SA4x4

Notorious NIGERIA

If I could skip one country while traversing the West Coast of Africa, it would be Nigeria. Overlanders speak of Nigeria only in whispers, and they rarely have encouraging things to say. Big, fast, loud and more than a little unpredictable, Nigeria is not on many bucket lists. I have recently heard a few reports of attacks on the roads involving fake police roadblocks and spike strips. Speaking of police roadblocks, Nigeria is famous for theirs. In their number, their unfriendliness and in bribery, Nigeria apparently holds the record.

Skirting Nigeria by land is currently impossible, as it means driving North around Lake Chad through Niger, Chad and Northern Cameroon - all of which are seriously off-limits because of Boko Haram. If I am to traverse the West Coast of Africa, I must drive the width of Nigeria. It is as simple as that.

With safety the number one priority, I plan to drive as far as possible each day, and I will always stay in hotels. The hotels will preferably have high fences and armed guards. I also want to avoid lingering in the Niger Delta if possible - it’s the current kidnapping hotspot due to the ease in which a getaway can be made in the maze of swampy channels there.

So, the plan is set - and my Benin visa is expiring. I can delay no more.

It’s time to dive in.

Diving In

Nigeria’s currency is the Naira; and because of severe inflation, there is a thriving black market exchange-rate that is 50% better than the official one. After a lot of back-and-forward at the border, I exchange all my Central African Francs for around 300 000 Naira, in a huge stack of small, grubby bills.

Inside Nigerian Immigration, I meet three men, and it’s quickly clear that the largest is the boss - and he is not to be trifled with. His

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from SA4x4

SA4x41 min read
Metalian Metalian Maxi
Equipment list standard: Metalian Maxi 4x4 Trailer base unit includes 2 100mm x 1 500mm main body, 1 600kg braked axle, 2-ton 950mm leaf springs, Gabriel shock absorbers, Knott surge coupling, 2 internal cupboards and adjustable shelves, carpeting in
SA4x42 min read
Q & A
Are there any unique design and special features you can tell us about? The trailer is a true monocoque design. The advantages are a lower centre of gravity, which increases safety and tow stability – it also provides more pack volume per kg of trail
SA4x46 min read
Forum
Having read the July 2019 issue of SA4x4, I will most certainly be picking up a print edition more regularly. I have found that competitor magazines are more about 4x4 vehicles and the testosterone that goes with it. Most certainly you do need a fair