This year, I’m committed to making as much noise as possible to get you guys to travel around Nigeria. I already started the good work leading you people up North. But before I tell you about all the places you can go and all the food you can eat, here are the travel essentials you’ll need to survive travelling around Nigeria.
Pockets, to put your pride in and beg after you’ve spent three hours getting to a tourist attraction. Only to find out that somebody, somewhere decided to shut it off to the general public. Which of course does not include white tourists.
Your Nigerian passport – You might think you don’t need this until you find yourself in Badagry trying to explain to Customs officers that you are not an illegal immigrant from Cameroon just because you are a Lagosian who doesn’t speak Yoruba.
Slippers, for when you need to trek from one town to the other because you didn’t hire a cab for the day, and there is absolutely no public transport in the town.
Snacks in every possible piece of luggage you carry. Because you’ll be hungry in a hotel somewhere in Ondo and they’ll tell you that the cook has closed at 7 pm or that there is no food at all in the kitchen.
Google maps, because you’ll enter a cab, keke or bike whose driver will swear up and down that he knows where you are going to. Only for the two of you to end up in a village in the outskirts of town.
Extra cash for unforeseen circumstances, like having to pay two times the regular entrance fee to get into a tourist attraction because touts have overrun it. And if you have no extra cash to spare and a very low tolerance for bullshit you need to eat extra food in the morning so you can have energy to fight for your right.
If you are travelling in a group, someone who speaks the language of the city you are visiting comes in very handy. So at least when you are getting swindled by a seller because they notice you are a foreigner they’ll do it with conscience when they realize one of their own is in your group.
A power bank for your power bank and a ton of extra batteries for your camera. Because you’ll be constantly blown away by just how beautiful this country is and you’ll want to record every moment of it.
Imodium and Flagyl because you’ll want to try as much local food as you can and your stomach that is used to eating rice every day of the week will revolt. When this happens if you are lucky you’ll be in your hotel room if you are not you’ll be halfway up some ancient hill with a tour guide screaming at you to ‘enter bush’.
A strong resolve to not give up on Nigeria as a whole when you discover how run down the so-called National museums are. Or when a ranger tells you that the federal government just decided to cut funding for a National Park because they had a small fight with the governor of that state.
Tissues to clean your tears when you find yourself lost and stranded in the middle of the night in a foreign town. And a stranger opens up his home to you, feeds you, puts you on the right track the next morning and refuses to collect a kobo from you. Most importantly didn’t use you for ritual in your sleep as Nollywood would make you believe.
An open mind to allow you enjoy other cultures that are so different from yours. If they tell you only virgins are allowed to cross a certain path take it like that.
Now that you are strapped go forth and explore. Don’t forget to share all of your wonderful adventures with us.