Currently experiencing both a population boom and major economic expansion, Nigeria is on the fast track to become the most important country in Africa. In the near future, Lagos is expected to become the third largest metropolis in the world falling behind only Tokyo and Mexico City. This enormous growth is leading to lots of business and investments from other countries. While Nigeria has a lot of potential, its business reputation has been severely damaged by tens of thousands of hard working scam artists. As a matter of fact, if you are reading this page then it’s almost impossible that you weren’t contacted by a Nigerian scam artist at some point in your life! Beyond the scam artists, most people are aware of the hostage taking delta rebels in the southeast, or the brutal Islamic militants in the north. Nigeria is by no means a traditional African travel destination, but in the midst of all the chaos and corruption there are several interesting places, and a few surprising gems. I experienced my fair share of headaches and corrupt officials, but I still found that the majority of Nigerians were surprisingly friendly and helpful.
Africa’s largest city second only to Cairo, this huge metropolis has plenty of options for the few tourists who would give Lagos a chance. Discover Nigerian culture through their countless markets and museums, relax at one of their many beach resorts right outside the city, and explore other famous monuments and historic places. Lagos is also ambitiously developing the new modern district known as Eko City, which will be one of the most modern and beautiful places in Africa.
The coastal town of Badagry is famous for its dark history as one of Africa’s biggest slave ports. The majority of the slaves departing Badagry were sent to Brazil to work on sugar plantations. As a result of the slave trade, Badagry thrived during the colonial times as local chiefs got rich off the business with Europeans. Today much of the town is like an open air museum with several of the slave quarters, the ports, and the point of no return still standing.
Kano is the capital of Nigeria’s Islamic north, and the ancient city is described in a local legend that it is one of the oldest cities in all of West Africa. Kano offers many attractions such as palaces, mosques, and the ‘old city’. The old city is fortified with mud brick walls that have survived hundreds and hundreds of years. Inside the old city is where you’ll find markets and traditional shops that run today just as they did centuries ago. Unlike southern Nigeria, you won’t find crazy night life here, but there are plenty of “clubs” run by Lebanese where you can find great food and even a drink.
Recently the Nigerian government decided to replace Lagos with Abuja as the country’s capital. While Lagos will always remain the country’s commercial capital and largest city, the rise of Abuja is mostly just to serve as a seat for the government. The city does have several nice parks, an enormous football stadium and a reasonable selection of restaurants and night life. Until the city continues to grow, Abuja is more of a businessman’s destination rather than a travelers.