There is something picturesque about road tripping through Nigeria. From the beautiful landscapes to the obvious changes in architecture that depict different cultures as you reach a different town, it can be magical.
Road trips are a norm here as it is the cheapest option of travelling and the railway is still yet to come to life. Almost every traveler in the country has been on a road trip at some point.
Buying local snacks like ‘adun’ to stopping by the road side markets and filling your boot till it can take no more with ‘wara’ (goat cheese), pineapples, plantains and enough food items to last you a month, are experiences every avid road traveler can relate to.
I find being on the road to be quite amusing whether it’s by public or private transport. On public transport you get to meet all sorts of characters. Some will amuse you, others will annoy you but when you look back it makes for fun memories.
If public transport is your preferred way, you’re likely to run into at least one of these people.
The preacher – He sees everyone as potential converts and will stop at nothing till he has passed the message across that the kingdom of God is at hand. This usually starts with a small cough followed by ‘good day, my name is Mr. Lagbaja and I am here to tell you about God’.
The local herb seller – This man has the solution to all your problems. Can’t sleep well? He has something for that. Your woman isn’t satisfied with you, he’s got you. Somebody from your village is chasing you? You guessed it, there’s something for you. If you’re adventurous, you could give it a try.
Mr. or Madam I must use the bathroom – They forget that they are on a long journey and don’t watch what they’re eating to the detriment of everyone. This means every other hour, they need a bathroom break meaning your trip is increasing by the minute.
The talkative – This one is always on the phone talking about one container or the other. One family member who is dying, someone who owes him money. By the end of the trip, you know about his family, his business and his life history.
If you’re going with a private vehicle, you can play games, make as many stops as you want, sleep in peace and not worry about passing your stop. One of the many joys of going with a private vehicle is being able to stop and take pictures of any and everything that catches your fancy.
I remember our bus parking smack in the middle of the road as we approached Idanre town in Ondo State. We had been on the road for 5.5 hours and we were excited to get a glimpse of Idanre Hills. We all jumped down and took pictures in the middle of the road. This was also the same situation after sitting for 4 hours during our group trip to Erin Ijesha in Osun State.
Most group tours across the country have included road travel in one way or the other. The ‘Unravelling Nigeria fun bus’ has visited Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Kogi States. These trips were from as little as 2 hours to some being about 7 hours (starting point – Lagos).
The one thing both modes of transport will hear is ‘oga, show me your particulars’ from our loving policemen. Just expect it, don’t fight it and pray to God your papers are in order.
While road trips can be fun, ensure you’re prepared so you have a smooth ride. I would suggest dressing comfortably, ensure your papers are fine (or pray you enter a bus that has its paper in order), have spare cash (you never know what will happen), take pictures and most importantly have fun.
The beauty about Nigeria is everywhere is accessible by road. Sometimes this may require starting out very early or spending more than a day on the road but you should have tales to last a lifetime.
Fun fact: Kogi State shares a border with 10 other so imagine the possibilities of all the states you can visit with Kogi as your starting point.
I originally wrote this post post for the June edition of Lost in Lagos, the inflyt magazine for Dana Airlines.
*Reviews are based on opinions and personal experiences, and may differ from person to person