Lagos Nigeria

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Description: Open source travel guide to Lagos, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.

Lagos . the commercial capital of Nigeria. is the largest city in Africa with an estimated population of over 17.5 million inhabitants in the city. The UN estimates that at its present growth rate, Lagos state will be third largest mega city in the world by 2015 after Tokyo in Japan and Mumbai in India.

The main districts are the mainland, Greater Lagos and the Islands. Three major bridges join the island to the mainland. They are the Carter Bridge which start from Iddo Island, the Eko Bridge (formerly called the Second Mainland Bridge) and the Third Mainland Bridge which passes through densely populated mainland suburbs through Lagos lagoon.

Also known as Èkó in the Yoruba language, and also affectionately called 'Gidi' or 'Las Gidi' as a form of slang-by the younger generation, is a port and the most populous conurbation in Nigeria.

  • Formerly the capital of Nigeria, Lagos is a huge metropolis which originated on islands separated by creeks.
  • The city is the economic and financial capital of Nigeria.
  • Portuguese explorer Rui de Sequeira visited the area in 1472, naming the area around the city Lago de Curamo; indeed the present name is Portuguese for "lakes". Another explanation is that Lagos was named for Lagos, Portugal - a maritime town which at the time was the main centre of the Portuguese expeditions down the African coast and whose own name is derived from the Latin word Lacobriga.
  • From 1404-1889 it served as a major centre of the slave trade, ruled over by Yoruba kings called the Oba of Lagos.
  • Lagos was the capital of Nigeria from 1914 up to 1991. The city was stripped of its status when the Federal Capital Territory was established at the purpose-built city of Abuja.

The city of Lagos lies in south-western Nigeria, on the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Guinea, west of the Niger River delta, located on longitude 3° 24' E and latitude 6° 27' N. Most of the population live on the mainland, and most industries are located there too. Lagos is known for its music and night life which used to be located in areas around Yaba and Surulere but in recent years more night clubs have sprung on the island making the island especially Victoria Island, the main nightlife attraction.

When departing via the International Airport in Lagos, arrive early, especially close to weekends and festive days, as the security has been beefed up significantly (with little increase in manpower or scanners and is much, much more time-consuming than previously) 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.

There are quite a number of pay-access and Priority Pass lounges after passport control (after two hours in the security queue, you will want to use one if you have the time and USD50 to spare). Use Oasis or Skye Lounge, both of which are good, especially Oasis which is very nice even by 1st world standards. Gabfol lounge is free, but you pay for food and drinks.

Rail services in Nigeria are still very slow and unreliable but Nigerian Railway Corporation have just re-started an overnight service from Kano via Kaduna to Lagos. There are departures a few times every week.

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.

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. The price will be around ₦1,000-2,000 per hour, you will be expected to haggle. Talk to the drivers and find one you think will be able to communicate best with as they will be able to tell you things about the places you pass.

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 coloured 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 there are numerous routes being plied from the Mainland to the Islands.

The tickets for the BRT and the Lagbus can be purchased at the bus stops before boarding. Tickets range NGN70-120 (Oct 2011 ). However, the ticket vendors are seldom available in the evening even though the buses ply till late at night. It makes good sense to purchase a ticket booklet or a couple of tickets in bulk beforehand since these don't contain a time stamp.

There are also smaller yellow buses that ply all routes from the mainland to the island and within 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 an Oyinbo(white person). 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 on a weekly basis.

The road network of Lagos for the most part is good, but sometimes traffic congestion and limited parking space especially during working hours is rife. Be sure to be on the lookout for road signs, in order to avoid entering one-way roads or streets. LASTMA (Lagos State Traffic Management Agency) is the body responsible for managing traffic in most of the traffic congestion areas. Make sure to follow traffic rules, and avoid driving in the BRT Bus lanes to avoid getting a fine or having your car impounded.

There exists car parks around in hotels, shopping malls, and some of them provide free and safe parking. But if parking in other areas around the city be ready to pay around N250 or more. (N165=$1)

One of the easiest ways to get around is by taxi. Taxis cost more than buses, typically. With the older taxi cabs it is expected to negotiate the price before you enter and pay on arrival. The cabs are relatively safe. The state has embarked on gradual replacement of rickety buses and taxi cabs with modern ones, fitted with good facilities to enhance comfort.

Through public-private partnerships, new cabs are being introduced regularly by licensed cab operators. With fare as low as N400, depending on the distance, the new air-conditioned taxi cabs are already creating a new image for Lagos. Taxis can be found almost everywhere, and all the new cabs have numbers on them that you can call for a pick up. There are several cab companies servicing Lagos, using both metered and fixed fares,and they generally accept cash:

  • Red Cab. Taxi Service. ☎ +234 700 073 3222 ( ), [1].  edit
  • Corporate Cabs. Plot 3A, Owukori Street, Alaka Estate, Surulere. ( ), [2].  edit
  • Orange Cabs. Taxi Service. 18B, Ladoke Akintola Cresent,G.R.A. Ikeja, Lagos. ☎ +234 791 7202, 234 702 911 9504, 234 819 116 6926 ( ).  edit

Renting a car is another alternative if you are going to be staying for a few days or longer. There are numerous car rental offices in the city, and therefore it is very easy to rent a car from your hotel or resort accommodation to drive around with for the duration of your stay. Avis is your best bet for this,either call or make use of their online services:

  • Avis Rent-A-Car. Avis House, 6 Degema CLose, Off Park Lane, Apapa GRA. ☎ +234 803 718 7000, + 234 1 764 6442 ( ), [3].  edit
  • Hertz Car Rental. 12 Keffi Street, SW Ikoyi. ☎ +234 1 2703700.  edit
  • Unity Global Ventures Car Rental. ☎ +1.877.810.1221 or +234 8066348333 ( ), [4]. Chauffeur drivenair-conditioned SUV car rental car hire service. N11,500 a day.  edit
  • Novo Car Rentals. 2nd floor, UBA Building, Plot 22B, Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. ☎ +234 1 270 2047, 234 1 271 7069, 234 1 873 0193 ( ).  edit
  • BIM7. 34 road E close BT69 flat 12, gowon estate Ipaja, Lagos. ☎ +234 81 365 505 61,+234 81 009 394 42, +234 70 3030 3339, +234 70 6551 3743 ( ).  edit

Lagos State Ferry Services Corporation runs a few regular routes, for example between Lagos Island and the mainland, modern ferries and wharves. Private boats run irregular passenger services on the lagoon and on some creeks. Many more routes are expected to get on-board in due time.

A planned railway line running through the Lagos metropolis is being constructed with plans of completion as early as 2012.

For travelling short distances, you can use motorbike taxis called Okada. These motorbikes are quick, cheap and save a lot of walking but they are also very dangerous. Okada accidents are very common but safety equipment are now provided because the state government and in fact the Federal Road Safety Commission has mandated it. If you want to take the risk, you can safely halve their first price, and usually there are lots to choose from. Before you try and negotiate, confirm the fare from a local.If you have a Nigerian friend, let them negotiate for you as the quoted fare differs greatly for locals and foreigners(for obvious reasons). Choose an older driver as the younger ones are cowboys.

Safety Helmets are a must at all times for both the rider and passenger. Majority of times these are ill-fitting and sometimes even absent.

By law, Okadas are forbidden to ply after dark(7PM) for safety reasons. Avoid taking an Okada for long distances, while it's raining and in the night since majority of mainland is devoid of street lights.

Photogallery Lagos Nigeria:

File:2005 market Lagos Nigeria 12129005.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File:Market in Lagos, Nigeria.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
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