Don't Go . . Survival is as Good as it gets
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jul 19, 2012 12:04 PM Last Post By: Smallmasterr
Apr 27, 2012 2:19 AM
Don't Go . . Survival is as Good as it getsHaving experienced Nigeria for over a year I can tell you point blank they are nowhere near ready for tourists.
Lagos airport is to be honest . . . Crap !!! and a bit like something from the 60's with Abuja even worse.
The whole structure of the country is dis-organised chaos at best where you not only look over your shoulders but in every other direction.
It would unfair to say I did not meet some good people out there but it is a country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer or stay the same. They say Nigeria is the happiest country around but for the majority of them they smile cause they are thinking how I can rip you off.
Takes hours to get anywhere and the public transport is battered old VW Mini Buses which quite frankly a scrapyard would reject and are often overcrowded with people hanging of the back and where a two lane highway can be turned into 7 lanes of traffic quite easily.
Corrupt police with itchy trigger fingers on faulty AK47's I got stopped almost daily . . Why because I was white
I am usually a positive person who likes a challenge and to see the real country and people but this is a country where the people are overshadowed by corruption everywhere you look and the best they can hope for is surviving.
I wanted to experience the real Africa and but if this is an example of the real Africa you can keep it.
Apr 27, 2012 3:34 AM
I usually don't reply but you seemed very negative and I honesty am skipping Nigeria from my overland trip too, so I guess we feel the same...
you wrote you have been there working for a year and even after that you haven't growth any positive note about the country..sad
Apr 27, 2012 7:25 AM
2Ha ha!! You either love Nigeria or hate it, seldom an inbetween.
Have to say though, much of what Travelling Scotsman says is not unique to Nigeria:
- Beat up old vehicles, hours to get anywhere - much the same for most countries in WA I'm afraid
- Soldiers stopping you 'cos you're white.....yes, this is particularly bad in Nigeria, but it's one big game. The moment you get angry or stressed it makes everything worse. Standing your ground, smiling, and keeping calm is the key.
- Rich get richer and poor get poorer.....again, not unique to Nigeria by any means, but perhaps more obvious in a country that is doing relatively well economically........and you could argue the same is happening in the more developed world!
- Not ready for tourists - I agree, Nigeria has a very long way to go in being ready receieve tourists....but for those who like a bit of an adventure Nigeria ticks the boxes!
I have lead trips through Nigeria before and it is hard work, esp with regards, the police check points, but I can honestly say the people are some of the friendliest in the whole of Africa. Yes, you need to have your wits about you, but the same applies in any city like Johanessburg, Marrakesh, Cairo, Narobi etc.
Apr 28, 2012 5:52 AM
3Fair comment on both parts above it is hard for me personally to take any positives from the whole experience other than I came out the other side even after being treated for Malaria.
I have been to a few rough places shall we say but this was a whole new level and no amount of internet research prepared me for the chaos that is Nigeria.
In fairness I did go there with an open mind and just took everything as it came and maybe I have been spoiled a bit in recent years and did not have that rawness that a place like Nigeria needs from a traveller.
I was working there but was looking to see the real Nigeria as well but sadly I think what I experienced was the real Nigeria at the moment.
I do dislike being negative or sounding negative but this was only my experience of it but it is not only an experience across there unfortunately it is a way of life at present.
But if you love chaos and a real challenge of getting around then this the place for you . .
Apr 29, 2012 5:13 AM
4I have to completely disagree with this post. I visited Nigeria as a tourist, I think Nigeria is fantastic, the most interesting country in the continent for me, and well worth a visit. In regards to some of the particular criticisims made: Nigerians are, in general, fantastically friendly and helpful people. The lack of foreign tourists in the country mean very little in the way of tourist-focused scams, and very rarely did I feel people were trying to cheat me or rip me off. Lagos is a bit of a mess, but elsewhere in the country business runs as honestly as it does in Africa, and the people are particularly helpful. The public transport in Nigeria is, overall, much better than most of the rest of the region, and the decent state of its roads (comparatively speaking here, for West Africa in general) means that you can move around fairly quickly. I took the train once, and staff - who seemed never to have seen a white folk on the train before - bent over backwards to make sure I enjoyed the ride.
I almost never had problems with police in Nigeria. On only one occasion did a policeman try and get a bribe out of me, and when I made clear that I wasn' t a fool, he left me alone. The whole situation took 5 minutes. By far the most helpful experience I've ever had in my life with police was in Nigeria: I arrived in the country in a rather delicate situation, and not only did the border officials not take advantage of me, they actually gave me an unbelievable amount of help.
Anyway, I don't know what the OP's experiences were, but it's certainly possible for different people to experience completely different countries in Nigeria. Yes, it's chaotic, yes, you need to keep your wits about, but the people are fantastic, and I'd recommend anyone with the interest (and a certain amount of Africa experience) to go there.
Jun 7, 2012 3:55 AM
5I too am from Scotland and having now travelled west africa Nigeria is no different.
You say you wanted to see the real west africa well I'm afraid this is it...BUT you have to go with an open mind. I I have yet to be stopped for a bribe and I often find that due to the Oyibo effect we are very often let through when others are being stopped. When we are stopped they usually say Onye Oche how are you enjoying Nigeria...they want us to take a positive view away. They are all too aware of their image globally.
All officials have been helpful and I came overland so had plenty of dealings with border officials and the Nigerian border officials were the most helpful.
Yes it's chaotic but when you realise that everyone will help you, go out of their way to help you and ensure you get about. The most friendly and amazing people in Africa I have met.
I have to say any country where you give them money to do something it gets done....i'll get you a recharge card...give them the money and they will return every time. I'll pop and get you juice/fanta/water every time they do it and don't look for a tip/dash.
I have had friends visit from UK since i've been out here to visit and travel around and they all go back and say wow amazing country and plan to return to see more...but these are well seasoned travellers.
To anyone who avoids it they are missing out on a big part of Africa! It's fun, lively and the people are fun but like any african country you just have to keep your wits about you.
I agree though with Giora that it is not a country to visit for a first timer to Africa you need some experience of Africa before coming and how Africans operate.
Jul 19, 2012 10:55 AM
6One thing I've noticed about Nigeria & visitors --- opinions seem to run the gamut!
Agree that it's not a place for one's first visit to West Africa.
Lots of good tips provided above!!!
Jul 19, 2012 12:04 PM
Nigeria is, by far, my all time favorite country. Totally with Giora on this one. The culture, the people, the vibrancy, the music, the festivals,....the food...the rich history...But especially the people: smart, witty, funny and obnoxiously loud and hyperkinetic and blingbling in a nice way. And the pigeon English language!!
And even the utter chaos has its charm, I find.
But not Africa for beginners, that is for sure. Although I do not find it dangerous or frightening, not even now.
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