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7 Things Every First Time Visitor to Nigeria Should Know

If you are visiting Nigeria for the first time, there are a lot of things you should know and do. But we don’t want you to suffer a case of information overload. So we compressed the most important details here for you. This way you won’t have too much of a culture shock when you arrive.

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Travel Documents

Before coming to Nigeria, make sure you apply for a Nigerian visa at least a month earlier. This is because the process can be quite tedious, pricey and lengthy. Except your country is among those that need not get a visa to visit Nigeria like Benin, Seychelles, Mali, Niger, etc. Also, get a yellow fever vaccination and other vaccinations early too. Get all your travel documents in order and make sure you have a travel guide to confirm you are on the right track.

Airport Hassle

Do things yourself at the airport. It’s best to travel light so you can handle carrying your luggage around the airport by yourself. If you don’t mind parting away with cash, then you may pay for a cart or have assistance with filling out your customs forms. But it is best to do these things yourself.

If you have a medical condition where taking long walks is a challenge, you can book a flight with an airline that offers wheelchair services. That way you won’t have to pay for one at the airport when you arrive.

Spending Money

The currency in use in Nigeria is the naira. You can convert your currency at the airport or wait till you get into town and visit a bureau de change. Don’t give out tips in dollars. It can attract the wrong attention because the dollar is higher in value than the naira. You are under no obligation to give out tips as tipping isn’t a Nigerian culture and if you must, use loose change.

Also, bargaining is allowed. You don’t have to take the face value price of anything unless it’s in a supermarket. As a visitor with a foreign accent, the price for items will most likely be inflated by 100%, so always start with a far lower value and bargain till a stalemate before you purchase. Or better yet, move around and find alternative prices before settling for the asking price of the item.

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Language Barrier

Our general lingua franca is English. Yes, there are three major languages spoken in Nigeria, but there are over 520 languages in Nigeria, with each town adopting one or the other. Majority of Nigerians speak either English or Pidgin English.  It’s mainly in the rural areas you will find Nigerians whose use of English is poor or non-existent.

Spicy Foods

Nigeria has an array of meals that can cater to anyone. There are some restaurants in Lagos who specifically provide vegan and vegetarian meals. One thing that stands out in most Nigerian meals is how spicy they are. Habanero pepper is the norm here. So you can expect to enjoy a variety of flavours and heat to kick up your palate.

Moving Around Town

Nigerian cars are left wheel drives. So if you are a right wheel driver, it’s best you don’t consider renting a car to drive yourself in Nigeria. Just hail a cab. We have lots of nice cab services available in Nigeria, some even come with apps, examples, Uber, Bolt (Taxify), or Moove Ng.

The Respect Meter

In Nigeria, respect is a big deal. Some people feel it is a sign of disrespect to give them anything with your left hand. So when relating to people try to avoid shaking hands or giving items with your left hand. Also, it is considered rude to not eat what a host gives you if you go visiting a family. If you can’t respectfully decline, then attempt to eat what they give you. It might not be as bad as you fear.


Featured Image Source: Nairametrics

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Ann Esievoadje

Ann Esievoadje is a freelance writer who is passionate about encouraging a reading culture and personal development. She has authored two books, The Quilt (fiction) and Being Mummy and Me (non-fiction). She manages Pulchra Publishing which offers a content creation/editing, transcription, different forms of writing (including Ghostwriting) service and her blog, Life Love and Anything Goes at You can reach her at

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