Hey hey all!
So I got to embark on a recent road trip to my motherland, Nigeria with my family. Let me start and be upfront and honest, I usually don’t enjoy going to Nigeria so my expectations were low. How happy I was that this trip turned out to be truly epic, explorative and eye opening for me and I got to love what others love about Nigeria.
There is a lot of natural beauty in Nigeria, whether it gets explored to the full as it should is another matter but I was privileged to see this beauty as we began in Lagos, headed up to Akure where my grandma lives, onto the capital Abuja and then onto the city of Jos (first time visit) in Northern Nigeria. It was quite a vast amount of land we covered during my two weeks there and I saw many a sight as well as how the landscape and nature changes as you travel up north.
So I hope this photo essay with my lil’ commentary tidbits gives you a little insight into the beauty and fun I got to behold as well as understanding a little more of Nigeria through my eyes.
I travelled across many different diverse states including Lagos, Ondo, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kaduna and Plateau and they were surely beautiful. I didn’t get many shots to fully capture it all but you can see the difference in the hustle n bustle of my Lagos state captures versus my more serene photos of communities of the north. We also got to cross the River Niger, the largest river in Nigeria as we headed up north.
Our car broke down not too far from Tattara on one of our long travels. Your car takes quite a battering on the roads when roadtripping. There are a lot of potholes so you need a good car to weave in and out to avoid them. On one of our trips we witnessed a lorry full of bags of flour that had overturned. The flour was everywhere!
The average car in Nigeria according to my cousins costs approximately 1.5 million naira and so some Nigerians just cannot afford a car. The most common means of transport if you don’t have a car is taxi (Uber is particularly big in Lagos and Abuja), tuk tuk, buses and the infamous ‘okada’ (motorcyle taxi). Okada is weaved into the fabric of Nigeria carrying all sorts. One vivid mental picture was of a dead cow neatly folded in three parts on the back of an okada. I also saw a family of four on one enroute to church in their Sunday best.
Nigeria has historically been a symbol of Christians and Muslims living side by side peacefully for many years. Its only in recent years and by a minority causing an upset to this peace that was in place. Along my route I saw many churches and mosques within easy reach of one another. When in Abuja I saw the beautiful National Church of Nigeria and the Abuja National Mosque both built magnificently and not too far from one another. Hopefully next time I will get to go visit inside both.
Nigerian people are innovators. You have to be, in such a climate, both physically and politically. I saw a boy who had made a shelter from the heat using tyres (sadly not captured) and various other wonderful sights of beautiful clothing, hair and cultures. Its easy to forget that Nigeria is made up and shaped by a large multitude of cultures.
Carrying things on the head is a normal everyday sighting in Nigeria from water, to nuts, to rice to clothes, anything! Its like a highly skilled art form that seems to be ingrained from birth as I saw many kids displaying their skills. The most outrageous thing carried upon the head that I have ever witnessed (not on this trip) was a refridgerator. I was too in shock and disbelief to even take a snap!
Nigerian food is just delightful and it is so pertinent to the heartbeat of Nigeria. On this trip I got to try new delicacies such as the Hausa delicacy Masa (sadly not a fave) and a fruit called Iyeye (Hog Plum).
Sadly I took no perfectly poised food photos because I would engulf it all before thinking ‘oh lets take a snap.’ I never was one to photograph my food when pretty, only the aftermath. My recommendations to try though in Nigeria are suya (this delicacy gives me so much joy), malt (or what I like to call the ‘brown liquid goodness’), jollof rice (Jamie Oliver is scamming you all with his version) and pounded yam with edikang ko with goat meat (this could send you into a food coma!)
I did however get to photograph some street food sellers…
Music – it beats and weaves through Nigeria and brings much joy. I got to hear some traditional drummers at a wedding I attended.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing Nigeria through my eyes!
The Five to Nine Traveller xx