How to Explore Southern Nigeria on a Budget

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The Southern part of Nigeria is made up of about 6 states. With a population of about 21,014,655 multi-ethnic people, the states in Southern Nigeria include Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Edo. This region is made up mostly of forests, swamps, and mangroves. The rainy season here lasts between April and October. The environment and weather are more welcoming during the dry season, which is often between October and March.

Nigeria’s south is ripe with activities and places to explore. Calabar in Cross River State and Benin City in Edo State both possess a rich history and a number of cultural artefacts. Generally, there are a lot of fun places and activities for tourists and leisure travellers to occupy themselves with.

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Obudu plateau

Travelling into Southern Nigeria

You can choose to travel by air or car/bus. There are flights from different cities all over the world like Paris, Madrid, London, Dubai, Atlanta, Cairo, Johannesburg, and New York. From these cities, you can fly to the International Airport in Port Harcourt.  Airlines that fly to Nigeria include Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Air France, Turkish Airline, Ethiopian Airlines and Lufthansa. There are local airlines which operate flights to Southern Nigeria from a number of states in Nigeria. These airlines include Arik Air, Virgin Nigeria, Bellview Airlines and Aero Contractors. Book a Flight to Southern Nigeria

There are different bus parks available if you want to travel by road. Some reliable bus service companies that travel through this region include Chisco, Ifesinachi, Peace Mass Transit, The Young Shall Grow Motors, God is Good Motors and ABC Transport.

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Moving Around in Southern Nigeria

It is advisable to travel and move around with the assistance of a travel or tour guide, who is familiar with the region. However, if you cannot get a guide, you will need to familiarize yourself with the locals. Using Google maps is one good way to get an idea of your current location. Street signs are also available to help you locate landmarks. Port Harcourt is the most expensive city in this region so travellers should carefully plan their budgets if they choose to visit this location.

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Calabar

You can move around by bus, car or motorcycle. Some hotels provide car rental and cab services that can ease moving around. Local taxis generally cost about ₦1,000 or more.  Depending on the distance and number of travellers, buses are the cheapest option with bus fares from ₦30 and above. It is advisable to ask about the bus fare from a fellow passenger,  not from the driver or bus conductor to avoid getting cheated. Also, asking fellow passengers about your stop is an easy way to avoid missing it or getting lost. Motorcycles (popularly called okada) are another mode of transport to consider. They are generally faster and slightly more expensive than buses.

Staying in Southern Nigeria

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Le Meridien Ibom

Generally, it is better to stay in hotels close to the airport or Bus park of your choice. Finding a hotel close to the tourist attractions you intend visiting will help to keep transport costs down. Whichever state you choose to go to, there are a number of affordable hotels you can book on hotels.ng

Book a Hotel in Edo State  || Book a Hotel in Cross River State || Book a Hotel in Rivers state || Book a Hotel in Delta State || Book a hotel in Akwa Ibom State || Book a Hotel in Bayelsa State

Getting Food and Drinks

Food is cheaper at local eateries, but more expensive at standard restaurants and fast food restaurants. With about ₦300, you will be able to eat well in most of the local eateries. Travellers should take note of the hygiene of vendors they intend to patronize to prevent food poisoning. There are pubs and lounges if you want to hang out somewhere to unwind and drink.
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Tourist Attractions in Southern Nigeria

There are quite a number of tourist attractions in this region.

Edo State

Okomu national park, Ogba zoo, National museum Benin City, Palace of the Oba of Benin

Delta State

Abraka Turf and Polo resort, The Delta of River Ethiope, Otuogu beach, Kwale game reserve, Araya Bible site and many more.

Akwa Ibom State

Ibom connection, Museum of colonial history, Amalgamation house, Ibeno beach, Godswill Akpabio international stadium

Cross River State

Calabar Slave Museum, Calabar free-trade zone, Obudu cattle ranch resort, Tinapa Business resort, Culture and civic centre, Duke Town Church in Calabar and Afi Mountain Ranch.
There is also an annual carnival which takes place in Calabar. It runs for the whole month of December and has been tagged by some as Africa’s biggest street party.

Rivers State

Port Harcourt zoo, Ifoko beach, Izumini River, Isaac Boro Park, Bonny island  and Port Harcourt Tourist Beach

Bayelsa State

Oxbow lake, Akassa lighthouse, peace park, Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro Monument and Akassa slave transit camp and tunnels
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Safety Measures for Exploring Southern Nigeria

The major concern here is kidnapping, especially of expatriates and rich looking people. Caution should be taken while exploring unfamiliar locations. Valuables should also be kept securely to avoid theft. Also, late outings should be embarked on with a trusted guide or limited to familiar locations. Following general safety tips will ensure you have a great time in Southern Nigeria.

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Samuel Oluwatobi Olatunji is a happy human, who freelances as a writer and editor.

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