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For other places with the same name, see Lagos (disambiguation).
Skyline of Lagos Island.

Lagos (Yoruba: Èkó) is the most populous city in Nigeria, spreading out across two main islands and onto the mainland. It is the country's financial capital, and is famous throughout Africa for its music scene. Lagos has a vibrant nightlife, and is the centre of the Nigerian movie industry, often referred to as 'Nollywood'.

Districts[edit]

The main districts in Lagos State are the mainland, Greater Lagos and the Islands. Three major bridges join the island to the mainland. They are the Carter Bridge which starts 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.

There are two major urban islands of Lagos in Lagos Lagoon — Lagos Island and Victoria Island. These islands are separated from the mainland by the main channel draining the lagoon into the Atlantic ocean, which forms Lagos Harbour. The islands are separated from each other by creeks of varying sizes and are connected to Lagos Island by bridges.

  The Mainland
Holds a greater percentage of inhabitants and industries. Lagos Mainland districts include Ebute-Meta, Surulere (site of two stadiums and the national theatre), Yaba (location of the University of Lagos) and Ikeja, site of Murtala Muhammed International Airport and capital of Lagos State.
  Lagos Island
Containing a CBD, Lagos Island is often characterised by high-rise buildings and businesses and contains many of the city's largest wholesale marketplaces (such as the popular Idumota and Balogun markets). It also has the National Museum of Nigeria, a Central mosque, Glover Memorial Hall, Christ's Cathedral (CMS), as well as the Oba Palace. And lastly, there is the Tinubu Square- a site of historical importance, it was here that the Amalgamation ceremony that unified the North and South protectorate to form Nigeria took place in 1914. The few historic quarters that remain in the city are clustered around this square and in the nearby Campos district. Ikoyi sits on the eastern half of Lagos Island and joined to it by a landfill. Ikoyi is also connected to Victoria Island by a bridge carrying a main road over a Five Cowrie creek. Ikoyi has a great number of hotels, night clubs, a recreational park and one of Africa's largest golf courses. It used to be a middle class neighbourhood, but in the 2000s, it became more of a fashionable residential enclave for the upper middle class to the upper class.

  Victoria Island
Home to many company headquarters and entertainment spots. Victoria Island (also known as VI) and Ikoyi occupy a major area in the suburbs of Lagos and have several sizeable shopping districts. On the seashore along the Atlantic front, there is an environmentally reconstructed Bar Beach.
  Ajah
  Lekki and Eti-Osa

Eko Atlantic city is a new city under construction. It is a planned district being constructed on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. Dredgers, large ships which move sand, are all working around the clock filling the area with sand where the city will be built. Expected to be around 4 sq mi (10 km2), the city will satisfy needs for financial, commercial, residential and tourist accommodations with a state-of-the-art high-tech infrastructure in line with modern and environmental standards. These standards will offer the city’s residents modern water, waste management, security and transportation systems. Eko Atlantic will also offer its residents an independent source of energy generated specifically for the city.

Understand[edit]

With an estimated population of 8.8 million inhabitants in the city, or 16 million in the metropolitan area, Lagos ranks as the most populous city in Africa, after overtaking Cairo. Also known as Èkó in the Yoruba language, and affectionately called 'Lag', 'Gidi' or 'Las Gidi' as a form of slang-by the younger generation, it 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 to 1889 it served as a major centre of the slave trade, ruled over by a Yoruba chief 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. 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 in areas around Yaba and Surulere, but more night clubs have sprung on the island making the island especially Victoria Island, the main nightlife attraction.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Lagos is close (about 100 km) to the border with Benin. Should you fly out of the International Airport in Lagos, arrive early, especially close to weekends and festive days, as the security has been beefed up significantly (you need to have your passport and ticket to enter the airport departure area) since the December 2009 liquid explosive incident where the terrorist started his journey from Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

Arrivals[edit]

For foreigners, the immigration process can be tedious and slow as there are two immigration officials at each desk (presumably to reduce corruption). Nigerians and the West African (ECOWAS) passport holders receive first priority. Families with young children and disabled people are normally also given priority. When filling in the arrival card for immigration you must have an address in Nigeria and a Nigerian contact number - they have been known to call this number to verify that you are expected.

After immigration you collect your bag at one of the baggage conveyors; check beside the start of the conveyor if you have fragile or oversized baggage.

If you are travelling with a multi-national corporation, you will often be met by the "Protocol Officers" in the luggage collection hall. These agents will ensure you meet with the official company drivers and get safe passage out of the airport.

After collecting your luggage you pass customs and agricultural inspections and there is a pretty good chance your bag will be searched for the usual contraband.

Then a health inspector will check your yellow fever card. This has been a soft spot for many travelers as there must be ten days between inoculation and travel and the officials denied entry to passengers (i.e. put back on the next plane out).

Finally, you must have you luggage tag from check-in as security will not allow you to leave the airport without producing this tag that corresponds to each bag.

Do not leave the airport if you have not made contact with your driver or pick-up as you are not allowed back into the airport after exiting.

Departures[edit]

Many international flights leave in the evenings and the airport becomes very congested after 5PM with long queues for check-in. Vehicular traffic in the airport is very heavy in the evenings. So plan to arrive at the airport at least 4 hours before your flight. The check-in process takes a long time if you are not in business class or priority check-in. Your baggage pre-weighed and if it is more than 23 kg per bag you will have to reduce the weight. Then you have your passport details checked by the ground crew.

Your bags are searched by agriculture, customs, and "antiquities" agents and any indigenous trinkets are likely to be confiscated, this is the bottle-neck in the check-in process.

Finally, you reach the check-in counter and receive your ticket and the departure card to be filled in for the immigration control.

At either end of the departures hall are new extensions that house immigration, security checks, and passport control. Hand in your departure card and proceed to the security checks. Since the Christmas bomber the checks are very thorough. New scanners and passport control counters have made this part of the departure process very easy (previously this could take two hours).

There are pay-access and Priority Pass lounges after passport control (after two hours in the security queue, you will want to use it if you have the time and US$50 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.

Before boarding, there is a final passport check, yellow fever card, and boarding pass. Your hand luggage is opened and searched and you are frisked. Finally you board the plane.

By train[edit]

Rail services in Nigeria have been slow and unreliable for decades. However Nigerian Railway Corporation has opened a new higher-speed Lagos-Ibadan Railway between Lagos and Ibadan via Abeokuta, with a significant reduction in travel time. Work is ongoing to expand the line towards Kano, but it is unclear when further sections will be opened.

The old, and much slower, colonial railway has been rehabilitated in some parts and there are a few long-distance trains running. Most useful for tourists is the overnight sleeper from Kano via Kaduna, which operates a few times per week in each direction.

  • 2 Lagos-Ebute Metta railway station. The new central railway hub, long-distance trains from Ibadan call here.
  • 3 Lagos Terminus (Lagos Iddo railway station), Murtala Muhammed Rd, Iddo (across the bridge from Lagos Island). The former, more centrally located railway station. As of 2022, only local services and long-distance trains on the older, slower routes, calls here. Lagos Terminus Railway Station (Q20984849) on Wikidata Lagos Terminus railway station on Wikipedia

By bus[edit]

Several bus companies like Agofure God Is Good Motors, ABC Transport, Ifesinachi [dead link] and The Young Shall Grow offer daily services from almost all major cities around the country as well as international destinations in West Africa. While buses usually are quite comfortable, journey times are very long.

  • 4 Oshodi bus terminal. The largest bus terminal for intercity buses.

Get around[edit]

If traveling around Lagos, be sure to be accompanied by a tourist guide who is familiar with the routes. In Lagos, there are street signs on every single street corner making it easy 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 you are 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. 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.

By bus[edit]

Lagos's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines run in segregated lanes and thus run faster than private cars stuck in traffic. The buses are coloured red or blue.

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 from ₦100-250 (2016). 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 timestamp.

There are also smaller yellow buses (Danfo) 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 ₦50 and increases by distance.

The BRT buses are faster, cleaner and more convenient. They carry hundreds of thousands of passengers on a weekly basis.

By car[edit]

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 ₦200 or more.

By taxi[edit]

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 ₦500, 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:

By rented car[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:

By ferry[edit]

Lagos Ferry Services Company runs scheduled routes between Lagos Island, Banana island, Mile 2 (Apapa axis) and the mainland. Modern ferries have been assigned to carry both passengers and cargo on the lagoon and on some creeks. The service charge is quite affordable for a tourist.

By rail[edit]

Lagos Rail Mass Transit is an urban rail system that is expected to open in 2022.

Motorbikes[edit]

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.

Okadas and kekes (tuk tuks) were banned by the government in Lagos/Victoria Islands, Ikeja, Apapa, Yaba, and certain other Mainland districts of Lagos effective Feb of 2020 for safety reasons.

See[edit]

Barbeach in Lagos

It is said that Lagos is for tourists like England is for food — bland and boring. It's a stereotype and not really true, but you have to put the effort in to see Lagos. There are also lots of markets to see, although doing so can be very tiring. They are usually safe during the day.

Do[edit]

Beaches[edit]

There are over a dozen beaches in Lagos (Lekki, Alpha, Eleko, Akodo beaches to the east, and Tarkwa Bay, Ogogoro Island, Atlas Cove, Lighthouse beach, Ilashe Beach, Agaja Beach and Badagry beach to the west), making for a wide array to choose from. More beaches are found outside the city, in places like Badagry. Good for picnics and barbecues. Inside the city, Lekki is about as good as it gets.

Buy[edit]

Unless you are in a supermarket or restaurant/bar with fixed prices, you will be expected to negotiate the price you pay for an item down to the lowest the vendor would sell. When you are stuck in traffic, expect to see hawkers selling anything from potatoes to drinks. Expect any brand names in these informal markets to be fake, and should you wish to purchase them aim for a very low price.

If you hold a Visa, MasterCard or Maestro credit/debit card you can withdraw cash in Naira from various ATMs around Lagos. Visa machines can be found at Standard Chartered Bank. MasterCard/Maestro machines are found in Ecobank and some Zenith Bank branches.

Foreign currency, U.S. dollars, pounds sterling, or euros can be exchanged in various places, usually near large hotels and the airport. These are not formal bureaux de change and you will need to negotiate the exchange rate. It is strongly recommended that you count your money in front of the exchanger, and don't be afraid to walk away if you are not happy with the deal. Be wary of your safety in money changing areas, and take care to make sure you are not followed when leaving them.

There are formal bureaux de change in the various banks, and you can rest assured about transacting with them, although their rates may be slightly higher or lower than the rates outside.

Some of the good places for shopping are the City Mall and the Lekki Art Market.

Eat[edit]

Sherlaton has outlets in two places. One in the mainland (Hotel Newcastle, Antony Village) and another in VI (Hotel Cumberland, Adeola Odeku St)

Budget[edit]

  • Mr Bigg's. The ubiquitous Mr Bigg's is Nigeria's version of McDonald's. While western fare such as hamburgers is served, Nigerian delicacies such as jollof rice and moin moin are more popular. Look for the big 'B' with a red and yellow colour scheme - you shouldn't have much trouble finding one in Lagos
  • Tantalizers. Another leading Nigerian fast food chain, Tantalizers serves Nigerian fast food staples such as meat pies, scotch eggs, chicken, jollof rice, fried rice, cake, and hamburgers. Has about 25 outlets in Lagos.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Lagos has some great hotels and many more are being built. There are many 4 star hotels for the price of a 3 star hotel. Try to get a hotel on Victoria Island.

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

Protea, a South African group, has three hotels in Lagos, all of acceptable standard but not cheap. The prices are reduced if you hold a group loyalty card, the ProKard.

Splurge[edit]

The Wheatbaker, owned by Legacy Hotels and Resorts, a South African hospitality chain, is on Lagos Island.

Stay safe[edit]

In general, Lagos has become a much safer place to visit than before, with the state spending huge budgets on security with police patrol cars, CCTV cameras (though this isn't always the case). etc. But beware of deals or businesses that sound too good to be true (especially e-mails soliciting your help), and do not openly flaunt your possessions, especially in public places.

While it is rare for a tourist to be a victim of a violent crime, it is still wise to stay safe and be alert, especially during late night outings. Stick to crowded streets and make sure to go out in groups as against going out alone.

Lagosians are generally nice and friendly people, most of whom will readily offer directions to you if you are lost.

Lagos still has its fair share of street beggars (both the old and young), people with psychological disorders, etc. If someone approaches Lagosians for money, what most of them do is ignore the person or continue to walk at a brisk pace.

There are police officers who are corrupt and inefficient so it is best that you stick to places and people you know and avoid going anywhere without a trusted guide if it is a first visit.

Connect[edit]

Nigeria has both GSM & CDMA Networks. Most of the International GSM Networks are served here on Roaming Partner Basis. Local pre-activated GSM (SIM) connection can be purchased at a very cheap rate. ₦200 for a SIM.

GSM/3G/ 4G

  • 9Mobile Services: Calls, SMS, GPRS and some most advanced feature can be found only on this network.
  • Airtel: (formerly Zain or CelTel). Services: Calls, SMS & GPRS Services.
  • MTN: Services: Calls, SMS, DATA (Internet) & GPRS Services.
  • Glo: Services: Calls, SMS, DATA (Internet) & GPRS Services.

4G/LTE

  • SWIFT: Services: Calls, SMS & DATA (Internet).
  • Spectranet: Services: Calls, SMS & DATA (Internet).
  • SMILE: Services: Calls, SMS & DATA (Internet).
  • Cyberspace Networks: Services: Calls, SMS & DATA (Internet).
  • Vodafone: Services: DATA (Internet).
  • Express Wifi: Services: DATA (Internet).
  • Wifi.com.ng: Services: DATA (Internet).

Wifi Internet providers

Express Wifi: Services: Calls, SMS & DATA (Internet).

Retail unit no. 5. Second upper floor, Maryland Mall, 350/360 Ikorodu Road

In Nigeria SMS (Short Messaging Service) is known as "Text".

The networks in some parts of Lagos can be very erratic at times. On certain days you cannot make a phone call at all or you will not be able to recharge your phone for the most of the day making business very difficult at times. But its occasional and that is the reason if you want to stay for a long term, make sure that you have at least two phones or a dual SIM phone.

Cope[edit]

Embassies[edit]

  • Venezuela Venezuela, 35B, Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, P.O. Box 3727, +234 1-2611590.

Go next[edit]

  • The ancient slave port of Badagry - also known as the 'Point of No Return'. This ancient town of Badagry was founded around 1425. Before its existence, people lived along the Coast of Gberefu and this area later gave birth to the town of Badagry. It is the second largest commercial town in Lagos State. It is an hour from Lagos and a half-hour from the Republic of Benin.
  • Tarkwa Bay on the southern coast
  • Go to the numerous towns in South East Nigeria
  • Ile Ife
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