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  • Overview

    Situated in tropical West Africa, the oil-rich stateof Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. It is listed asone of the 'Next Eleven' major economies of the world - yet despiteits abundant natural resources and its position as Africa's largesteconomy, poverty remains pervasive.

    Decades of civil war, famine, military dictatorships,and rampant corruption have left the country with deep divisionsthat will take many years to heal completely, but Nigeria showsstirring signs of recovery. The country is made up of over 500ethnic groups and several religions, with a wide variety oflanguages, customs and cultures shaping a diverse nation.

    Abuja is the capital city, but the largest economiccentre and chief port is the former colonial capital of Lagos,located on the Bight of Benin in southwestern Nigeria. The capitalwas moved to Abuja, located in the heart of the country, in 1991,largely in a bid to curb the frenetic migration to Lagos not onlyfrom rural Nigeria, but from neighbouring countries as well.Despite this measure, Lagos remains a sprawling, industrialmetropolis, home to over 15 million people.

    Although the vast majority of visitors arrive onbusiness, the country is emerging as a prominent touristdestination in Africa, welcoming nearly two million travellers ayear. With 500 miles (805km) of coastline, a vibrant arts andculture scene, and abundant natural beauty, Nigeria has all the rawingredients to make for a top tourist destination. In an effort tounlock the country's tourism potential, the government has pledgedto increase investment and improve infrastructure. Meanwhile, onlythe most adventurous travellers are enjoying this diverse land ofsandy beaches, tropical forest, magnificent waterfalls andfascinating historic and cultural sites.

    The majority of visitors travel to Nigeria for business purposesand don't do much sightseeing, but that doesn't mean that therearen't some fascinating attractions in Nigeria that are worth avisit for anyone willing to stray off the beaten path.

    Most travel centres on the major cities of Lagos and Abuja,which offer plenty of attractions in the form of national museums,bustling markets, and pretty parks. Venture further afield however,and visitors will discover the beautiful beaches on the coast, thesacred forest groves of Osogbo, the pre-colonial settlements atSungbo's Eredo, and picturesque scenery in Nigeria's nationalparks.

    A holiday in Nigeria is definitely for the adventurous, and isguaranteed to be unforgettable!

    National Museum

    Occupying prime position on Lagos Island in the centre of thecity, the National Museum contains a number of treasures andcultural relics of great interest. Take your diary along to recordthe experience as photography is not allowed.

    Highlights include the exhibit 'Treasures of Ancient Nigeria:Legacy of Two Thousand Years', and the bullet-ridden black Mercedesin which former president Murtala Mohammed was assassinated in1973. Also not be missed is the gallery of Benin brasses and thecrafts village, where you can haggles for souvenirs.

    Address: Awolowo Road, Lagos Island
    Opening time: Monday to Saturday 9am-3.30pm, closedSunday.
    National Museum National Museum Shiraz Chakera Follow
    Lekki Conservation Centre

    Situated on the Lekki Peninsula covering 190 acres(78 hectare), the Lekki Conservation Centre is perfect toexperience the fauna and flora of this region's delicateecosystems. You can see Mona monkeys, crocodiles, bush bucks,Maxwell duikers, and giant rats, among other fascinatingcreatures.

    There are various trails and tree platforms to getthe best vantage point. Visit in the early morning when the animalsare most active. Tours need to be booked in advance.

    Address: Km-19, Lagos-Epe Expressway, Lekki
    Opening time: Daily 8.30am-5pm, including weekends and publicholidays.
    Lekki Conservation Centre Lekki Conservation Centre Clara Sanchiz
    Sungbos Eredo

    Take a taxi one hour north of Lagos to see Sungbo's Eredo,Africa's largest pre-colonial construction, a sight rated byexperts as an unknown 'Wonder of the World'. The Eredo is a rampartthat is 1,050 years old, 100 miles (160km) long, and 70ft (20m)high. Locals will need to guide you in and out, as the structure israpidly being covered by encroaching forest.

    The enigmatic Eredo has been linked to the myths and legends ofvarious tribes and religions. According to the local Ijebu clan,the Eredo may have been built as a memorial to noblewoman OloyeBilikisu Sungbo, a childless widow, whose grave is locatednearby.

    The walk to Sungbo Eredo The walk to Sungbo Eredo Jeremy Weate
    Lekki Market

    For a taste of the real Lagos, head to the bustling, chaotic,and always fascinating Lekki Market. Intrepid shoppers that makethe trip here will be rewarded with a wonderful selection ofAfrican masks, Nigerian beadwork, and traditional cloth.

    The Lekki Market is located about 6 miles (10km) from the centreof Victoria Island, and is a popular taxi route. Bargain hard, butkeep smiling. Get a local to help you navigate the market, forabout NGN 50, it will be money well spent.

    Address: Elegushi Modern Plaza, Oba Elegushi Street
    Opening time: Daily 8am-6pm
    Lekki Market Lekki Market shawnleishman
    Eleko Beach

    The best beach for Lagos-based visitors is Eleko Beach, locatedjust one hour away from Nigeria's frenetic economic heartland. It'sclean and peaceful, with perfect waves and beach huts for hire, andis currently free of the traders and hawkers that can irritatevisitors on beaches around Lagos Island

    Eleko Beach is a welcome relief from the grime and congestion ofthe metropolis. To get there, head out east on Lekki Expressway forabout 19 miles (30km) and turn right at the Total petrol servicestation.

    Address: Eleko Beach Road, Lekki
    Eleko Beach Eleko Beach B S
    Osun-Osogbo

    One of Nigeria's top tourist attractions and a UNESCO WorldHeritage Site, the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove holds a deeply specialplace in the hearts and minds of the Yoruba people. Located on theoutskirts of the city of Osogbo, in one of the last remaining areasof pristine forest in southern Nigeria, the grove is said to be thehome of Osun, the Yoruba goddess of fertility.

    In addition to a meandering river surrounded by lush forest,visitors will see numerous shrines and sanctuaries that have beenbuilt in honour of Osun, including sculptures done by Austriannational Suzanne Wenger, who lived in the area in the 1950s andearned herself the local name Aduni Olosa, 'the Adored One'. If atall possible, time your visit to coincide with the Osun-OsogboFestival (late July to August), a 12-day celebration of significantcultural interest, where thousands of locals congregate to invokeancestral spirits and to rededicate their energies to living inharmony with the deity Osun.

    Address: Osogbo
    Opening time: Daily 8am-6pm.
    Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove Alex Mazzeto
    Lekki Beach Resort

    A favourite among business travellers to Lagos and expatriatesliving in the area of Victoria Island, Lekki Beach Resort is a newestablishment offering well-heeled tourists the opportunity toexperience some refinement and luxury in the midst of the oftenchaotic and ramshackle city.

    Built along 1.6 miles (2.5km) of the pristine Lekki Beachshoreline, and covering an area of 157 hectares (388 acres), theLekki Beach Resort is a major operation featuring luxuryaccommodation, including an 18-hole golf course designed by RonGarl, and a clubhouse with a fine restaurant and bar. There arealso numerous family-oriented amenities, such as swimming pools,tennis courts, exercise rooms, and a health spa. Undoubtedly thepremier place to play golf in Nigeria, the course is also quite abeautiful sight in its own right, blending seamlessly into itsnatural surroundings and boasting fantastic Atlantic Oceanviews.

    Address: D16 Eko Court, Kofo Abayomi Street, VictoriaIsland
    Lekki Beach Lekki Beach Ian Cochrane

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Nigeria is generally hot all year round, lying within thetropical zone with little variation between winter and summer.Seasons are defined as the wet season, from April to October, andthe dry season, from November until March. The dry season isaccompanied by the dusty northeast winds where midday temperaturesthat can sometimes reach 100°F (38°C). The wet season isparticularly noticeable on the south-eastern coast, where annualrainfall reaches about 130 inches (330cm), where temperaturesrarely exceed 90°F (32°C).

    Yellow Chili

    Ranked one of the top five restaurants in all Nigeria, theYellow Chilli is one of the best and most stylish places forcontemporary Nigerian cuisine in Lagos. The jollof fiesta isparticularly worth trying. This popular restaurant draws a biglunchtime crowd of professionals and expats.

    Address: 27 Oju Olobun Close off, Bishop Oluwole St, VictoriaIsland,
    Bottles

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    Address: 8 Imam Agusta Close, off Olosa Street, VI. Behind Mobil,near Victoria Island Hospital.
    Churrasco

    The first Brazilian restaurant in Nigeria has now developed intoone of Lagos' best eateries. The menu is all about the eponymous - barbecued meat on skewers that aresliced onto your plate. The restaurant is set on the lagoon and hasgreat views. Surprisingly, the menu and salad bar are suitable forvegetarians too.

    Address: 1C Ozumba Mbadiwe Ave, Victoria Island
    Bungalow Restaurant

    Bungalow serves up an array of great food options, includingsizzling steaks, tasty marinated ribs, mixed meat skewers, prawnsand fajitas. Bungalow Restaurant is definitely the place to go ifyou're after familiar, western-style meat dishes.

    Address: 1296 Akin Adisola Street, Victoria Island
    Vellvett Victoria Island Lagos

    The Vellvett is a tastefully decorated restaurant just offAdeola Adeku Street. This great eatery has a wide range ofinternational dishes on offer, from fresh grilled kebabs andLebanese specialities to tasty pastas and decadent desserts thatwill have you coming back for more.

    Address: 19B Idejo Street, Victoria Island
    Murtala Muhammed International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 13 miles (22km) northwest ofLagos.
    Time: Local time is GMT +1
    Transfer Between Terminals The terminals are within easy walking distance of eachother.
    Getting to the city: Larger hotels have a shuttle bus meeting all internationalflights. Otherwise, taxis are the safest and most efficient way totravel to and from the airport.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies at Murtala Muhammed International Airportinclude Avis, Hertz, Europcar and Sixt. Note that driving oneselfaround Nigeria is strongly cautioned against, as the roads can beconfusing and chaotic, and there is a risk of car-jacking.
    Airport Taxis: Yellow taxis are available outside the terminal. It is wise tonegotiate a fee before departure; the fare into Lagos should bearound NGN 5,000.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities include ATMs and currency exchange, executiveand VIP lounges, a meet and greet lounge, prayer rooms, disabledfacilities, and a tourist information desk in the arrival hall.Shopping is limited to a few retail stores selling electronics,mobile accessories, jewellery and health care products.International and African foods are served by vendors in theairport's food court.
    Parking Parking spaces are available.
    Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 12 miles (20km) west ofAbuja.
    Time: Local time is GMT +1
    Transfer Between Terminals The airport has an international and a domestic terminal. Theterminals are within walking distance of each other and they sharethe same runway.
    Getting to the city: Passengers arriving at Abuja Airport can take either a taxi or abus to the city. The drive takes between 30 and 45 minutes,depending on traffic. Taxis are much more expensive than buses.
    Car Rental: There are car rental services available from the airport, but adriver is highly recommended for visitors unfamiliar with drivingconditions in Nigeria.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are generally available outside the terminal building. Forpeace of mind, many visitors prefer to book a taxi in advance.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities are very limited.
    Port Harcourt International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 20 miles (32km) from downtown PortHarcourt.
    Time: Local time is GMT +1
    Getting to the city: There is no public transport into Port Harcourt, however taxisand rental cars are available.
    Car Rental: Avis car rental is available at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available at the airport.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities are limited, but there is a restaurant.
    Parking Short and long-term parking is available at the airport.
    Money:

    Nigerian currency is the Naira (NGN), which is divided into 100kobo. Approved exchange facilities include major hotels and theairport, but official rates are very high. It is illegal to changemoney on the street. Credit card fraud is a problem, and visitorsare advised to exercise caution when using credit cards. Creditcard facilities are also limited outside of the major cities. Priorto travel, visitors should ensure they have a variety of currencyoptions available to them (Pounds, US Dollars or Euros) in cash.Travellers should be aware of the prevalence of commercial fraud inNigeria.

    Language:

    English is the official language in Nigeria and is widelyused, though many other languages are also spoken.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round andsquare three-pin plugs are used.

    Entry Requirements:

    United States citizens must have a passport valid for six monthsafter date of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa isrequired for former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreignpassport and an expired Nigerian passport.

    British citizens must have a passport valid for six months afterdate of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is requiredfor former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport andan expired Nigerian passport.

    Canadians must have a passport valid for six months after dateof arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is required forformer nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport and anexpired Nigerian passport.

    Australians must have a passport valid for six months after thedate of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is requiredfor former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport andan expired Nigerian passport.

    South Africans must have a passport valid for six months afterdate of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is requiredfor former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport andan expired Nigerian passport.

    Irish citizens must have a passport valid for six months afterdate of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa is requiredfor former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreign passport andan expired Nigerian passport.

    United States citizens must have a passport valid for six monthsafter date of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa isrequired for former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreignpassport and an expired Nigerian passport.

    New Zealand citizens must have a passport valid for six monthsafter the date of arrival. A visa is required. However, no visa isrequired for former nationals of Nigeria with a valid foreignpassport and an expired Nigerian passport.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    Nationals of virtually all countries require a visa to enterNigeria, the few exceptions are mainly neighbouring African states.Visas must be obtained in advance and all visitors require a returnticket, documents for onward travel and sufficient funds. Thoseentering for business reasons must also have a letter of invitationand verification from Nigerian representatives abroad statingpurpose of entry. Passports must be valid for at least six monthsafter arrival.

    Visas can be obtained on arrival. E-visas can be obtained beforedeparture at www.portal.immigration.gov.ng/visa/freshVisa.Passengers must have a printed e-visa confirmation.

    Travel Health:

    When travelling to Nigeria, an international vaccinationcertificate against yellow fever is required. A Cholera vaccinationcertificate is also required if coming from an infected area. As aprecaution against cholera, visitors should drink only boiled orbottled water and avoid ice in drinks. Anti-malaria prophylaxis andTB inoculation are recommended, and at present there is still aslight risk of polio infection in northern Nigeria. Visitors shouldseek the latest medical advice on inoculations at least three weeksprior to departure. In major cities, private hospitals offer goodfacilities, and private clinics are found even in the smallesttowns. As in many countries, costs for medical services or hospitalcare must be shouldered by the traveller. There are governmenthospitals throughout the country, but apart from emergencies, thehospitals are more geared to serving the local population.Individuals needing specialised treatment for acute illness orsevere injury are usually evacuated to Europe or South Africa.Good, comprehensive insurance is strongly advised, and shouldinclude evacuation. Pharmacies abound in Nigeria, even insupermarkets, and are open during normal trading hours.

    Tipping:

    In restaurants, a 10% tip is adequate if a service charge hasn'talready been added. Negotiate taxi fares before embarking on ajourney; remember that fares are usually increased for tourists sotipping isn't necessary. Porters should be tipped accordingly.

    Safety Information:

    Numerous hazards await unwary and uninformed visitors, frombogus greeters at the airport, to scams attempting to extort moneyfrom visitors' relatives back home, and even kidnappings forransom. Violent street crime, armed robberies, muggings, and carjackings are prevalent in Lagos and elsewhere in the more populoussouthern regions of the country. Visitors should ensure that theirlocal hosts and/or family and friends at home know their travelplans.

    Public transport is potentially dangerous with poorly maintainedbuses and taxis, and fraud and criminal activity rife amongdrivers. The reliability of domestic airlines has also beenquestioned after numerous accidents. Fuel shortages often occur,and road travel may be hazardous due to the risk of armed robberyand car jackings, particularly in traffic jams and rural areas.Visitors should avoid travelling at night, and should considerdriving in convoy through rural areas.

    There are frequent outbreaks of civil unrest and violence inNigeria, and strikes often cause disruption to transport and otherservices. Travellers are advised to avoid all protests anddemonstrations, and to be extremely cautious in the northern regionof Nigeria. Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, and Bauchi States shouldall be avoided to due frequent violent attacks, as should Kano Cityand Warri City. The Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa States should also beavoided, particularly the riverine areas and Port Harcourt, due tohostage-taking and terrorist threats. All but essential travel toAkwa Ibom State should also be avoided, as oil facilities have beenattacked and expatriate oil workers seized.

    Elections were held in February-March 2019. The results aresubject to challenge, and tensions are high. Public gatherings anddemonstrations may take place at short notice. Visitors are advisedto avoid such gatherings, and monitor local media for updates.

    Local Customs:

    Nigeria has a relatively formal society and it is appropriate toaddress Nigerians by their surnames until you know them very well.Beachwear is only appropriate for the beach. Nigeria has thelargest Muslim population in Africa, concentrated mainly in thenorth. Women should dress modestly, and avoid wearing trousers, andall visitors should exercise discretion in behaviour and dress,especially when visiting religious sites and during the holy monthof Ramadan.

    Time is a different concept in West Africa than in Europe orNorth America. Being 'on time' to a Nigerian could easily be acouple of hours after an agreed start-time. Evening social eventstend to start late and often continue into the small hours.Photography in airports may lead to arrest. Homosexuality isillegal in Nigeria.

    Business:

    Those looking to do business in Nigeria, and especially thosewho've never done business on the African continent before, willcertainly have to prepare themselves to face unique challenges.Although great strides have been made within Nigeria's corporatelandscape, the country still suffers from massive corruption and adebilitating lack of infrastructure, which can make doing businessthere difficult. The management style typically found in Nigeria isextremely hierarchical. The boss - invariably male, and always ofan older generation - will expect and will receive respect from allthose working beneath him, and will never be publicly criticised.However, this does not necessarily mean that all decisions are madeon this authority-figure's whim; business relationships areextremely important in Nigeria, and often, compromises can bereached.

    In general, Nigerian business leaders will lead firmly, givingtheir employees instructions that are expected to be followedclosely. Teamwork, and the ability to work together towardclearly-defined goals, is considered a more valuable asset thanindependent thinking or individualistic efforts. Business meetingsin Nigeria are very social occasions, providing the frameworkwithin which solid interpersonal connections are to be made. Bearthe following in mind: respect for elders is huge in Nigeria; evenif one is more qualified than older colleagues, there is no surerway to cause offence in Nigeria than by disrespecting members ofthe older generation.

    In Nigeria, especially for men, it is important that businessdress reflects status; men tend to wear dark, stylish suits and atie, and don't hold back on the accessories. Dressing for work inNigeria can be trickier for female expats, especially those used tothe more relaxed dress codes of the UK or America. Nigeria is avery traditional country, and therefore, skirts above the knee andcleavage-revealing tops are unacceptable in the office environment,as is the exposure of too much skin around the collarbone andshoulder area.

    There is no specific protocol for the exchanging of businesscards in Nigeria - although it is considered rude not to study thecard in the presence of the person who gave it to you. Make sureany tertiary education or qualifications you have received areprinted on your card, and that your title is prominently displayed.In a country of so many different ethnic groups and dialects,English has emerged as the de facto language of business inNigeria. Business hours are generally from 8am (or 8.30am) to 5pm,from Monday to Friday. In the northern (predominately Muslim) partof Nigeria, Friday is a day of rest.

    Communications:

    The country code for Nigeria is +234. Full international directdialling is available. Free wifi is available in many cafes,restaurants, and hotels in tourist areas. A local prepaid SIM cardcan be purchased to avoid paying high international roamingcharges.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers to Nigeria over 18 years old do not have to pay dutyon 200g of tobacco products, 1 litre of spirits and 1 litre wine,perfume or eau de Cologne for personal use and gifts to the valueof NGN 50,000 (excluding jewellery, photographic equipment,electronics and luxury goods). Prescription medication andpharmaceutical products should be accompanied by a letter from yourGP as well as the original prescription, and should not be carriedin your checked luggage.

    The following items carry substantial duty levies: cameras,projectors and other electronic goods, unless visitors can provideproof of possession for at least three years or can submit acertificate of re-importation. Prohibited items include beer,mineral water, soft drinks, sparkling wine, fresh fruit andvegetables, textiles, mosquito netting, jewellery and preciousmetals, cereals, and eggs. Flowers, plants and seeds often needpermits and the rules regarding specific species often change, soit is best to check the situation as close to your time of travelas possible.

    Useful Contacts:

    Nigerian Tourist Office, Abuja: +234 (0)9 234 2764.

    Nigeria Embassies:

    Nigerian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 9868400.

    Nigeria High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 78391244.

    Nigeria High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 0521.

    Nigeria High Commission, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 3420808.

    Nigeria High Commission, Canberra, Australia (also responsiblefor New Zealand): +61 (0)2 6215 8500.

    Embassy of Nigeria, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 660 4366.

    Foreign Embassies in Nigeria :

    United States Embassy, Abuja: +234 (0)9 461 4000.

    British High Commission, Abuja: + 234 (1) 277 0780.

    Canadian High Commission, Abuja: +234 (0)9 461 2900.

    South African High Commission, Abuja: +234 (0)9 462 4200.

    Australian High Commission, Abuja: +234 (0)9 461 2780.

    Irish Embassy, Abuja: +234 (0)9 462 0611.

    New Zealand High Commission, London, United Kingdom (alsoresponsible for Nigeria): +44 20 7930 8422 .

    Nigeria Emergency Numbers : 112 (General Emergency, Lagos only)
    Nigeria