Nigeria is one of the most fascinating countries you could visit. This large and beautiful land is fondly known as the Giant of Africa. Before our 2 week stay, I came up with a list of essentials to consider before you visit Nigeria. I urge you to set aside any negative preconceived ideas you may have about Nigeria that have been perpetuated by the media or even people that have not visited this great country.
Nigeria is a fun, vibrant and forward moving country that may still have a lot of work to reach its full potential but any vacation there can be as safe and enjoyable as other vacation destinations. These tips are for anyone who needs a reference before visiting Nigeria. Going back to Nigeria after 20 years felt like rediscovering myself on the other side of the world. Nigeria has always been home in my head but it’s even more deeply rooted in my heart.
6 Things To Do Before You Visit Nigeria
Get A Visa or Passport
Make sure your passport is updated and in good standing. Hopefully, I don’t have to remind you how a passport issue ruined my Cancun vacation this year and led me to a Mexican prison. You will need a visa to go to Nigeria where a resident of Nigeria will likely need to write a Letter of Invite stating your reason for visiting. Getting a visa can be tedious but if you were born to Nigerian parents, I urge you to get a Nigerian passport. I’m so glad we did this since entry into Nigeria went pretty smoothly. Additionally, we started carrying this passport case for the family to keep everything organized.
Pack An Extra Suitcase
Whether you’re a tourist or a Nigerian living in the Diaspora, make sure to come with an extra suitcase. We collected so many items for friends, family, not to mention all the shopping I did for myself. My toddlers are big on Fufu with all types of assorted soups so having fresh ingredients from back home is a plus. I had to re-up on my crayfish, ogbono, egusi, etc. If you rather wait until you get there, they actually sell luggage at Shoprite (located all over Nigeria) or the local market. We picked this suitcase up from Amazon as our spare.
Protect Your Skin
Nigeria is a hot and humid country. It’s generally warm year-round until Harmattan season (late November -February). Make sure to wear sunscreen at all times, I usually use this sunscreen for my face and another for my body. You can take advantage of this 2 in one sunscreen and bug repellent by AVON.
Whether you use bug repellent lotion or spray, keep it on hand to help prevent pesky bites and Malaria.
One of my favorite Nigerian customs occurs after you have a baby. Read about Omugwo HERE
Beware Of Malaria, It Gets Real
I have had several family members and acquaintances come back with malaria after not taking their medication. We don’t suggest taking medication just for sh*ts and giggles people. Let me preface this by saying I am not your medical provider and I provide no medical advice on this blog, these are only my personal experiences or opinions. That being said, in Nigeria you are able to purchase malaria prophylaxis over the counter. This is what hubby and I took instead of the weekly prescription given to us in the US. No matter what the prophylactic medication you choose, take something while also staying alert to malaria symptoms. Symptoms may not show for up to 2 weeks after contracting the parasite.
Download The Apps
Download Whatsapp, Uber and Taxify before you go. There are several options to get around in Nigeria. For the most part we used a family member’s driver (I will definitely miss having a daily driver) but there were a few times we used the Uber or Taxify app. Click here to get money off your first ride.
Accessories Are Your Friend
This international travel adapter/converter one was used often and has additional USB ports to make it even more awesome.
You will thank me later for reminding you to go with a fully charged portable charger. We brought this one but also plan to buy this charging iPhone case for our future travels
Are you ready to visit Nigeria? Leave a comment below if there is something I might have missed.
Spot on! I went to Lagos this spring and neglected to bring a travel adapter or spare suitcase. Thankfully, I stayed with family and they provided both of those things. 🙂
Thanks Jazz! We literally carried them with us everywhere.
I would love to go to Africa one day. My mother’s side is from Sierra Leone, but we don’t know anyone from there. I believe it’s difficult traveling back if we have no connection to anyone on the ground. Nigeria seems like a great place to visit as well. The language barrier would be something else though lol
I feel you, luckily it’s Nigerians are pretty friendly so finding a Nigerian friend to take you with them is possible. There were so many people on the trip with us that were just friends of Nigerians in America.
Also, there shouldn’t be much of a language barrier since English is the official language
Thank you for sharing!!!
Of course! Thanks for being a part of the community!
I’m an Asian and have travelled twice, last Nov and late Feb (yeah, I just came back a week ago), to Nigeria. The accessories are definitely a must, cos the hotel we stayed had constant intermittent blackouts. At least, once in a day. I think a bottle to bring along is what I would suggest new visitors to go.
The trip was truly a different experience!
Thank you for the tips. I will be visiting Lagos and Benin City for 2 weeks this upcoming May. I am excited. I am going to take the Malaria tablets . Did you have to get any Vaccinations?
No, we did not get any other vaccinations although the CDC recommends it.
Enjoy your time in Lagos and Benin!
I am heading to Abuja in July… Where can I go to get my hair braided, any recommendations!?
Hey Love! I went to Bold and Beautiful, Israel plaza. Will update the post.