Between the constantly blaring horns and the street hawkers who sell everything from mobile phones to condiments for a steaming pot of soup, there are several things that set this fast-paced city apart from anywhere else in the world.
The parties and events, for one are second to none and in 2013, the Lagos state government reported that Lagosians spend an average of N36 billion (that’s about $17.7 million) on events/parties or owambes as they’re sometimes referred to in these parts.
Indeed, it’s not for nothing that Lagos is jocularly referred to as ‘Eko for show’ and if you’re headed this way, here are 8 things you absolutely must try to earn the status of true Lagosian.
- Visit the beach: The Lagos beaches may not be the cleanest in the world, but they definitely offer their own brand of fun. The constantly blaring music, scantily clad girls, variety of grilled meals and not forgetting the ever present horse riders who roam the shoreline looking to offer a ride to fun seekers and earn a quick buck make for a truly colourful experience. But if you’re really looking for some adventure, then you’d want to stick around till dark, then things get really interesting…
- Eat the local food: While there are several intercontinental restaurants that offer everything from sushi to bacon and eggs, you really want to sample the local cuisine for a wholesome experiece. So brace yourself and ask your host or hotel concierge for the hottest local joint in the hood and settle in for a meal of pounded yam and egusi or amala and efo riro. By the way, none of that cutlery business, use your hands, its so much nicer that way.
- Explore the art scene: Whether it’s Terra Kulture if you’re looking to experience Nigerian theatre or The New African Shrine and Freedom Park for some live afro beat music, the city of Lagos has a lil something for everyone. There’s also Nike Art Gallery for a collection of great Nigerian art work.
Ride in a danfo bus: Now this isn’t something you’d find in any tour guide, but it’s something we highly recommend. If you’re looking to get a feel of the city, then you’d best board a commercial bus or BRT bus. The things that go on on these buses range from fascinating to down right comical.
Attend a wedding: Weddings are a very big deal in Nigeria with participants often sparing no cost to ensure that their big day is as perfect as can be. The result of this is that weddings (especially weddings of affluent people) are a huge, colourful affair which offer a fine blend of culture and entertainment. Hot tip: Ensure you dance with the couple, chances are you’ll get sprayed with money and that in itself is an experience on its own.
Shop at Balogun market: Forget the malls, if you want an experience of what a market really is like in Nigeria, then you best head on to Balogun market or Lagos as its popularly called. Here you’ll not only haggle prices with the best of them, you’ll also observe first hand the dynamics of buying and selling in Lagos. Hot tip: You’ll need to hold tightly to your bag as pick pockets are often on the prowl. Be sure to also try the roadside puff-puff, you’ll thank us later for it.
Hit the club: A popular Nigerian song goes “Aint no party like a Lagos party” and truer words could not be spoken. Unlike popular tourist destinations like Dubai and Los Angeles where clubs shut down at 2am, here clubs are on till 5am and on a really crazy night, it’s not unusual to find a few loiters around at 6am. Hit the Lagos clubs and you’ll never view clubbing the same way again.
Visit the Lekki Conservation Centre: For a doze of wild life, the Lekki Conservation Centre is your best option for this as the centre offers the chance to view several animals in their natural habitat.