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YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LAGOS, NIGERIA

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Black Women’s Travel Guide to Lagos: Top 10 Things a Black Family Must Checkout 

Black women travel!  Whether it is a single Black women’s travel group, solo Black woman travel, or Black family travel, we GETS OUT!  Now, I must warn you, Lagos ain’t for the faint of heart.  So get ready!

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Lagos is not a preacher of love or peace. Lagos is a war. Lagos is a fight. Lagos will beat your imagination ruthlessly but win your heart unapologetically.  


But you will still love Lagos. 

I’ve lived all over the world and I can say wholeheartedly in my thickest Nigerian accent that “No city be like Lagos.” This city is Nigeria’s commercial capital, where money talks and is the full stop to many a sentence on the streets. 

A hub of arts and entertainment home to many of Africa’s biggest superstars and celebrities whose faces are on billboards and on screens in cable tv networks. Lagos is also that fallow ground where young men sow seeds day and night, toiling under the sun and in the rain, just to make it, a city where hope or faith is a strategy—we make it or we die here!  This city, too, is color blind; whether you are black, brown, red, or white, everyone will simply see you as a Lagosian

The only next color is the yellow of Danfo (the mainstream public transport vehicle on Lagos Mainland). But as a newcomer into this wild, eccentric centre of excellence, no—the city is not racist—you won’t be called a JJC (an acronym for Johnny Just Come, interpreted loosely as “a newbie”), but your actions or your reactions to some queer actions would make Lagosians give you the name tag.   

But you’ll still love Lagos. 

So, if you are a single black woman traveling alone or traveling with a black family from any part of the world visiting or thinking of visiting Lagos for the first time, I’ll encourage you to stay and spend at least five days in this city. Because there are 10 things you must check out before you leave and—how did I miss this?—if you’re not used to the hustle and bustle of this fast-paced city, Lagos traffic would allow you explore an average of two things in one day before you get exhausted. I have listed these ten things below. 

1) Shopping & Fashion: Even if it’s just window shopping at Ikeja City Mall, you would relish the experience because you may just be lucky to see a guy propose to his girlfriend in public. Yes, these things have happened, and are happening, in fashion malls here in Lagos. But I’ll advise you prime your stay to when fashion fairs, such as GTBanks annual Fashion Week holds at Landmark, Lagos which showcases Nigeria’s finest fashion designs. 

Rocking my ankara in Lagos!
Rocking my ankara in Lagos!

2) Nigerian-Owned Restaurants: For years, Twitter has been on fire over an argument on which African country has the best Jollof rice. You can help end the debate by visiting some of Nigeria’s local restaurants, whether on The Island or on The Mainland and have a taste of the local cuisine yourself. But don’t forget to take away a pack of Amala & Ewedu or ewa going when you are done. These delicacies are sumptuous! 

3) Nature & Wildlife: Lekki Conservation Centre easily comes to mind. A small nature reserve with some small animals, this greenery environment hosts the longest canopy walk in West Africa. The faint whiff of nature inside this space could inspire a novelist but, trust me, the naughty monkeys could tear your first draft off your book or diary if it is brightly coloured. Try the Omu resort too they’ve got some rare wildlife. 

4) Sights & Landmarks: A popular beer brand in South-East and South-South Nigeria has the following copies written on some of it advertorials: Never forget your identity, What is your identity? As a black family, it would be particularly an interesting adventure to visit sites that reminds one of his true origins. A tour inside the Badagry Slave Museum and Black History Museum would give you a feel of the slave trade era and, perhaps, shape your ideology about the future of the black race. Other landmarks dotting the small but large city of Lagos should be explored to get a good feeling of what the city has to offer. 

Headed to see some Lagos sights
Headed to see some Lagos sights

5) Special Occasions: Ever heard of the word Owambe? It is a Yoruba word that loosely translated, means “It is there”. But when there is plenty of food and drinks, with men and women in stylishly sewn traditional attires dancing to the rhythm of good music jarring from loudspeakers, it means a different thing: Party [is there]!  

Lagosians are very social people, anything can give rise to an Owambe. But most often, it is usually during celebrations of weddings, the birth of a child, and even celebration of the death of an aged loved one. If you want to experience the true culture of an average Lagosian, visit a special occasion. And—don’t worry if you haven’t got an invitation—gatecrashing is allowed. 

6) National Museum: About 47,000 artifacts from different parts of Nigeria are housed in a single museum, the National Museum in Onikan, Lagos. Notable artifacts in the museum a terra-cotta human head known as the Jemaa Head (c. 900 to 200 BC), the ivory Benin mask, and the Mercedes Benz 230.6 in which former Military Head of State, Late Gen. Murtala Mohammed was assassinated in 1976. You will be shocked at what you can find there!!! 

7) Nollywood movies in cinemas: If your family is tired of history lectures in a museum, you can take them to any open cinemas, like Genesis Cinemas in Maryland or Ozone Cinemas in Yaba. I’m sure your family has had plenty of popcorns and soft drinks in cinemas before, but our soda tastes better when you’re seeing a movie like Lion Heart amidst the chorus of happy sounds of laughter from the audience in the movie theatre. 

8) The Xperience: Even if you are not a Christian but love good music played by a live band, and are visiting Lagos in December, save the date—usually the first Friday in December—for the Xperience. The Xperience is truly an experience; it hosts gospel artistes from all over the world in the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, including Frank Edwards and Don Moen. It’s such a big, all-night gospel concert that even the working class, after a long day at work, make out time to attend the event. If you will attend, please go early to get seats. 

9) Computer Village: This West Africa’s largest gadget market is an enigma to checkout. The level of commerce in this market that houses over 3000 IT SMEs is enough data for a Ph.D. dissertation. But the admirable energy and resilience of youths that make a living from this computer market cannot be detailed in a post; it is best to experience the market first-hand. From the Igbo apprenticeship cultural system to road-side artisans that make their daily bread from repairs of gadgets, the market is a place to behold to acknowledge Lagos’ status as Nigeria’s commercial capital.  

10) Lagos Traffic: Not that you can run away from this—it is a structural heritage of Africa’s most populous city—but you could observe another life to Lagos in traffics. Young boys and girls are seen chasing vehicles as they shuffle in traffics, to sell their wares—food, drinks, pillows, shoes, carpets, puppies… Name anything sellable. It has even been reported that some migrants from other states in Nigeria have built mansions in their hometowns from hawking sausage rolls in Lagos traffic. This is Lagos, where impossibilities are made possible. 

Remember, you will need at least five days to check out all of these things for maximum pleasure or satisfaction. Your family deserves that treat, I mean, this is not a football game or a three-hour movie. This is Africa’s largest city. This is Lagos. 

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This post contains affiliate links.  Please find a link to my entire disclaimer here.

Hello there!

I’m Jackie O., editor of the  international travel and lifestyle blog, The Jackie O. Life, serial entrepreneur, globetrotting Mama, Black digital nomad and overall badass.

I’m a former attorney, technology executive and model turned digital content provider and travel and lifestyle consultant.  I help Black women live magical lives all over the globe.

I’ve been featured in media outlets such as Travel Noire, American Express Essentials, Gorgeous Globe,  Flourish in the Foreign, Sorella, BizBash and more. Originally from the United States, I currently travel the world full-time with my toddler daughter, Ruth

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