What the locals want you to know before visiting Nigeria.

Things Locals Want You To Know Before Visiting Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria

I asked some locals what they wanted tourist to know before visiting their country!

Here is what Lotanna and Emeka said:

 

Nigeria is made up of 36 states and 1 Federal Capital with each state having its unique food, culture, events and people.

English or a variation of it (Pidgin English) is the most popularly spoken language.

It’s safe to say that Nigerians are extremely friendly to foreigners.

Today, Emeka of Nothing To Do In Lagos and I Lotanna Ezeogu of Skills Tribe  will be letting you in on the good, bad and ugly when it comes to Lagos.

Lagos is the most cosmopolitan city in Nigeria and the most populous in Africa. If you haven’t seen Lagos then you haven’t really experienced Nigeria. It’s divided into Lagos Mainland and Lagos Island.

As with every city in the world, there are places to visit and places to avoid. We’ll be walking you through the best of the best by category

 

WHERE TO STAY

Eko Hotel  is a popular destination for tourist and it’s centrally located in Victoria Island, Lagos.  Protea Kuramo Waters  is a hidden gem also located in Victoria Island.

For Budget accommodation: Check Bogobiri and AirBnB.

Bogobiri is the place to stay if you like music/art and you’re only in town for the weekend.

Lotanna: I love that Protea Kuramo Waters is a beachfront hotel with a view, hidden away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s also walking distance from Shiro and Hard Rock Café.

Tip: Even though Victoria Island (VI) is relatively close to most of the attractions/place to visit we’ll be sharing, movement around VI can get tough during rush hour because a lot of offices are located in VI.

 

WHERE TO GO

For Music

  • The Shrine: If you’re a fan of Fela Kuti or Afrobeat, you’ll love this. Femi Kuti (Fela Kuti’s son) does a practice session that’s free and open to the public on Thursdays. You can also catch the actual performance for a fee on Sundays.

Every last Friday of the Month, Seun kuti performs alongside Fela’s band; he’s said to be the reincarnation of Fela.

Emeka says:  Be sure to check that the band is in town ahead of time as they do world tours.

  • Stadium Hotel (Surulere): Highlife music and cheap drinks from 11pm to 5am.

Emeka says: Try Star (Nigerian beer) or if you’re brave enough try the packet whiskey

Stadium Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria
Stadium Hotel: Photo by Emeka

Lotanna says: I’m a Heineiken girl but I don’t like that aftertaste it has. I tried Start the other day and it was pretty good, it also didn’t have the aftertaste. I hear Star Radler is even better but the alcoholic content is 2%

Every last Tuesday of the month, people gather at Bogobiri House to watch upcoming artists and creatives perform. It’s a warm and cozy event that seems more like a family gathering than a concert.

Last time we checked, Taruwa was a free event.

Lagosians (people that live in Lagos) gather to watch musicians/artists perform live for a fee of N1500. Afropolitan vibes usually happens on the 3rd Friday of whichever month they pick.

Every Thursday and Sunday for spoken word + live performances. There’s no fee

 

For art:

Nike Art Gallery 

This is probably the biggest art gallery in Lagos, so if you’re running out of time and can only visit one gallery, this is it.

African Artist Foundation (AAF):  This is a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to promoting and developing contemporary African art.

Red Door Art Gallery, Art 21 at Eko Hotel, and Terra Kulture , in Victoria Island are also worth checking out.

Tip: Terra Kulture doubles down as a restaurant, theatre and art gallery. All these galleries (except for Nike Art Gallery) are located in VI, so you could rent a keke from one location to another (it should cost between N200 – N500 to rent a keke from one location to another if you’re up for a local experience, alternatively, get an Uber)

Riding in a ke-ke
Lotanna riding in a ke-ke

Beach

If you want to check out the beach and spend a day in the sun, Tarkwa Bay is the way to go. It costs about N2000/N3000 to get a return ticket on the boat. You can get boats from Fiki Marina/Fiki Jetti, Bonny Camp and Boat Club.

Beach resorts: If you’re looking for something fancy, check out  Inagbe Resort and Whispering Palms. you can’t take  the regular boats to these resorts but you can rent a boat from the inagbe site. Boats cost about N18,000 – N30,000 (but you can go in groups or with a friend and spread the cost)

For Food:

To experience Nigerian cuisine in all its glory, check out these restaurants: Terra Kulture, Yello Chilli, and Alara .

Terra Kulture food
Terra Kulture food: Photo by Lotanna

The Fish Lady: Stranger 3, Hakeem Dickson Street, Lekki Phase 1, (Every Friday & Saturday)

Fowlers Bar & Grill: The Parking lot turns into a bar at night with amazing turkey wings and cold drinks.

Lotanna says: Order Salads and Ugu chips from Green Grill House  definitely try Suya/barbequed meat, Asun, Palm Wine & Ishe Ewu (speacially prepared goat meat)

Emeka says: The garden at Alara is more affordable and for a younger crowd. I prefer the outdoor grill. You should also look out for their Banga soup, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Another person I swear by is The Fish Lady, she makes you eat with your hands

 

Best place to get suya: Glover Court in Ikoyi or from Bukka Hut on Admiralty way, Lekki.

Tip: More often than not, you can get all these delicacies from one spot (Bukka Hut, Yello Chilli or Terra Kulture)

 

For Afternoon Chill

Check out Art Café and Parks: Freedom Park, Lufasi Park, Muri Okunola Park

Tip: Parks aren’t really popular here. You don’t find a lot of people in parks

Lufasi Park
Lufasi Park: Photo by Emeka

 

Muri Okunola Park
Muri Okunola Park: Photo by Lotanna

Nature and Wild Life

Take a walk on the wild side and visit Omu Resort  and/or Lekki Conservation Center (LCC).

Tip: Do the canopy walk if you end up at LCC

Lekki Conservation Center
Lekki Conservation Center: Photo by Lotanna

 

Lekki Conservation Center
Lekki Conservation Center: Photo by Lotanna

 

Lounging/ Pre-club chill:

Bogobiri, Fahrenheit and Grill At The Pent on Sundays (Cova Lounge, Mega Plaza)

 

Market/”The Outdoor Lagos Experience”

Balogun Market, Lekki Market

Tip: Take a ride on a tricycle/keh-keh but make sure to rent one. You’re expected to haggle in the market, never go with the first price you’re given.

 

Clubs/Clubbing

Spice Route, Zen Bar, 57

It’s best to go clubbing on Friday or Saturday. Legal drinking age is 18+

Spice Route
Spice Route: Photo by Lotanna

 

History

We do a very poor job of preserving our history but The Museum at Onikan and National Theater are the way to go if you’re interested in that.

Legacy Group is doing a good job when it comes to preserving history, they also organize tours and event, so if that’s your cup of tea, do check them out.

Legacy Group Tour
Legacy Group Tour: Photo by Lotanna

 

Things people find offensive:

Lagos is a cosmopolitan city so you can get away with a lot because of the mix of people and culture, however with the older generation (Baby Boomers) it’s best to avoid:

  • Crossing over peoples legs
  • Collecting or giving with your left hand
  • Unfortunately as  Caucasian/ white/ ‘oyinbo’, you’re perceived to have money…get ready to be bothered by bell boys and waiters to tip them with a friendly ‘Happy weekend Ma/Sir’ or a ‘nothing for the boys? But you don’t have to tip.

 

Discounts: Who doesn’t love discounted stuff? Check DealDey.com for discounts

Transportation: We don’t have an organized transportation system but Uber  (and Taxify)  work here and are relatively affordable. Make sure you change your Location and switch your mode of payment to cash to avoid spending a lot due to exchange rates.

Work/ WiFi: If you need to get some work done but don’t want to stay in your hotel room, Art Café, Moorhouse Hotel, Workstationand Capital Square have pretty good WiFi (for this part of the world)

Language: English the lingua franca, broken English and Yoruba (Nigerian Language) are also very popular in Lagos.

How friendly people are: on a scale of 1-10, Nigerians are a 9.5

Traffic: There’s a lot of traffic in Lagos so make sure to avoid rush hour periods like lunch break (11:30pm – 1:00pm), early morning (8am) and close of work (6pm – 7:30pm). Google Maps help to give a general idea of how heavy traffic is.

Avoid carrying a lot of cash around. You can pay with your MasterCard/Visa Card at most locations.

 

SUMMARY

Lagos in 1 day:

Check one of the markets in the morning,

Get local food (Suya, Asun, IsheEwu, Palm Wine, Jollof Rice) from Terra Kulture Restaurant (this also doubles as an art gallery and theatre), Bukka Hut or Yellow Chilli

Check NothingToDoInLagos for what’s on that day

Go to a lounge to get drinks/listen to great music

Lagos in a weekend:

  • Visit the Shrine
  • Visit a market and take a short ride in a ke-ke (mechanical tricycle) be sure to rent it out and not share. It shouldn’t cost more than NGN 500, within Lagos island, no matter how long your journey is.
  • Get local food (Suya, Asun, IsheEwu, Palm Wine, Jollof Rice) from Terra Kulture Restaurant (this also doubles as an art gallery and theatre), Bukka Hut or Yellow Chilli
  • Check NothingToDoInLagos for what’s on that weekend
  • Go to a lounge to get drinks/listen to great music
  • Go to the  museum and national theatre
  • Visit Omu resort or Lekki Conservation center

 

Things to do by location:

Lagos Island

Ikoyi: Bogobiri, Wheatbaker, Glover Court Suya, Obalende Market, 57, Fowlers Bar & Grill

Onikan/Marina:  Freedom Park, Balogun Market, The Museum

Victoria Island (VI) : Red Door Art Gallery, Terra Kulture, Art 21, African Artist Foundation, Grill at the Pent, Yello Chilli, Art Café, Spice route, Zen Bar, Fahrenheit,  

Lekki  Phase1: Bukka Hut

Lekki-Epe: Lekki Conservation Center, Nike Art Gallery, Omu Resort, Lufasi Park

Lagos Mainland

Surulere: Stadium Hotel

Iganmu: National Theatre

Ikeja: New Africa Shrine,

Amuwo Odofin : Inagbe Resort

Badagry: Whispering Palms

 

You can find Lotanna and Emeka on their websites and social medias:

Lotanna : Website | Instagram | Twitter

Emeka: Website | Instagram | Twitter

 

Map of Nigeria
Map of Nigeria

Thank you Lotanna and Emeka for contributing! If you would like to write your own guest post from a LOCALS point of view please email or contact me through my social medias!

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Chasa is a travel blogger who has been writing since 2016. She has traveled domestically and internationally since 2013 and resides in the state of Alabama, where she pursues her passion for helping people see the beauty in other states and countries through her own accounts.

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What the locals want you to know before visiting Nigeria
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