Hey there! If you’re not a routine reader of this blog, then you have probably found this post while searching for information about visiting Nigeria. Perhaps you’re travelling for business purposes or considering it as an off-the-beaten-path destination? This Nigeria Travel guide will help you navigate the intricacies of visiting and exploring this West African Country.
To begin, here are some quick facts about Nigeria.
Quick Facts about Nigeria (Tourism)
Getting to Nigeria – Flight and Visa Requirements
All foreign nationals, except those from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), need to apply for a visa to visit Nigeria.
The Nigerian Immigration Service recently introduced a visa on arrival policy for selected individuals and countries. If you do not qualify for it, you may apply to get one from your nearest Nigerian Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates.
In addition to a valid visa, you also need a yellow fever certificate to enter the country.
Which Countries Can Get Visa on Arrival in Nigeria (2020)?
According to the information on the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) website, the visa on arrival is available to citizens of African countries and business travellers from all other countries, except ECOWAS nationals.
Note that you need to apply online for this. I would write a separate post when I have more information. In the meantime, be sure to go through the immigration website for more information and read the Visa on Arrival FAQ here.
When is the Best Time to Visit Nigeria?
Nigeria has two major seasons – rainy and dry season. The rainy season begins in April and runs through to October. And the dry season begins in November through March. It isn’t uncommon to have rains in the dry seasons (especially in November and December).
Generally, it is better to visit during the dry season. However, there are advantages to visiting during the rainy season as well. For one, the roads are less dusty and the waterfalls are more beautiful to behold.
December and January have the most advantages. In some places, these months ring in the harmattan season which comes with less humidity and cooler temperatures in the morning and evenings.
Top Destinations to Visit in Nigeria
Nature – Waterfalls, Springs, Hills…
|Arinta Waterfalls (Ekiti)||Erin Ijesha Waterfalls (Osun)||Kwa Falls (Cross River)||Oowu Falls (Kwara)|
|Farin Ruwa Falls (Nasarawa)||Agbokim Falls (Cross River)||Wikki warm spring (Bauchi)||Ikogosi warm spring (Ekiti)|
|Gurara Waterfalls (Niger)||Assop Waterfalls (Plateau)||Oguta Lake (Imo)||Zuma Rock (Abuja)|
|Idanre Hills (Ondo)||Millennium Park (Abuja)||La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort||Jara Beach Resort|
|Ngwo Pine Forest (Enugu)||Obudu Mountain Resort (Cross River)||Oke-Ado Mountain (Oyo)||Oban Hills (Cross River)|
|Olumo Rock (Ogun)||Aso Rock (Abuja)||Awhum Caves - and waterfalls (Enugu)||Ogbunike Caves (Anambra)|
|Usuma Dam (Abuja)||Ibeano Beach (Akwa Ibom)||Lagos Beaches: Eleko, Atican, Elegushi, etc||Whispering Palms (Lagos)|
National Parks, Conservation Centers…
|Lekki Conservation Centre (Lagos)||Lufasi Park (Lagos)||Yankari Game Reserve (Bauchi)||Okomu NP (Edo)|
|Chad Basin NP (Borno, Yobe)||Kamuku NP(Kaduna)||Old Oyo NP (Oyo)||Kainji Lake NP (Niger, Kwara)|
|Cross river NP (Cross River)||Gashaka Gumti NP (Taraba, Adamawa)|
Museums, Art Galleries, Monuments and World Heritage Sites
|Osun Osogbo Grove (Osun) - UNESCO World Heritage Site||National War Museum, Umuahia (Abia)||Nigeria National Museum (Lagos)||Cocoa House (Oyo)|
|Odua Museum (Oyo)||Sukur Cultural Landscape (Adamawa) - UNESCO World Heritage Site||Royal Palaces: Oba of Benin, Sultan of Sokoto||Ancient Kano City Walls (Kano)|
|Kajuru Castle (Kaduna)||Surame Cultural landscape (Sokoto)||Badagry: Museums, Slave trade route... (Lagos)||Sungbo's Eredo (Ogun)|
|Alok Ikom Monoliths (Cross River)||Arts and Crafts Village (Abuja)||Giant footprint of Ukhuse-oke, (Edo)||Lord Luggard House (Kogi)|
|Nike Art Gallery (Lagos, Osun)||Abuja National Mosque (Abuja)||National Church of Nigeria (Abuja)|
Getting Around Within Nigeria
Plane: Nigeria has a total of 6 International Airports and 11 Domestic Airports. About 7 domestic carriers operate within Nigeria. You should note that it is quite common to experience delays in flights schedules. One useful tip will be to always try to catch the first flights out of a city. Those are very rarely delayed. As of this writing, the most reliable airline is Arik Air.
Train: While there is a working rail system in Nigeria, travel by train is not reliable. Interstate and Intrastate (Lagos) trains are old and slow and oftentimes, overcrowded. The exceptions to this are the fairly new rail lines that operate between Abuja and Kaduna and Lagos to Ibadan.
Local Buses & Taxis: Local buses are often the cheapest way to move around. They are not often comfortable though. So, you may want to consider other options. Be sure to negotiate and agree on prices before you start a trip.
Uber, Bolt: These are currently the best ride-hailing apps for use within major cities in Nigeria.
Motorcycles: or Okadas, as they are popularly called, are the quickest means to navigate through major cities. I personally wouldn’t advise the regular use of this means of transportation as it can be rather dangerous. In some cities, they are banned from plying highways and major roads.
Is it safe to travel to Nigeria (2020)?
Many travel boards advise against visiting Nigeria. But how unsafe is it really? Without applying the bias of a local, I’d simply say that certain areas should be off-limits for now. If you exercise a reasonable level of caution while visiting some states in the country, you will be fine.
Generally, the South Western States are best suited for tourism. It is advisable to be in the company of a local when you travel through Nigeria.
Before you visit, forget all about your ‘African Fantasies’ and set your expectations correctly. As expected with low-income countries, there are infrastructure gaps and things may not always go according to plan. You cannot simply just vagabond through Nigeria. I will advise that you research your destinations before you visit.
Above all, remember to always keep your wits about you. There is something called ‘The African Time’. Expect delays and/or emphasize appointment times with people you interact with.
When you visit Nigeria, seek out experiences with people, rather than places. Nigerians (and West Africans in general) can be some of the most welcoming people you would ever meet.
I do hope you enjoy your visit. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below. Also, if you have visited before, I’d love to hear about your experiences travelling in Nigeria. Please share them with me!