Life in Lagos

So, here you are in Lagos. What can you expect?

Living in Lagos

The first thing you'll notice about Lagos is the noise. Car horns blasting all the time. People talking loudly. Noise pollution is high in Lagos. This is something you'll have to get used to. But things are quieter once you're in your apartment or hotel.

Traffic is heavy and chaotic. Cars nudge their way through traffic. Some of my Nigerian colleagues spend close to 3 hours on the road getting to work in the morning. My driver wakes up at 4.30 in the morning , leaves the house by 5 am, reaches the office by 6.30 and then pick us up at 7 am. In the evening, they leave us at the hotel. Traffic from Victoria Island (VI) to our hotel in Ikoyi, takes us about 45 minutes. The drivers then drive the cars back to the office (since taking them home risks them being vandalised) and then heads home for the day. They reach home close to 10 or 11 pm.

Lagos, Victoria Island and Ikoyi

One thing that you have to know is that everything in Lagos and Victoria Island is expensive. Remember that you're an expatriate. So, prices for you are always highly elevated. So, learn to bargain. Always try to reduce the asking price by half. Expect them to make a big fuss about it, but be firm and walk away. They will always call you back and offer a lower price. Unless the price is already low enough, most vendors will always call you back.

Price Comparison

Since I've been harping about prices being so expensive in Lagos, here's a list of things and their prices.

 

Item Price in Naira Price in Ringgit Price in USD
2 piece chicken at KFC 900 22 6.28
Colgate Toothpaste 650 15.1 4.33
Aquafresh Toothbrush 800 18.6 5.3
Small scissors 290 6.76 1.33
Small Dettol soap (pack of 6) 579 13.51 3.86
Brylcream 125ml 1000 23.3 6.66
Coco Light 100 2.33 0.66
Nature Valley Crunchy Grain 1300 30.3 8.6

Is Lagos Safe?

Lagos is relatively safe if compared to Port Hartcourt. Lagos is a bustling city, business orientated. People are always busy and moving quickly but things get done very slowly.

Can you walk out of the office on your own? Yes, of course. My colleagues and I are used to walking out to lunch by ourselves, either in groups or alone. No one harasses you. Even when my wife and I go to church on Sunday's, outside the church we'll meet a lot of kids begging for money but they won't harass you even if you don't give them any money. No violence. Video below shows our walk to Nando's for lunch.

Every city in the world has bad thugs and bad parts of town that you're not supposed to visit. Well, Lagos is the same. You should be aware of the local boys. These are young men who group together and are up to some mischief. Avoid them in the late evening or nights, which is usually the time these people start hanging around. But since you'll travel most of the time in car, you should be safe. Your driver knows how to avoid all these spots.

Night Life? Night life is vibrant in Lagos. You get to choose to visit expat bars or Nigerian bars. Both are safe. As long as you have a driver, because public transport is unreliable and shouldn't be used for safety reasons, you're all right.

Here's a video of a charity event that we attended in Lagos, called Small World, hosted by the British International School.

This is how traffic to work in Victoria Island, Lagos looks like during a rainy day

 

External Links

  1. Protea Hotel in Victoria Island
  2. Eko Hotel in Victoria Island