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Quick Travel Blog - Nigeria

Nigeria. Until now my perception of the country has always just been dealing with club bouncers and receiving 419 scam emails, so I when I had to go to the country last week on a television shoot I went with a little trepidation. It was nothing like I expected.

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Sure, it was frenetic as there the population is about 170 million and about 40 million are in the capital city of Lagos (that's like the whole of South Africa living in Johannesburg).

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The capital is made up of a series of islands interconnected with bridges which bottlenecks traffic even more. It can take you 3 hours to go about 20km there. Surprisingly though, even though cars weave in and out of lanes, there is still a sense of order (unlike the DRC where I thought I was going to die every time we got into a car).

But what surprised me was that the majority of the white collar workforce are impeccably dressed, well spoken (English is their first language) and incredibly polite. Not once did my crew or I feel threatened in any way.

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Transport for the informal market is mainly with battered VW combis:

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Even though they are crappy rust buckets, we were told that when they eventually just about fall apart, they move on to South Sudan where they get even more usage. Locals also use little tuk-tuks:

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For the affluent and ex-pats working there, everyone has a driver and use big 4x4 vehicles. There are luxury 5 start hotels and we stayed in the Intercontinental which was very pleasant:

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Power is a big issue there and the electricity goes off about 12 times a day. Locals can spend up to 30% of their monthly salary on generator fuel. We thought we had it bad here in South Africa, but it's nothing compared to there.

The biggest downside though to visiting any African country is the airport. It's a pity your last experience as you leave is always a shit one. It can take you 3 hours to check in as their systems are so antiquated. You have to go to a counter for this and then another counter for that. And then stand in another holding area for something else.

So ignoring the last few hours in the country I had a pleasant experience. Thanks Nigeria for the hospitality!



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