Business | 20 Aug 2014 | By Sun International
Things To Do and See in Lagos, Nigeria
"Nigeria doesn't come in a tidy box with a nice ribbon around it" cautions former Miss Nigeria, Nike Oshinowowo.But that is exactly the appeal.
Bursting with brilliant vitality and youthful dynamism, a trip to Nigeria's largest city is like seeing life with the lid off. Whether you travel to Lagos for business or pleasure, you are sure to have an incredible experience that cannot be matched anywhere else in the world.
The most populous country in Africa and home to a quarter of all African people, Nigeria is rightfully known as the "Giant of Africa". One of the most promising economies in the world, the vast opportunities for success in Nigeria attract business leaders from around the globe. Not only a financial giant, Nigeria's history is an intricate tapestry spanning centuries with its mighty influence still evident in contemporary Nigerian culture.
Lagos is a melting pot of the very best of Nigeria. From the grand architecture to the hypnotising music and the vibrant art and fashion, Lagos offers visitors a host of sensory pleasures.
For business travellers seeking to experience the highlights of Lagos in between meetings and conferences, look no further, this is your compact guide to the most popular attractions in and around Lagos.
For a slice of Nigerian nightlife and entertainment:
- Booming for over 20 years, Niteshift Coliseum is Lagos's premium nightclub. Heaving with revellers until the early hours of the morning, this swanky spot often only heats up well after midnight. A favourite among Nigerian celebrities, Niteshift is safe, reasonably priced and the blasting music is perfectly selected for a festive night out among the city's hippest party animals.
- The only licensed casino in Lagos, the stunning Federal Palace Casino is conveniently located in the five-star Federal Palace Casino on Victoria Island. Sophisticated and elegant, entry to the casino is free for all guests of the hotel. With endless hours of thrills courtesy of the slot machines and table games, why not celebrate your good fortune at the Federal Palace CasinoAncestors Spirits and Wine Bar. Open around the clock, the bar serves exotic cocktails and is a great place to end the night after dining at the adjacent Explorer's Restaurant.
For a shopping up a storm, Lagos-style:
- The largest in Lagos, at first Jankara Market appears to be filled to the brim with the usual market wares. However, on closer inspection, you will find juju potions, traditional herbs and mythical medicines. Don't forget that haggling with the animated stall-owners is part of the experience! If given the chance, the enthusiastic stall-owners are only too happy to play teacher, educating foreign visitors about the history of the wares on sale.
- The Palms Shopping Mall is the largest mall of its kind in Nigeria. The first mall to introduce the "one-stop shopping" experience to Nigeria, the Palms is a must-see for all shopping enthusiasts. For movie buffs looking for the perfect way to spend a few hours in between meetings, the mall also includes a world-class cinema showing the latest blockbusters from Nollywood and beyond.
For fun in the sun:
- Popular among Lagosian sun-worshippers, Lagos Bar Beach is the closest beach to the city centre of Victoria Island. This the perfect beach for a relaxing walk at the end of a busy day. Although swimming is not recommended due to the extremely strong currents, the beach is a great spot for people-watching and the ever-present cool breeze blowing from the brisk waters of the Atlantic offers beachgoers a welcome respite from the humid weather.
- If a visit to the Bar Beach leaves you longing for a dip in the water, or if you want to work up a sweat after a long day of meetings, then make a point to visit the world-class Federal Palace Pool Club. Open to all guests of the hotel, facilities include an Olympic-size pool, two tennis courts, an exercise circuit and a scenic jogging track.
- Founded by Mrs Ajoke Muhammed in remembrance of her late husband and the former Nigerian Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed, the Murtala Muhammed Memorial Botanical Gardens is a serene escape from the frantic buzz of Lagos. Dubbed a bird watcher's haven, the beautiful gardens also showcase a collection of rare and ornamental plants.
- Over two decades old, the Lekki Conservation Centre was established to protect the wildlife that inhabits the coast of Nigeria. Threatened due to sprawling urban development, wild animals such as monkeys, crocodiles, tortoises and various birds find sanctuary in this peaceful centre.
For an understanding of Nigerian history and culture:
- Established in the early 15th century, Badagry is situated in Lagos State near the border of Benin. Notoriously known as the former portal to the slave trade in Nigeria, Badagry was also the site of the Vlekete Slave Market. Following the collapse of slavery, Badagry became known as the birthplace of Christianity and British education in Nigeria. The sleepy town now includes the Badagry Slave Museum, an important landmark in Nigeria and a sombre reminder of the horrors of humanity.
- Opened in 1893, the DIDI Museum was the first private initiative to protect, preserve and exhibit the collective heritage of Nigeria. Also featuring art from the continent, the DIDI Museum is a proud celebration of African creativity.
- Nigeria's National Museum is a must-see for all history enthusiasts and art lovers. Founded in the 1956, the museum notably includes beautiful brasses from Benin City and indigenous artwork purchased by the Nigerian government following the dawn of independence. These indigenous artworks were removed during the colonial period and sold abroad, only to be restored to their former glory in the National Museum. A sight to behold, but not a sight to photograph. Visitors to the museum take note: no cameras are allowed.
- Described as an "immersive and definitive Nigerian cultural experience", Terra Kulture is an essential visit for travellers who have limited time but endless curiosity. With an art gallery, library, craft shop, theatre and restaurant, visitors to the cultural and recreational centre will have no shortage of exciting things to see and do.