Abuja is the capital of Nigeria. Since most Nigerian government agencies are now headquartered in Abuja and most other countries' embassies have been relocated from Lagos to Abuja, it is a surprisingly expensive city.
Abuja is a beautiful city. One of few purpose-built cities in the world planned and built from scratch. It has an excellent road network, a beautiful rolling terrain and modern Nigerian architecture. Power is often erratic.
International flights to the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport are offered by several airlines, notably, Lufthansa, KLM, and British Airways. If arriving from the US, Delta Air Lines has a direct flight from New York, JFK starting in June of 2010. Many visitors fly through connecting flights from Lagos.
While the industry is being overhauled and aviation safety is being upgraded, only few local airlines are reliable: AeroContractors, Arik Air and Chanchangi. Virgin Nigeria operates but often takes off extremely late. Arik Air has embarked on an ambitious programme that would see several brand new jetliners, including the new Boeing 787 dreamliner added to its fleet.
From the airport, you are best advised to take the official Green Cab. You are advised to board the cab with only people you know.
You can travel to Abuja by bus from major cities like Lagos, Benin, Kano and Port Harcourt. Reliable services include: ABC Transport (with airconditioned luxurious bus rides), Ekene Dili Chukwu, Chisco Transport (CTN) and Young Shall Grow. The preferred bus service would be ABC transport.
However, you are advised to take only day trip buses from Lagos or Kano. You must be conscious that bus trips are not the safest as in rare situations buses have been attacked by robbers. If you're unfamiliar with the country, do not take a bus without an escort. Buses allow you to appreciate the terrain, the towns and cities and the subtle changes in these and culture as you drive towards the capital either from the South or the North.
Occasionally, traffic lights stop working during outages and road marshals are deployed to critical intersections. Abuja has a few strict driving laws that are enforced. Seat belts are required of both the driver and front seat passenger. Failure to obey this law leads to significant inconveniences as the vehicle is impounded and not released until the fine is paid. Drivers don't typically observe lanes within the city, and often attempt to squeeze in what might seem to be dangerously close to your vehicle.In some cases they may drive on the sidewalks. Traffic accidents are frequent, so drive defensively. Occasionally, drivers from other parts of the country that are unfamiliar with the driving culture in the city try to beat traffic lights. If you're driving, keep an eye out for other motorists, especially at intersections, who may try to beat the traffic lights.
Abuja is a beautiful city. The tourist attractions would be:
- The Abuja Millennium Park
- The National Mosque
- The Ecumenical Center
- National Assembly Complex
- Aso Rock
The Abuja Millennium Park is being expanded in an ambitious tourist project to include the Millennium Tower and a Cultural Center and Museum that would boast of some of the most expansive collections of African Art. The new scheme would open before 2010 (update -- as of February 2009, the Millenium tower isstill several years from completion).
Other upcoming projects include the Heritage City Theme Park that would be the largest theme park of African civilizations. The first phase would be open in 2008/2009.
- Go shopping at Wuse Market, the main market in Abuja. Everything is available, from fresh food to clothes, music, and electronics. And as markets go, not expensive.
Art & Craft village (across the road from Sheraton Hotel)
There is some interesting artwork all over Abuja. Wood carvings, paintings and leatherwork. Everything is available in surrounding countries quite a bit cheaper, but if you are here you might as well buy it here.
- Good Luck Food prices in Abuja are high, especially for Western food. There are, however, many good restaurants in Abuja that are arguably worth the money. Of course, whether you live in Abuja or are just visiting, there are times when you are willing to pay a little extra for the simple fact that there are few to no alternatives.
- Exclusive Supermarket 1202 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse II. A cafe/coffeeshop at the back of the supermarket sells good salads, a few Lebanese dishes, icecream, coffee and standard pizza and grilled food. Cheap (Nicoise Salad takeout for N1000).
- LOVE PIZZA, THE GOURMET PIZZA PEOPLE. Freshly baked Italian Pizza made with the finest ingredients. Pizza, wings, salads. Pizzeria, Take out & Delivery; +2348054447945. 2 Bouar close, Bangui street, off Ademola Adetokuno Crescent, Wuse 2. (beside Jevenik)
- Schwarma Shop, adjacent to Amigos Supermarket, Wuse II. 700 Naira for Schwarmas and they offer pizzas for somewhere from 1500 Naira.
- Southern Fried Chicken. A local knockoff of KFC, but ask them to go easy on the mayo.
- Mr. Biggs. All over. Burgers.
- Schwarma Shop, adjacent to 212 Supermarket, Usuma St., Maitama. These Schwarmas have cabbage on them. About same price as the one by Amigos
- City View, Cape Town Street, Off IBB Way, Wuse Zone 4. Perhaps the best Lebanese food in Abuja, excellent prices, they also host large groups, indoor or outdoor sitting.
- Ceddi Plaza has a fast food Chicken restaurant on Second Floor - and Ice Cream
- Drumstix, Aminu Kano Crescent. Fast food, Nigerian dishes, Grill, Shawarma and Ice cream.
- Tantalizers Burgers. All over.
- Cafe at Grand Square, Mohammadu Buhari Way.
- Cafe at Dunes, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, one on the main floor and one upstairs. Yeah!
- MrPickup.biz, Delivery service. Picks up your orders and brings to you for a small fee! +234 (0) 702 828 6771.
- Spice Food In front of Sahad Store, across from Bolton White Hotels, Ahmadu Bellu Road. 07031111005, 08034500653. Delicious Indian food and snacks at very reasonable prices. Main course N1000-N1500, snacks N300-N600. Su-F buffet 12PM-3PM N2000. Dinner 6PM-10PM
- Ciao, Jitau Plaza, Plot 1173, Ademola Adetokunbo Crescent, After AP plaza, Wuse II. A good Italian restaurant with the usual Italian dishes. Expect to pay around 2000 Naira for a dinner with wine. Good Pizzas, but AJ's have more to them.
- AJ's Pizza, adjacent to the Park and Shop in Wuse II, Aminu Kano Crescent, call your order in before you get there 0803 314 0469 or 0804 410 4567, if your order 5 pizzas, ask for free juice.
- Chopsticks, Plot 66 Mississippi St, Maitama. Good Chinese food, a couple should share one order of a main dish and either rice or noodles. 2000-about 5000 Naira for main dishes. Has cocktail bar.
- Sitar, 46 Usuma St, Maitama. Indian food.
- Wakkis, Like Sitar but more reasonable prices, this might be considered moderate instead of Splurge. Amino Kano Crescent, follow signs, Wuse II. 1500-2500 main dishes, good seafood. Amazing King Prawns!
- Blakes, Fish bar, add unknown, Garki District.
- Ubudu Grill Steakhouse at the Sheraton You won't spend less than $50 USD here, but the steaks are excellent.
- Chez Victor Reasonably high quality French food and some francophone African dishes such as yassa poulet. Sandwiches with lunchtime specials. Nice house converted into comfortable restaurant. Nigerian owned. 2000+ Naira for main dishes. Ganges Street off Alvan Ikoku Way, Maitama. Next to NEPAD Nigeria offices.
- Al Basha Palace Good Mediterranean & Continental food and Pizzas, Shisha. Outdoor, indoor events & parties... 11 Cassandra Street, off Usuma St, Maitama.
- LaZeez Place Recently Opened, Usuma Street, Maitama.
- Golf Course Has a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, would be a good place to have large group gathering, not called Golf Course, but that is where it is.
Drinks are available all over Abuja and are very overpriced. Average $20 US for some mixed drinks. 5-9 dollars for a local beer. Buy beer from the Market and you will save a lot of money. The major hotels have bars and restaurants - watch out for the call girls, if you ignore them, they get really offended. If you are not interested, just say so and have a short conversation, then they will leave you alone.
- Ceddi Plaza Has a bar on the basement level.
- Blakes Has live music or a DJ and drinks as well as the fish bar
- British Village Requires a membership to enter and is popular during different sporting events, especially during soccer games and rugby.
- Amber Lounge is in Silverbird Galleria, Central Business District
- Orchard Garden. Local outdoor place near Millenium Park, set in a grove. Beer around 250N, small BBQ serving e.g. whole grilled fish for 2000N.
- saffron, 1,iyaraclose,off misau crescent,off ahmadu bello way,garki 2,abuja, ☎ +234 7026349851, . lunch and dinner. saffron,the rooftop restaurant and bar serves INDIAN and CHINESE cuisine together,best place to have the fusion cuisine at one place,open ambience on rooftop makes the evening beautiful as you can see complete view of Abuja city....... 2000 naira to 5000 naira.
- the beacon suites,garki 2, 1,iyara close off misau crescent,off ahmadu bello way,garki 2, .
- The Nordic Villa A brand new 4 bedroom boutique hotel furnished in a modern Scandinavian style. The villa is located in a peaceful and safe environment suited for both business and leisure travelers. No. 52, Mike Akhigbe Way, Jabi, Abuja, http://www.thenordicvilla.com, tel +234 703 682 9922
- Rockview A little dreary but decent. Has gym, tennis courts, pool. The pool bar menu has some better offerings than the bar or restaurant.
- King's Inn Hotel, Lobito Crescent Wuse 2, Abuja, Abuja Capital Territory, Nigeria (opposite from UK visa application centre). checkin: sep 4; checkout: sep 5. 10000.
Hotel De Bently N. Okonjo Iweala Way, Utako Abuja. Best Architectural design in Abuja. Its a decent place to stay
Reiz Continental Hotel Plot 779, Cadastral zone AO, Central Area. Tel. +234-9-4619110. Similar to Rockview in terms of standard, but with better service. Has pool too and free minibar (non alchololic)
- Immaculate Plot 111 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse II opposite Cubana Bar, near Diamond Bank. tel +234 7098211224 email [email protected] Modern hotel with nice-size rooms and suites. Noisy on weekends because of night club next door, and rooms above kitchen are noisy all the time. Lacks social space like bar/terrace but this is good because less prostitutes than in larger hotels. Basic gym and small pool area. Restaurant ok. Reasonable prices and well-located.
Decent hotels in Abuja tend to cost above $200 US per night.
- Hawthorn Suites Abuja - the service is good and the Hotel is beautiful. Part of the Wyndham Group. Five Star. Food is very good. Located at 1 Balanga Street off Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki, Abuja. First left before Sahad. Good Alternative to Hilton and Cheaper - Rates from about N43,000
- Transcorp-Hilton - Part of the Hilton Group and upholds a good standard. Five star. Located at 1 Aguiyi Ironsi, Maitama Abuja. Rates from About N50,000. Good for weekend lounging by the pool (N2000 entry for non-residents of the hotel) at least.
- Sheraton - not worth what they chage. Hotel rooms are in dire need of renovation and everything in the hotel (eg internet, food, laundry) is unreasonably expensive. The gym is hideous but the pool is good. Service has worsened over time but the outdoor food and steakhouse are still good.
- Protea Hotels All over the city. Clean and nice.
Abuja tends to be a sharp contrast against the background of the rest of Nigeria. While car hijackings and armed robbery are high in Lagos, and kidnapping of foreign oil workers is prevalent in the Niger delta, Abuja in sharp contrast, is one of the safest metropolitan cities on the continent.
General security measures like elsewhere in the world should be observed. Like anywhere else in the world, it's always a good idea to have company when exploring unfamiliar places. If you're driving, observe simple measures like keeping your car door locked when parked to avoid opportunistic crime. Armed robbery at gun point is the most prevalent form of crime. A calm disposition and full cooperation with robbers is the best line of action in the unlikely event that you are the victim of a robbery.
Robbers tend to become violent when victims try to pull tricks. Contact your embassy in Abuja and the police if you are robbed. Occasional pick pockets target mobile phones and wallets as well. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Usually, $250 US cash (or N30,000) would more than suffice for impulsive purchases and other daily costs.
When moving in Abuja, as a foreign visitor, you are best advised to use the official Green Cabs. There's a remote chance that privately operated unofficial cabs could be traps. Cab fares would be around N500 ($4) for trips within the city. Cab rides to the airport are significantly higher. Negotiate a fare before you enter a cab.
There have been many reports of fraudulent use of credit card details almost immediately after people have used their cards to pay hotel deposits, even in the very top hotels.
Embassies and High Commissions
- Australia, .
- Canada, 15 Bobo Street, Maitama Abuja, Nigeria, ☎ (011 234 9) 413-9910 ([email protected], fax: (011 234 9) 413-9911), . Monday to Thursday: 08:00 – 16:30 Friday: 08:00 – 13:30.
- Greece, No.6, Seguela Street, Wuse II P.O.Box 11525, Abuja, ☎ +234 94612775-6 ([email protected], fax: +234 94612774), .
- Ireland, ☎ +234 9 4620611 (fax: +234 9 4620613), . M-F 8.30AM - 4: 30PM.
- United Kingdom, .
- United States, .
- Serbia, 11, Rio Negro Close, off Yedseram Street, Maitama District, ☎ (+234) 805 9738141 ([email protected]), .
- Russia (the Russian Federation), 15 Tennessee Crescent, Maitama, ([email protected]). M-F from 8:00 to 14:00.