Nigeria is a country located in equatorial West Africa, and Africa’s most populous nation. It is also the seventh most populous country in the world. It shares borders with Benin to the west, Cameroon to the southeast, Chad to the northeast, and Niger to the north, and it also boasts a southern coastline on the Gulf of Guinea. While being famous for its population, it is also the largest African oil producer and, since April 2014, the largest economy in Africa.
Even though this country is rather dangerous, there are ways to spend quality time there – without getting hurt. You can go to the Lekki Forest Reserve, which is basically an interesting patch of tropical rainforest with wooden walkways but you’ll have a hard time explaining the location to taxi drivers as locals often don’t know about this place. You can also visit Obudu: a small and cool mountain escape that also offers a nice resort (Obudu Mountain Resort) on the mountain. You can count on activities like forest walks, hiking, cable cars drives and swimming in swimming pools with fountains.
Warnings & Dangers in Nigeria
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
Nigeria is currently a very dangerous destination for potential tourists. Governments in several countries have even issued warnings against traveling to this country, for reasons such as terrorism, kidnappings and other types of violent crime.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
As for transport, it is not safe, and you should always opt for taxis and hired drivers to get around Nigeria. However, buses, although dangerous because of possible road blocks and the possibility of passengers being attacked are reliable and can take you to any part of the country you wish to go. Still, be very careful when getting around Nigeria.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Crime levels are high in Nigeria and this goes for both petty and violent crime. Expect petty crime like pickpocketing, bag snatching, camera snatching, and other forms of theft, especially on the streets of Lagos.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Nigeria gets severely hit by heavy tropical rains each year from May to September, that usually leads to flash floods. Floods are the most devastating natural disaster in Nigeria and they have also devastated the Niger Delta,
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
There have been some pretty scary reports concerning violent crime in Nigeria towards foreigners particularly. U.S. Department of State reporting more than 140 foreign nationals have been kidnapped, and six of them killed, since 2009. This is why it is essential that you avoid walking around Nigeria altogether, be it during the day or night. Opt for driving.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Nigeria. Avoid northern and north east Nigeria at all cost as those are the parts of the country where most of the terrorism takes place. However, there have been numerous attacks elsewhere, too. Threats are mostly coming from the terrorist group Boko Haram.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
Of course, scams too are common in Nigeria, so double check your change, never pay anything upfront and negotiate everything in advance. Be very careful around ATMs and be wary of anyone trying to distract you.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
Nigeria is not a safe destination for women. Do not go alone anywhere, and keep in mind that it is best not to move around Nigeria at all, except if you're in a car with windows rolled up.
So... How Safe Is Nigeria Really?
You should know that there are plenty of foreign governments that advise against traveling to Northern and Central Nigeria altogether due to ethnic quarrels, lawlessness and the murderous Islamist groups such as Boko Haram. You should avoid gathering anywhere while in nigeria, and church-goers should not form in groups which are too large due to suicide bombings. You may encounter jihadist groups in the regions of Borno, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe and Kano.
When it comes to crime, Nigeria is considered a dangerous destination. It is strongly advised that you travel in company of at least one person. Going to the capital, Abuja, is not dangerous as it’s the home of most diplomats and politician so there’s plenty of security there. Everywhere else, crime levels are high and you are strongly advised against roaming around alone, especially at night. The roads are also dangerous as there’s a constant threat of an armed robbery. The Niger delta area is also considered unsafe for tourists, as is the Northern Nigeria because of the ethnic and religious tensions that took over this area. The presence of Boko Haram isn’t helpful either. The waters outside Nigeria are also dangerous: you are most likely to get attacked by pirates here.
If you’re a member of LGBT, avoid this country. Homosexuality is ILLEGAL here with penalties of up to death. In the North of the country, the sharia law is regularly implemented so LGBT travelers are advised to be extremely careful should be very cautious. Both gay men and lesbian women can be executed. Refrain from all public or private displays of affection at all cost.
- Visas - Most countries do need a passport in order to enter Nigeria. You will need a valid passport and keep in mind that it is usually impossible to acquire a visa upon arrival so make sure you apply for one well in advance. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Nigerian naira is the official currency in Nigeria. ATMs are becoming more and more available throughout the country.
- Weather - Nigeria has tropical climate, due to it being located in the tropics, and it is characterized by a rainy and a dry season as in most countries in the tropics. Nigeria's rainy season lasts from May to September during which period it receives extreme amounts of rain.
- Airports - Murtala Muhammed International Airport is the main airport in Nigeria, serving the entire country. It is located in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Nigeria, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.