Eco-friendly travel guide to Lagos advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Lagos, Nigeria.
- Air quality: 2.2 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3.5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3 / 5
- Public transportation: 3 / 5
- Parks: 3 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 3.5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3.5 / 5
- Safety: 3 / 5
- Accommodation: US$40 - $150
- Budget per day: US$100 - $250
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria and the African continent. Lagos is a major financial center for all of Africa. The mega city has the fourth-highest GDP in Africa and houses one of the largest and busiest seaports on the continent. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. There are several ways to get around the city as an eco-friendly tourist:
- Lagos State has a bus rapid transit (BRT) system; the first phase was completed in February 2008. It is expected to operate along eight routes using specially designated bus rapid transit lanes running through the city, to expand to other routes in the future. The first phase of the Lagos BRT runs 19 km through Ikorodu Road and Funsho Williams Avenue up to CMS. After weeks of test runs, operations started on 17 March 2008, six months earlier than planned. Using the BRT is an eco friendly and responsible way of travelling.
- The city is in the process of expanding its rail system into the Lagos Rail Mass Transit. Once completed, the system will provide a faster alternative to get around the chaotic traffic of the city of Lagos.
- Lagos is composed of two parts, one on the mainland and another part on an island. There are several ferries and private boats that provide transport services between the two regions.
- Lagos and Nigeria as a whole are known for the large number of three-wheelers that are used for local transport. One of the easiest and responsible ways to move around the city is using these vehicles popularly known as tuk-tuks. Unlike the bigger vehicles which have fixed routes, tuk-tuks function as taxis whereby they follow the route chosen by the passenger. The advantage of this is that the drivers are locals who understand the areas in which they operate meaning that they can advise you on the fastest way to get to a destination.
- For covering short distances around Lagos, the best way is to walk. Walking has many benefits such as the fact that it costs nothing; it is eco-friendly and the exercise it accords is beneficial to the body. However, like any other city, discretion is required when walking as walking at night or in some parts of the town is risky.
Some of the ways through which one can have a responsible and enjoyable time while traveling are:
- Avoid throwing litter on the streets
- Conserve energy while staying in hotel room
- Where possible, walk or use public transport
Air Quality and Pollution
Nigeria has the highest maternal mortality in the world. It's the country with the highest number of extremely poor people in the world and now, it has the highest burden of fatalities from air pollution in Africa and the 4th globally. There is a silent rage of air pollution in Nigeria. Air pollution is choking the life out of Nigerians. Indoors and outdoors, air pollution is killing more urban residents today than ever before.
In November 2020, the Nigerian government banned the import of miniature generators because of their contribution to air pollution. This decision has been criticized for disproportionately affecting low-income earners. Diesel generators are undoubtedly part of the problem, but they will continue to be used until the electricity supply improves. Nigeria’s power plants have been privatized along with the distribution systems, but the government still operates the largely inefficient transmission lines. For industries and citizens looking to power their businesses and light up their homes, generators are a ready solution.
Respect the Culture
Like Nigeria itself, which is home to 180 million people, 300 tribes and 500 languages, Lagos is a melting pot of cultural traditions. The city has a lively and growing art scene, which is evident on the streets and in personal celebrations as in formal settings. Owambe parties are common involving large groups of people dancing until dawn, ubiquitous private buses play loud music on the streets and artists gather under bridges showcasing informal galleries of their work.
Lagos is famous throughout Africa for its music scene. Lagos has a vibrant nightlife and has given birth to a variety of styles such as Sakara music, Nigerian hip hop, highlife, juju, fuji, Afrobeat, and Afrobeats. Lagos is the center of the Nigerian movie industry, often referred to as 'Nollywood'. Idumota Market on Lagos Island is the primary distribution center. Many films are shot in the Festac area of Lagos, where the World Festival of Black Arts was held. Iganmu is home to the primary center for the performing arts and artistes in Nigeria: the National Arts Theatre.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, sprawls inland from the Gulf of Guinea across Lagos Lagoon. Victoria Island, the financial center of the metropolis, is known for its beach resorts, boutiques and nightlife. To the north, Lagos Island is home to the National Museum Lagos, displaying cultural artifacts and craftworks. Nearby is Freedom Park, once a colonial-era prison and now a major venue for concerts and public events. Here are some of the top places to visit in Lagos:
- The New Afrika Shrine: The New Afrika Shrine is an open-air entertainment center located in Ikeja, Lagos State. It serves as the host location of the annual Felabration music festival. Currently managed by Femi Kuti and Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti, it is the replacement of the old Afrika Shrine created in 1970 by Fela Kuti until it was burnt down in 1977. The New Afrika Shrine showcases photo galleries of Fela and musical performances by Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti.
- Hi-Impact Planet: Hi-Impact Planet offers world-class fun for the young and old, friends and families. There are games, rides and other entertaining attractions for the young and young at heart. You and your family will enjoy a good time and form magical memories. You can grab a snack or a pastry during your day of fun or enjoy full-blown intercontinental meals at the parks 3 food court.
- Lekki Leisure Lake: Located opposite the three-story Vantage Beach Hotel, Lekki Leisure Lake is the best destination for authentic outdoor fun in Lagos. The resort is a safe and tranquil destination suitable for a family outing, a group adventure or even a fun day out with a significant other. At Lekki Leisure Lake, there are numerous thrilling adventurous activities like quad biking, jet skiing, zip-lining and much more.
- Terra Kulture: The internationally acclaimed art house is the home to contemporary visual and theatre art in Nigeria. It stands as one of only 2 art auction houses in Nigeria, with a collection of over a thousand art pieces from across the country. The Terra Kulture building is home to a restaurant, a craft shop, a library, a language school and theatre and its central feature; the art gallery.
- GET Arena: GET Arena, located opposite the Lagos Oriental Hotel, offers the finest go-karts in Lagos. It is a great place for a family outing location or a casual group hangout. One can create their own racing league; enjoy corporate competitions or tournaments for the adults and the kids. After an exhilarating ride, one can feast on a salivating spread of fine dishes and most sumptuous cocktails
- Ikeja City Mall: Built in December 2011, the shopping center comprises of 100 stores with a desirable mix of retailers trading renowned quality brands. You will not only be spoilt for choice of shops and the best meals, but there are also fun centers for kids to play in as well as a cinema to enjoy some quality movie viewing.
- Club Quilox: The club, popular among celebrities and socialites, is described by many as addictive. Whether it’s a party for 4 or 400, at Quilox, you are sure to have a fun time with the booming bass and all the debonair party lovers in Lagos.
- National Theater: An architectural masterpiece and cultural landmark, the edifice is one of the few properties of the country that has stood the test of time. Being home to everything art, the National Theatre provides an avenue for you to learn a lot more about art while having fun in its lush environment.
- Nike Centre for Art and Culture: Founded by the legendary Oyenike Monica Okundaye, the Lagos outpost of the Nike Art Centers is something akin to an art gallery, an artist retreat and workshop, and home rolled into one. Inside, there are Nigerian artists, sculptors, and craftsmen honing their skills, several levels filled to the brim with one of the largest collections of African art on the continent
- The Historic Town of Badagry: There’s no understanding West Africa without learning about the tragic history of the slave trade and the havoc colonial slavers wrecked across the region. A trip to the historic town of Badagry is sure to leave one pensive as you explore relics of this unfortunate chapter of Nigerian history at the Badagry Black Heritage Museum.
Lagos is the economic and cultural powerhouse of the country thanks to an influx of oil money, Lagos has an exploding arts and music scene that will keep you engaged far past dawn. If you're headed to Nigeria, you'll have no choice but to jump right in and have an immersive experience.
As well as the brilliantly buoyant culture, Lagos has bumper-to-bumper cars, noise and pollution beyond belief, a high crime rate, and maxed-out public utilities. Elevated motorways ringing the island city are jammed with speed freaks and absurd traffic jams ('go-slows') on top, and tin-and-cardboard shacks underneath. It's a divided city, but an undeniably exciting one. Named after the Portuguese word for lagoon, Lagos has been a Yoruba port, a British political center and, until 1991, Nigeria's capital. There is so much to explore from museums to malls to parks. You will have a splendid time in the city. One thing you should always take in account is to be as eco friendly as possible.
- Dreamworld Africana: Dreamworld Africana is situated at KM 20 Lekki-Ajah Expressway Lagos. It just after the 2nd Lekki toll gate, a major landmark to look out for is the Orchid Hotel. The park has lots of rides including a roller coaster, carousel, Ferris wheel, bumper cars, go-karts, games arcade, bouncy castles, etc. It also has a swimming area and water slides to make that big splash.
- Hi-Impact Planet: Hi-Impact Planet is an amusement theme park and resort on the outskirts of Lagos along the Lagos–Ibadan Expressway – KM 12 Lagos Ibadan Expressway Ibafo. It a stone throw from MFM Prayer City. There are indoor games arcade with lots of games, rides, bumper cars, ice skating, Ferris wheel, carousel, go-kart, train rides and an indoor 4D cinema. It also has a swimming area and water slides.
- Funtopia Water Park: Funtopia Leisure Resort is located at Km 35, Lekki-Epe Express Way, opposite Pan African University just a few minutes away from Victoria Garden City. Funtopia is a water park that offers 3 water slides, a swimming area, a games room, a snack bar and a bouncing castle.
- Freedom Park: Designed by the Architect Theo Lawson, Freedom Park is a memorial and leisure park area in the middle of downtown Lagos.
- Lekki Conservation Center: Built-in 1990, Lekki conservation center covers a land area of 78 hectares. This nature hub is run by the Nigerian conservation foundation (NCF). The NCF was set aside to sustain the natural habitation of plants, and animals as urbanization began leading to the intrusion of areas meant for them. The conservation center is located in Lekki, immediately after Chevron, before the 2nd Lekki Toll Gate. This huge expansive of green space is a marked contrast to the concrete that dominates the rest of the city.
- Lufasi Nature Park: The 20 hectares of land nature park off the Lekki – Epe Express Way is just the right place for you and your friends. With an entry fee of just N1000, be sure to get access to a forest exploration adventure, a lake view, an animal garden, a children's play park, games and a picnic arena. A must-see is the famous Ekki Iron Wood Tree.
- Tarkwa Bay Beach: Tarkwa Bay is a sheltered beach located near the Lagos Harbour. It is popular with swimmers and water-sports enthusiasts, also home to a welcoming resident community. Tarkwa Bay Beach, unlike most public beaches in Lagos, is not always noisy or overcrowded. This makes it a great place for some alone time.
- Elegushi Beach: Elegushi Royal Beach is a private beach owned by the Elegushi Royal family, led by HRM Oba Alayeluwa Saheed Ademola Elegushi. It is arguably the most popular beaches in Lagos. The beach is well known to be the go-to fun place for great meals, nightclubs, and hang out spots. This beach is the perfect spot for picnics, parties or social gatherings.
- Eleko Beach: The favorite beach with fashionable locals is Eleko Beach, a big 60-kilometer trip east of the city. You can rent a beach hut for the day here, and get someone to make a barbeque for you. There's also a small market selling interesting art.
- Atican Beach: Atican Beach is a private beach that can be accessed from Abraham Adesanya Road, Okun, Ajah, Lagos. The beach is known for its white sand and clean environment. As one of Lagos’ far off beaches, it is less crowded than most others. While the entertainment activities are limited, you can sit back and watch the tides or settle down in a quiet spot to get work done—the ideal getaway for digital nomads.
- La Campagne Tropicana: This beach resort is located at Ibeju-Lekku and can be accessed from Lekki Epe Expressway, off the highway at Ikegun. La Campagne Tropicana. is a stunning, modern beach resort that covers about 60 acres on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The rooms at the resort are designed to showcase African interior designs and décor. Visitors here can enjoy activities such as kayaking, horse riding, swimming in outdoor pools or relaxing in tree houses.
- Wander Freedom Park: At this 19th-century prison-turned-park, there are memorials, fountains, green space, food courts and more in this large urban park. Wander the grounds, bring a picnic, or just sit and people watch. Freedom Park also plays host to a variety of performances and festivals.
- National Stadium: A multi-use stadium in Surulere, Lagos, the National Stadium was built in 1972 with a capacity of over 50,000. The stadium has hosted several international competitions and memorable matches in the past, the last major competition being the African Nations Cup in 2000. Having endured a measure of dilapidation over the years, the National Sports Commission has begun a concerted effort to bring the facility back to world-class status.
- Taiwo Olowo’s Monument: Built to commemorate Chief Daniel Conrad Taiwo, who died in 1901, this eventful central square in Lagos is used for all sorts of festivities and official functions. The building is on Broad Street in the central part of the city, neatly lodged between the Mandilas House and the Continental House. Visitors are welcome to view the monument, but discretion demands that they take permission from the guards around the monument before taking photos.
- Tafawa Balewa Square: Lagos’ commercial heart, Tafawa Balewa Square (popularly called TBS) was built in honor of the first Prime Minister of the country. Constructed in 1972 over the area that was previously the track for horse racing. With a capacity to accommodate over 50,000 persons, the square has monuments which include statues of gargantuan horses, the Remembrance Arcade and the 26-story Independence House, built in 1963. Major national functions as well as other events like musical jamborees and religious gatherings are held there.
- The Third Mainland Bridge: Famously referred to as the longest bridge in Africa until 1996 when the October Bridge in Cairo was completed, the third mainland bridge was built by Julius Berger Nigeria PLC and opened by President Ibrahim Babangida in 1990. The bridge connects Lagos mainland to Lagos Island. Although an eight-lane bridge, it records very high traffic every day.
- Nigerian National Museum: Representing a country overflowing with diverse cultural heritage, the Nigerian national museum is the perfect expo of Nigerian history. Showcasing works of art dating back to the pre-independence era, the museum tells the story of Nigeria’s journey through years of progressive growth. The National Museum Lagos has a small crafts village with woodcarvings and other handicrafts for sale at fixed prices; you might also see a demonstration of adire – cloth-making from Abeokuta.
- Nigerian Railway Corporation Museum: There is so much to learn about the fascinating history of Nigeria’s agricultural and industrial economy during the colonial period by visiting the Nigerian Railway Corporation Museum. It’s a very small and somewhat aging museum that receives very few visitors, but the caretaker is eager to pass on his extensive knowledge about the history of Nigeria’s impressive railway network.
- Seriki Faremi Abass Museum: Another monument of the slave trade, the Seriki Faremi Abass Museum was the home of a slave who became a slave merchant. The museum is not only an important part of the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade; it also documents the life of slaves and the harsh conditions under which the trade was carried out.
- Jaekel House Museum: Built in 1898, Jaekel House is a 100-year-old colonial structure, located on a large expanse of land within the Railway Corporation Compound, along Murtala Mohammed Way in Lagos Mainland. The museum showcases photographic archives dating from the 1940s through the 1970s, depicting historical events, people, and places in Nigeria.
First-time visitors in Lagos encounter a barrage of sights, sounds, street food, and restaurant options representing the foods of immigrant populations from across West Africa, much of it lush with spice and oil. Rice dishes anchor Nigerian cooking: specialties like Jollof, white rice with a tomatoey sauce, and locally grown ofada rice with a stew of peppers and palm oil. Fish pepper soup dispensaries double as photo galleries, and international tech-industry transplants have brought with them the flavors of Ethiopia, Lebanon, south India, and beyond.
By day, vendors selling crispy puff puffs and other “small chops” line the sidewalks, while flickering streetside grills illuminate the night. The forthcoming Eko Atlantic City project — a 4-square-mile patch of land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean that plans to house 250,000 new residents — is expected to bring an influx of new chef-driven and fine dining restaurants, but amplified flavors and a boisterous spirit infuse all levels of eating here, in Nigeria's buzziest metropolis.
Traditional Local Restaurants
- Bukka Hut: Bukka Hut serves Nigerian meals that are prepared the same as street-food bukas, and so have the signature flavors that make them so irresistible. Try the ofada rice which, because it is not overly processed, is slightly brown when cooked. The rice is served with an accompanying sauce called ofada sauce, which is prepared using fermented locust beans, assorted meat, smoked fish, palm oil, bell peppers, and Scotch bonnet peppers.
- Olaiya: Making your way through a bowl of Olaiya’s amala and ewedu/gbegiri soup is a rite of passage for western Nigerians. Amala is a fluffy meal made from dried yam, cassava, or plantain flour that gets made into a super-soft light brown or black meal served with a generous helping of gbegiri, a bean soup that is often mixed with its slimier twin, ewedu.
- Nylah’s: Nylah’s is one of the busiest kitchens in town; home deliveries make up the majority of the orders. It looks a bit like a home kitchen, putting out excellent Nigerian classics, like rice and stew and eba (cassava meal) served with a variety of soups, including afang, vegetable soup from south Nigeria and oe egusi, melon soup from southeast Nigeria.
- Yellow Chili: Well-presented Nigerian dishes in swish surroundings. It's carried off well, with tasty dishes in reasonable portions and good service – a great way to eat your way around the country without leaving your table.
- Chicken Republic: Known as a fast-food restaurant, Chicken Republic serves a variety of Nigerian local dishes including Jollof rice, as well as continental foods. Even with several outlets in Lagos, Chicken Republic does not compromise on quality across its different locations. Jollof rice, as well as Nigerian fried rice, is sold here with assorted fried or roasted chicken.
- L’Afric Restaurant and Bar, Victoria Island: L’Afric Restaurant focuses more on local Nigerian food. The Jollof rice here, as well as other foods it serves, is very tasty. The ambiance of the restaurant is also great and the food is not too expensive.
- Jollof Etcetera: Located in Lekki, Jollof Etcetera is a modern restaurant that serves Nigerian local food. A variety of options are also provided for customers that go along with the Jollof rice, including plantain, moin moin (a steamed bean patty) and salads.
Vegetarian and Vegan
- Veggie Victory: Veggie Victory is one of Lagos’ first vegan and vegetarian restaurants, with authentic Nigerian food and flavors at the heart of their ethos. The chefs at Veggie Victory reveal their innovation through their culinary creations, using tofu and wheat protein to produce meatless versions of traditional Nigerian and North African dishes, such as suya and shawarma.
- Thrive: Vegan bistro serving smoothies, cold-pressed juices, alkaline wellness shots, and whole-food meals. Food is without table salt, hydrogenated oils, refined sugars or flours. Example dishes include mushroom suya, quinoa vegetable stir-fry, acha swallow with greens, and soy-free tofu shawarma.
- Izanagi Japanese Cuisine: Rated as the best Japanese restaurant in Lagos – some would even say in all of Nigeria – Izanagi Japanese Cuisine is a quiet and cozy restaurant that tends to its clients’ needs with efficiency. With a gluten-free menu that includes mushrooms, seaweed salads, sushi, and maki, the vegetarian meals also include vegan options
- Spice Route: Offering mainly Asian meals at affordable prices, Spice Route is one of the best places to get vegetarian dishes with Indian flair in Lagos. Offering delicacies like vegetable samosa, pakora, onion bhaji and many more, the restaurant also has vegan options, a great ambiance and excellent service.
- Hard Rock Café: The rock’n’roll-themed Hard Rock Café is a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurant housed in a post-modern space. The café provides its clientele with a variety of meals that are both filling and excellently prepared. Although on the high side, their prices are not too bad for the quality of food provided.
- Abacha: The feast from the East is also colloquially referred to as African salad and is a mix of garden eggs and green vegetables, all dressed with palm oil. Abacha will agree with most stomachs but may tickle the nose hairs, so be sure to eat it outside the office.
- Dabino: A dried fruit mix containing dates or tiger nuts, these sweet street food snacks go perfectly with a glass of wine after work. They are a favorite among Northerners or anyone with a sweet tooth.
- Bambu Nama: Another creation from the North, ‘Dambu’ uses traditional spiced meat and chicken and is grounded down until the fluffy shreds can be scooped into soft handfuls. The soft crumbs melt then solidify in your mouth, providing a taste explosion with each bite.
- Kilishi: A delight of Northern origins, kilishi is jerky that is a variation on the famous suya shish kebab. Instead of being spiced, roasted and skewered, the meat (from beef, lamb or goat) is marinated so it easily separates from the bone, before being cut into razor-thin slices and sun-dried.
- Boli: For those in need of a quick and filling lunch, boli – roasted plantain – is the go-to street snack for hungry people on the move. It is sold with roasted groundnuts or fish depending on the area one is traveling in.
- Akara': Akara is the breakfast of local champions. The fried bean cakes are liberally peppered and seasoned and make for a meal to warm the cockles during the rainy season of Harmattan or provide fuel for the fiercely hot summers. One can find women all over the street with their big vats of oil, which give off delicious aromas while beckoning all with their sizzling goodness.
- Puff Puffs: As the queen of finger food, Puff Puffs have secured a place in the hearts of not only Lagosians but all Nigerians. The doughy, sweet fried treats are a staple at weddings, anniversaries or any occasion that warrants a buffet, and have secured a place of honor among their peers.
Lagos’ water situation is a matter of irony. Although part of the city is surrounded by the Gulf of Guinea; water is a challenge to many. Access to formal clean water is abysmally low, with the majority of Lagos residents relying on the informal sector comprised of wells, boreholes, rivers and rainwater. The price that the city has paid for its unprecedented growth is that much of the surrounding water is polluted. The water supplied through the city water agency mainly comes from the Ogun River and the Owo River. Other residents drilled ground from their backyard to get a continuous supply of tap water. Households also get water from many private shallow wells. Or families rely on street vendors, producing a thriving market for sachet water, purified water packaged in polyethylene pouches.
At present, Nigerians drink only a tiny amount of coffee. Tea or cocoa are the hot drinks of choice and are forecast to account for close to 40% of Nigeria's non-alcoholic drink spending by 2023, according to research body Fitch Solutions. By contrast, spending on coffee is seen only at 2.5 percent.
Lagos is arguably the busiest city in Nigeria and the energy level has to remain at a certain standard, but the locals who drink coffee or tea don’t necessarily do it for the “fix.” They do it for the entire experience of it. Thus, more and more coffee shops are springing up in the city. So, whenever you feel the urge, here are the places you should go for the best coffee experience.
The legal drinking age in Nigeria is 18, although in practice this is rarely enforced. In addition to the bottled drinks, many ethnic groups in Nigeria have special local drinks peculiar to them. These drinks range from fruit juices to milk and brews. Despite the influx of sugar-filled and nutrition stripped foreign drinks, Nigerians are still known to appreciate their local drinks especially due to the high levels of nutrients in most of these drinks. Palm wine is probably the most popular drink a local drink in Nigeria. It is consumed by almost all ethnic and tribal groups in Nigeria. The palm wine also plays a vital role in traditional celebrations as it is used to carry out several rites.
As mentioned earlier, the main source of tap water in Lagos is from the surface water. Since Lagos’s raw water in the lagoon is too polluted, the city gets its water from the Ogun River and the Owo River. The Lagos Water Corporation declares that the water produced in the plant meets the highest standards and that it supplies safe drinking water adequately and even quantity to over 12.5 million people in Lagos State. People distrust tap water quality, due to polluted water in the distribution network.
Getting organic cuisine that is filling, delicious and pocket-friendly is easily accessible in Lagos, as several restaurants around the city have menus catering to both vegetarians and vegans. Some of the organic cafes in Lagos are:
- Live and Blossom
- All Organic Bistro
- Flowershop Café
- Craft Gourmet By Lou Baker
As the largest and most developed city in Nigeria, Lagos hosts most of the breweries in the country:
- International Breweries
- Consolidated Breweries
- Guinness Nigeria
- Sona Breweries Plc
- Nigerian Breweries Plc
- Bature Breweries
- Intafact Beverages Limited
Lagos is an active and socio-culturally diverse city. The curious sights and multi-layered sounds that waft through the air beckon its residents to wake up and do something. Anything! The superb thing is that anything can happen on any given day in Lagos. You only have to know where to look.
Lagos is home to several lovely beaches and resorts where you can go to relax, by yourself or with family and friends. Pick your choice from closer ones such as Takwa Bay and Elegushi Beach, to further, more adventure-oriented ones such as La Campagne Tropicana Resort, Kamp Ikare, and Ilashe Beach. It's always sun and fun at these beaches, but there's also the option to make it last into the night if that's your kind of party.
Owambes are gatherings for indigenous socialites who love to have a good time. A standard owambe party features well-dressed people in traditional and matching attires and headgear, an abundance of foods and drinks, live bands, loud music (mostly indigenous), people “spraying” money, and lots of dancing and merriment. Except for an owambe that is particularly bougie, any well-dressed person can join in the festivities.
Yoga and Retreats
Yoga may have originated from India but its potency has made it a global phenomenon such that even the United Nations declared June 21 of every year as the international day of Yoga. In a fast lane city like Lagos, known for its notorious traffic, Yoga has become an important way for many locals to relieve themselves of stress. Yoga classes are available in the majority of the gyms in Lagos. Some of the best places to go for Yoga sessions in Lagos include:
- Chi’s Yoga
- Spa and Fitness at Four Points by Sheraton
- Yoga with Stacy
- Proflex Fitness Center
- Madoka Yoga Wellbeing Initiative
The best areas to stay in Lagos are Victoria Island and Ikoyi on Lagos Island, which are located in Lagos harbor and are joined by bridges. These islands are close to the main Central Business District and therefore there are plenty of high-rise buildings, entertainment spots, shopping opportunities and excellent beaches to sunbathe and swim off. Both Ikoyi and Victoria have a great nightlife with a huge selection of cafes, bars, clubs and restaurants along with many choices of accommodation as well as leisure activities.
Nigerian hotels are not left out in the drive to encourage and practice of sustainable hospitality. Though there is still room for improvement, some hotels have passionately included some ways in their standard operating procedures. Below are some hotels boldly implementing eco-friendly practices:
- Four Points by Sheraton: With Four Points By Sheraton Green Programme, guests are rewarded with a signature snack from Food and Beverage outlets for turning down housekeeping services. This way, the hotel reduces the use of water, chemicals and room amenities.
- Eko Hotel and Suites: At Eko Hotels and Suites Lagos, not only has eco-friendly bags been replaced with non- biodegradable bags, plastic straws have also been replaced with paper straws. According to the management of the hotel, “Staff have undergone weeks of training and re-orientation to make them environmentally responsible and conscious of how we affect our environment.
Hostels and Guest Houses
- Divine Hostel: Located in Lagos, 9 miles from National Stadium Lagos, Divine Hostel has air-conditioned accommodations and a garden. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and room service, along with free Wi-Fi. Guests can have a drink at the bar. All rooms in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. At Divine Hostel the rooms have a private bathroom with a bath.
- Maya's Place Hostel: The hotel's location is close to Trinity House Church. Guests can dine in Unusual Cuisine, which is set 400 meters away. The Maya's Place Hostel offers proximity to Nike Centre for Art and Culture. Each room here will provide you with individual climate control, an in-room safe and central heating. The rooms come with a shower and towels.
- High Garden Hostel: Hospitality and luxury in the heart of Nigeria's center of excellence, Lagos State. Business or leisure, High Garden Hostel will give you a blend of class and distinction.
- Ilé Aláyò: Set in Lagos, within 8 km of Nike Art Gallery and 11 km of Mega Plaza Century 21 Mall, Ilé Aláyò offers accommodation with a shared lounge and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. The property is around 12 km from Lekki Market, 12 km from Red Door Gallery and 13 km from National Museum Lagos. The accommodation features a shared kitchen and ticket service for guests.
- Olaxy3 Guest House: Located in Lagos, 3.9 km from National Stadium Lagos, Olaxy3 Guest House provides a bar and rooms with free WiFi access. Among the various facilities of this property are a garden and a terrace. National Art Theatre is 6 km away. At the guest house, the rooms come with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. The rooms will provide guests with a fridge.
- Joanne's Court: Situated in Lagos, 6 km from Nike Art Gallery, Joanne's Court features accommodation with a bar, free private parking and a shared lounge. The property is set 9 km from Mega Plaza Century 21 Mall, 10 km from Lekki Market and 10 km from Red Door Gallery. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk and room service for guests. All rooms at the guest house are fitted with a seating area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a shower.
- Seattle Residences: The Seattle Residences apartment is situated within 1.8 km of The Eyo of Eko Statue, and has several amenities including a designated smoking area and a lift. Guests are accommodated in 3 bedrooms. This accommodation is set in the Victoria Island district and offers easy access to Independence Building.
- Greens Manor: Greens Manor Guest House apartment set in the Victoria Island district features a safety deposit box, a restaurant and storage for belongings. This 1-bedroom accommodation sleeps up to 2 guests. All rooms offer city views as well as an in-room safe, climate control and multi-channel TV. Some units include a terrace to relax in. A bathroom comes with a bathtub and a walk-in shower along with free toiletries and bath sheets. Kitchen amenities feature an electric kettle, a dishwasher and a fridge.
- The Lagos Edition: The Lagos Edition apartment is situated within 3.6 km of Banana Island, and has amenities including a free car park and a terrace. There is an in-room safe, climate control and own balcony in some units. The venue has 8 rooms.
- Gemini Place Apartments: The property offers air-conditioned rooms furnished with individual climate control, wireless Internet and a seating area. The kitchen is fitted with a microwave oven, coffeemaker and an oven.
Couch-surfing is a relatively new concept in Lagos. Although Nigerians, like many Africans, are hospitable, the notion of having a stranger put up in their house seems a bit hard for most of them. While some are finding it easy, like university students, most people have a problem getting a place to couch-surf.
Typically, in Lagos, going to the beach is a very fancy affair with speedboats heading to faraway private beach homes on the shores of Ilashe, but those are often expensive and a lot more fuss is made that should ever be about visiting the beach. Beach camping as an alternative is a holiday that focuses on unplugging from the world at large and living a simple village life while experiencing Nature. Jaybee’s Beach Camp is conveniently located at Takwa where it overlooks the waters of the bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
How to Get There
The city of Lagos lies in south-western Nigeria, on the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Guinea, west of the Niger River delta. Most of the population lives on the mainland, and most industries are located there too. As a key city, not just in Nigeria but in Africa, there are many ways to get to the city whether through the ocean, land or air.
If you choose to travel to Lagos, then air transport is best if you can afford it. You can fly in from many cities around the world such as London, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Rome, İstanbul, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Kenya. There are also direct flights from the United States. Murtala Muhammed International Airport is located in Ikeja, Lagos State and serves as the major airport in the state. When departing via the international airport in Lagos, arrive early, especially close to weekends and festive days, as the security has been beefed up since the December 2009 liquid explosive incident where the terrorist started his journey from Lagos airport. The domestic and international terminals at Lagos airport are several miles apart. Transferring between the two is difficult and time-consuming.
The primary means of transportation in Nigeria, roads convey more than 80% of all traffic in the country. Expressways connect the major cities and the southern seaports, and smaller arteries stretch from the densely-connected south to the less populated northern areas. Several bus companies like Greener Line Transport Limited, ABC Transport, Ifesinachi and The Young Shall Grow offer daily services from almost all major cities around Nigeria. Lagos is about 100km from the border with Benin.
Many inter-city buses run across the country, but more often than not the vehicles are not roadworthy and the drivers tend to be on the reckless side.
There is a dense railway network across Nigeria, and passenger trains circulate on several routes across the country, but the sluggish speed of trains and the poor quality of service have impeded railway transportation from truly taking off. Accordingly, trains in Nigeria offer more of a quaint adventure than an efficient way to travel from one point to another.
Hitchhiking is not a common occurrence to encounter in the city and to an extent the whole country.
Lagos lies along major international roads that pass through and connect different countries on the continent. As a result of this, some of the visitors who get into the city are long-distance adventures driving their own cars or even riding motorbikes.
Historically the main transportation channels in Nigeria, waterways such as the Niger River and the Atlantic Ocean still carry a significant amount of freight and also some passengers in the southern areas. This means of transportation, slow in itself, is further slackened by chronic congestion issues.
If one chooses to travel to Lagos, then air transport is best if one can afford it. If traveling around Lagos, be sure to be accompanied by a guide who is familiar with the routes. Moving around Lagos has become much easier in recent times with street signs on every single street corner making it easier to locate places and landmarks. With the city spending huge budgets on security, there has been a huge reduction in crime generally. For the most part, it's safe to move about during the day. If one is going out at night, be sure to go in groups, and stick to known routes. If you are not on a tight budget, you should hire a car and driver, usually available from most of the major hotels and the airport.
One of the easiest ways to get around Lagos, especially for short distances is by walking. Lagos metropolitan area has a population of almost 20 million people and this has led to incessant traffic jams that have become a norm in the city. To alleviate this, the government has embarked on a project to get more people to walk by providing special area along the road for pedestrians. This also aims at reducing air pollution which is a big menace in Lagos
In June 2016, Lagos hosted a conference to discuss ways of reducing pollution in the city and other urban areas in Nigeria. Before the conference, there was a spike of interest paid to the concept of the low carbon city and the opportunity for stakeholders to define policies that will mold urban landscapes towards improved livability using compatible and economically low carbon technologies. At the end of the conference, it was agreed upon on the need to make Lagos a motorable city. Through this initiative, more people are taking up cycling as a way of going about their normal business while having fun at it.
The car which is expected to hit the market before the end of 2020, comes with five years of battery warranty and five years of vehicle warranty with a driving range of 482 kilometers and an acceleration of 0-100kms in 9.7 seconds. However, unlike other countries, the Nigerian government has not decided when it intends to switch to electric vehicles, further affecting the penetration of EVs within the country.
Lagos now has decent mass transit buses courtesy of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) schemes. The BRT lines run on physically segregated lanes and thus make them run faster while private cars are stuck in traffic. The system is run by two operators, NURTW Cooperative (Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers) and Lagbus, a Lagos State Government owned Asset Management Company. The Buses are colored red (LagBus), and blue (NURTW). The BRT is one of the three-pronged attacks the state has unleashed against the urban traffic congestion in Lagos. Buses can be an inexpensive and convenient option. Bus fares are relatively affordable and numerous routes are being plied from the Mainland to the Islands.
There are also smaller yellow buses that ply all routes from the mainland to the island and within the mainland. For a newbie, the yellow bus system can be quite confusing and it makes good sense to approach a local for help. The local Nigerians will be more than happy to help a tourist. The fare is fixed and starts from NGN20 and increases as per distance. The BRT buses are faster, cleaner and more convenient. They carry hundreds of thousands of passengers weekly.
Tram, Train and Subway
Nigeria is currently at work rolling out a commuter train service around Lagos.
Shopping in the open-air markets of Lagos is an experience that should not be missed. The colorful display of goods, the crush of bodies, and the hum of voices bargaining over goods are the things that contribute to the uniqueness of the markets. Shopping in Nigeria is an activity for all to enjoy. Boasting a large number of fashion outlets and shopping malls, souvenir markets and online clothing stores, you're sure to find what you're looking for. Lagos in particular is overflowing with chic malls, department stores and outlets. The streets are also lined with market-traders selling everything from souvenirs to food.
With West Africa’s love for fashion and Nigeria’s surplus of talented tailors and designers, it would be foolish to leave Lagos without some statement pieces to upgrade your wardrobe in tow. But whether it’s your first time in the city or your tenth, finding the right threads in the right places is always a challenge.
- Epe Fish Market: One of the most colorful and interesting places to buy freshwater fish and crustaceans. For those with exotic tastes, there is wild game on sale (snails, alligators, tortoise, etc). Most of the fish on sale are still alive and can be found swimming in specially woven baskets that are kept in ponds spread around the market.
- Oyingbo Market: This is one of the most interesting markets on the mainland, specializing in fruits and fresh farm produce. Oyingbo has several myths surrounding it; one of them is that it’s a portal where humans and otherworldly beings mingle. Unlike other major markets in Lagos, Oyingbo is opened both during the daytime and at night.
- Ojah Fish Market: Because of its unique location along the coast of Lagos, Ojah Fish Market is a seafood lover's haven, and people troop in from both inland Lagos and Benin to buy fish and other exotic animal made available in the market.
- Mile 12: For fresh food items at rock bottom prices, Mile 12 is your best bet. With a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains and other food items sourced from all over Nigeria, Mile 12 has become known as the fresh food hub of Lagos markets.
- Idumota Market: Idumota is one of the best places to shop for bulk products at low prices. Subdivided into Oke-Aarin, Idumagbo and Oluwole, the market is perfect for shopping for a wide range of products, from wristwatches to food.
- Jankara Market: Jankara Market is a big and well-known market in Lagos. It is a major hub for locally made goods such as; tie-dyed cloth, trade beads and jewelry to pirate cassettes, pottery, and clothing. The market is believed to be dominated by Igbo traders.
- Aswani Market: Although the market is opened every day of the week, Mondays are for marketing shoes and bags. The market runs fully on Tuesdays. One can get almost every item needed with ease and at affordable prices in Aswani Market day. If you are in Lagos, and you have never visited Aswani Market, try visiting, even if it is for sightseeing.
Second Hand Stores
- Balogun Market: The largest market in the city, where both locally made and imported fabrics, shoes, bags and other fashion accessories can be purchased. Balogun Market is the heart of Lagos Island. Located within a stone’s throw of Broadstreet, the market is one of the reasons Lagos became the commercial nerve center of Nigeria.
- Alaba International Market: The largest cluster of dealers in electronics goods in Nigeria, Alaba is also known as the place to go while bargain hunting for recycled goods. It has also established itself a distributing network for works produced by both the Nigerian film industry and the Nigerian music industry.
Eco-fashion is slowly gaining ground as an ethical way to engage in fashion as in an eco-friendly way. Some of the stores in the city offering sustainable fashion products are:
- PEP Lagos Apapa Mall
- Ese Tafri Collections
- BeSaz Boutique
- Mobos Fashion
- Pep Stores
Recycling involves a long chain of business command, beginning from the dumpsites. For instance, the Igando dumpsite is privately-owned and managed; just like most of the other sites in the city. Scavengers are charged the sum of 200 Naira daily before they can come in and pick valuable recyclables ranging from metals, plastics, etc. Several hundreds of laborers work here daily, and the materials that they recover from the waste dump site is then purchased either by middlemen who sell them to recycling companies or by representatives of the recycling companies.
As a city in an emerging economy with a population of nearly twenty million people, Lagos generates quite a lot of waste. The Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMASON) estimates that nearly sixty-five million metric tonnes of waste are generated in the country per annum. This has often caused a waste management crisis, especially in most urban centers especially Lagos where municipal authorities struggle to efficiently dispose of trash. Meanwhile, although most locals typically regard waste as completely useless, there exist some business-savvy entrepreneurs who have recognized the immense potentials in waste management and have taken steps towards harnessing it. Recycling is a lucrative business in Nigeria today. Yet, there exist such endless opportunities that are yet untapped.
Work and Study Abroad
Nigeria is a widely diverse country in Western Africa and the perfect place to absorb and celebrate the vivid culture of Africa. If you choose to study abroad in Lagos, you’ll experience the customs and traditions of the 500 different ethnic groups that call this country home. Lagos proudly stands out as an educational hub in Africa. As a result of the government's pledge to making higher education easily accessible, Nigeria boasts over 130 colleges, universities and other higher education institutions spread over the national territory. Although Nigeria harbors no less than 500 different languages, all university programs are taught in English.
Lagos attracts a growing number of foreigners, mostly settling in for job opportunities. The city hosts financial institutions and the headquarters of several companies. Lagos is a bustling city, offering foreigners a unique and vibrant experience with high standards of living. As you move to work or study in Lagos, try to ensure your accommodation has access to generators and boreholes or you’ll be looking forward to blackouts, regularly, with no warning.
Not only is Lagos the economic and financial center of Nigeria, but it is also the education hub with many institutions of learning from the elementary level up to university. These universities attract many local and international students. Some of the tertiary institutions include:
- University of Lagos
- Pan-Atlantic University
- National Open University of Nigeria
- Augustine University Ilara
- Lagos State University
- Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology
As mentioned earlier, while Nigerians are generally polite and courteous people, the prospect of one of them offering to host someone is not very likely. In Lagos, security used to be a major concern in the past and many locals became paranoid over time. However, one stands a better chance if you approach foreigners living in the city.
Lagos is one of West Africa’s crown jewels in which traditions are still respected and accommodates travelers stopping through or settling down. Nigeria is one of the largest economies in Africa, making for an exciting volunteer experience. Volunteering in Lagos is not as dangerous as it is made to appear. The country suffers from an image of constant civil strife and political instability. To dismiss Nigeria based on those criteria is unjust.