Lagos Travel Guide

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This is Lagos

This is Lagos

Dele A. Sonubi

Lagos is the most populous conurbation in Nigeria with 7,937,932 inhabitants at the 2006 census. It is currently the second most populous city in Africa (after Cairo), and currently estimated to be the second fastest growing city in Africa (7th fastest in the world), immediately following Bamako.

Formerly the capital of Nigeria, Lagos is a huge metropolis which originated on islands separated by creeks, such as Lagos Island, that fringe the southwest mouth of Lagos Lagoon, protected from the Atlantic Ocean by long sand spits such as Bar Beach which stretch up to 100 km east and west of the mouth. From the beginning, Lagos has spread on the mainland west of the lagoon and the conurbation, including Ikeja and Agege, now reaches more than 40 km north-west of Lagos Island. The city is the economic and financial capital of Nigeria. The multi-ethnic nature of the place made it hard to get a good grip on the the place.

The city of Lagos lies in south-western Nigeria, on the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Guinea, west of the Niger River delta, located on longitude 3° 24' E and latitude 6° 27' N. On this stretch of the high-rainfall West African coast, rivers flowing to the sea form swampy lagoons like Lagos Lagoon behind long coastal sand spits or sand bars. Some rivers, like Badagry Creek flow parallel to the coast for some distance before finding an exit through the sand bars to the sea. The two major urban islands of Lagos in Lagos Lagoon are Lagos Island and Victoria Island. These islands are separated from the mainland by the main channel draining the lagoon into the Atlantic ocean, which forms Lagos Harbour. The islands are separated from each other by creeks of varying sizes and are connected to Lagos Island by bridges. However the smaller sections of some creeks have been sand filled and built over.

Lagos Island

Contains many of the largest markets in Lagos, its central business district, the National Museum, the central mosque, and the Oba palace are located there. Tinubu Square on Lagos Island is a site of historical importance; it was here that the Amalgamation ceremony that unified the North and South protectorate to form Nigeria took place in 1914.

Ikoyi Island

Ikoyi Island is situated on the eastern half of Lagos Island, housed the headquarters of the federal government and all other government buildings. It also has many hotels, and one of Africa's largest golf courses. Originally a middle class neighbourhood, in recent years, it has become a fashionable residential enclave for the upper middle class to the upper class.


Most of the population live on the mainland,so, most of the industries are located on the mainland. Lagos is known for its music and night life which used to be located in areas around Yaba and Surulere but in recent years more night clubs have sprung on the island making the island especially Victoria Island, the main nightlife attraction, Mainland districts include Ebute-Meta, Surulere, Yaba (Lagos) (site of the University of Lagos), Mushin, Maryland, Isolo, Ikotun, Ipaja, Ejigbo and Ikeja, site of Murtala Muhammed International Airport and capital of Lagos State.

Victoria Island

Victoria Island and Lekki Island are situated to the south of Lagos Island. They have some of the most expensive real estate properties in Africa, and for that reason, many new luxury condos and apartments are blooming up everywhere. Along with Ikoyi, Victoria Island occupies a major area in the suburbs of Lagos which boasts of several sizable shopping districts (including Nigeria's largest mall and movie theater) and several trendy beaches. Across the main channel of the lagoon from Lagos Island, a smaller island called Iddo Island is situated close to the mainland, and now is connected to the mainland like a peninsula. Three major bridges join Lagos Island to the mainland: Eko Bridge and Carter Bridge which start from Iddo Island, and the Third Mainland Bridge which passes through densely populated mainland suburbs through Lagos lagoon.

There are good beaches nearby, and in places like Ikeja or in Bar Beach there is always something going on - even if it is just a huge "go slow".

Beaches such as Alpha in Lekki, Wispering Palms in Badagry etc, are ideal places for fun seekers.

Renovation and Development

Lagos, subsequently to the re-modernization project achieved by the current administration of Governor Raji Babatunde Fashola, has and is continually  challenged Lagos to be viewed as  a tourist destination, being one of the largest cities in Africa. The 2009 Eyo carnival which took place on the 25th April, was a step in the right direction.

Currently, Lagos is primarily known as a business-oriented and a fast paced community. Lagos is blessed with a number of sandy beaches by the Atlantic Ocean. Two of the popular beaches include Bar Beach and Lekki Beach. However in January 2009, a privately owned zoo was commissioned in the epe area of Lagos and is a sight to behold as it serves as a home for many animals that originate from Africa.It is a fully endorsed project by the Lagos State Government. Lagos has a variety of hotels ranging from three star to five star hotels. Some of the popular hotels include Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Federal Palace Hotel, Ikoyi Hotel, Sofitel Lagos Moorhouse Ikoyi, Eko Hotels And Suites and The Palmview Manor.

Notes to a traveller, Lagos is seeing massive change and high degrees of westernization. The city hass undergone a widespread  beautification project, emergence of fast food joints, high end Japanese, lebanese, adevent of concert venues,  and Asian eats, a dazzling rate of business and building projects, new bus lines, and clearance of road side slums. To this end go online and check on youtube or various websites for new places to discover!

Visitors are mostly attracted to Nigeria's rich culture, entertainment scenes and vitality which Lagos city offers. Tourist attractions include Oba's Palace, the National Museum, Shrine of Fela and the beach resorts.

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