Road tripping across Nigeria: A Photo Essay

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.

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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.

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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.

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Greenery and mountains of Nigeria as we took the ‘Forest route’ to Jos
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Scenes of Nigeria enroute to Jos
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Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with approximately 50% being urban dwellers so it is always hustling and bustling.
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Cows here are certainly not as plump as the cows of the UK but perhaps the UK is overfeeding their cows and ingesting them with too many hormones.

 

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.

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‘Okadas’ waiting for customers

 

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A ‘Tuk tuk’, as a lady dressed in royal blue walks by. Nigerians love to dress well at all times.

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!

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Children counting their earnings amongst themselves whilst balancing their produce on their heads

 

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).

 

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A Hausa man wearing a traditional Hausa hat, selling grilled meats and Masa

 

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A Jos woman selling Iyeye (the yellow/orange fruit)

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!)

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The aftermath of enjoying the delicacy of Edikang ko!

 

I did however get to photograph some street food sellers…

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An onion seller in the scorching Northern sun

 

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Food stalls at the side of he road selling all sorts such as yams and palm oil.
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Roasted corn, coconut and dates all being sold on the sidewalk

 

Music – it beats and weaves through Nigeria and brings much joy.  I got to hear some traditional drummers at a wedding I attended.

 

 

There are many people/blogs promoting tourism within Nigeria and discussing places to hang out at and see.  Check out Naija Nomads and Unravelling Nigeria as they chat about exploring Nigeria.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing Nigeria through my eyes!

The Five to Nine Traveller xx


23 thoughts on “Road tripping across Nigeria: A Photo Essay

  1. One of my friends back home in Nigeria runs the Unravelling Nigeria blog. Great to see another fun post about our motherland. Glad to see you had fun too!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a thrilling photo documentary! One easily visible theme through all your photos is joy. And if possible to discern through a screen, I can also speak of contentment and peaceful co-habitation. Lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Haven’t been to Naij since 2011 *covers face* but reading this makes me want to go tomorrow! Think I’m due a trip back sooner rather than later now and I have to say, your pictures of the food is making me hungry! Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow, I’m an Africa Addict so I really enjoyed this. I may never get to Nigeria in my lifetime but it’s cool to see photos and experience it through the eyes of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thanks for reading! I hope you do get to Nigeria at some point. Its an absolute must for an African addict; one sixth of Africa’s population is contained in this country. We are everywhere and such a melting pot of cultures it definatelt not to be missed! Thanks for reading.

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  5. This reminds me a little of the road trip I did in India from Delhi to Agra. We hired a driver though since the driving is crazy there. Is that the case in Nigeria?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh gosh yes I probably should have said, we definately had a driver! If we attempted to drive that would have been a death wish lol. Driving in Nigeria is straight up crazy and I have heard when I swap stories with my Indian friends its very much the same there. I sit back and don’t pay attention to the crazy risks my driver was taking no need to give myself hypertension and they are well seasoned to the roads! Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s awesome. I really enjoyed looking at your photo essay.
    I love driving around to discover a country. It’s a great way to see other things than just main tourist attractions. We caught a 12-hour bus in Tanzania instead of flying and I felt I learnt a lot about the country just by watching out of my window.

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    1. Totally agree about roadtrips and getting to see alot more of a country! It opened my eyes up immensely. I can imagine Tanzania would be beautiful to view its landscape this way. Thank you for reading :o)

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  7. So lovely to read about your experience road tripping especially since you initially mentioned you didn’t always love visiting Nigeria. Really nice to read about how it changed your perspective and to see it in your photos! The scenes you’ve described sound so crazy!

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    1. Aww I’m glad you got the vibe of my descriptions despite no pictures. Sometimes I’m always kicking myself when I miss the shot but I still wanted to share those scenes even though I didn’t have a photo of it. Thank you for reading :o)

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  8. This is actually much more than a photo essay. I could literally see myself on this trip with you. Love the pictures and I love that more people are exploring Nigeria these days. A lot of the roads are bad, travelling within can be stressful (sorry about the car breakdown) but we are making it work.

    I have been on tours organised by Naija Nomads, Unravelling Nigeria and Social Prefect. They offer unique and amazing tours across the country and make the whole experience worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

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