Lagos, Nigeria Report of what it's like to live there - 08/02/18
Personal Experiences from Lagos, Nigeria
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No, have also lived across Latin America and the Middle East.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
DC. It runs about 13 hours with a transfer typically through Frankfurt.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
We lived in a notoriously bad apartment building, but the consulate has since relocated all of the residents. Housing is a decent size and locations aren't bad on the weekends, but attempting to move around in the city during the week can be a gridlocked nightmare.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
There are a few expat supermarkets that offer most everything we could want, albeit at a lower quality and much higher price.
3. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
There is a decent variety of restaurants and most of them offer delivery. Food can be pricey.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
Pouch, no significant issues.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Household help is cheap and there tends to be a pool of folks who stay on with consulate families. We had some trouble with a driver and had to fire him for joyriding in our car; very surprising to us, considering that we felt we paid him a good wage, and his housing depended on continued employment.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Gyms and workout facilities are a rarity in the city, but many of the housing compounds offer some kind of facilities.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Cash is king in Lagos, and with the largest bill being the functional equivalent of $2.50 you will become skilled at quickly counting from a large wad of cash. Use of credit cards is possible, but fraud is rampant and I would not recommend this even at a seemingly trustworthy businesses.
5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
None. Almost everyone speaks English to some extent, and there are so many local languages that only learning one would have limited advantage (although Yoruba and Igbo are by far the big two in Lagos).
6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
High ground clearance is a necessity because all of the streets flood when it rains. Road quality is also severely lacking and could become impassable for some sedans.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
The high speed internet is not high speed at all. You will become very familiar with Netflix's loading screen.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
Veterinary care is difficult to come by, there are a few options but when they are on vacation you are completely on your own. There was no quarantine period. Also, it seems many people are terrified of even the smallest of dogs.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
The consulate offered a number of employment opportunities for spouses.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
There is a significant amount of crime in many parts of the city, but most of the areas where expats live and mingle are fairly safe. The same rules apply that would in any major city.
2. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
The climate is hot and humid, or hot and rainy. The weather cools after a rain and for a brief few weeks can be beautiful. Then the harmattan sets in and a haze of Sahara dust blots out the sun for a few months.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
It's a small expat community and you can easily know the majority of folks. Morale is ok at best, largely dependent on how often you are able to get out of the country to decompress.
2. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Young singles have a lot of opportunities to head out to clubs, the city is decent for couples and families as well, although there are few options on the local economy to entertain young children.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Need to complete tasks efficiently or in a timely manner.
3. But don't forget your: