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Kufena Rock, Zaria |© Jgwamna / Wikimedia
Kufena Rock, Zaria |© Jgwamna / Wikimedia

10 Reasons You Should Visit Nigeria at Least Once

Picture of Cynthia Okoroafor
Updated: 30 May 2017

If you rely on what you see or hear in the media about Nigeria, chances are you would miss out on an opportunity to experience what the “Giant of Africa” is really like. With a thriving nightlife, an abundance of natural landmarks, local and international restaurants, and a boisterous and globally renowned entertainment scene, there is never a dull moment.

You’re Never Far From a Getaway

Nature was good to Nigeria. By virtue of its geographic location, you will find that escaping from everyday life into “bliss” is one of the easiest things to do in the country. And this is practically the case in every region based on the country’s varied landscapes. From backyards to resorts in states such as Plateau, Cross Rivers, Lagos, and Ogun, the sights and sounds of nature in all of its manifestations will enchant you. 

Awaken the Polyglot in You

Nigeria has the third highest number of languages in the world, with 527 of them. In almost any of the major Nigerian cities, you’ll hear the dulcet phonetics of the northerners, the aggressively charming intonations of the southerners, the sing-songy accents from the Niger Delta and the country’s Middle Belt, and much more.

Also, slangs. You’ll surely learn one or two really funny or vividly descriptive ones you’ll want to take home with you.

The Booming Music Scene

The music and entertainment scene in Nigeria is arguably one of the most exciting things about the country. The list of artists—past and present—who continue to boost the country’s global image with their Afrobeat, Highlife, and Afropop tunes is endless. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch some of them at the clubs. Otherwise, you’ll catch yourself churning out dance moves to them you didn’t know you otherwise had. Either way, you’ll get lucky.

Lagos, AKA “Lasgidi!”

Need we say more? Okay, we probably should. Everything you love about Lagos is probably everything you hate about it, but that’s what makes the country’s most commercial and populous city appealing. Culture, business, innovation, fashion, nature, entertainment, art, nightlife, hustle and bustle, fun and relaxation—you’ll find it all here.

Nigerians Go “All in” With Parties

If you haven’t heard this before—Nigerians party big! Practically every celebration is a mini-festival, regardless of the occasion or the time of day. As for the big ones, such as weddings, well, they’re huge. A tourist attraction almost.

Also, these parties are not restricted to the weekends, and most of them pretty much have an unspoken “everyone is welcome” policy. Nightlife in Nigeria is another realm of its own. No matter your tastes, there’s something for you.

All You Can Eat… and Then Some More

Nigeria has some of the healthiest foods and food combinations on the planet! In addition to this, you can find a variety of dishes to delight your taste buds, starting locally at the bukas (local eateries), and spanning a continental and intercontinental reach at some of the nicest hotels and restaurants you’ll ever visit. However, watch out for pepper if you can’t handle it.

History, Arts, and Tradition Are Second Nature

Diverse tribes and ethnic groups, ancient kingdoms, Nok terracotta, Benin iron and bronze castings, the Eyo Festival, soapstone figurines, wood carvings, artworks, the Argungu Fishing Festival, hyperrealistic paintings, the Calabar Carnival are only a quarter of the picture.

The Local Markets

Yet another touristic quest to undertake in Nigeria as you get more acquainted is going to the local markets. Immerse yourself in the vast markets such as the New Market in Aba, Idumota/Balogun Market in Lagos, and Onitsha Main Market, whether you’re looking to buy exquisite, locally made fabrics, groceries, clothing items, electronic gadgets, or craftworks, or are just in need of some good “haggling spar.” And unless you have an impeccable sense of direction, make sure you’re with a local who can navigate the markets well.

Effortless Fashion and Style

The average Nigerian was born with a sense of style and creativity, so you don’t necessarily need to get close to a catwalk to witness this first hand. However, these gifts are also illustrated in the Nigerian fashion industry, which is blowing up across the world with its indigenous designs. If you’re looking to improve the foreign section of your wardrobe with the latest in African designs, you’re welcome. 

The People

Nigerians are witty, hilarious, generous, creative, great talkers, amazing sidekicks, and superb hosts. As a visitor, you might find it very difficult to complain about Nigerian hospitality. Plus, if you make a good Nigerian friend, that’s one thing you’ll never regret.