Nigeria is a West African country that is bordered by Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Benin. It is rich in natural resources and is renowned as the most populous country in Africa.
Nigerians live joyful lives; studies have classified Nigerians as some of the happiest people on earth. Major cities within the country are fast becoming more cosmopolitan thereby contributing largely to the development of tourism in the country.
If you are travelling to Nigeria, these are the things you should keep in mind:
Major Language: English is widely spoken
Major Cities: Abuja (Federal Capital), Lagos (Commercial Capital), Port Harcourt. Other cities for relaxation and tourism, Uyo and Calabar.
Major Religion: Christianity (South, East, West), Muslim (North and part of the West), Traditional African Religion (practiced across the country).
Best time to visit Nigeria:
Nigeria experiences the rainy season and dry season. The weather is warm all year. However, to enjoy outdoor activities, you should avoid the peak of the rainy season which is June through September. The weather in the Northern part of the country may vary with temperatures dropping lower than you would experience in other parts of the country. Pack a light sweater during these times and in the harmattan season which falls between December to January.
Obtaining a Nigerian Visa:
Most foreigners require a visa to enter Nigeria regardless of the length of the stay. Fees may vary depending on one’s home country, the length of stay, and the purpose of the trip. We advise allowing ample time to arrange for your visa in order to prevent confusion or delay. Visa application requirements vary depending on country; for requirements for a specific country, visit the official Nigerian Immigration website.
Moving Around Nigeria:
Most travellers will fly in via the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, or Abuja International Airport. If you are visiting the country for the first time, it is highly recommended that you book your airport transfer in advance with a reputable service provider. Avoid hailing a car rental service at the airport as you may pay a premium for this service, especially when it is obvious that you do not know where you are going to.
Moving around, car rental is the most convenient mode of transportation. The public transport service is not for the fainthearted particularly in cities like Lagos. Do not attempt this on your first trip to Lagos. Uber and Bolt services are available in major cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Uyo, Port Harcourt.
Local airlines provide the safest and most efficient means of travelling between cities in Nigeria.
Mobile Phones: The major network providers in Nigeria are MTN, GLO, Airtel, and 9mobile. You can buy a cheap phone or a SIM card upon arrival.
Things to do when travelling to Nigeria:
1. Visit Lagos:
While in Lagos visit Afrika Shrine which is the concert ground of the father of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti. His son and other homegrown artists play there regularly.
Eyo Festival: If you like dressing up, this festival is for you. Based in Lagos, the masquerade parade takes place in September or October each year. Check the dates while planning your trip.
Visit the beaches of Lagos, Lekki Conservation Center, and Nike Art Gallery
Nike Art Gallery: This five-storey building is a main spot of art in Nigeria. The walls of the building are covered with different artistic inscriptions and drawings, even the fence is adorned with rare marbles. You feel the beauty of art when you walk into the gallery through colourful gates. There is no doubt that this place is one of the leaders in the list of bedazzling Lagos destinations.
2. Visit Abuja:
Abuja is the best-planned city in Nigeria and serves as the administrative capital. Offering the best of both traditional culture and modernity, it is packed with stunning sights and attractions and boasts of a good network of roads and affordable transportation.
3. Join the street Carnival in Calabar
Calabar Carnival is a celebration of creativity and culture. This is often referred to as “Africa’s largest street party”. It is held annually in Calabar, Cross River State. It kicks off on the first day of December and runs till the last day of the month and climaxes with a colourful grand finale carnival. This takes place the day after Christmas, and Nigerians from all over flock to Calabar to join in the festivities. Bright dancers, parties, parades: it goes on all day and all night. It’s a definite must-do if you’re travelling to Nigeria at this time of the year.
4. Visit Obudu Mountain Resort:
Formerly a Cattle Ranch, this gorgeous resort, located in the town of Obudu, is situated in the Sankwala Mountains. Among its attractions are a cable car ride through the mountains and a golf course.
5. See a made in Nigeria movie or Stage Play
Nigeria’s films and music are legendary. Nollywood, the filmmaking industry of Nigeria, is the second-largest producer of films in the world, behind India’s Bollywood machine. If you’re able to find Nollywood films, try to watch some before you travel to Nigeria; the comedy, in particular, will give you a glimpse of the kind of humour you will encounter during your trip. Nigerian musicians have not only become some of Africa’s most popular artists but have also crossed over internationally.
6. Visit Yankari Game Reserve:
This is an amazing wildlife reserve in northeastern Nigeria. Its location on the West African savanna allows tourists to watch wildlife in its natural habitat. It is also Nigeria’s largest national park.
Also known as the Sacred Grove, this outdoor art commune (accessible by train from Lagos) is situated in a forest known for its mystical past. The structures in this park, such as the Temple of Osun, are truly stunning.
8. Argungu Festival:
A fishing and culture festival in Argungu in Kebbi State, the Argungu Festival is one the oldest and best known such events in the country. The festival is centered on a competition in which participants compete using old-fashioned fishing tools over who can catch the largest fish.
Safety and Security
Concerned about your safety as you plan to travel to Nigeria? Here are the resources to consult when thinking of your safety in Nigeria:
What You Should Know Before Visiting Nigeria
- Not all Nigerians are fraudsters. Most Nigerian are hard workers and live their best lives. You would be cheating yourself if you fail to acknowledge that good things can come out of Nigeria.
- Most parts of the country are safe. The insurgency you read about affects parts of Northern Nigeria. People still live normal lives in other parts of the country – West, South, East, and even part of the North.
- Nigerians are very hospitable.
- Greetings! It is extremely important to greet appropriately those around you when you are in Nigeria. It is considered rude when you do not greet someone in whose company you find yourself. Take care to ask others about how their families are doing as well. This exchange of pleasantries is completely normal, but don’t feel pressured to get into enormous detail.
- Watch your cell phone: petty crime is fairly common throughout Nigeria, so you should keep small items close by and always in sight. Avoid walking at night, and when you’re checking into your hotel, make sure that security guards are employed or that security gates are working properly.
- Depending on where you are, language barriers may or may not be an issue. If you are in the main city or travelling to Nigeria with a prearranged guide, English will get you by.