Travel to Nigeria
Nigeria is the most populous African country, 170 million people strong. A veritable potpourri of cultures, it is inhabited by upwards of 250 different ethnic groups. From the perspective of a foreign visitor, a trip to Nigeria is a daunting prospect, but this shouldn’t be the case.
The following is a collection of some of the most helpful tips and tricks I have garnered in my experience of travelling around the country that prides itself on being the ‘giant of Africa.’
TAKE YOUR SHOTS
For the European visitor to Nigeria, it is important to note that you are heading to the tropics. Malaria medication should be a part of your luggage; if possible, take preventive malaria medication a week in advance of your journey. There’s no fun in being sick throughout your trip.
DON’T BE A STRANGER
Arrange to have someone pick you up from the airport. The next best thing is to have an acquaintance make pickup arrangements for you. It will save you a lot of money. If you don’t know anyone, make a friend. Nigerians are innately friendly. For a token, your airport taxi driver can become your tour guide.
Regardless of your budget, there is a hotel that meets your need. In recent times, advances have been recorded in hotel quality nationwide. Most of the hotels have websites, so you can do a survey beforehand to identify what suits your purpose.
Take the plunge- set your taste buds free! Nigerians have a colourful and spicy approach to cuisine. Almost every new city has a different signature dish or a different take on the same or similar dishes. Patronise the local KFC if you must; however, you would do yourself a great deal of good if you acquaint yourself with the diet of the locals. A treat awaits you.
SHOPPING WITH A TWIST
One instance where the knowledge of your taxi driver / tour guide could come in handy is when you have to go shopping. Just about everything you can imagine can be found at a price, but the fun lies in the hunt. Local markets are everywhere, and they provide the best means to capture the cultural essence of Nigeria. Everyone goes to the market, and the towns are cities are defined more by their famous markets than by any other individual feature.
FESTIVALS AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage is evident everywhere you go, and the locals do not seem to need an excuse to break out into spontaneous dancing. From the colourful masquerades in the South East to the durbars of the North, from the ‘owambe’ street parties in the South West to the carnivals in the Niger Delta, it’s always a party.
Nigeria is blessed with a large land area with a widely diverse mix of flora and fauna. A trip cross country will reveal a vista of such splendor that it is guaranteed to take your breath away. Game and forest reserves dot the landscape, and ranches and resorts designed to appeal to tourists are a common sight. A few of them are of international standard.
You are welcome to Nigeria!