Lagos

2 ratings (2 Epinions reviews)
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The good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly.

May 24, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:The nerve center of West Africa, every thing you can find in a major city.

Cons:Very rowdy, chaotic, a lot of crime, too many people.

The Bottom Line: Lagos has good and bad things about it, have fun, but be careful. Like Johannesburg or the States there are lots of firearms about.


I spent three and a half weeks in Lagos and I found it challenging and enjoyable. The Murtala Mohammed Airport (international) was easy for me to get through, contrary to what I saw on British television's ' Lagos Airport'. However, I must say that as the airport was my point of entry and departure into and out of the country, and like wise many other people's, they must do more to bring it to international standard. The central air-conditioning needs to be working 100% not 50%, and so too must a lot of other things which needed up-grading. Infrastructure in Lagos is pretty 50/50. Some areas have first class infrastructure, and some other places seem almost abandoned. Any in many areas street lights do not come on at night, and there is a lot of dirt and poverty about. Whilst in some neighbor hoods you do not see any signs of the poor, and all infrastructures are in place. Some other neighbor-hoods have both wealth and poverty existing side by side, and mixed levels of infrastructure.
Places I found interesting include the Lekki and Alpha Beaches. With lots of visitors on the weekends, horse riding, bars, and lots of eateries. Lekki Conservation Foundation which is the headquarters of national environmental N.G.O Nigerian Conservation Foundation is a nice place to spend the day. There is a free range for the local Lagos State fauna which includes antelopes, crocodiles, monkeys, rodents, snakes, and birds galore. The architecture at this center is rather unique and impressive. Again, there are lots of places were you can by things to eat and drink. The Ikoyi club is definitely outstanding. I think it is members only, I am not sure, because I went there with someone who regularly uses the club's services. Things to partake in through the Ikoyi club includes boating, surfing, yatching, wind surfing, and taking speed boats to yet undeveloped islands that I figured make up the city limits. Lagos boasts of more night-clubs than any West African city. The most noteworthy one's are the Coliseum, and Night-Shift, playing the latest Western music gendres, especially hip hop, r&b, ragga, jazz, e.t.c.
There are lots of bars and restaurants around town covering Continental and African cuisine. Check out for them at the five star hotels and some of the shopping areas. There are lots of Lebanese, Chinese, Italian, and Indian restaurants around the place. Suprisingly there are no Macdonald's or KFC about, but the national substitutes are just as good, the better known ones are Mr Biggs and Tanterlizers. For shopping, there is a mall called Mega Plaza located on Victoria Island (V.I). It is like a smaller version of the malls I've seen in the States, and definitely as big as most of the shopping center's I've been to in the U.K. There are also lots of good and well stocked super markets such as Cash and Carry. Allen Avenue and Opebi Road in the area known as Ikeja is like Oxford Street for those who know London, or Peachtree Street for those who know Atlanta. On these two thorough-fares you can find lots of big and small well stocked stores, restaurants, barbers, saloons, boutiques, and what ever else you may consider as conveniant. Lots of first class hotels are in town. There is the Lagos Sheraton, L'Hotel Eko Meridian, Federal Palace Hotel, Airport Hotel, Ikoyi hotel, and a host of other good ones.
To visit Lagos it is advisable that you know somebody there, or that there is a company that has invited or is taking you there. Lagos is not the kind of town that you should just fly out to because you have the money to do so. You need some body who is familiar with the Lagos environment. Always be careful and watch your belongings. Do not give the impression that you are wealthy, unless you are with somebody who knows the local environment. A lot of people are devious and might seem helpful, but will rob your belongings if given half the chance. Generally speaking though, most Nigerians are very friendly and will give you the correct advise. It is better that you or your host use private transport. Public transport in Lagos is not comfortable under most circumstances, and they will often try to inflate the real price once they find out that you are a foreigner. Exceptions of comfortable transport services include the long distance bus services run by ABC, Chisco, The Young Shall Grow, amongst others. These buses connect Lagos to other parts of the country, and have there own in built entertainments (television stations), and free food and drink, as well as air-conditioned buses and decent toilet facilities.
There are a lot of good roads to drive on, as well as some not so good roads. Lots of freeways because of the large mass of land that the city covers. Amazingly enough, a lot of the locals have a habit of crossing such roads at ground level rather than using the designated pedestrian bridges. Lagos boasts of an impressive network of fly-overs, particularly those connecting the northern mainland areas of the city to the southern island areas, and those servicing the different islands. These roads give you the opportunity to cruise on top of the Atlantic ocean. The most awesome of these roads is the Third Mainland Bridge, which is the longest bridge in Africa. It is truly an impressive construction achievement.
The main economic center which is called Lagos Island is characterised by a cluster of sky scrapers. With Union Bank's Stallion Building being the tallest building on the West African coast. The part of Lagos Island with the sky scrapers is known as the Marina. The affluent residential areas in town are Lekki Peninsula, Victoria Island, Victoria Garden City, and Ikoyi. There are also some decent middle class areas like Apapa, parts of Ikeja, and the Ikeja GRA.
Driving in Lagos is something that I had to get used to, there are a lot of crazy drivers, my advice is to use a driver (chauffer) in the initial stages. There are a lot of drivers (chauffers) about, and there services are dirt cheap. It is not too bad though, because you do get used to it. Lagos has a large but elusive population of foreigners and you do see them driving there cars around town comfortably. Most of the major Nigerian towns seem to have a large Lebanese population.
Overall, Lagos is like any other large city, but with it's own character. Most of the things you can get in London or New York and other great cities are there. I once heard this fella say that Lagos has no Western influence, and I just thought that the brother needed to go back to high school. I could'nt believe it, you go around Lagos properly and you can not see any Western influence? That can not be true. There are not much third world cities with as much Western influence.


Recommend this product? Yes


Best Suited For: Friends
Best Time to Travel Here: Dec - Feb

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