Major Tips You Must Know If You Travel to Nigeria for the First Time
‘Giant of Africa’ is the true word for Nigeria, comprising 36 states and 350+ ethnic groups. It is packed with thousands of natural landscapes and attractions throughout the country — a homeland for the biggest human community in the entire continent. The visit of the country offers unique experiences due to peculiar customs, languages, and diverse cultures. The following salient features are just like a fact sheet which you must know before going to visit the biggest economy and best musical industry in Africa. If you already know about some facts, even then keep on reading. You will find something new that will be critical for you, and it will contribute to having a wonderful time there.
Safety and Security Is at Par in Nigeria
Nigeria is the No.1 choice for tourists to visit among the Western African countries. Till a few years back, there were misconceptions about the safety and security issues in Nigeria, however, in recent years, Nigeria has come up as a safe and secure country like other safer countries of the world. The incidents of street crimes are still there, but the trend is no significant trend. Unfortunately, reporting at media is still immature, and low-rate street crimes are reported with higher gravity. This creates a negative impression of tourists visiting this country. The crime rate of kidnapping or robbery in the Nigerian society is far better than many American and European cities. Some terrorist groups had activities in the northeast region of Nigeria; however, incessant operations of Nigerian armed forces have dismantled them successfully. Thus, the country has become a safer and attractive destination for the tourists to move freely without any fear and enjoy the wonders of this amazing land.
Can you imagine Nigerian people are one of the happiest people in the people? Out of 65 African countries, Nigerians are on top while they fall in the top ten happiest countries on a global scale.
English is the official language in Nigeria at the federal level. So, if you come to visit this country, you will not face any significant challenge in terms of official correspondence. The majority of the population speak Pidgin English – you can say a local version of English, based on local slang, dialects, and a mixture of proper English words. Igbo is also one of the three official languages of Nigeria, especially in the northeastern parts of Nigeria, where around five million people speak this language. Thus, if you travel through the ethnic groups who speak the Igbo language, you must keep language software as you will frequently need it to translate Igbo to English for you.
Probably very few people know that ‘Nollywood,’ The Nigerian film industry, is one of the leading film industries in the world. In 2009, Nollywood was the 2nd largest industry in terms of production, while in 2013, it stood at № 3 in terms of generating the revenue. In 2018, the industry had a share of more than $8 billion in the Nigerian economy.
Vaccination and Hygienic Measures
If you are going for the first time to Nigeria, particularly southwestern parts of the country, then take necessary health-related measures. A few vaccinations are mandatorily recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which include typhoid, yellow fever, scabies, meningitis, and hepatitis A and B. besides these vaccinations; you must take anti-malaria medication. If you need further advice, then it is better to stay in touch with a specialized doctor who will let you know about the latest hygienic measures in Nigeria. It is compulsory to take these hygienic measures for almost one month in advance before traveling so that your body gets immune to such effects.
Beware of Corrupt Dealing
This is the gloomiest part of Nigerian society that they are in the top three corrupt nations of the world. Nigerian legal and social laws are enforced; however, compliance with these regulations is still a leading challenge for the government. This is why the US State Department and many other countries warn their citizens to avoid visiting Nigeria, particularly the southeastern and southwestern parts of the country. Besides kidnapping and robbery activities, cheating, fraud, and demanding a bribe is quite common. If you have to process your visa from an agency other than Nigerian Embassy, then make sure you are going to deal with a highly trustworthy agency because, most of the time, you may come across scams. Try to stay away from legal and law enforcement agencies as much as possible. The Nigerian police department is considered the most corrupt department in the country. The best way to visit the country is to keep any of your friends along, ensuring your safety from theft and fraud.
Use of Cash and ATMs
Although Nigeria has established a dense network of ATMs throughout the country, however, you will observe that lots of ATMs are out of cash or out of service. Thus, to avoid any contingency, keep a reasonable amount of cash along with you.
Best Time to Visit Nigeria
The climate of Nigeria is warm and hot almost throughout the years. Due to the excessive amount of humidity, the weather becomes too hot and unpleasant. Sometimes it restricts the kids from playing even in the rain. However, from November till the end of February, the country observes winters with a slight drop in temperatures. Due to trade winds, dryness spread all around with several dusty episodes, as well. Thus, it is highly recommended to keep sunglasses and a hat with you all the time, especially when visiting outside in windy conditions. Based upon climate data, the time frame from the start of November till mid-December and from April to the end of May is the best timeframes for tourists to visit Nigeria.
Keep Following Things with You All the Time
- Your passport
- Valid bank cards/credit cards (which are allowed in Nigeria)
- Mandatory/emergency medicines
- Umbrella/hat on your head
- A travel guide to help you in routine matters
- A good cell phone connected with the internet all the time
- Contact with your hotel manager
- Money (but in less amount)
The best tip to visit this country is to travel with some highly trusted friends. If you have a local friend with you, you will enjoy your stay there. On the other hand, stay alert to handle any fraud or health-related mishaps.