Nigeria Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving In Nigeria
You should check advice on your Governments website before planning on driving abroad in Nigeria as there are travel advisories in place for some areas of Nigeria and curfews in force in some parts of the country. Most Governments also recommend against self driving in Nigeria.Traffic in many of Nigeria’s major cities can be chaotic and slow moving , though main roads themselves are generally in satisfactory condition.Smaller roads will be in poor condition and will deteriorate after rain. Serious traffic jams in Lagos, where the whole city is gridlocked for hours are not uncommon
There are vehicle checkpoints throughout Nigeria. Some are for security checks, others are ‘unofficial’ check points used to extort small payments of money (dash). You should slow down at any type of checkpoint and use common sense at all times. For more info on dealing with the police in West Africa and other countries see my Road Trip Tale –Beware of Bandits in Unform.
There are frequent reports of robberies and car-jackings, some involving armed gunmen, on Nigeria’s urban and rural road network. If you are involved in a car-jacking, don’t attempt to resist- hand over your keys and make it clear you pose no threat.
You should always be on guard whilst driving in Nigeria and avoid travel at night if you can. If you must travel at night try and stay on busy roads.If you’re sat in traffic at any time, keep doors and windows locked. Try and leave enough room between yourself and the vehicle in front to be able to manoeuvre out of danger if needed. If you feel you are being followed, head to the nearest police station or large International class hotel. Nigerian driving style is usually fast and aggressive. Also unpredictable driving habits plus the lack of basic maintenance and safety equipment on many vehicles, mean you must be on guard at all times and always expect the unexpected.
Nigeria Car Rental –
Europcar, Sixt, Hertz and Avis have branches throughout Nigeria. The situation regarding self drive seems to change regularly depending on the safety situation in the country. In August 2011 no one offered self drive. Booking through a travel company seemed the only option at that point and that wasn’t straight forward .
Hassan Zakari at Leisure Afrique said “It may be difficult to find any as it is not a common practice here and most people are afraid and skeptical. Also, because of the security situation in the country, most rental companies will give you a driver and the car. However, it is not impossible to negotiate for a self drive if you really need it. We can agree on terms and give you the car depending on your destination in Nigeria.” His contact email is -firstname.lastname@example.org.
However, in February 2012, both Sixt and Europcar mention CDW And Theft protection so seem to be offering self drive from their branches in Abuja. Hertz have branches in Lagos and Port Harcourt but none are bookable online so I can’t check if these are self drive. Avis website allowed me to book a car from Port Harcourt and didn’t mention taking a driver but also didn’t allow you to select CDW or theft and personal protection so I’m not 100% sure they allow self drive.