I was born in Nigeria. I left in June 2004 for the USA. I visited briefly in December 2006 for my older sister’s wedding and in December 2010.
During my last semester of Grad school, I decided to move back to Nigeria. I am not 100% sure that it is the right decision so I know it will definitely be a learning experience. Since my move, it has been one challenge after the other, I’ve had down moments and made positive advances. I will be blogging about my experience back home.
For travel info on Nigeria, check out the Country Overview section. Feel free to send me an email.
For Blogs, click these links
Part 1: It has been a very Long Thing
The Foreign Trained Student Guide: Surviving NYSC
West Africa: The Giant of Africa (Nigeria) and the Black star of Africa (Ghana)
Country Overview: Nigeria
The most populous country in Africa. People who visit either love it or hate it. Come visit and decide yourself. Nigeria is a very diverse country. The culture, language and weather varies. English is the official language but knowledge of a local language helps a lot. Most people (US & UK for sure) will need a visa to visit.
Flight: Arik air, Aero Contractors , Turkish Airline, Delta, KLM, Wakanow, Air France and United
Visa: Visas cannot be obtained aboard planes or at the airport.
Nigerian Embassy DC, Immigration Portal
Health: An international vaccination certificate against yellow fever (10 years) is required. Cholera (six months) is also required if coming from an infected area.
Official Language and Currency: English (official), Pidgin, Yoruba, Ibo, Hausa (local languages)
Naira (N) (currency): denominations of N5, N10, N20, N50, N100, N500 and N1000
- Lekki Conservation Park
- Nike Gallery
- Lekki Leisure Lake
- Freedom Park
- Muson Center
- Tarkwa Bay
- Eleko Beach
- Elegunshi Beach
Outside Lagos (Southwest Nigeria): I have been to all the sites listed below. It is worth the trip. The closest to Lagos is Olumo Rock (1.5-2hrs away). The rest are between 2.5hrs to 4.5hours. The roads are in fairly good condition for the most part. It is safe.
- Olumo Rock -Abeokuta, Ogun State
- Osun-Osogbo Groove – Osun State
- Erin Ijesha Waterfalls – Osun State
- Arinta Waterfalls – Ikogosi, Ekiti State
- Ikogosi Springs – Ekiti State
- Alafin’s Palace – Oyo State
- Idanre Hills – Akure, Ondo State
Festivals in Nigeria:
- Eyo Festival (Feb)- Lagos
- Ake Festival (Nov)- Abeokuta
- Osun Festival (August) – Osun State
- Calabar Carnival (Dec) – Calabar
- For info on more festivals, check out these sites – Online Nigeria and Monthly Festivals
In Country & International Bus: I have crossed the Seme border (border between Nigeria and Rep. of Benin) on several occasions without problems. For hassle free crossing, you might want to go with ABC Transport.
Restaurants and Bars: Most of the restaurants, bars and clubs are located in VI (Victoria Island).
- Terra Kulture: You must try their sweet potato and palm wine
- Oriental Hotel: They have different options – Chinese, Japanese and Nigeria.
- Bottles: They have live music on Wednesday night. Reserve table in advance
- Sailors: Great Location – overview of the ocean
- Mama Cass
- Calabar Kitchen
- Yellow chili
- Mega Plaza: The food court at this mall is great. There’s a great Indian and Chinese place here. You must try the Suya (meat or chicken)
- Wine house
- Piccolo Mundo
- Bogobiri – great ambient. Live music most times and there’s a art gallery.
Hotels: I have not stayed at most of the hotels listed below, but they come highly recommended by friends
- Travel House: I have only stayed at their location in Ibadan, Oyo State. I had a great experience. Great location & customer service
- Amara Suites
- The Moorhouse
- The Blowfish Hotel: Not stayed at the hotel but attended events there several times. The poolside is nice and the food is great.
- Fours Points Sheraton
- Homegate Hawker Resort
TAXI: Taxi Park
***For additional info on Nigerian tourism, these sites should help you: Naija Treks, Official Site, Complete Guide to Nigeria, Mother Land Nigeria, Oyinbo Online, Lonely Planet Nigeria
Here are a few things you should know about Lagos: (you might have already researched it)
1. Electricity is NOT 24hours. NEPA/PHCN (the electricity people) switch it off or on anytime they wish without prior warning. It has nothing to do with whether one pay their bill or not. It is just that they generate less than the power needed for the whole country. Most hotels have a generator but you should confirm.
2. Malaria. For us, malaria is just like flu. We don’t see it like the westerners do. There are several quality affordable drugs available here to treat Malaria. But you can choose to bring yours.
3. Lagos state is divided to two – Mainland and Island. The majority of foreigners live on the Island (Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Lekki, Victoria Garden City, Banana Island) hence making it more expensive. Ikeja is the capital of Lagos State and Ikeja is located on the mainland. All the beaches are located on the Island. There have been talks (by western media and d likes) that the Island is safer. Truth is that there is no prove of that. Normal precaution is necessary in every big cities – Lagos state has 20 million ppl.
4. Lagos can be expensive. Taxi ride from the Island to the mainland cost about N3,500 – depending on your negotiating skills (USD$1 = N160). Meal at fast food joint cost between N2,000 – N3,000 for the most simple food. Drink at a club/bar also between N2,000 – N3,000.
5. People will call you ‘Oyibo’. Oyibo means a white person or a light skin black person or a foreigner. It is not a derogatory word. Most times, they seem to believe that these ‘white’ people are very rich.
6. Internet can be so slow. If your phone is unlocked, you can bring it along and buy a sim card (cost N200).
7. You can change some dollars at the airport (although you will get better rate elsewhere). Your credit/debit card might work here (you will have to let your bank know that you are coming). Bring 100 dollars bills to change to Nigerian currency – Naira – most currency changers will not change a bill lower than 50 dollars. Currency are not changed at bank but at the black market or big hotels (Eko hotel).
8. Bring nice clothing. Nigerians love to DRESS. Your dressing determined how you will be addressed/respected. Flip-flop/slippers is a big no-no outside the house. I’m a causual dresser but I’ve had to put in effort to my dressing since I moved back. Men do not use a backpack in Lagos.
9. Immigration officers are known to ask for bribe. That has reduced significantly over the years. You are not obligated in giving them anything. Just be nice about saying No – smile and say next time. Muritala Muhammad airport is under renovation so your baggage can take foreverrrrrr to come out. Customs are very annoying – they always ask for bribe especially the female ones! Say No (even to cloths/perfumes – they ask for everything). Keep all your cash away from them (put in purse or waist pouch if you have one).
Enjoy the Photos!
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