Our heads are full of horror stories about Nigeria as we’re riding towards the border, corrupt policemen, nail boards, dash, uncountable check posts, violence outbreaks etc.
From the first day on in Nigeria all this stories prove not to be true for us!
At the border all the procedures are correct, the police officers friendly with no one asking us for money. Instead they’re wishing us a good trip through Nigeria!
at the sheraton CAMP in abuja
We’re being stopped 2 times on the way to Kano but, in both cases, the officers only want to know where we’re heading and where we’re from. At the first check post in Nigeria we are asked if we’re hungry; they would slaughter a goat for us if desired…
Arriving to Kano is a bit of a nightmare at first, terrible traffic and no road signs whatsoever. Our old city map doesn’t show most of the roundabouts, which makes it even harder to find our hotel. It all doesn’t matter. The first guy we’re asking for directions jumps on his motorbike and bring us right to the entrance of the Kano Tourist Camp. Instead of asking us for a tip, he only wishes us a pleasant stay and rides of.
The rooms in the Tourist Camp are dirty and overpriced, the staff is not willing to change the sheets or replace a bulb… not exactly a place for relaxing after a long ride!
Kano is a city of about 5 million people and it suffers from lack of electricity. Only 2 hours a day there would be light, otherwise, the ones who can effort, run their own generators, adding to the incredible air pollution.
But still, there is always something making us happy after all: 3 weddings on the day of our arrival in the Tourist Camp. Jane is diving into the colorful events making new friends while I’m servicing the bike.
Nigeria has excellent roads but a lot of insane drivers. Riding 110km/h is considered to be slow; even trucks are overtaking us occasionally. Why to ride 110 when the speedometer shows 180??? Nobody even considers slowing down in the city limits or at the speed limit sings. One can see the results of it pretty soon. All along the highway there are car wrecks lined up. For us, the greatest danger in Nigeria is definitely the crazy traffic, not anything else.
As soon as we stop at the roadside for a coffee, we’re surrounded by curious people. Nobody would touch the bike or do us any harm; they’re all polite and friendly people.
Abuja is still under construction it seems. The road system isn’t finished yet but the traffic already arrived. It takes forever to squeeze through the endless cars and minivans and to find our destination: the Sheraton Hotel. Yes, that’s right; we’ll be staying at the Sheraton this time… not at the Hotel itself though but camping within the hotel grounds.
It’s kind of strange to ride straight up to a 5 star hotel gate and ask for a place to camp, isn’t it?! We were asking ourselves ever since who got the idea to ask for a place to pitch a tent in this hotel for the first time.
The staff kindly shows us the grounds for the tourists (they call us tourists and not campers…), the toilettes near the swimming pool and the showers in the squash court.
From our tent entrance we can see the bright Sheraton sign and the beautiful lit National Mosque. Things can’t get any better.
national mosque in abuja
tourism in nigeria isnt that great at the moment...
hairstyle in nigeria
the kids just love to pose
We’re having the first contact with Angola at their embassy Monday morning. Despite all the widespread unfriendliness and their special requirements (copies of driving license, vaccination card, carnet de passage, international registration, payable only in US$) for the visa application, we’re hoping to get our transit visa 2 days later.
But 2 days later there is no visa for us due to computer problems in their systems… we should come back 5 days later on Monday. Unfortunately we can’t wait another 5 days due to the expiry of Jane’s Nigeria visa. Bad luck and somehow a bitter taste of our first Angola encounter. Things are much easier in the Cameroon embassy, 2 days later we’re having our tourist visas and ready to leave Abuja and our fellow campers (sorry, TOURISTS) Steffen and Lilly.
We’re trying to make it as far as possible towards the border this day. Due to our “shortcut” to Ogoja, which isn’t a short cut after all, we’re forced to camp along the dirt track. We simply knock on the first house we see and ask for a permission to camp. Not only we get the permission to stay overnight, we’re being offered a room, shower and food! Tina is a great host and proves to us once again that Nigeria isn’t bad at all!
In fact, during our 10 days stay, we only had good experiences in Nigeria!
Next day we make it to Ikom, and after 1 day rest we’re challenging the famous Ekok – Mamfe road. No issues at the Nigerian border side besides one female officer who couldn’t count up to 10. She’d simply insist that Jane overstayed her visa…
offroad in nigeria
Posted by Darius Skrzypiec at February 22, 2011 03:46 PM GMT
HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!
"The calendar is magnificent!"
"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"
We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!
Next HU Events
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Germany Autumn: Oct 23-26
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12, 2015
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!
Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).
"Inspiring and hilarious!"
"I loved watching this DVD!"
"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!