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The ultimate guide to solo travel in Lagos, Nigeria

About Nigeria


Africa is a continent often overlooked as a possible tourist destination. West African countries, in particular, have hugely impacted the continent. From cuisines, music to clothing, and much more and Nigeria is no exception.

Nigeria, a country many non-Africans have heard of but not for the right reasons. This country is home to much more than the negative media likes to show. Nigeria, also known as ‘Naija’ is situated in west Africa. Its neighbouring countries are Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The capital city is Abuja, but the most populous city is Lagos on the coast of the country which is where this guide will focus on.

They say America is the land of opportunities and I say Nigeria is the land of opportunists. Whilst most people are nice and helpful, petty crime and kidnapping are common in a lot of big cities. Nigeria is my homeland and incredibly beautiful, but I would not recommend visiting the country if you don’t know someone in the country who can show you around.

Though Lagos is the most urban city, Lagos was not designed for tourists and it’s a work-in-progress. I suggest staying in more affluent neighbourhoods as security is given alongside peace in the area. Some of these areas include; Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Yaba, and Lekki phase 1. On average, 3-star hotels in Lagos cost £40 per night, and 4-star hotels in Lagos are £71 per night. If you’re looking for something really special, a 5-star hotel in Lagos can on average be found for £160 per night on sites such as Booking.com.

Lagos; The country’s largest city is home to a plethora of tourist attractions, some of these include;

The national museum

Here you can explore Nigerian art, archaeology, and history.

KalaKuta museum

Located in Ikeja, this museum is also a great way to learn about the Nigerian music scene as it is dedicated to one of the most notorious African musicians Fela Kuti who is also known as the father and pioneer of the highlife ‘Afrobeat’ sound.

Badagry Slave Museum

Something not many people know about the transatlantic slave trade is that the majority of slaves taken were from Central and West African countries with Nigeria being one of the largest slavery hubs with tribes such as the Afar and Fulani people carrying their traditions all across the diaspora. This museum is an amazing place to understand the west African slave trade.

Lekki Conservation centre

For all you Instagrammers out there this is an amazing nature reserve in Lagos. With the largest canopy walk in Africa and home to hundreds of plants and animal species. This is the perfect picturesque place to get lost in.

Freedom Park

If chill vibes were a place, this would be it. This park is an amazing relaxation spot to hide away from the hustle and bustle of Lagos. There are often also live music performances, entertainment, monuments, and so much to see here that it’s not to be missed when travelling through the city.

Olumo Rock

Just outside Lagos is Olumo Rock, for all you hikers this ancient rock is also a mountain, so why not give it a hike? I promise the view is worth it.

 

Agodi Gardens

For those wanting to see other sights in the country, Agodi Gardens located in Ibadan is a beautiful botanical garden home to hundreds of plant species. A perfect place for nature lovers and bird watchers.

Sukur Cultural Landscape

Close to the Cameroonian boarder is the Sukur Cultural Landscape a UNESCO World Heritage site. This site has houses and a palace dating back to the 16th century.

Yankari Game Reserve

This is Nigeria’s largest Nigerian park located in Bauchi state in northeast Nigeria. Yankari is home to hot springs, giraffes, elephants, monkeys hyenas, rhinos, and more! Alongside an amazing savanna. Why not book a tour to see some amazing animals in their natural habitat.

Osun-Osogbo Sacred grove

This sacred ground is located in Southern Nigeria is a sacred and religious ground built to worship the God Osun. Osun is one of the many Gods which the people of the land used to worship before the spread of Abrahamic religions through colonisation in Africa. Some people still practice animist religions worshiping Gods such as Osun making this grove both a historical, cultural and religious shrine. Why not visit the site to understand more about Nigerian mythology.

Get sprayed

Nigerian powerhouse the now popular music genre ‘Afrobeats’ with hundreds of African dancing originating from Nigeria. No matter the city, if you attend a big party and dance well you are sure to be sprayed (given money).

Owambe!

This phrase is a local Yoruba slang meaning “they are there”. It’s used as a term to refer to big Nigerian parties which involve lots of food, dancing, good vibes, and the infamous ‘spraying’ (when people throw money on people on the dance floor) Nigerian parties are notorious for meaning a guaranteed good time. Nigerian powerhouse the now popular music genre ‘afrobeat’s’ with hundreds of African dancing originating from Nigeria. If you want to experience nightlife like a local, you have to go to the New Afrika Shrine. Locals know the best spots in town so do be sure to ask them too and be prepared to party all night!

 

  • Grab a bargain

With so many sprawling markets in this urban city, I advise that you visit Lekki Market for art and craft, Balogun Market for everything under the sun, andLaw School Market for fresh vegetables and seafood.

 

  • Hop off

If you get tired of the mainland, why not head to some of Lagos’ islands. With some amazing beaches like Tarwa Bay and Elegusi, these beaches are notorious for their tranquil waters in the day and amazing parties at night.

 

  • Get wet at La Campagne Tropicana,

If you are into adventure sports then this is the place to be. Here you can Kayak, snorkel and dive.

 

  • Saddle Up

If you prefer your adventures on the ground then this saddle club may be for you. For all horse riders and enthusiasts, this club is built on over 8 hectares of land and offers you the opportunity to relax, learn and enjoy the serene environment on a horse.

 

 

  • National Arts Theatre

For those art lovers, this is the spot to be. This theatre hosts live performances with some of the most noticeable Nigerian actors and actresses. Why not get entranced by their performances here.

 

  • Live the Bridgeton lifestyle

Muson Centre similarly hosts classical music performances and is great for classical lovers.

 

  • Try the food!

Nigerian cuisine is one of the most infamous African cuisines and is filled with hearty, satiating foods. Some staple Nigerian foods are yam, cassava, meat, and plantain. Some Nigerian specialties are; Pounded yam (pounded yam or yam powder made into a dough-like ball and eaten with a stew), Jollof Rice (Rice cooked with tomato sauce and red palm oil), Moi Moi (blended beans, steamed in leaves), and Suya (spiced and grilled meat) . Palm wine is a popular drink and can be found at local bars.

The best time to go to Nigeria is during the dry season which is between November – January. You know the saying when it rains, it pours? Well in Nigeria this sure is the case and with roads with bad drainage systems, floods can happen within a blink of an eye, and believe me, you sure don’t want to get caught up in one.

 

As Nigeria is such a big country, the landscape is very different also so if you are planning to visit the north going in the wetter months such as April where little rainfall does happen maybe better than in the dry sun whereas in the humid south the rains can start as early as Mar or even Feb which is something you don’t want to get caught in.

    • Practice your pidgin (though English is the official language here, people widely use pidgin – A west African dialect to communicate. Learning this dialect will help prevent you from paying tourist prices)
    • Watch your hands! Using your the left hand is seen as highly improper in Nigerian culture to give/receive things, to eat etc..
    • Don’t Travel up north if it’s not necessary. Boko Haram (An Islamic extremist group) still operate in the north of the country. Please read your country’s travel advice carefully before planning your trip to Nigeria. 
    • Make sure to have some dollars and leones (the local currency) with you. Depending on where you are it may be better to pay in dollars i.e. upscale restaurants.

You can take a tour. There are so many experiences and tours in Nigeria, especially in Tunis as a great way to also meet fellow wanderlusters and who knows. They may even be able to share with you some hidden gems in the country.

Online forums and clubs may also be a great method to meet people. Using sites like Facebook and joining groups is a great way to get the ball rolling, meet locals and see their city.

Social media can be a great way to contact some lifestyle bloggers/influencers in Lagos. May a times these people are happy and willing to give tips to fellow travellers about navigating in their country. But do be cautious when reaching out to people as these people are still strangers.

Overall there are 31 airports in Nigeria with 5 of them being international. The main airport in Nigeria is Murtala Muhammed international Airport in Lagos. Other Airports include; Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport located in Abuja, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport locaed in Kano, Port Harcourt International Airport in Port Harcourt, Akanu Ibiam International Airport located in Enugu state and Margaret Ekpo International Airport, in Calabar.

Can I drink the water? No

Is tipping expected? No. It is a courteous act in certain excursions such as the Chimpanzee Sanctuary.

Fixed price or barter? Haggling is essential when it comes to travel and in markets, if you don’t want to pay tourist prices

Any ATMs? In Lagos there are ATMs scattered around the city. Though I do recommend travelling with a VISA card as Mastercards sometimes are not accepted in these ATMs. I do also recommend going to actual bank ATMs rather than ATM cashpoints as cashpoints can fail or swallow your card.

Which side of the road do they drive? Right

Good for vegetarians? No, Like many west African countries, meat is a big part of Nigerians diets

Any seven wonders of the world? No

Can I drink the water? No

Is tipping expected? No. It is a curtious act in certain excursions but not compulsory 

Fixed price or barter? Haggling is essential when it comes to travel and in markets if you don’t want to pay tourist prices

Any ATMs? In Lagos there are ATMs scattered around the city. Though I do recommend travelling with a VISA card as Mastercards sometimes are not accepted in these ATMs. I do also recommend going to actual bank ATMs rather than ATM cashpoints as cashpoints can fail or swallow your card.

Which side of the road do they drive? Right

Good for vegetarians? No, Like many west African countries, meat is a big part of Nigerian diets

Any seven wonders of the world? No

Plan a trip to Nigeria

If you are ready to solo travel Nigeria here are some useful links to help you plan your travel.

Facts

Budget – £10 – £30 a day minus accommodation.

Capital – Abuja

Population – 201 million

Language spoken – English

Local Currency – Naira

Do I need a visa? – Yes for a British passport. No for ECOWAS passports

Flying time to Lagos– 7 hours from London 

Did you know? Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa!

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    Adeola is a world traveller and influencer focusing her area of travel on the continent of Africa, being her passion at her core. The aspiring writer wants to use her story to educate those about what different African countries are really like through the gaze of a first-generation British Nigerian. Her solo travels through the continent aim to inspire others giving not only her stories but useful facts about each country.

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