- Continent: Africa
- Area: 923,768 km²
- Population: 174,507,539
- Capital city: Abuja
- ISO code: NG
- National language: English
- International dialing code: +234
- Currency: Naira
- License plate number: WAN
- Flight routes from Nigeria: 2449
- Flight routes to Nigeria: 2012
- Popular airports: Lagos (LOS), Abuja (ABV), Enugu Emene (ENU), Port Harcourt (PHC), Kano (KAN), Uyo (QUO), Owerri (QOW), Ibadan (IBA), Kaduna (KAD), Warri (QRW)
- Large cities: Ogoyo, Kano, Ibadan, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Benin City, Maiduguri, Zaria, Aba, Jos, Ilorin, Oyo, Abeokuta, Abuja, Sokoto
- Airlines based in Nigeria: Air Peace, Med-View Airline, Arik Air
Nigeria travel guide (Africa)
The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a nation state in West Africa on the Atlantic Ocean bordering on Benin, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. It is the country on the African continent with the largest population and also a regional power with the aim of obtaining a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, where Africa is still not represented.
Geography: the countryside and the vegetation in Nigeria are very diverse. In the coastal areas, waterfalls and lagoons consisting to a large extent of mangrove swamps dominate the country. Towards the interior, the countryside becomes more mountainous and is covered in tropical rainforests, eventually forming the Jos plateau with an altitude of 2,000 m (6,561 ft). In the north there is a steppe type semi-desert bordering on Chad and Niger.
Mountains and rivers: the highest mountain is the Chappal Waddi with an altitude of 2,419 m (7,936 ft), near the border to Cameroon in the national park of the Gashaka Gumti Forest Reserve. The longest river is the Niger, with a length of 1,170 km in Nigeria. After the Nile and the Congo it is the third longest river in Africa and also the life source of the country. The Chad is the biggest lake and is situated on the border to Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Its size varies according to the season.
Climate and best time to travel: the climate in the south is hot, rainy and humid throughout the year. In the dry north it only rains during the rainy season between May and September. On the Jos plateau it is cooler than in the rest of the country, with very low temperatures at night during the winter.
Language and communication: the official language is English; the three national languages Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa are also spoken. There are also over 300 different local languages.
Health and vaccinations: vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, polio and tetanus is recommended. Long clothing should be worn to provide protection against mosquitoes and other insects, and a locally purchased insect repellent should also be used. There is a danger of contracting a malaria infection throughout the year in Nigeria; please seek advice from your GP on effective anti-malaria medication. Medical care is only of a sufficient standard in some larger cities. Visitors are advised to take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance that covers repatriation costs. A first aid kit should be packed and fruit and vegetables peeled or boiled before being eaten
Entry requirements: A visa is required by all British nationals planning to travel to Nigeria. Further information on entry requirements can be obtained from the Nigerian representation in the UK. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival.
Some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country. For further information on exact requirements at immigration please contact the Nigerian High Commission in London.
Arrival and onward journey: British Airways (BA) provides flights from London (LHR) to Lagos (LOS). Iberia (IB) fly from Madrid (MAD), Air France (AF) from Paris (CDG) and the KLM (KL) from Amsterdam (AMS). Within Nigeria, Virgin Nigeria (VK) provides domestic connections, for example flying to Abuja (ABV), Kano (KAN), Sokoto (SOK) and Port Harcourt (PHC).
Capital city: Lagos is by far the largest city in the country and has a population of more than 11 million in the entire greater city area. This makes Lagos one of the largest cities in the world. The UN predicts that the population will have doubled by the year 2010. The city is located on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea and extends over the mainland and to the nearby offshore islands. It is the financial and banking centre of Nigeria and, with the international airport Ikeja, also the economic centre of the country. The National Museum on the island of Onikan is a major attraction and has impressive archaeological and ethnological collections. Visitors to the National Theatre can at the same time also marvel at the collection of masks and sculptures on exhibit there.
Places of interest and beaches: it is also worthwhile visiting the northern city of Kano. Almost 1000 years old, it is the oldest city in West Africa and is on the southern part of the inhospitable Sahel zone. Main attraction is the old town, which is the location of the former Palace of the Emir and the central mosque of the city, which is closed to non-Muslims, but nevertheless provides a wonderful overall atmosphere, especially on Fridays after prayer. The dyeing pits behind the old town are amongst the oldest in Africa and should not be missed. Souvenirs such as embroidered Fulani-horse blankets and other decorative objects may be obtained from the Kurmi Market, a meeting point for the population of Kanos.
The most attractive city in Nigeria is the city of Jos, located on the plateau. Jos has a very pleasant climate and is therefore also a popular destination for many local inhabitants. Attractions include the museum, with an extensive collection of ceramics from all over the country, as well as the open-air architectural museum, with its impressive life size collection of Nigerian architecture. Jos is a good starting point for excursions to the nearby waterfalls, another of the plateaus attractions.
Animal lovers should head for the Yankari national park, which has been Nigeria’s main tourist attraction since 1962. The dry season between the months of December and April is the best time for a safari, as it is at this time that the thirsty animals collect on the banks of the river Gaji, making it relatively easy to watch buffalos, hyenas, leopards, baboons and lions. After a successful safari, visitors may relax by the warm Wikki spring, which has a temperature of 31°C. The spring has its source under a cliff and has a depth of about 2 m. From here herons, storks, eagles and vultures may easily be watched. Accommodation is plentiful with a good choice of different price categories.
Highlight: the most interesting location in Nigeria is the Osun Sacred Forest, which belongs to the UNESCO’s list of natural World Heritage. It is on the edge of the city of Oshogbo in southern Nigeria and is the last of the holy forests of the Yoruba. The Yoruba religious system is a collection of many different religious traditions, which includes voodoo, santeria, umbanda and macumba and is strongly represented in various countries and on the two American continents. Many people speak of a worldwide Yoruba religion. The holy grove of the goddess of fertility, Osun, is particularly impressive and also symbolises the national identity of the Yoruba population. Before slavery there was a holy copse on the edge of every settlement where sculptures and artworks honouring the Yoruba gods were kept. In Oshogbo, which was once the capital of the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo war, there are still plenty of old Portuguese colonial buildings.
Religion: Muslims make up the majority of believers in Nigeria with 50%. About 40% are adherents of Christianity and only 10% officially believe in the natural religions, which are however experiencing a type of renaissance and are widespread in daily life.
Major Cities and accommodation: Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Benin City and Maiduguri.