Surviving And Thriving In Nigeria: Tips For Visitors And Expats

How to Survive in Nigeria

Nigeria is a vibrant African country with a rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and a rapidly growing economy. However, it is also a country that can be challenging to navigate, especially for foreigners or first-time visitors.

From traffic congestion to security concerns, there are many factors that can make living or traveling in Nigeria challenging. In this article, we will explore some tips and strategies to help you survive and thrive in Nigeria.

Understanding the Culture and Customs

One of the most important things to do when visiting Nigeria is to research and understand the local culture and customs. Nigeria is a diverse country with more than 250 ethnic groups, each with its unique traditions and practices.

Take the time to learn about the local customs, greetings, dress codes, and taboos before you arrive in Nigeria. This can help you avoid any misunderstandings or cultural faux pas that could lead to embarrassment or offense.

Be Prepared for Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion can be a significant issue in Nigeria, particularly in the major cities like Lagos and Abuja. It is essential to plan your travel routes and times carefully to avoid getting stuck in traffic.

You can also consider using public transportation or hiring a driver to navigate the roads for you. Be sure to carry a map, a GPS device, or a mobile phone with GPS capabilities to help you find your way around.

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Stay Safe and Secure

Nigeria has a reputation for being a high-risk country, particularly when it comes to security concerns. It is essential to stay vigilant and take precautions to ensure your safety and security.

Avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas, especially at night, and be careful when carrying valuables like cash, jewelry, or electronics. It is also advisable to keep your passport and other important documents in a secure location.

Embrace the Local Cuisine

One of the best ways to experience Nigerian culture is through its food. Nigerian cuisine is diverse and flavorful, with a wide variety of dishes to sample. From jollof rice to suya, there is something for everyone.

Be sure to try the local street food and delicacies, but also be mindful of hygiene and food safety practices. You can also take cooking classes or visit local markets to learn more about the ingredients and preparation methods.

Learn Some Basic Phrases

While English is the official language of Nigeria, many people also speak other local languages. Learning some basic phrases in the local language can help you communicate more effectively and connect with the local people.

It can also show that you respect and appreciate the local culture. Some common phrases to learn include greetings, thank you, and asking for directions.

Get Involved in Local Communities

Nigeria is a country that thrives on community and social interaction. One of the best ways to experience Nigerian culture is by getting involved in local communities and events. Attend festivals, concerts, and cultural performances to learn more about the local customs and traditions. Volunteer at local charities or organizations to meet new people and give back to the community.

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Be Flexible and Patient

Nigeria can be a challenging country to navigate, and things don't always go according to plan. It is essential to be flexible and patient, particularly when dealing with bureaucracy, transportation, or other logistical issues.

Be prepared to adjust your plans and expectations, and always keep a positive attitude. This can help you stay calm and focused, even in challenging situations.

Stay Healthy and Hydrated

Nigeria can be a hot and humid country, particularly in the summer months. It is essential to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and heatstroke. Be mindful of the local water supply and use bottled or boiled water for drinking and cooking. It is also advisable to get vaccinated and take precautions against mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria.

Find Reliable Sources of Information

Nigeria is a rapidly developing country with a lot of information and news to keep up with. It is essential to find reliable sources of information to stay informed and up-to-date. This can include local newspapers, news websites, or social media groups. Be sure to verify the information you receive and avoid spreading misinformation or rumors.

Seek Help When Needed

Finally, if you are struggling or need assistance in Nigeria, don't hesitate to seek help. There are many resources available, including embassies, consulates, and local organizations. Be proactive and reach out for assistance if you need it. This can help you stay safe, healthy, and connected in Nigeria.


Surviving and thriving in Nigeria requires a combination of preparation, flexibility, and a willingness to embrace new experiences. By understanding the local culture and customs, staying safe and secure, embracing the local cuisine, and getting involved in local communities, you can make the most of your time in Nigeria. Be patient, stay hydrated, and seek help when needed, and you can have a fulfilling and rewarding experience in this vibrant African country.

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  1. Is it safe to travel to Nigeria?

While Nigeria has a reputation for being a high-risk country, there are many safe areas to visit. Be sure to research your travel plans carefully, take precautions, and stay vigilant to avoid any security concerns.

  1. What are some must-try Nigerian dishes?

Some must-try Nigerian dishes include jollof rice, suya, egusi soup, and pounded yam. Be sure to sample the local street food and delicacies to experience the full range of Nigerian cuisine.

  1. What are some common cultural taboos in Nigeria?

Some common cultural taboos in Nigeria include disrespecting elders, ignoring local customs and traditions, and engaging in public displays of affection.

  1. How can I stay hydrated in Nigeria?

It is essential to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you. Use bottled or boiled water for drinking and cooking, and consider carrying a reusable water bottle.

  1. What should I do if I need assistance in Nigeria?

If you need assistance in Nigeria, reach out to your embassy or consulate, local organizations, or trusted friends or acquaintances. Be proactive and seek help when you need it.