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The only direct flights from South Africa to Nigeria are from Johannesburg to Lagos's Murtala Muhammed International Airport (previously known as Lagos International Airport). There are options for 1-stop flights to Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja. To book a cheap flight to Nigeria:
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Cape Town - Nigeria
Durban - Nigeria
When to Go
28 Jul 2013 : The Nigerian Authorities are on high alert after a Liberian man died from the Ebola virus shortly after arriving at Lagos Airport a week ago. All entrance points to the country are on very high alert with health specialists having been deployed to all entrance points. Surveillance has also been stepped up at all airports, seaports and borders. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Nigeria’s minister of Health, said that all passengers who were on the infected passenger’s flight will be traced and monitored for signs of the Ebola virus. Ebola has been spreading like wildfire throughout central and eastern Africa recently. Liberia has closed all of its boarders to try and curb the spread of the virus.
21 Oct 2013 : "My first flight was in Nigeria and the plane wings were vertical to the runway coming into Jos. All the passengers were either praying or screaming, or both, including my manager who was shouting he was going to die; except me as I had no experience of landing and I, naively, didn’t see any problem. The plane landed on the third attempt. That flight was 31 years ago when I was 29 and I would be screaming and praying if it happened now." Ian Anderson
The writeup in Italics contains advice sourced from somebody involved in the Nigerian travel industry:
Nigeria is a country in Western African and the country is increasing in popularity with tourists. The country is known as a relatively economically stable country that is friendly to visitors, and offers much to see and do. Many people visit Nigeria to see its historic sites and enjoy its natural resources. Nigeria has nice beaches (these are mostly situated in Lagos, the former capital city), world-famous national parks, and of course gorgeous women – the “finest” on the entire continent.
The capital of Nigeria is Abuja which is situated in at the geographical centre of the country. it is a beautiful city which offers excellent architecture in most parts. Lagos is also a beautiful city known for its aquatic splendour. Anyone traveling to Lagos would enjoy a nightlife that is second to none. The people popularly known as Lagosians are fun loving, warm and highly intelligent individuals. Just like any other country in the world Nigeria has its share of bad eggs - we believe that the overall citizens should not be judged based on these individuals. Nigeria has a large foreign community comprised of individuals from all over the world who have been living in Nigeria for years - South Africans included.
The country also has a number of interesting museums, a national theatre, and of course, many interesting markets for shopping. All in all, you’re sure to enjoy your trip to Nigeria. Some of the cities have a history of violent crimes like robbery, kidnapping etc. Some of these targeted attacks are against foreign nationals especially those working for oil companies and big conglomerates. These assaults are witnessed in areas frequented by foreigners. During daytime hours, travellers are advised to remain alert and extremely vigilant. After dark, all unnecessary road travel should be avoided.
Like many other countries in the world, Nigeria has also got its own societal problems that need to be sorted out. It is no news that Foreign Affairs ministries and International Trade ministry of various countries always advise against non-essential travel to Nigeria. It is expected that all those who want to travel to Nigeria; should maintain an extremely high level of security awareness and enquire about local conditions before travelling in the country.
As much as I would love you to visit Nigeria, I am a Nigerian by the way, I would not want you to endanger your life in anyway. The Northern part of Nigeria is mostly dangerous as at the time of writing this article. The Boko Haram Sect (a notorious religious sect) is predominantly situated in this area. Aside from a few northern states, Nigeria is of course a wonderful place to visit either for work or business purposes. So as you’re planning your trip, here are some important things you should know:
At the airport: Nigeria does not have a national carrier at the moment. Relatively cheap flight tickets can be booked to either of Abuja or Lagos, the “centre of excellence”. Without paying any duties you can bring two hundred cigarettes and four litres of drinks with alcohol in them into Nigeria with you. Ensure that you have taken your vaccine for Yellow fever as international regulations make it mandatory before entering some countries including Nigeria. You are expected to hold an International Certificate of Vaccination (yellow card) that has been validated by the approved vaccination centre. Visitors need to be a bit careful with their luggage as there have been quite a few stories of pilfering of luggage mostly at Lagos airport.
Transportation – Though there are a few taxis with installed meters in the major cities, they are never used to calculate your fare. If you arrive in Lagos for instance, you shouldn’t pay more than N1,000 (R62) to travel to hotels or guest houses. There are a few car rental companies around too if you want to rent a car during your short stay in Nigeria, but using a taxi is relatively cheap as you can “customise” a cab man (as it is fondly called) to drive you around town throughout your stay in the country. Some of the hotels also provide such services so you might want to find out from them. The use of public transport is generally not advisable as most of the minibuses (popularly referred to as “danfo”) in Lagos are rickety and not in good conditions. The fastest means of transportation are the motorcycles (Okada) - this is due to the high vehicular traffic in most part of the cities.
Cultural Characteristics: Nigerians are very nice people who tend to be exceptionally warm to foreigners. They are willing to go the extra mile to meet the demands of any tourist, most especially “whites”. Nigerians take greetings seriously, so you might want to cultivate the habit of saying “good morning” before your trip. English is the official language of Nigeria and it’s used at all levels of administration such as law, commerce and education. It is spoken with varying degrees of fluency by majority of the population, making Nigeria the largest English Speaking country in Africa.
Mode of dressing: Don't wear anything skimpy clothing out in in public particularly if you are visiting the northern part of the country. Infact, DO NOT TRY IT. You can wear a bikini whilst soaking up the sun on a beach, but not whilst strolling around the town. The country is a bit humid even during the rainy season, be advised to shop for clothes that allow for air before you head to Nigeria.
Cost of living: Living in Nigeria is a bit expensive. Well, expensive here could be very relative though. A pack of sandwiches goes for about N700 (R42) in a regular restaurant. Set prices only exist when they’re written (!) – usually in certain stores, restaurants, or shopping malls. For taxis and most items in the market, bartering is to be expected. If the shopkeeper starts off by saying an item costs N100 or less, start by offering roughly 1/2 of the price. Bartering just means the difference between him making wide margins versus moderate ones. The Nigerian unit of currency is the Naira, with notes issued in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1, 000 Naira denominations. Visitors may bring unlimited amounts of foreign currency, provided a declaration of such currency is made to customs at the airports.
Electronic gadgets: We would advise you get your cameras before coming over; it might be a bit pricey in Nigeria. Generally, never patronise street hawkers for anything important you might want to buy. Never use cell phones in the main street of Lagos or any other city. Nigerians are fun people and they would be willing to have you take their pictures. Another thing Nigerians strongly disapprove of is taking photos of anything that could be perceived as negative to their country. If you take photos of such things, always ensure that you’re in a private place with nobody looking at you. We guess that’s the norm everywhere else in the world.
On a lighter note, Nigeria is actually a beautiful place to have fun. The clubs are usually packed every Friday in most cities especially Lagos. The biggest musical artists you can find in this part of the world are from Nigeria. We know quite well that a lot of DJs and night clubs in Capetown and J’bourg dish out Nigerians songs some of which you are already familiar with. I was thinking of breaking this article into two parts because there are still a few more things to know about the country that are not captured in this article or didn’t just cross my mind while doing the writing. You can drop your comments on what you would like to know about the country in the comment box and if permitted, I might do a follow up article to this. I actually like comments, so do go ahead.
Kainji National Park established in 1976. Formed through the construction of Kainji Dam in 1968 it harbors the Kainji Reservoir.
Old Oyo National Park which is home to a variety of indigenous bird species plants and animals like buffalo. The historic ruins of the Oyo city, the center of the Oyo Empire are found here. Its era ended in the 18th century. The park is located in western Nigeria, bordering Benin.
Yankari National Park, by far the most popular attraction to visitors in Nigeria is known for its efforts to promote ecotourism in Nigeria. It is also the largest of all the national parks and has a robust collection of wildlife that includes Waterbuck, Tantalus Monkey, Olive Baboon and Hippopotamus. Wikki Spring is a major tourist attraction where swimmers can enjoy themselves continuously while staying at the Wikki Camp.
The Durbar festival and many other cultural celebrations and festivals are popular with tourists. The towns of Bida, Kano and Katsina are among the most active.
You can fly from Johannesburg to Lagos (LOS) with South African Airways (direct), British Airways (via London), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa), Arik Air (direct), Kenya Airways (via Nairobi), Egyptair (via Cairo), Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), Air France (via Paris), Virgin Air (via London) and Emirates (via Dubai).
Flights to Port Harcourt (PHC) from Johannesburg can be taken using Emirates (via Dubai) and then from Lagos through a code-sharing agreement with Arik Air. You can use Lufthansa (via Frankfurt), Air France (via Paris) and South African Airways that has code-sharing agreements with Emirates, Lufthansa and Arik Air.
Fly to Kano (KAN) from Johannesburg using Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis) on code-sharing agreement with Arik Air from Lagos; Kenya Airways (via Nairobi) on code-sharing agreement with Arik Air from Lagos and Qatar Airways (via Doha).
You can fly from Johannesburg to Abuja (ABV) using Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis), Kenya Airways (via Nairobi) on code-sharing agreement with Arik Air from Lagos, Air France (via Paris), South African Airways (via Lagos), Virgin Air (via London) and British Airways (via London).
Cape Town to Lagos flights can be flown using South African Airways (via Johannesburg), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa), British Airways (via London), Emirates (via Dubai), KLM (via Amsterdam) and Virgin Atlantic (via London).
1-stop flights from Durban to Lagos are either with Emirates (via Dubai) or SAA (via Johannesburg).
At the time of printing, visa requirements for South African citizens to enter Nigeria included:
Copy of air ticket/Flight booking
Passport valid for 6 months
Letter of invitation from Nigerian company or facilitator
Letter to prove employment
Documents to prove academic credentials
First time applicants must pay a repatriation fee of R6000, which is refunded when they return to SA! There have been reports of people struggling to get the Nigerian Consulate to repay the repatriation fee.
For the latest up to date requirements, check the Nigerian High Commission or contact them on 012-342-0805 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Their physical address in South Africa is at 971 Schoeman Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, South Africa. The offices are closed on Nigerian public holidays.
Keep these contact details handy in case you lose your passport, or something happens in Nigeria requiring consular assistance:
Physical address: 24 Molade Okoya Thomas Street, Victoria Island, Lagos
Email : email@example.com
Phone number : +234-1-461-2067
The currency used in Nigeria is the naira.
English is the official language of Nigeria, although it is not widely spoken throughout the country.
Generally, the weather in Nigeria is warm to hot. The southern part of the country is equatorial whereas the central areas are tropical. The north has an arid landscape. There are two rainy seasons: (1) in May to June and (2) in October along the coast. From October to April, it is dry in the north. You will be more comfortable when it is dryer, during the months of of November, December, January February, March, April, July, August & September.
You may either want to time your visit to Nigeria to coincide with a public holiday and join in the fun, or avoid the date so as to avoid additional travel costs (and possible crowds):
29 May (Democracy Day)
1 October (Independence Day)
Floating public holidays: