Updated: Nov 4, 2019
So I'm sitting in Abu Dhabi airport on a layover and I'm headed to Lagos for the first time in 9 years. I feel quite anxious to be honest. Since I've never visited Nigeria as an adult, I wasn't really aware of all the do's and don'ts when it comes to visiting Nigeria.
I thought that this was important information to share if anyone is thinking of visiting so that you can avoid getting into any unnecessary trouble and also make a good impression. Here are 12 do's and 12 don'ts when visiting Nigeria. I'm sure there are many more, but these are the important ones that stood out to me:
Get some anti-malaria medication. Mosquitos really have a field day with tourists and visitor's. You don't want to get sick on your trip so better to be safe than sorry!
Grab some mosquito 🦟solution while you're at it. Seriously, the mosquitos do not play
Do bargain when at the market. You can usually price down an item by at least 50%
Keep your passport firmly locked away
Do use your right hand always. It's seen as a sign of disrespect to use your left
Show respect for your elders. Bend down when greeting. They appreciate this
Have cash on hand to help get you out of any dramas. Bribery is still very common in Nigeria.
Shake hands firmly with a warm amd inviting smile
Do make sure you don't visit anyone empty-handed. It's shameless and a sign of disrespect.
Ensure you travel with someone who knows Nigeria very well. It can be dangerous otherwise.
Choose accommodation wisely. You don't want to end up staying in an area or accommadation that is not secure and sanitary. (Tip: Victoria Island, Lagos is always welcoming to tourists and visitors)
Do stand your ground and check anyone for inappropriately handling you or speaking to you anyhow. Silence in these situations is seen as wesakness
Use your left hand, when passing an item or shaking hands. It's seen as a sign of disrespect in the Nigerian culture.
Wear any combat or army type of clothing. I was warned by my Twitter family that this is a BIG NO NO. You could be flogged by the soldiers for impersonation.
Ask for directions more than once. If you do this, you could look inexperienced and be led astray
Travel alone, especially at night. This is a security hazard and even Nigerian nationals don't really do this much.
Feel compelled to leave tips. This is optional, despite the pressure you feel.
Give money to strangers on the road. There are many spiritual tales that are told relating to this that I won't get into, but just don't!
Buy purewater from the side of the road in Nigeria. Packeted water is not safe to drink and sometimes not even really water.
Rush a greeting without genuinely asking about the other party and how they're doing. This is rude.
Refuse food when offered upon visiting someone's home. Even if you just want a little, it's polite to agree to eat.
Drive with the window down in Nigeria. you could run the risk of being robbed
Disrespect the nigerian culture verbally or even with facial expressions. You will be seen as obnoxious and ignorant
Be intimidated by anyone in Nigeria. Don't be afraid to express your distaste for rough handling