Nigeria: worth it?

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Jan 3rd, 2006, 08:27 AM
  #1
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Nigeria: worth it?

One of my close friends from college is getting married in Nigeria in December 2006 and has invited me to come along. She's an American-born Nigerian, went to high school in London, and was in the US for college. She lives here now. I would like to attend the wedding and do some sight seeing as well. There are two parts to my question: (1) For people who have travelled to this part of the world, would this be a good idea from the safety perspective? (2) What are the main attractions around this area? Should I plan on sticking close to my friends and her family for safety area? Thanks!!!
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 12:54 PM
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I'm trying to discern the same for myself as I've asked these questions in another post.

You don't say what your travel experiences have been in the past (to guage your likes and dislikes).

I would take a chance and go. Knowing your friend, and by extension, her family will go a long way toward smoothing your stay.

I hope you take her up on her offer and return to fodor's to let us know how it went!
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 02:44 PM
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Thanks for your reply back Femi. I saw your post on Nigeria, and have been reading up on the threads for Nigeria (there isn't too many) and will get a guide book this week and do some more reading.

My travels have only taken me to Asia (because of my Indonesian mother) and Europe so far. Because I always travel solo, I havent really put a lot of thoughts into travelling to Africa. But when my friend asked, I figured that it might be cool. Thanks again for your post!
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Jan 3rd, 2006, 04:05 PM
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Something about Indonesia triggered my memories of Nigeria, although I couldn't pinpoint what it was. Maybe it was the sultry, tropical weather combined with the third world element.

Just use common sense if you do venture out alone. Which city/cities would you visit?

Enjoy your trip if you do decide to go (I would grab it), and keep us posted!
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Jan 4th, 2006, 03:57 AM
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I have two acquaintances who are expats living in Lagos.

One is originally from Columbia. His wife would not move in Nigeria, so he lives in an apartment alone. He only goes from his apartment to work to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. He feels it was too dangerous to go anywhere else, and calls Lagos 'fifth world'.

The other family lived in a house on an armed compound. They had a 'safe room' in the house that is a protected cage you flee to if someone breaks into your home. They were escorted anytime they went off the compound grounds.

That being said, I would go to Nigeria in a heartbeat. You will be with your friend, she will know the ropes.

Nigeria, specifically Lagos is a big, bustling city with a huge gap between the have and have not.

There are many expats there, but it is not a tourist Mecca like South or East Africa. I don't think people sight see there in the conventional tourist sense.

Please report back on your experiences.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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You can also consider sightseeing in neighboring countries, like Benin and Ghana, which have a lot to see (I have been to both) and have reputations as being more receptive to tourists (ie, safer). If it were me, I'd go to the wedding and then fly from Lagos to Accra or overland to Contonou to visit Ghana or Benin.
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Jan 4th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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Thank you Queenie and thitcho for your replies. There are a lot of travel warnings to go to Indonesia as well, but I fly out every year to see my mother's relatives in Jakarta, so I agree with you, as long as I have friends or families who will be with me, I think I should be okay because at least they will show me the ropes.

thit_cho, I like your idea on travelling to the neighbouring countries, but do you think that it would be safe for a single female to be doing that? I have no problem doing that here in the US or Europe, but I have never been to Africa, so I am bit apprehensive. I haven't done a lot of research on that part of the world, so I am going to start on that and probably post some more questions later on. Thanks again everyone!
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Jan 4th, 2006, 08:23 AM
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Ghana has a reputation as a safe destination, and its English-speaking, which may make traveler easier. When I visited, I stayed at a 5-star hotel, and I traveled by private taxi (very affordable).
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Aug 2nd, 2006, 01:54 PM
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I wanted to bring this post up to the top to see if I could get any more responses. The plan is still on for Nigeria. We're shopping for airfares right now ...
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Aug 2nd, 2006, 08:49 PM
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I have been to Nigeria twice in this year. Lagos is an unusual city - wealth next to abject poverty. Has about 16 to 20 million people in the city so has every problem of a large city like traffic and a few West African specials like very unreliable power supply and crazy drivers and a very corrupt police force who see their role in life as cash bribe collectors - so vehicles are in very bad repair as you just pay to pass.

However that all said I enjoy Nigeria. Some rules - travel with residents and you have to have a driver or you will never handle the "special" road rules. Internal air services are good - especially Virgin Nigeria. The capital Abuja is very different to Lagos and worth a quick visit as well.

A visit to Yankari Park in Bauchi state is worth it although the accommodation is not in great condition. There are many references to it on the web so Google it.

Nigeria also has some excellent beaches and Gorillas and Chimps next to Cameroon but access to there is not easy. I was there to consult on this park on on a forest reserve called Okumo National Park but Okumo is wonderful but a specialist experience.

Safety is a concern so make sure that whatever trips you do are with your friends living in Nigeria. People in general are welcoming and very friendly and helpful - like everywhere it is the 1% that give the 99% a bad reputation. It is a vibrant country with some issues is all. Enjoy it.
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Aug 3rd, 2006, 03:36 PM
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I would definately go for the wedding which is bound to be an experience.

Nigeria isn't exactly on the African tourism circuit but West Africa is among the most fascinating destinations on the continent. I spent much of my childhood in Nigeria in Lagos, Kaduna and Kano and still remeber the color, the chaos and the energy.

My immediate thought was similar to Thit cho's why not combine the trip with another country. Ghana is a easy English speaking destination but for something different you could also consider visiting Mali which has great attractions including Timbuktu, Dogon country, the Niger river, incredible mud mosques including Djenne and wonderful music!

Ghana would be a good destination on your own while Mali, because of the distances, might be good in a small group.

Hope this helps!
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Aug 4th, 2006, 04:30 AM
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Like welltravelledbrit I also spent some of my childhood in Nigeria.

I went back in 1991. I was on a budget overland trip and we stayed way out of town. But on our one day there several of us took a taxi into town - they went their way and I went mine. I had stuff to check out. So I wandered the streets looking for the Kingsway stores!

WTB may or may not know what I am talking about. Anyway - I felt slightly unnerved - one white face in the sea.

Lagos is not a comfortable destination - but far, far less threatening than Jo'burg.

There is an amazing museum in Benin City.

I too would recommend a side trip to Ghana.

But you MUST go to the wedding - despite all, if I could go back to Nigeria now and take another look - hey, I would!!
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Aug 7th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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Fuzzy,
I can't believe you too spent time in Nigeria. I still remember the faded dusty products, including Christmas decorations on the shelves at Kingsway, not to mention the Omo ads on TV. Your post really took me back!
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Aug 7th, 2006, 03:35 PM
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Thanks everyone for the postings. Yes, I also think that I would look quiet charming in the traditional Nigerian attire

I will take notes of the recommendations of the places to visit. I might not be brave enough to travel on my own to Ghana or Mali.. But I dont know, I have 4 months to work up the courage
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Aug 8th, 2006, 10:01 AM
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Ok Mali on your own might not be any fun but Ghana is a much easier place logistically.

You could also look into some of the small group overland trips run by some of the European operators in the US the best place to get information is adventurecenter.com

I'm sure you'll look fabulous in your traditional get up!
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Aug 10th, 2006, 05:19 PM
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Thanks Brit <
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Aug 10th, 2006, 05:47 PM
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My wife and I spent 2 years in Nigeria while in the Peace Corps back in the 60's! We loved our experiences and we would love to go back, but I wouldn't go now because of safety concerns. However, if there was a wedding, I'd probably go. I know I'd be with family, etc.

For you Nigeria types, we were in the North, 25 miles from Jos at a little village called Kuru near Bukuru.
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Sep 18th, 2006, 05:11 PM
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I am not exactly sure where I will be, but I will be arriving at the Abuja Airport. Then we'll drive another 4-5 hours to the town where the wedding is.
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