26 December 2015

Map source:
Nigeria is often called the "giant of Africa" for good reasons:

  • Largest economy on the continent, far surpassing South Africa.

  • Largest population of any African country by far, and the seventh largest in the world.

  • Projected to be the world's third most populous country (behind China and India) within four decades.

  • Lagos is the largest city in Africa and said to be the third largest city in the world already with over 21 million inhabitants (more than five times the size of Los Angeles)!

Source: British Foreign Office, 12/2015
Nigeria has an abundance of natural resources, especially oil, but has suffered from the corruption, coups, and clientelism that has afflicted so much of Africa.

About half of Nigeria is considered safe to visit, especially avoiding northeast areas targeted by Boko Haram.

I stayed in the safe southwest but I also endured the incredible congestion and pollution of Lagos.

Four friendly Texans invited me to join them, adding to the Lekki fun.
Along with the Tx coincidence, they included a grad student at GWU and
a med student at Baylor, plus a high school soccer star and a
one woman from the University of Texas.

My favorite spot in this corner of Nigeria was the Lekki Conservation Centre with its well designed boardwalk and long canopy walkway through a thick African forest.

The walkway through and over the forest canopy was billed as the longest in Africa.

My guides at the National Museum.

Despite local claims, the Third Mainland Bridge is no longer the longest in Africa, but its span of twelve kilometers still makes it awfully long.

Of course you've seen heavy traffic before but I had to include one shot ― at the risk of triggering PTSD ― because so much of my memory of Lagos has to be the barely crawling, never-ending, bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Sweet kids at the huge Lekki market but three turned shy when the mum approved a photograph.

My camera battery died one day and overall I did not take many photos in Nigeria from which to cull these posted highlights, but at least some of the flavor is here.

I know I barely scratched the surface of this colossus country now heading for an even bigger role on the world stage. But if I do return, I won't feel the need to spend any more time in the chaos of Lagos.