Avoid if possible travelling in rush hours outside Lagos Island, i.e. morning and afternoons in VI (Vicoria Island) is a mare-ritt of "go-slow", be prepard to be stucked in the taxi for i hour on VI. Also be warned that if you take a taxi to a fancy mall like The Palms Mall in Lekki, which kind of out of town, it might be impossible to find a taxi back...
But if you´re goíng to the mainland, you have have option of BRT (Bus Rapid Transit System) with separate bus lanes bypassing the crows.. You can only board the BRT on special busstops. VI have BRT but no separate buslines.
Do observe that the Domestic Airport at Murtala Mohamad Airport firstly is separated from the International one and there are no shuttle buses, just taxis that would rip you off.
Secodly do observe that there are two part of Dometic, the new modern building and the old wing. Make sure from which your airline is departing! You will immediately be attached by touts ( though it´s illegal, grabbing your suitcase and walking away with it to the right counter, and then they wont you let proceed on your own. I costed me about 10 us dollars. It´s very annoying and frustrating, they want let go get time to realize things by yourself and they utilize your bebilderness in this bewildering airport.
Appearently some contructrion is going on at the old wing by 2012 meaning that 1 hour before departure is not enough.
Go first to Mile 2 motor park, by taxi from Lagos island 1500 to 2000 Naira (depending on trafic), from there are shared taxis, leaving when full for 3000 Naira, very bad road until the border, lots of problems at that border, 4 to 5 hours.
We just flew to Cape Town from Portland, Oregon via Houston, Lagos, J'burg and then Cape Town. As we were using United FF miles we were on Continental to Lagos and then switched to South African Air. I am writing this in the hopes someone will find it helpful. There was NOTHING on any forum about this airport.
We were carrying medical supplies that were quite heavy. As we were using business class we had the ability to check 3 bags each. We checked 3 bags in total but they were oversize and heavy. We each had 2 carry on as all valuable electronics, medications, cameras must travel with you. Even so, being unable to lock the luggage, I was concerned as the equipment was valuable and we had an 8 hour layover in Lagos.
When we arrived we were directed into a Que to immigration/passport control. Because we were considered "in transit" our passports were retained by the officer and we were told to collect our luggage and then return to him. The luggage carousels were down about 6 stairs from the passport desks and only 1 of 3 were operating. I waited at the top with our 4 carry on while my husband went to collect the luggage. It total it took 2 hours to pick up all 3 pieces. He then located an officer who held our passports and instructed us to follow him. We trailed after him as he took us out of the building, around the corner to another door and to the base of 2 sets of stairs (about 20 each level) which we were expected to climb with our luggage. There is no elevator.
The officer gives no assistance and we managed with the help of a Frenchman to get all of our luggage together in a pile upstairs. Luckily there were 2 of us so we had eyes on our boxes and luggage most of the time. Upstairs we were inundated with "porters" who wanted to help however we were advised on the plane NOT to let them get their hands on our things. There is no way to tell a legitimate porter from a thief. I spotted a man with a red vest that said "Exon - Mobile" on it. Several men from the plane said they were being escorted through the airport by legitimate porters provided by the oil company so I quickly asked the man if that was what he did and if so, could he help us. He managed to grab a trolley and loaded our luggage on it ( keeping a very excited "porter" at bay [probably it was his trolly] and took us to a small office labeled immigration that was located away from the departure gates and next to the security stations. Our immigration escort had disappeared.
We had to leave our luggage outside and were told to take a seat. This office was no more than 8'X8' and had 4 chairs. Inside a very loud and heated argument was taking place between 5 male immigration officers, a woman who was some kind of gate person over the medical condition of a quiet elderly Sikh who was in the company of his middle aged son. Apparently the older gentleman was singled out because the lady felt he was ill. Apparently he was shivering and shaking and they were not going to let him enter Nigeria if he was sick. This scene took 35 minutes and it escalated to shouting on all sides and lots of hand gestures and foot stomping. Eventually the lady threw up her hands and left. We then were introduced to a woman who retained our passports and took us (without our luggage) through to a waiting area where she advised us she would be back in 45 minutes to collect us and escort us to the South African Airline desk which would not open until 5:30 PM. Even though we had an 8 hour wait, we could not enter the business class lounge without a SAA boarding pass and we could NOT get that in Houston. It had to be issued by SAA air and they did not staff the desk until 5:30 PM.
We again passed out of security, collected our luggage and proceeded to the SAA desk. This immigration lady pushed through all the people and spoke first to the passport checking people, then to the customs people who for a few minutes appeared to want to open and inspect my bags and finally to the departure desk. Our luggage was finally checked in and we were issued our boarding passes. By this time it was after 6:00 PM (we had arrived at 1:30 PM). She then returned us to the very same security check point we had already passed through and we were again asked to go through security prior to going to the SAA lounge. Eventually that happened and to our utter amazement she did not seen to expect a tip for her trouble. She said good bye and left.
Our flight left at 10:00 PM and we needed every bit of that 4.5 hours to navigate that airport and it's various processes. Surprising to me nothing was taken from our bags and eventually as we unpacked we are missing nothing. That says a lot as we had another collect/recheck luggage in J'burg. Having our passports out of our possession for so many hours made us both uncomfortable. In anticipation of that possibility we each carried a paper copy of our passport, the address of the US embassy and a copy of our SAA retired persons visa. I hope this is helpful.
For the exchange rate, do go to EKO HOTEL @ VIctotia Island. I was last week , 1 dollar for 152 naira while 1euro for 212.. naira.
There is al ot traffic in Lagos Isalnd daily and one the fattest way to be on time Motcycle known as OKODA.
It depends on where u are going....Aways bargain when a price is given...
You also cabs: RED, Yellow, Metro Taxi...with AC.
For a day, it can between 10-15000 naira ( 100 -150 dollars) but
u have to bargain with the driver...
If u can have the driver for the whole day.. it is better to tell him to go get another cab as soon as u have finished.
One can also take ferry to avoid traffic: from VI to IKOYI( TARZAN) . On can also have his car across via boat.( 1000-3000 naira 10615dollars)
I have to say that we were discouraged from using public transport during a business trip to Lagos. However from observation it seems as if there are plenty of mini buses and coaches around to use. there are also many taxis and three wheeled vehicles too.
These are yellow in colour and seem very busy.
In addition there are huge numbers of motor cycles which function as taxis too -there are many of them and they are located near buses and heavy centres of traffic.
I came from Europe to Lagos for one week, for business, my wife wanted to join me this one time. had told many kind of stories about security,and the Nigerians driving skills..
a friend told me about this Canadian company who provides armored cars to VIP renting services to as long as we needed, took me anywhare we go, waited for us, picked us up when we say, in very reasonable prices, great service- and terrific feeling to go around in Lagos. great vehicle! very good service. thank you Inkastrans.
I will quote this from what my good friend, a local Lagosian said about Okadas:
'They're the mainstay of transportation in Nigeria...& esp Lagos. Lagos can't do without them.
There are just a few 'don't(s)'.....and even they are flexible.
> Don't get on any with the handlebars twisted. They do that sometimes
> so they can manoeuver btw vehicles.
> Don't get on any with a 'toughie' as the rider. He'll be more
> difficult to control.
> Don't get on any blaring loud music/ or with the rider in ear phones.
> The rider isn't fully attentive.
> Don't allow the rider use his mobile phone while in motion.
> Don't forget to tell him to slow down if u're uncomfortable.
> And usually, before u get on it....tell the guy u're not in a rush and
> u don't want him to do any crazy stunts or u'll ask him to stop so u
> can get off!!
Thanks to Ayo for such insightful and useful advice!
Over time you will become comfortable regarding how Lagos moves and how to get around without being cheated. It helps to make friend with a Lagosian who could give you some idea of how much things cost in general.
For the first week I was in Lagos, I got around almost exclusively by hotel taxi. Hear me when I say this--I was being ripped off the whole time! You pay for the semblance of protection and safety in Lagos. Many of the taxis inside the hotel are no safer than those outside of it and far more expensive. At most, use a hotel taxi and have them drop you off. Make sure you see a cab stand or ask about that before the driver takes off. Use the local taxis to get back to your hotel. you will save at least 50% of what you would have paid.
You need to be in Lagos to guage your comfort level with the above tip. It doesn't just apply to black travelers such as myself, as one of my white colleagues operates in the same manner and does quite well, while saving a bundle.
As a rule, take the travel warnings you see here and even those posted by the State Department with a grain of salt. Be observant and move within your comfort zone.
A trip here for us begins with a visit to the Nigerian embassy in London. Personal applications, with the invitation letter, have to be received in the mornings and collected a couple ofdays later in the afternoons.
Telephone applications or via e-mail are not permitted so it involves two trips to London and the fee of £40 - so its quite expensive even before purchasing a plane ticlket!
First of all if you are travelling to Nigeria that means you already know someone living there. You get around by car with a driver driving you. Forget about the bus because I don't even know the system they go by and it is very crowded and people do hang off the bus. Next best thing would be travel by motorcycle and the last time I went back that was popular for riding around short distances.
You may find a lot of motocycle taxis around Lagos. They are called Okada in local terms. These Okada can bring you any place you want in the Island or outside the island. Prices range from 50 Naira to 100 Naira depending on the distance.
However, be careful with the way they drive the bikes. Just tell the driver you want to go slower if you are not comfortable.
Okada is the best mode of moving around the Island if you are in a hurry. Traffic in the city can be real bad at times. The draw back is safety.
Get around Lagos can be very tedious especially since there is usually heavy traffic on the roads which can last for hours. However, the introduction of Motobike, popularly known as "Okada" has tremendously helped passengers as they can always manouvre their way out of every tight corner. But one got to be very careful with these Okada people. They can be very reckless and surely people die daily as a result of recklessness. The sad aspect of it is that the Okada riders seldomly die in such accidents: it is usually the passengers that do get killed. So be careful if you must go by Okada.
Try caverton helicopters, they fly to the airport in 10mins rather than the drive of 2hrs!! Even Richard Branson uses it!!
BACK IN 1996 I TOOK INTERNAL FLIGHT TO PORTHARCOURT ON BELLVIEW.
THIS TIME IN NIGERIA I STAYED IN LAGOS AND USED A CAR AND SPEEDBOAT TO GET TO WORK.