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Nigeria Travel Guide

INTRODUCTION:

Nigeria is a West African country and the most populated country in the region. The country shares its borders with Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin while, to the south, Gulf of Guinea gives a large coastline to Nigeria.   

Nigeria is the largest oil producing state of Africa and the continent’s second largest economy. The country’s affluence has allowed it to have world class cosmopolitan centers, establish trade relations, develop tourist attractions and provide its visitors with incomparable entertainment and groove. Nigeria’s performing and visual arts and artistes are some of the most popular in the world.

Due to the country’s importance as a fine business hub as well its arts and entertainment and tourist attractions, flights to Nigeria remain in the skies all round the year. Sports events, showbiz activities, art exhibitors, festivals of local ethnic groups and the scenic beauty keep on inviting travelers and tourists to Nigeria at different times of the year.

MAJOR CITIES:

Abuja: is the capital city of Nigeria. Along with administrative and economic activities and Africa’s finest architecture, the city also enjoys music and fashion events as well as other entertainments like amusement parks, a zoo and much more.

Lagos: was the Nigerian capital until Abuja took its place. The city is a huge cosmopolitan center and one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Lagos is home to endless scenic beauty, Nigeria’s best living standards and shopping, Africa’s elitist estates, banks and businesses, music/film/fashion industries and much more.

Port Harcourt: is home to, much of Nigeria’s economic activity and already has many banks and multi-national companies. It is inviting more investment from around the world due to its favorable environment. With the flourishing oil industry, the city is gaining world’s attention. Due to its picturesque landscapes, it is a popular tourist resort.

Ibadan: is said to be the largest city in Africa and is popular amongst tourists for its history which has bestowed it with many archeological sites.

Jos: is one of the most popular tourist resorts in Nigeria. Owing to its cool climate and scenic geography, Jos invites thousands of visitors every holiday season.

Kano: is an important business hub in Nigeria and is served by an international airport.

Warri: is popular for its oil industry bloom as well as the colonial historical and archeological sites. Its multi-ethnic culture is highly appreciated by foreigners.

GET IN:

Visa:

To visit Nigeria, a person is required to have a valid visa. People from member countries of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) are exempted from this rule. In order to get a visa; a yellow fever vaccination proof, an interview, complete visa form and proof of self support during visit are to be shown.

There are Visitor/Tourist/Transit visas, Business/Education/Religious visas, Temporary Work Permits and Subject to Regularization. Complete requirements for the desired type of visa should be checked with the Nigerian embassy. A visa can be easily gotten from a Nigerian embassy in the area. With a valid visa in hand, a Nigeria flight can be taken for an exotic trip.

Flying:

Nigeria has four international airports and many domestic ones. Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt are the cities boasting international airports with Murtala Mohammed International Airport of Lagos being the major entry point into the country.

Arik Air, Belleview, and Aero Contractors fly from Nigeria to all other African countries. Arik Air and Belleview also have flights to London.

To Nigerian airports, a number of airlines fly from all over Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Middle East. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from London, KLM from Amsterdam, Air France from Paris, Turkish Airline from Istanbul, Alitalia from Rome, Iberia from Madrid and Lufthansa from Frankfurt frequently fly to Nigeria. British Airways is popular amongst most travelers for offering cheap flights to Nigeria.

Delta Airlines connects Atlanta, USA to Lagos 5 times a week and New York to Abuja three times a week. From Asia, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Middle East Airlines and Qatar Airways also fly to Nigeria.  

South African Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Afriqiya Airways and Hewa Bora also fly to Nigerian airports from their base airports.

GET AROUND:

Flying:

Arik Air and Aero Contractors are Nigerian carriers. Arik Air is, however, the most popular airline amongst international travelers to Nigeria due to its world class standards and services. These airlines have flights to all the international and domestic airports of Nigeria as well as all other African countries.

Driving:

Driving a hired car is considered the best option during a trip to Nigeria. For very adventurous travelers, it might be fun to self-drive the car and experience Nigerian traffic and drivers. For those who are not confident about handling the Nigerian traffic and roads, which are much below North American and European standards, hiring a chauffeur driven car is advised.   

To be on the safer side, it is generally never advised to foreigners to self-drive the car in any case. The reasons are not limited to rash drivers and lack of traffic rules but move out to Nigerian police and misused law. Police in Nigeria are usually lowly paid, thus traffic wardens tend to expel money from drivers. Hence they can stop the driver at any possible time and fine them for a reason, which makes no law anywhere in the world. These fines are very heavy, and if the license is given to the policemen, there is no way to escape the fine. Hence keeping a copy of the license is the best option. And if some money is paid at the spot, the fine is exempted.

The best idea is to hire a driver who is familiar with local traffic and systems. In this way, all the extra undesirable incidents can be avoided.

Buses:

There are many types of buses and taxis in Nigeria that run from city to city and even inside the cities. In smaller cities, there are more taxis and buses are rare, but these taxis are very affordable.

ABC Buses offer safe and comfortable tours almost every part of Nigeria. They are the choice of most travelers from North America and Europe as these buses are very much up to the mark. Another world class bus service is the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT System) which travels all around the Lagos Metropolis.

Okada:

These are commercial motorcycles that run in Nigeria as public transport. They can take the customer without any stop and to anywhere that he/she wants to. The motorcycles are driven according to Nigerian norms and there are no helmets, so these are only preferable for adventurous tourists.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

Zuma rock:

Zuma Rock is a huge monolith, situated in the north of Nigerian capital, Abuja. The scenic location of Zuma Rock offers excellent opportunities for picnics where it is a heaven for sightseers and photographers. Due to its location on the road to Kaduma from Abuja, Zuma Rck is often regarded as “Gateway to Abuja”.   

Abuja Millennium Park:

Abuja Millennium Park is a world class entertainment venue situated in Abuja. The lush green park is lined with vibrant flowers and fountains and is a popular venue for parties and weddings. Abuja Millennium Park is being largely expanded so as to house the Millennium Tower, a museum and a cultural center where some of Africa’s most exquisite works of art will be displayed.

Port Harcourt Zoo:

The Port Harcourt Zoo is home to an astounding variety of wildlife that is unique to this part of the world. The interaction with animals on display is highly exciting.   

Badagry:

During a visit to Lagos, the town of Badagry can be visited. It was a hub of slave trade during the British colonial times. Today, Badagry is home to a beautiful beach, popular amongst tourists and many colonial buildings and museums. Slave Port, cannons of war, Mini Museum of Slave Trade, Vlekte Slave Market, the First Storey Building in Nigeria, Palace of Akran of Badagry and the house and office of District Officer along with many others.

Kainji National Park:

Nearly 560km north of Lagos, Kainji National Park is situated. It is Nigeria’s oldest national park and opened up in the year 1979. The park boasts a varied landscape which makes it a scenic area while the most noticeable feature of the national park is the Kainji Lake. Over 180 species of birds and many species of wildlife can be spotted in the 5,299km2 of the park.

LANGUAGE:

English is the official language of Nigeria. The two most commonly spoken tribal languages are Hausa and Igbo (pronounced Ibo). In total, Nigeria enjoys nearly 512 languages currently, while 9 other languages, once spoken here, are now extinct.

It should be noted that English is only used official matter, education and business dealings and is limited to elite classes living in the urban centers. In rural areas, where most of the country’s population resides, tribal languages are the only lingua franca.     

WEATHER:

1st Quarter:

The months of January, February and March see the highest temperature ranges in Nigeria but they are not as high so as to become uncomforting. 22oC-32oC is the range for January while 24oC-36oC is the range for February and March. Humidity is highest in January compared to other 1st quarter months which is 83%. Until February it falls to 81% and finally to 79% in March. Rainfalls, following the opposite trend, increase from January to March. They range from 2mm in the first month to 3mm in the second and 8mm in the third month of the quarter. In January, 6 hours of sunlight are available daily while in February and March, 7 hours can be found.

2nd Quarter:

April and May maintain a lowest temperature of 26oC while June sees 24oC at the least. Maximum temperatures may rise to 34oC, 32oC and 28oC in April, May and June respectively. Rainfall increases from 11mm in April to 20mm in May and further to 33mm in June which is the highest of the year. June is also amongst those months when Nigeria experiences the highest percentages of humidity at 88%. Humidity levels in April and May are 84% and 86% respectively. 7 hours of daily sunshine are available in the first two months of the quarter but in the last month, 6 months can be found.   

3rd Quarter:

July and August see a minimum temperature of 24oC while September finds 22oC of minimum temperature. Maximum temperatures maintain at 38oC for all three months while humidity falls from July to August from 88% to 86% and rises again in September to 88%. July enjoys good precipitation of 20mm which reduces to 6mm in August and rises again to 23mm in September. These three months enjoy just 3 hours of daily sunshine.    

4th Quarter:

Comparing all the weather conditions, this time of the year is considered best for visiting Nigeria. Due to their high demand in this time, Nigeria flights are hard to be found. Rainfall decreases from 20mm in October to 4mm in December through 8mm in November. Humidity in October is 88% while that in November and December is 85% and 82% respectively. Minimum temperatures maintain at 24oC for all three months while the maximum temperature rises from October to December with 30oC in October, 32oC in November and 34oC in December. Sunlight in October is available for only 5 hours per day but in November and December, it is available for a good 7 hours