I had such a great time in Lagos that I wish I stayed longer. I learnt a lot about the city in a few days and wanted to share some tips with you to make your trip to Lagos just as enjoyable as mine.
Flights and travel
Tip 1: There are direct fights from London to Lagos on British Airways, Arik Air, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Medview and indirect flights on other airlines. The prices start from as little as £360 and you can search for them on SkyScanner. If you are from a west African country that is part of the Economic Communities Of West African States (ECOWAS) and you have an ECOWAS passport, you can travel to Nigeria & other west African countries without needing a visa. However for other nationalities you will need a visa, which you can get from your local Nigerian embassy. Get your visa at least a month in advance of your trip. If you don’t have a Nigerian passport, you will need to carry a yellow fever certificate to show immigration officers at the airport as they will ask for it. Although I had had the vaccinations I didn’t have the card on me, which prolonged my entry as I had to wait for the officer to record my details as they couldn’t confirm I was vaccinated.
Tip 2: Download or activate Uber when you arrive. You can use Uber to get around the city. It’s easy to book, reasonably priced and a comfortable way to get around. You can pay via your account, PayPal or cash. You may also use the infamous yellow buses or ‘keke na pep’ tricycles, which are a cheaper way to get around the city.
Tip 3: So I was advised to change money in Nigeria, which was the right advice as the exchange rates are more favourable for tourists in the country. At the airport I changed some cash at a the rate of N480 to £1. I then decided to use my card on one occasion, which was a big mistake. I also took cash from an ATM but only realised after I checked my online banking statement that the exchange rate was N290 to £1! Moral of this story? Change cash in Nigeria and DO NOT use your card!
Tip 4: As soon as the locals hear your accent, they will realise you are a foreigner and will over charge you on services like taxi rides or shop products that have no price tag. Either go around with a local who will speak and negotiate on your behalf or just use Uber and shop in places like Shoprite that will have marked prices on their goods.
Tip 5: Shoprite is a popular chain of malls in the city. I visited the ones in Lekki and Ikeja during my stay. You can buy designer wear, makeup, furniture, fast food from KFC or Mr Biggs; a Nigerian fast food shop and watch films in its cinemas. The mall is a popular place to take children. For a luxurious dining experience, try out an Indian restaurant called Spice Route. The food is tasty and reasonably priced as we got a meal for 6 for N26000. L’Afric is a lovely Nigerian restaurant serving authentic local dishes and their egusi soup is the best I’ve tasted so far.
Tip 6: If you can party hard and don’t mind staying up all night, just be aware that the night clubs don’t get started until 1am and finish when the last person goes home. Most night clubs are FREE entry and play a mix of Afrobeats, RnB, hip-hop and house music. There are certain night clubs you go to on certain days, for example, Club 57 is busy on Thursdays and Sips on Friday’s.
Tip 7: Social Prefect and Unravelling Nigeria provide tours for locals and tourists to visit different parts of Lagos and Nigeria. The cost of their tours include transport, food and activities. They are fun, adventurous and educational so you will get to see and learn about the country.
Tip 8: Come See Lagos is an initiative started by Lagospedia, that promotes tourist attractions in Lagos such as Ikoyi Bridge, Victoria Island, the National Theatre and more.
Tip 9: Nigerians are hard-working and like to be rewarded for their efforts. They have a saying that ‘your money is in your errands’. If you go to a club and the security assist you with parking then they expect a tip between N500 – N1000 to give you a parking spot and look after your car for the night. Some will even wash your car outside the club or whilst you are in traffic.
Tip 10: Nigerians are bold and beautiful people. They know exactly what they want and aren’t scared to say it so when communicating with them be sure to know exactly what you want.