Overland Nigeria Travel
West Africa > Nigeria
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- 1 Visiting Nigeria
- 2 Entering Nigeria with a Car or Motorbike
- 3 Driving in Nigeria
- 4 Gas and Diesel price in Nigeria
- 5 Safety and Security Considerations
- 6 Camping in Nigeria
- 7 Navigation
- 8 Special Overland Travel interests
- 9 Vehicle Maintenance
- 10 Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Nigeria
- 11 References
- 12 Helpful External links
Nigeria is a country of differences, culturally and ethnically. All people are warm and welcoming. The terrain ranges from desert/arid in the north getting progressively more lush and tropical as you travel south. The east is very verdant and green with higher rainfall. Nigeria has all resources at it's disposal. With its many microclimates it is able to grow a wide range of food from temperate climates as well as tropical.
Nigeria often gets a bad reputation for being unsafe, and incidents with overlanders have happened in 2016 and 2017, so be aware. The current President is serious about stopping bribery, and many, many checkpoints will simply say "What did you bring for me", they won't actually demand or ask for money, so don't give it.
Make sure you exchange USD or Euro or even CFA for the Nigerian Niara at the border, the black market rate is much, much better than the official rates, making Nigeria a cheap country on the journey. Don't use ATMs, you will only get the official rate which is not good.
Entering Nigeria with a Car or Motorbike
Correct as of: March 2019
Travel Visa for Nigeria
The visa for Nigeria can be hard to get, with many embassy denying people. As of 2017 the best option is in Bamako, in Mali.
The price varies a lot depending on my nationality, and can be as low as about CFA25,000.00 XOF for holders of Australian and New Zealand passports, and as high as CFA70,000.00 XOF for British.
The standard visa is for one month entry, and you have three months to enter Nigeria from the date of issue. As a backup option, overlanders also get the visa in Burkina Faso, which is also overland friendly in 2017. If those options don't work, it's worth a try in Cotonou, Benin, though it sounds complicated there.
Coming from the North, it is possible to obtain a Nigeria#Visa_on_Arrival_for_Nigeria Visa on Arrival and enter at the Seme border.
Coming from the South, this is by far the hardest visa to get, and has stopped many people entirely when they could not get the visa. It is worth apply for this visa absolutely everywhere possible - if you can't get it, you will not be able to complete the trip.
In recent years, the options are:
- Yaoundé, Cameroon for CFA131,000.00 XOF They demand a letter of residency from Cameroon, AND an invite letter into Nigeria, but if you are persistent, they will issue one without those two documents. One person even got a signed letter requesting one from the embassy of their home country, and that seemed to help.
- Brazzaville, Congo for CFA171,000.00 XOF Obviously some corruption going on here, but apparently it IS possible to get one. Be polite and see what happens.
- Passport of registered owner.
- Drivers license of registered owner.
- Original vehicle registration.
- Proof of vehicle insurance - they might not ask for it, but it’s better to have it.
- (OPTIONAL) Carnet de Passage
(no copies are required)
Process at border
- Get yourself stamped in at Immigration - be wary they might try to give you less time than your visa officially states - argue hard.
- Nigeria the the concept of a Passavant, though they are unwilling to issue them to tourists who will exit at a different border from where they enter. You can drive across the country without one.
- If you have a Carnet de Passage, they will stamp that in and out.
Visa on Arrival for Nigeria
It's possible to obtain a visa on arrival for Nigeria to enter at the Seme border crossing. This is business visa intended for those travelling at short notice.
An approval letter must be acquired before arriving at the border. To obtain the approval letter, either:
- Apply at Nigeria Immigration Service -- Visa on Arrival. There are reports that the Immigration Service did not respond to applications. It's a buisness visa, so it has been suggested to state the purpose of the visit as being to explore business opportunities.
- Apply through a 3rd party agent. The cost was $200.00 USD from Destinali. The approval letter is issued within 48 hours.
Arrive at Seme with printed copies of the approval letter. Note, there are two letters that look similar, and both should be printed. The Immigration Controller needs to sign/authorise this, so there may be a wait of an hour at the border.
To obtain the visa, you must be escorted by an immigration officer to Lagos airport. For Biking Over Yonder, with a motorcycle, and others, this meant the immigration officer rode pillion on the motorcycle. A return taxi fare of ₦25,000.00 NGN was required for the immigration officer to return to the Seme border crossing with paperwork completed.
At the airport, you are escorted through different offices and eventually arrive at the visa on arrival office. This is located where flight passengers disembark and arrive in the terminal, which is before passport control. In the visa on arrival office, you pay for the visa using a VISA card. Note: mastercard and cash are not accepted. Alternatively, you can pay online here and present the visa payment receipt (and/or visa acknowledgement slip). Be sure to pay for visa on arrival (business) and not tourist visa, even though you may be travelling as a tourist.
Cost of entry
Entry will be free with or without a Carnet de Passage
Permitted length of stay
For the vehicle, it's the same as your visa.
Extension of stay
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
Describe if/how a vehicle can be stored, and for how long.
Also mention if the owner / temporary importer can leave the country while the vehicle is in storage.
Exiting with a vehicle
- Get yourself stamped out at Immigration.
- Get your Carnet de Passage stamped out if you have one.
All should be free, do not pay for this.
Driving in Nigeria
Recommended books for Overlanding in Nigeria
Travel insurance for Nigeria
Vehicle insurance requirements
Insurance does not seem to be required, Police never seem to ask for it for people just transiting through.
Cost of vehicle insurance
Where to purchase vehicle insurance
Unknown within Nigeria
Anything from your home country will be accepted.
Driving side of road
RHD vehicles are allowed but ensure you have correct paperwork, because it’s a good chance for bribery. Many Police will say they are not allowed, but that is only for permanent imports - for a tourist passing through the country they are allowed, many have done it in 2016 and 2017.
Mandatory items in vehicle
You probably need two safety triangles, first aid kit, and fire extinguisher.
General Road quality
Nigeria has a mix of good tarmac and horribly potholed roads. Many of the main roads between big cities have been damaged by heavy fuel tanker traffic. There is a lot of work being done on the roads but you will undoubted get many stretches that are horrible.
Limited road signs, some do exist but not always obvious. Those that do exist are not always good quality.
Not many toll roads but they do exist. Lekki-Epe Expressway Toll Road
- Motorbikes ₦50.00 NGN
- Cars and tricycles ₦120.00 NGN
- Sports utility ₦150.00 NGN
- Commercial Danfo Minibuses ₦80.00 NGN
- Light trucks and 2 axle buses ₦250.00 NGN
- Heavy trucks and buses with two or more heavy axles ₦350.00 NGN
Plans are to reintroduce toll roads at some point to help with maintaining roads in Nigeria
Bribery in Nigeria
A dash (gift) is often requested by asking 'do you have anything for us?' or 'what have you brought us?'. It is not always expected and should not be offered unless it becomes problematic. It is against the law to ask for dashes. Best way i find of dealing with it is to act daft and ask like what? That leaves the onus on them to be clear...they may ask for water (₦200.00 NGN) or they may ask for nothing and just ask if you are enjoying Nigeria. Don't routinely offer dashes usually five minutes will suffice.
See the bribery tips page for general advice.
I have never had so many road checks as in Nigeria. Every village seems to have a checkpoint. Many have wooden planks with nails across the roads to make you stop. Almost all ask for a bribe but with some good humor and friendly persistent refusal I have never paid anything.
Depends on what is happening in the country on how many checks there are. Usually there can be army, police or MOPOL (Mobile Police) sometimes there are road safety. There will always be a check point at state lines and outside major Cities. Stay friendly and polite. Never use your mobile phone or camera at check points.
Traveling with pets
List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.
Gas and Diesel price in Nigeria
Last updated: February 2015
Currency and unit to display:
NOTE: The below prices are using the black market exchange rate!!!
|Unleaded||€0.30 EUR per Liter|
|Diesel||€0.52 EUR per Liter|
Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency
Shortages are not common - Nigeria makes it's own fuel
Gas and Diesel Quality
Usually very bad - both have dirt and/or water, diesel is likely extremely high sulphur content.
Safety and Security Considerations
Driving at night
Driving at night is not recommended out of towns and cities due to poor lighting, poor road conditions and increased police checks after 6pm in the evening. There can also be armed robbery on the roads in remote places and some even place bogus road blocks. Also watch out for cars and kike na pepe's without lights.
Cars can be parked but watch out for the tow zones in major cities and also pay and display. Vehicles can be parked on the streets and usually are safe. At night try to park in compounds or other known safe zones
Special driving considerations
Speed bumps even on high speed roads. Road blocks for police which can be twigs or trees also used for vehicles that are broken down. Drivers don't always drive smoothly and can pull out it is usual to horn before and whilst overtaking. Likewise when approaching a junction to alert people of your present. Pedestrians jaywalk so again use the horn and drive with care. Animals such as cows and goats can be in the road. Watch for people and children at school times and also on Fridays (Mosque days) and Sundays (church days). People tend to dress in dark clothing and lighting may be poor so watch out at night.
Remote roads where there is no traffic. Stick to main roads as more likely to get help if you need it in case of break down etc.
Security advisories and information
- Country Specific Information - U.S. Department of State
- Travel Reports and Warnings - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Travel advice by country - Foreign and Commonwealth office (U.K.)
- Travel Advice for Nigeria - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Camping in Nigeria
Camping is not common in Nigeria and you usually end up parking in hotel parking lots or at gas stations..
Wildcamp is not a good idea in Nigeria and because it is heavily populated it is extremely difficult to find a quit spot. When I parked wild once I had a local delegation with guns to see what I was doing within half the hour. Due to a lot of violence people are suspicious of any 'strange' behavior.
Feburary 2015: I would recommend finding a local park, for example, in Abuja, one can camp safely and happily at City Park in Wuse II. Good security, restaurant on site and other sport activities e.g. tennis, gym restaurants, bars etc. My overlanding friends paid ₦10,000.00 NGN per night for 17 tents as opposed to ₦5,000.00 NGN per night per tent at Sheraton and ₦1,100.00 NGN per bottle of star, so cheaper than Sheraton hotel for camping and meals as at local prices for beers (₦300.00 NGN) bottle of star and local and continental food at reasonable prices. Contact Chuks, GM +234 703 8016624 Wuse II is the city centre and next to Maitaima and Asokoro where the embassies are for visas. City Park are also happy to link you or help with transportation and sight seeing excursions.
Camping guide books
List and link to books specifically for camping.
City water is good to drink but not all facilities have city water therefore stick to 'pure' water satchets ₦5.00 NGN each or bottled water ₦100.00 NGN. Available widely. 'Aquafina' are Pepsi bottled and 'Eva' Coca Cola products but all bottled water is hygienically produced.
Reise Know-How are among the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Nigeria
GPS Maps of Nigeria
Tracks4Africa are the undisputed best GPS maps for Africa.
Tracks4Africa is an SD Card for Garmin GPS, and contain Routable turn-by-turn maps with 809,000 kms of roads and over 129,000 points of interest.
GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Nigeria
- iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.
Special Overland Travel interests
- Afi Mountain Drill Ranch - moneky/chimp sanctuary that is extremely worth a visit, has camping for Overlanders. GPS co-ords in iOverlander.
4x4s / Trucks
- Toyota Global Dealer Locator
- Land Rover International Dealer Locator
- Mercedes Benz International (select country on bottom right)
- Jeep International site locator
Add known good mechanics here.
Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Nigeria
Describe how a foreigner can buy a vehicle. List any difficulties or limitations on where the vehicle can be driven.
Describe how a foreigner can sell a foreign-plated vehicle, or list not possible.'
Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.
Add any helpful external links here.