We often hear about all the obstructions to travel including how expensive and difficult it can be to acquire certain visas from Nigeria. We do not often hear about the abundant options for Nigerians to travel visa-free! In a country where the economy fluctuates and flight routes are not excellent, it is a breath of fresh air to find countries that do not require visas from Nigerian passport holders.In all, there are up to 44 countries which Nigerians can visit visa-free or with visa upon arrival, a good number being African countries and islands.
The general impression is that other countries in Africa do not have much to offer but that’s ridiculously untrue. In fact, we’ve compiled our top 5 countries on or off the coast of the African continent which can provide an amazing travel experience. We also tell you how you can get there and the best airlines or transport companies to take! Here’s how to travel visa free.
The near enclave of Senegal has sealed its spot as the tourism hub of continental West Africa. Even though the country is small, it offers travellers pristine white-sand beaches, camel tours, forest parks, historical and cultural sites, fishing villages and even dolphin sightings.
There are a variety of options for any budget including luxurious resorts and village adventures. Banjul, the capital city, is an ancient trade hub and this continues till today. As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), all passport holders of member-states including Nigerians can visit Gambia without a visa. You will need a valid yellow card, which can be gotten at any Port Health office in the country. What a great place to start to travel visa-free.
Travelling from Nigeria, Arik Air offers flights from Lagos and Abuja to Banjul via Accra. There are currently 4 – 5 hour flights out of Accra four days a week.
In order to travel visa-free, neighbouring countries are a great place to start! A surprising number of traveling Nigerians have not yet visited Ghana, probably because of assumptions that our sister-country might be too similar to explore. This is false. Ghana and Nigeria share several similarities but each country has an unmistakable character of its own. Ghana is rich in culture and does a good job to preserve history on the slave trade. There are also unforgettable adventures in Ghanaian cuisine.
There are several ways to get to the black star nation from Nigeria and the range covers a variety of budgets. Aero Contractors Nigeria (ACN), Arik Air, Africa World Airlines and Medview Airlines all fly non-stop daily out of Lagos. Some airlines offer more that one flight throughout the day. There are also non-stop daily flights from Abuja to Accra on Arik Air. Flights are often 45 minutes to 1-hour long and with Ghana one hour behind Nigeria, travellers often do not lose time traveling. A 1-hour flight that departs Lagos at 7:00am will arrive Accra at 7:00am, local time.
There are also countless comfortable and more affordable road routes to Ghana. Travellers can depart from motor and bus parks from every major city in Nigeria on ABC Transport and a host of other private transport services. Some services will handle passengers’ clearance at the border. Remember, as an ECOWAS country, no visa is required to visit Ghana. You will need a valid yellow card, which can be gotten at any Port Health office in the country.
Madagascar, famed for its exotic wildlife and exceptional island culture, offers free visa upon entry to visitors spending less than three months in the country.
Not surprisingly, several tourism activities are centered around the ocean and density of wildlife species, some of which can only be found on the island nation. The food of Madagascar is also a highlight as the country has built a reputation for the importance of rice in its cuisine.
Kenya Airways and South African Airways fly from Lagos to Antananarivo, via Nairobi and Johannesburg respectively. There are also flights via the same airlines from Abuja to Antananarivo. Visas are obtained upon arrival and yellow cards are required.
Nigerians are not exempt from obtaining visas to enter Kenya, however, the process is so seamless, so Kenya is eligible for our list of countries to travel visa-free.. Kenya’s visa upon arrival ensures that visitors simply fill a form when they arrive and make a payment of $51. They also have an e-visa application system which allows you pay securely for your visa on the visa portal prior to arrival and print out the authorisation slip. The process can take as little as 24 hours.
Kenya is also a popular destination for Nigerians, especially because of the top-notch wildlife and conservation offerings. As a result, Kenya Airways flies directly from Lagos to Nairobi daily in under 5 and a half hours, with some days featuring more than one flight. Three times a week, Nigerians can fly from Abuja directly to Nairobi on Kenya Airways. Rwanda Air and Ethiopian Airlines also fly from Lagos to Nairobi, with stops in Kigali and Addis Ababa, respectively.
Cabo Verde (or Cape Verde in English) is an undermentioned gem located off the coast of West Africa. The archipelago contains some of the most relaxing vacation packages on this end of the continent. Nigerians can transport themselves to another world in Cape Verde, where Portuguese influence seamlessly marries traditional Cabo Verdean roots. Visitors can wake up in luxurious hotels or island adventure residences overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and enjoy a swim in the blindingly blue ocean as the Sun rises. There is an unlimited supply of water and beach activities as well as hiking volcanic mountains. The architecture, music and food are reminiscent of its African, Creole and Portuguese heritage. Cape Verde is paradise in the neighbourhood.
There is still a lot of room for improvement in developing the flight routes among ECOWAS countries and travellers often have to make a couple stops from Lagos to Praia, the capital city of the island nation. Currently, Air Maroc is a viable option from Lagos to Praia via Casablanca. Asky Airlines also flies to Guinea Bissau from where direct flights can be caught to Cape Verde. As an ECOWAS member state, Nigerians can travel visa-free to Cape Verde.
The world is beautiful and there are countless places to explore. Africa is a vast continent and every corner of our home is filled with richness and heritage. Got any ideas? Share with us by leaving a comment.