, do not be quiet. They don’t understand people who speak up to them and look them in the eye, that translates to having power and being a boss so they will back off because they don’t know who they messing with. But since you foreign and sometimes don’t know how to deal with foreign cops, just threaten to call your government and they will back down. Also, if it is not border officials, you do not need to produce your passport. That counts as harassment but give them hell. They are forever trying to get money out of you.
The City of Lagos. The city i can't bring myself to wrap my head around. This place is crazy. The beauty in the people and their friendliness surpasses their good food and their crazy pidgin English. What has really captivated me about Lagos has been going around the city. Walking around Alagomeji trying to find an ATM, restaurant or just an ice cream parlour. Every street you turn seems like you just got into a different place. Everywhere you go is loud and busy. But the madness is all different. The smells are all different. The street vendors sell different things everywhere. Every corner you are bound to find the local motorbike taxi. The roads filled with large luxury SUV's, yellow taxis and the kekes (what we call tuk-tuk) the traffic that never seems to end. Everyone hoots at everyone and road rage is real. We laugh how "In Lagos, you drive with 1 hand while keeping the other hand to curse your fellow road user". Traffic rules are mere suggestions but seat belts are mandatory. We cannot guarantee you electricity but we will guarantee that you will have it at least 4hrs each day. 6hrs at the most. Budget for fuel for your generator as those come in super handy in this humidity. And make peace with your generator as it makes noise and competes with your neighbours generator. We can also guarantee that on weekends, the electricity supply is a lot better and at least you will have power for 20hrs a day 😊 While this may stress you. Sip some palm wine, practise your pidgin English, Eat some Eba or pepper soup and fall in love with Lagos. Africas biggest city. #BreakingBorders #Thesolowanderer #Nigeria 🇳🇬
Getting around is easy. For Lagos and Abuja you will have Uber. There will always be the local taxi around. Lagos has the famous yellow sharing buses which are an absolute adventure that needs to be done at least once. You will have the Keke and the Okadas (motorbike taxi).
Uber in Nigeria is slower than taxify and more expensive. The drivers will not even pitch up to pick you up most times but they will start your trip and just deduct money on your account. Taxify is cheaper and has a lot more drivers. They can be problematic as some of their drivers refuse to drive to certain places and will leave you stranded in the middle of the night. Most of the drivers work for both Taxify and Uber. I would advise you use Taxify as it’s the lesser devil honestly and they will assist immediately where as uber doesn’t care that their drivers messed you around or scammed you. The local taxi you will have to negotiate with the old man, there is no air conditioning in these taxis, so jump in at your own risk. Consider fully the humidity in Lagos.
Changed it to #100DaysOfGratitude Day 4: Today im grateful for water. The one place where i know my spirit will be content 💗 The only element that brings peace to my soul. Im grateful that this post is late. That i had no interest in it. Cos i focused on doing what i wanted. Swim, Beer, Bed and loads of food in bed. Practising self care, sometimes i tend to forget to care for myself 😔 but when i do it... 😂 i excel!!! #BreakingBorders #Thesolowanderer #Nigeria 🇳🇬
Nightlife in Lagos is usually around the island. It’s also rather pricey. In all honesty, if you don’t get to party in Nigeria I feel like you didn’t miss much. I do highly recommend you crash a wedding and party at the wedding!!! Cos that right there is LITness.
This post will be updated with more relevant information as time goes by.
BreakingBorders is Proudly brought to you by Simeka Capital Holdings.
BreakingBorders is Proudly brought to you by Simeka Capital Holdings.