Lagos has some really impressive sights throughout the city as well as nearby. Badagry Town is the ancient slave port, and is also known as ‘The Point of No Return’. While this isn’t officially in the city of Lagos, Bagadry Town is worth a visit and is only around an hour away from Lagos as well as the Benin border. It’s the second largest commercial town in the state and is an interesting place for people who have an interest in the history of the slave trade.
Lagos is famous for its beaches. There are easily a dozen or more in the city, making it a beach lover’s dream come true. For luscious white sands and bright blue seas, the Lagos Bar Beach is the best.. The name is somewhat deceiving, being named for the various sand bars that make up the coastline, rather than for the happening clubs and watering holes that can be found (there aren’t many, if any!) It’s the perfect stop for those in the city of Lagos as it’s the main beach in town. If you’re looking for other beaches that are out of the city a bit for a more relaxing vibe, check out Akodo, Tarkwa, Atlas Cove, Light House Beach and Agaja Beach.
There are some interesting art galleries around the city, as well as a couple of great museums like the National Museum of Nigeria which features a look back at some of the history and culture of the area. There are also some great markets and malls for the shoppers.
As with many other coastal African countries and cities, Lagos has a temperate climate year round with generally the same temperatures in both summer and winter, with only a very slight variation by a few degrees. The winter is less rainy than the summer, which is great news for those who live in colder climates who are looking for a winter getaway. Lagos remains around 25-28C for day time highs throughout the year and the nightly lows are around 23-25C. Summer rainfalls, which are highest from May to July can be in excess of 2-300mm for the month, but November, December and January/February only see between 25-90mm for the month. This makes the winter months an ideal time to go and catch some of the luscious African suns rays and kick back on the beaches that line the city of Lagos.
Lagos is well serviced by a number of airlines from international locations such as Madrid, Rome. Istanbul, London, Ethiopia and Kenya. The airport in Lagos can be a bit of a pain and security has been ramped up in recent years, although they haven’t brought on more manpower to account for this, so make sure to arrive in plenty of time for your outward trip to do all the security screening. The domestic and international airports are several miles apart, so you will need to switch airports entirely for any domestic flights to other regions of Nigeria. It can be time consuming, so make sure to leave plenty of time between flights.
Train services around Lagos and Nigeria in general are not great. They can be unreliable, late, slow and infuriating for the time-pressed tourist. That being said though, Nigerian Railway Corporation are working on ramping up services and have started an overnight route to Lagos from Kano. There are several bus companies in Nigeria that can get you around undoubtedly quicker and more reliably than the train network – Greener Line Transport, ABC Tranport and The Young Shall Grow are all examples of bus companies that serve Nigeria and Lagos.
Okada motorcycle taxis are easy to come by and quick if you’re not going far. They have become safer in recent years. Taxis are the best way to get around but are, of course, more expensive than buses. Lagos has a growing transit system and new buses which are useful for those who are interested in getting around on their own. The buses are often faster than taxis too because of dedicated bus lanes in the city. Ferries are available to visit the island regions of Lagos.
There are numerous hotels and restaurants of varying levels of class and price. In terms of health, Nigeria is a risk for Yellow Fever so the vaccine should be acquired in advance of your trip. Other vaccines should be taken as standard such as Hep A and B as well as other vaccines such as typhoid and tetanus. Anti-malarial tablets should be taken every day in Nigeria as well.
Lagos is the capital of Nigeria and is its commercial hub. The city itself is the largest in Africa, and is home to over 17 million people.
In the early part of the 1300-1400s, the King of the Benin Empire had received complaints from some of his traders and explorers of having been treated poorly by the Awori people who lived in the area of modern day Lagos. The King sent a trading group to the area by sea to try and engage the Awori, but they wanted nothing of it and attacked the group. Eventually when news made it back to Benin City, the King decided to put together a war expedition, led by the Prince, Ado, who left for the Awori lands to demand an explanation.
Upon his arrival though, the Awori greeted him well and asked him to remain and be their leader. Ado agreed, but on the condition the Awori fully surrender to the Benin rulers and the King, and so the Awori agreed. The King of Benin also gave his blessing to Ado remaining with the Awori and eventually sent some of his chiefs to the area to help with the set up and maintenance of the growing region.
From this period of time, Lagos (then called Eko) was a major hub for slave trading. All of the Kings of Benin and Lagos from this period over four hundred years supported the slave trade. The eventual King, Oba Akitoye, tried to ban slave trading in 1841 after ascending the throne, but it sent local merchants into revolt and he was deposed and exiled. In his exile he went to Europe where he met British authorities which had banned slave trading in 1807. They decided to help support this deposed King and come back with him to Lagos to help him reclaim the throne, which he did in 1851. However, Britain’s power became absolute over Lagos and they officially annexed it in 1861.
The British colony of Lagos soon was melded with the remainder of the Benin Empire – modern day Nigeria. This occurred in 1887, and the British established the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914, at which point Lagos was declared the capital. Lagos remained the capital of Nigeria throughout much of the 1900s, but in 1991 it was replaced by Abuja, which was built specifically to become the capital of Nigeria.