Nigeria travel guide
Nigeria, the second largest economy in Africa, is blessed with hundreds of miles of coastline, national parks and fascinating ancient sites. The country, which got its political independence from Great Britain in 1960, shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean.
People & Culture
Nigeria’s greatest asset is its wealth of native races and religions, colourful cultural festivities, its vibrant population which is the largest of any country in Africa. The country has over 250 different ethnic groups but the three largest and most influential ethnic groups are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
The people of Nigeria have an extensive history. Archaeological evidence shows that human habitation of the area dates back to at least 9000 BCE. The area around the Benue and Cross River is thought to be the original homeland of the Bantu migrants who spread across most of central and southern Africa in waves between the 1st millennium BC and the 2nd millennium.
Nigeria has about 300 local languages but the official language is English. The most widely spoken local languages are Hausa – in the north, Yoruba – in the west, Igbo – in the east. Pidgin English or Broken English is also widely spoken all over the country other than English language.
Nigeria is roughly split half and half between Muslims (50% Muslim – mainly in the north and west) and Christians (40% Christian – mostly in the south, east and west) with a very small minority (about 10%) who practice traditional religion.
Cities & Towns
Abuja, Benin City, Calabar, Ibadan, Kano, Lagos, Osogbo, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Warri, Enugu, Kaduna, Jos, Bauchi, Uyo
Best time to visit
Varies from area to area. The southern coast is hot and humid with a rainy season from March to November. During the dry season, the Harmattan wind blows from the Sahara. The north’s rainy season is from July to September. Nights can be cold in December and January.
To enter Nigeria, a valid passport and visa are required for nationals of virtually all countries. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after period of intended stay. All visitors to Nigeria must hold passports or ECOWAS traveling documents (for nationals from ECOWAS member countries). Citizens of countries for which Nigeria requires visas must obtain entry information and visas in advance from Nigerian embassies or consulates abroad. Visas cannot be obtained aboard planes or at the airport.
Flying to Nigeria
Local airlines such as Arik Air, Aero and Air Nigeria operate scheduled regional and domestic passenger services. Arik Air also plies lucrative intercontinental routes (London and New York) quite successfully. Several European airlines that fly to Nigeria include British Airways (London Heathrow – Abuja, Lagos), Virgin Atlantic (London Heathrow – Lagos), KLM (Amsterdam – Abuja, Lagos, Kano), Air France (Paris-Charles de Gaulle – Lagos), Alitalia (Rome- Fiumicino – Accra, Lagos), Turkish Airline (Istanbul – Lagos), Lufthansa (Frankfurt – Abuja, Lagos), Iberia Airlines (Madrid – Lagos).
US Based Delta Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines operates non-stop service from Atlanta, Houston, Washington, DC to Lagos and Abuja respectively. Other inter-continental airlines that fly to Lagos include China Southern Airlines (Beijing, Dubai), Emirates (Dubai), Middle East Airlines (Beirut), Qatar Airways (Doha). Africa based airlines that fly to Nigeria include South African Airlines, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Afriqya Airways, Hewa Bora, Riwandair etc.
Flights from London to Lagos is 7 hours 30 minutes and to New York is 12 hours 10 minutes.
Travel by rail
Nigeria does not operate international train connection. All train journeys are within the country.
Driving to Nigeria
Nigeria is reachable from neighbouring countries of Benin Republic, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Getting around is relatively easy, except that there could be delays due to traffic jams within most major cities. There are multitudes of coaches and buses that will take you to any part of Nigeria you wish (ABC Transport Services is well known for its services among others). Lagos state government also operates a transit system (BRT buses) which serves the Lagos metropolis. In Lagos, there is an ongoing construction work on metro trains that will soon be operational.
Getting to Nigeria by boat
Transport by boat isn’t widespread unless you venture into the riverine areas of Nigeria.
Where to go
Gashaka-Gumti National Park
Covering about 6600 sq km, Gashaka Gumti is the Nigeria’s largest national park and it’s important not only as a major watershed but also as a haven for a rich and exotic assemblage of wildlife. Read more
Mambilla Plateau, Taraba State
The Mambilla plateau is a high grassland plateau with an average elevation of about 1,524 metres (5,000 ft) above sea level, making it the highest plateau in Nigeria.
Abraka Turf and Country Club
Abraka Turf and Country Club is arguably the only equestrian leisure club in Nigeria and it usually hosts an international Polo Tournament, which takes place annually during Easter
Sungbo’s Eredo – Africa’s largest single ancient monument is situated off the main road in rain forest, south-western Nigeria, Sungbo’s Eredo is one of the largest monuments in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kamp Ikare is home away from home that combines the rustic environment around it with a Miami style lounge area creating the most simple, no fuss environment for your relaxation.
Olumo rock, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nigeria, is located in the ancient city of Abeokuta – a name which loosely translated to “under the rock”. Abeokuta was originally inhabited by the Egba people who found refuge at the Olumo Rock during inter-tribal wars in the 19th century.
Omo Forest Reserve
Located in Ogun State, about 135km north-east of Lagos and some 20km from the coast, Omo Forest Reserve lies within a tropical lowland rainforest and it has the most complex and productive vegetation type in the country; estimated that it supports about 8000 species of plants.
Cross River National Park
Cross River National Park is an integral part of the Cross River State rainforest conservation area, located in Boki LGA and spans from Kanyan to the foot of the Obudu plateau with a total land area of 720sqkm of rugged mountain scenery and rolling hills.
Osun Sacred Grove
The dense forest of the Osun Sacred Grove, which is one of the last remnants of primary high forest in southern Nigeria, is located on the outskirts of the Osogbo, the capital city of Osun State.
IITA Forest, Ibadan
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is located just a short journey northward of Ibadan city, the institute is not only a research site, but also a huge leisure estate that is well known as a birdwatchers’ paradise.
Old Oyo National Park
Old Oyo National Park, the park which was named after the Old Oyo – the political capital of the Oyo Empire between the 16th and 18th centuries, spans a remarkable 2,512 sq km (970 sq mi), most of which fall in Oyo State, some extends to Kwara State.
Yankari Game Reserve
Yankari Game Reserve is located about 225km east of the Nigerian city of Jos and it covers an area of 2,244 sq km. Yankari Game Reserve has been described by the Lonely Planet Guide as holding “about the only remnant of wildlife left in Nigeria.
Where to stay
The Nordic Villa, Abuja
The Nordic Villa is a brand new private boutique villa, furnished in a modern Scandinavian style, offering four stylish guest rooms in a peaceful and safe environment suited for both business and leisure travellers. Read more
Best Western Homeville Hotel
This is a 4-star deluxe hotel offering tourist and business travellers luxury accommodation, a superb choice of facilities, restaurant and bars, as well as a sophisticated conference and meeting place.Read more
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