Nigeria Shopping and nightlife
Shopping in Nigeria
Nigeria is now Africa's biggest economy and spending power is increasing. There's great shopping to be found across all sectors and for all budgets, from rural market bargains to fine art sales in Lagos. Nigeria's markets are often big, buzzing and stuffed with everything from food to jewellery and books to batteries. If you're in Lagos, head to Lekki market, which has a serious selection of Nigerian souvenirs to take back home with you; think beaded necklaces, long silver earrings, wooden carved masks, colourful wax cloth (which you can also take to tailors just outside the market, to be made into outfits for men, women or children), tablecloths, paintings and scarves. Just be prepared to bargain.
Ikot Ekepne is the centre for beautiful baskets and carvings, and at Oron there is a museum renowned for its exhibits of Ibibio and Efik carvings. In Kano in the north, Kurmi Market has lots of tourist souvenirs, including the richly embroidered horse blankets and decorations used at festivals. Other purchases in markets around the country include herbs, beadwork, basketry and ceremonial masks. It's worth looking for adire (patterned, indigo-dyed cloth), batiks and pottery from the southwest, leatherwork and kaduna cotton from the north, and carvings from the east. Designs vary greatly, with many towns having their own distinctive style, but the famous indigo dye pits in Abeokuta are well worth a visit. On sunny days, you can watch the adire and batik fabrics being dyed using cassava paste and wax, and learn to tell the difference between authentic Nigerian cloth and patterns that are mass-produced in China.
The African Artists Foundation (AAF) on Ikoyi in Lagos (www.africanartists.org) is a great place to start if you're interested in picking up some contemporary Nigerian fine art. There are regular exhibitions and gallery openings by renowned and up-and-coming painters, sculptors and photographers, such as Joseph Eze and Obinna Makata. Baronet Art Gallery sells hip metal artwork, while the Hourglass Art Gallery (www.hourglassgallery.com) is a good stop for paintings. But a word of warning: art, like most things, does not come cheap in Lagos.
Mon-Fri 0800-1700, Sat 0800-1630, with some stores open on Sundays.
Nightlife in Nigeria
Nigeria certainly knows how to party. In the south of the country, wherever you are you can bet your bottom Naira that there's a good nightclub nearby. Lagos and Abuja are famous for their slick, expensive clubs that attract a monied crowd, hip new DJs, jazz bands and big names from the 90s in Europe.
Don't miss New Africa Shine, a club modelled on the late Nigerian singer Fela Kuti's The Shrine club in Lagos, and now the home of 'Felabration!', the musical. Deuces club on Victoria Island in Lagos is one of the city's smoothest venues; expect men in milky white suits, women in expensive heels and bottles of champers that will leave your pockets empty. Baccus in Ikoyi is one of Lagos' oldest clubs and always attracts a fun crowd, while the studenty Koko Lounge (E-Centre, 1-11 Commercial Avenue) in Lagos's hipster district of Yaba proves that you can still shake it on lemonade pockets. There are also fun street markets all over the country, often with live entertainment: north of Oyo in Ogbomosho is noteworthy. And if you're lucky enough to be invited to a Nigerian wedding, you'll get to experience the best party of all.