It doesn’t get much bigger than Lagos, the largest city in Africa’s most populous country. We take you on a 24-hour tour of the former capital that is now the business hub of Nigeria, and home to a vibrant array of entertainment and shopping offerings.
We start off in Ikeja with a tour of Alausa, where the state secretariat and Governor’s offices are located. The well-maintained area is also the location of the Ikeja City Mall, as much of a hang-out location as it is a shopping destination.
Hail a keke napep – a motorized rickshaw – to take you to Allen Avenue. Brisk business happens here, with boutiques, fast food joints and banks populating the area.
Next stop is Awolowo Road, where you can find all makes and models of telecommunication equipment, from the now-extinct Nokia 3310 to the latest iPhone 6. A careful search could even produce the yet-to-be manufactured iPhone 7, along with the Nigerian-produced version of each.
New purchases in hand, take a taxi to Ikeja GRA, home of old money. Pass through Isaac John Street where several restaurants boast tasty local dishes.
From here, jump on a yellow bus, popularly called danfo, which will take you across the lengthy third mainland bridge into Lagos Island.
About a quarter of the way into the journey, expect a preacher to stand up and lead passengers in song. You’ll often find a self-proclaimed alternative medicine pusher on board too, offering herbal concoctions or imported medication purported to cure several ailments, ranging from minor headaches to high blood pressure.
When you disembark, head to the famous Balogun market, where you can find anything from gold to goat meat. Be wary of the man asking your help to decide between two bags to buy for his wife, as you may end up buying both while the man buys none. It’s a well-known trick.
Leave the market and move on to Victoria Island, passing through Obalende, the semi-slum that borders Ikoyi, home of the fabulously rich. Victoria Island is home to head offices of all Nigerian major banks, world-class hotels, telecommunications companies and the who’s-who in town. Take a stroll down Awolowo Road for some window shopping.
If you wish to linger on the island, you’ll witness the rapid build-up of traffic from 5pm; streets quickly become choked with traffic and hawkers. If you’re feeling peckish, try a packet of plantain chips – peppered, sweet, even honeyed flavoured.
There’s a lot more to be explored after dark. Lagos nightlife rates as one of the best on the continent, with a range of choices from the lounge-style cocktail bars to nightclubs blasting popular local Nigerian tunes that will keep you on your feet till the next morning.