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Know Before You Go: 10 Things To Know Before Visiting Nigeria

You are making a mistake if visiting Nigeria is not on your to-do list. The Giant of Africa prides herself on unmatchable energy and vibe.

Know Before You Go: 10 Things To Know Before Visiting Nigeria

These tips will help you manage your expectations.

Nigeria ranks 3rd among the most popular countries In Africa in 2023. We couldn’t overtake Egypt and South Africa (sadly), thanks to the Pharaohs and Nelson Mandela. Apparently, it’s very hard to compete with such history.

However, that doesn’t mean Nigeria doesn’t have her fair share of captivating history and stories.

Having worked as a tour guide, I have come in contact with many tourists who gave testimonies about how the stories they hear of Nigeria are nothing compared to reality. Because unfortunately, Nigeria is famous for cyber fraud (also known as yahoo yahoo), scam artists, corrupt politicians, kidnapping, etc.

These stories, however true, have put Nigeria and Nigerians in a bad place on the part of tourism. Tourists are not so psyched about the supposed “Giant”.

But amidst all the rumble and jumble, Nigeria is also famous for her music, brilliant minds, natural resources, food, lifestyle, languages, traditions, etc. Music especially ranks as one of our biggest exports in the present day.

It would therefore be beneficial to ignore any premonitions you have heard about the country and come see for yourself why visiting Nigeria is a must-do. Whatever reason you have for traveling, she can quench your thirst.

I will be supplying you with tips on what to know and what to expect before you conceive visiting Nigeria.


Top Things to Know Before Visiting Nigeria

Travel Requirements

We are no more in the days of the children of Israel. We can’t march from country to country. There are requirements needed to allow a foreigner to migrate to another country. In Nigeria, you need:

A valid passport

To ensure your passport is valid, your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from your arrival. This condition is necessary for residents and non-residents.


It is normally ideal to get your visa before traveling into the country. Exceptions can be made for business persons to get their visas on arrival, and applicants must obtain a pre-approval letter from the Nigeria Immigration Service. It should also be noted that applications for the on-arrival visa must be made in advance.

For more understanding on how to apply for a visa on arrival, visit the NIS Website.

Nigerians speak English

I would often come across foreigners visiting Nigeria for the first time speaking to me slowly and subtly. They try to enhance their communication by gesticulating because they believe I am not fluent in English. I would often play along because it was fun.

things to know before visiting Nigeria

Nigerians speak very good English. We might add our accent to make it sound more Nigerian (I’m a Nigerian, so I would be using a lot of “we” in this article).

Apart from the accent, we have managed to modify our English. We call it Pidgin English. Pidgin is a more heightened form of English. You can get lost when listening to Nigerians speak but with time, you would get used to the lingua franca.

SEE: Corporal Punishment and Child Abuse: Where to Draw The Line

Nigerians reciprocate your energy

Do me I do you, man no go vex.


The reception you receive in Nigeria is a reflection of the energy you put off upon arrival and during your stay. Nigerians can be welcoming or dismissive; it all depends on the way they interpret your actions or body language.

When you arrive in the country, the factory setting of every Nigerian is to be nice and call you an endearing name like oyinbo. The moment they sense a negative feeling or you try to take their niceness for stupidity, they can be quick to give back to you “hot-hot”.

There is a plethora of Delicacies

Nigerian food

You have not completed your tour of Nigeria, if you haven’t tried out several dishes. Nigerian food would make you lick your fingers and leave you asking for the recipe because you’d want to replicate it. Sadly, Only Nigerian hands can efficiently cook Nigerian foods.

One important thing to note is, if you want a real feeling of Nigerian food, ensure you find “Mama Put”.

RELATED: Tastiest Nigerian Foods to Try Out

The weather is mostly hot

The Nigerian weather is mostly hot all through the year. There are a few exceptions like Jos which is usually cool, and states like Kaduna experience very “over-zealous” weather. This means when it’s hot, it’s very hot and when it’s cold, it’s super cold.

It gets very serious during the harmattan because your body sparks when it comes in contact with another body or your bed.

Don’t come to Nigeria looking for snow.


We have rainfall, heat, cold, and harmattan. That’s all.

Acknowledge the Nigerian lifestyle

The best way to positively saturate Nigerian hearts when visiting Nigeria is to in any way acknowledge their lifestyle. Acknowledging their lifestyle would immediately make them see you as one of theirs. There are different ways to acknowledge the Nigerian lifestyle;

Vibe to the music

Listen to popular Nigerian musicians e.g Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Davido. These three come top recommended.


Speak the pidgin language

The lingua franca of Nigerians is dear to their hearts. Instead of Good morning, or how are you doing, you say “How far, how you dey”. Instead of I feel like eating rice, you can say “E dey do me like say make I chop rice”.

It’s a very complicated language, but once you get a hang of it you won’t want to stop speaking it.

RELATED: Pidgin Phrases For Survival In Nigeria

Know a bit of Nigerian history

Nigerian history is filled with twists and turns. If Nigerian history was made into a movie, there would be seasons and seasons to watch. There are some notable names to know if you want that would boost your credibility when visiting Nigeria e.g Fela Kuti, Tuface Idibia, Alibaba, Teju Baby Face, etc.

Learning Dance steps

For as long as I can remember, Nigerian musicians have always popped onto the scene with catchy dance steps. Examples of these dance steps include; Skelewu, Galala, Shakiti Bobo, Alanta, Alingo, Shoki, azonto, Yahooze, legwork, etc.

Road traffic is compulsory

Road traffic is compulsory in Nigeria, especially if you are in a state like Lagos. This is due to the terrible conditions of our roads and the Nigerian traffic rules. It is something the government is continually working on to ease.

This is not a particularly encouraging thing to know at first glance, but that will change when you watch the road traders and how they run faster than the Flash to catch the customer in a moving bus. Or how the Nigerian bus drivers move like they have nine lives.


Religion is priority

Religion in Nigeria

In other Western worlds, they encourage such practices as atheism. However, it should be noted that Nigerians are religious people. If you aren’t a Christian, then you’d be a Muslim.

Due to our history, we have always had traditional religions and they still exist to this day, although, they are not as pronounced as they used to be. When visiting Nigeria, you can keep your atheism at home (I’m joking, we are accommodating).

Nigeria is “tribe-laden”

There are over two hundred and fifty ethnic groups in Nigeria. You do not have to know all, but the main ones to know are the Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa. You would catch its citizens switching from English to their native language whenever they’d want to gossip.

Watch out for subtle signs like this when visiting Nigeria.

SEE: History Of The Yoruba People

Nigeria is a developing country

At 63, Nigeria is still a fastly developing country. You can note this development in the presence of multiplying startups, technological companies, massive buildings, etc.

This will negate some movie scenes depicting a more village-like Nigeria or a traditional one. There are many misconceptions to be cleared which can only be possible by visiting Nigeria.

As a Nigerian, I can testify to the amazing experiences that she has to offer. My roots in the country do not bias my information. The potential of Nigeria to be the next big thing in the tourism sector is rising and the sky is only the limit. You would realize that the number of tourists visiting Nigeria per year is doubling.

I would not have covered every point to note when visiting Nigeria and I would love you to remind me.

Moibi Damilare
Moibi Damilare
Moibi Damilare has a traditional and classical outlook on life. He is often criticised for being critical and one-sided on trending issues which is opposite for such a happy, disciplined and lovely soul.