Lagos

Lagos takes its name from the Portuguese for lagoon, and has been a Yoruba port, a British political centre and until 1991, Nigeria's capital. It remains the economic and cultural powerhouse of the country, and has a superb live music scene and West Africa's most inimitable street life. It won't be to everyone's taste, but if you're up for an urban adventure
then you might find Lagos truly compelling. A true megacity and the face of modern Africa as much as any picture postcard national park – jump right in.

Nigeria

We shouldn't beat about the bush: Nigeria dominates West Africa economically and politically, and has produced music and literature whose influence spreads far beyond the continent.
Nigeria is a country we are coming to love. Getting around can sometimes be a little tough, and it's certainly a challenging destination for first-timers to Africa, but you shouldn't believe all the scare stories. Lagos is one of the most exuberant cities in Africa, while port city Calabar makes for an enjoyable stopover for travelers on their way to Cameroon.

Across Southern Nigeria, old kingdoms carry on their customs, from creating elaborate brass sculptures to venerating the ancient gods. More modern traditions include one of the world's pioneering primate conservation organisations. In the north, where the land dries out as it stretches towards the desert, Muslim Nigeria thrives in dusty trade cities where memories
of the Saharan trade routes still linger. Don't miss West Africa's oldest city Kano, and Yankari National Park, the best in the country.

While a few parts of the country remain problematic, the vast majority is as warm and welcoming to visitors as anywhere in Africa. Challenging yet exuberant, this is Africa in the raw – there's nowhere quite like it on the continent.

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