Lagos is the largest city in Africa, it has wall-to-wall people, bumper-to-bumper cars, noise and pollution beyond belief, an intimidating crime rate, and maxed out public utilities. Elevated motorways ringing the island city are jammed with speed freaks and absurd traffic jams ('go-slows') on top, and tin-and-cardboard shacks underneath.
Named after the Portuguese word for lagoon, Lagos has been a Yoruba port, a British political centre and, until 1991, Nigeria's capital. The economic and cultural powerhouse of the country, and with much thanks to an absurd influx of oil money, it has an exploding arts and music scene will keep your yansh engaged far past dawn. If you're headed to Nigeria, you'll have no choice but to jump right into the madness here.
Best places to stay in Lagos
West Africa travel guide
West Africa has cachet and soul. Home to African landscapes of our imaginations and inhabited by an astonishing diversity of traditional peoples, this is Africa as it once was.
West Africa - Nigeria (Chapter)
With its burgeoning technology industries and an exploding music and arts scene, Lagos is the face of modern Africa. But in the villages and towns you may still feel as if you're a lone explorer getting a glimpse of the raw edges of the world.
Nike Art Gallery
One of Nigeria's most important artists, Nike Davies-Okundaye, runs this enormous gallery full of contemporary and traditional Nigerian arts. Nike herself is practically an incarnation of love and beauty, which is reflected in this astonishing four-storey space. If you're lucky she'll be there and may grace you with a new Yoruba name.
Kalakuta Republic Museum
Legendary musician Fela Kuti's former house and revolutionary headquarters is now a fascinating museum with everything intact from Fela's bedroom to his underwear. Breath deep and you may even catch a high.
Great art books, crafts, magazines, this bookshop also has an exhibition space and evening cultural events.
The National Museum is definitely worth seeing, but note - no cameras are allowed. The star attractions are the brasses from Benin City, which get their own gallery. The Nok Terracottas are also well represented. Another gallery dedicated to traditional symbols of power contains carved ivory and a royal host of crowns.
Africa travel guide
Something special about Africa touches the soul; it is a continent of 54 immensely diverse countries that is both deeply troubled and profoundly uplifting.
Formerly the Old Broad Street Prison, a colonial-era instrument of oppression, it has recently been turned into a cultural centere, venue for events and concerts, a museum, a food court, and, soon, a market. Some of the old prison structures are still standing. Check the website for up-to-date info.