lagos“Shine your eye!” is an oft-quoted Pidgin English phrase for anyone visiting Lagos, including Nigerians who have been away from the country for some time or are originally from other parts of the country. It’s simply caution for one to be alert when traveling through the city. Lagos is a sprawling, chaotic metropolis with a lot of edge and Lagosians are arguably the street savviest of Nigerians you will ever meet. And living in the economic capital of the most populous country in Africa, Lagosians have seen it all. Incredible wealth, evident in luxury homes and cars you will see around the city, not far from less developed, congested communities and barely there social infrastructure – check. Legendary traffic during rush hour – check. The daily hustle and bustle that goes into living in such a crowded city – check.

As far as touristy activities go, Lagos is an anomaly - ideal for the seasoned, adventurous, curious traveler. While the city’s government is making small strides in promoting it as a tourism hub in West Africa, it’s still a city that might grow on you. But then it might not. Lagos is not yet a city pining for its close-up. In fact, its appeal (or detraction) is firmly in its take it or leave it vibe. There’s no silver platter for what it has to offer just yet, you will have to do a little digging to better appreciate how your interests intertwine with the city’s dynamic cultural fabric.

The best way to explore Lagos is with a trustworthy, knowledgeable local friend or associate. If you enjoy nightlife, there are quite a variety of clubs and lounges to explore in Victoria Island and other parts of the city. Lagos is home to some of the most dynamic Afro pop music currently exploding across sub-Saharan Africa and you will be in for a pulsating time. Care to get a bite before heading out? Well, an assortment of flavorful traditional and international cuisine await you depending on how bold your taste-buds and stomach are. There are appetizing options to be had at roadside or hole-in-the-wall restaurants called “mama put” joints or “buka” to casual dining, take-out restaurants and more upscale restaurants.lagos_beach

For beach lovers, Lagos straddles the Atlantic Ocean and has its fair share of beaches spread across the city. A number of private eaches are accessible too for sometimes exorbitant fees. Art lovers can feast their eyes on cultural offerings at spots like TerraKulture, also in Victoria Island, which features arts, crafts and exhibitions. While Nike (pronounced “Nee-Keh”) Centre for Art & Culture in Lekki (Phase 1) offers an extraordinary collection of works by artists from all over Nigeria. The four-story gallery shows like a museum in its own right and is a haven for true art lovers and buyers.

Lagos is a character, taking it all in stride is part of the adventure that is this one-of-a-kind city. So, yes do “shine your eye” when you visit because Lagos promises to be one unforgettable experience!


Ufuoma Otu (at the Palms Lekki) is an avid traveler who is passionate about intercultural exchange.  Recent travels have taken her to China, Thailand, Cambodia, Panama, Nigeria, and Ghana.







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