Lagos, the city we hate to love!!! “Eko” as it is fondly called by Lagosians is located in south-west Nigeria and has a population of over 17.5 million inhabitants. It is the commercial capital of Nigeria and is known for its beaches, music, arts, and nightlife.
There is an adage that states that “if you can survive in Lagos, you can live anywhere in the world”. This is because the city is generally portrayed as vibrant, noisy, traffic-plagued and overcrowded. No matter how tough living and working in Lagos may be, Lagosians love their Lagos and I bet most visitors are able to fall in love with the city long after they have gotten over the horrendous first impression.
That being said, before you visit Lagos, believe everything you’ve read or heard about Lagos. Once you have that out of the way, make up your mind to enjoy the city despite all you know. The city has become quite safe, however, common sense is required at all times. 🙂
No other city in Nigeria offers what Lagos does. A trip to Nigeria is incomplete without experiencing the sights and sounds of the city of Lagos.
Read More: Why We Love the City of Lagos
Here are the things you need to know before visiting Lagos.
Transportation guide for Lagos
Murtala Muhammed International Airport is the major airport serving the entire state. Many airlines offer direct flights from different locations across the globe. There are shuttle services and car hire services available to transport you to and from the airport and most car hire services offer fixed rates depending on the distance; it is strongly advised that you negotiate the rate before you leave.
Lagos has an affordable, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service with designated lanes on major roads. The Buses are colored red (LagBus), and blue (NURTW) and tickets can be purchased at the bus stop before boarding.
There are also yellow buses popular known as ‘Danfo’ in the city which is cheaper than the BRT service. This option is for the brave at heart. Do not attempt it if you do not know your way around the city. Before you use this service, ask questions regarding the location and stops. The fares are usually fixed.
One of the easiest and safest ways to get around the city is by taxi or car hire. Uber and Taxify have made life very easy for all, therefore, take advantage of this service. The older yellow taxis are cheaper and prices are negotiated with the driver before you enter and money paid on arrival.
Driving in Lagos
If you are a newbie, please leave this for the Lagosians. This is because driving around in the city can be quite challenging for a newbie, due to traffic congestion, aggressive drivers, limited parking space, and the road network.
Accommodation guide for Lagos
There are various accommodations to choose from in the city, ranging from luxury accommodation to budget accommodation. Lagos is classified into two main geographical areas – the “Island” and the “Mainland”. The Mainland offers less expensive accommodation compared to the island.
On the Island, I recommend The George, Villa Angelia, and The Moorhouse.
Lagos also has beautiful serene resorts where you can escape the hassle of the city to and relax, unwind and refresh. Epe Resort and Inagbe Grand Resorts & Leisure are great options.
Gourmet Guide (food and drinks)
There are numerous places to wine and dine in Lagos, depending on what you are up for. Nearly every type of food is represented in Lagos with a long list of restaurants to choose from.
Popular in Lagos are local restaurants (fondly known as Bukka or Mamaput) that serve the likes of amala, ewedu soup, ofada stew and lots of assorted meat.
Some of the famous amala spots are Shitta amala in Surulere, Amala yahoo in Ogudu and First Bank amala in Marina. Other popular local spots are Ghana High in Lagos Island, Ola-iya in Surulere and White House in Yaba.
There are great restaurants on the island and mainland, where you can sample European, Asian and American cuisines. They include Churrasco, Hard Rock Cafe, Cactus, RSVP, Casper & Gambini’s in Victoria Island, The Grillroom at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Crockpot and La Giara at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja.
Suya (spiced roasted meat) is also a must-have in Lagos. You can buy well-prepared suya in places like ‘University of Suya’ in Ikeja, ‘Leventis Suya’ in Surulere and ‘Glover Court Suya’ in Ikoyi.
Things to do in Lagos
Party at night
Nightlife in Lagos is vibrant and explosive. There are lots of bars and clubs with great music where you can ‘turn up’ and the list keeps getting updated. Depending on what you are up for, ask questions and you will definitely get suggestions that meet your needs.
Eat jollof rice
This is a popular rice recipe and a favorite at every Nigerian party. It is a recommended dish for anyone who hasn’t tried any Nigerian cuisine
Visit the beaches
There are over a dozen beaches in Lagos. Most are located in the main city while others are accessible by boat only. Some of the great beaches in the city include Bar Beach, Eleguishi Beach, Eleko Beach, Alpha Beach, Lekki Beach, La Campagne Tropicana, and Tarkwa Bay, Lighthouse beach, Ilashe Beach which is accessible by boat. Some private beaches have accommodation which is perfect for a weekend getaway.
Visit National Museum
The museum has a collection of cultural artefacts and craftworks.
Experience the longest Canopy walk in Africa
Visit Lekki Conservation Center, a Nature reserve which is sited on the Lekki Peninsula. This place is endowed with an abundance of plant and animal life, a tree house which is 21metres high, a picnic area with fish ponds, games, barbecue section and the longest canopy walkway in Africa. The canopy walk is definitely worth it.
Visit Freedom Park
The place was once a colonial-era prison and now a major venue for concerts and public events. Here, you can enjoy African music, local food, and drinks, and interact with locals.
See a ‘Nollywood movie’ at the cinema
There are various cinemas in the city depending on what part of the city you are. Nollywood industry is the third largest movie industry with a long list of exciting movies for your mood. Spend time and see a Nollywood movie at any cinema near you.
Interact with locals.
Lagos people are happy people. The best way to enjoy the city is to hang around the right people. Don’t be shy to make new friends. A typical Lagosian will go out of his/her way to give you a good time especially when they know you are visiting the city for the first time.
Do you live in Lagos? Have you visited Lagos before? What were the highlights of your visit? Share your Lagos experience.
Eko o ni baje
Lagos!!!! The city that never sleeps. Nice one Oto.
I agree. Thanks.
My first time of making a tour to a few places on the mainland was this Tuesday. Entering one bus to another wasn’t a funny experience. I developed a serious headache as a result of the heat and the noise, so much people that I had to push my way through and safeguard my bag. And of course the traffic wasn’t left out, it was just too annoying. How do people survive there is the rhetorical question I’ve been throwing to no one. No plan to visit the mainland soon. The island of course is a wonderful place and a place I’ll love to settle down so I’ve got to push and make money
I thoroughly understand how terrible your experience was. It’s amazing to discover how people survive this degree of hustle daily.