Have you ever gotten lost in Lagos? Hopefully not, but if you have been, welcome to the club.
In an article, BBC described Lagos as a city that won’t stop growing and judging from statistics, this statement is true. The city is home to more than 21 million people and 6,000 persons migrate daily in search of wealth and greener pastures, it is indeed the city of excellence.
I reside in Lagos and I totally agree that this city is no man’s land. The hustle and bustle here is a special blend of commercial success, as early as 4am workers head out to their offices and workplaces, those without cars have to struggle to ride Danfo or BRTs, not to mention traffic jams. The rush is a lifestyle for many, perhaps that’s what it takes to be the largest economy in Africa.
Although there are many businesses dominant in this Megacity other spheres including sports, comedy, music and entertainment keep things bubbly, they’re top-notch and good relief for stress but like most cities, Lagos has some pecks. Each year, citizens report hundreds of missing cases to the police, some of these cases are crime-related and a chunk of them are actually folks that got lost.
Being lost in Lagos can be a dangerous affair especially in unsecure neighbourhoods. Years back during my internship at an architecture firm, my boss sent me on errands to places I was very unfamiliar with.
Even with his descriptions, I would get lost and have to find a way out. I wrote this post to give you a few pointers that helped me at the time.
These tips should apply in other parts of the world too.
Happy Monday! It’s officially the first Monday holiday of the year.
#1 Ask Questions
This is the best and worst advise at the same time. Asking someone for help is usually the first line of action but then the real question hits, who should you ask?!
Inquire from the wrong person in Lagos and you will find yourself where you never dreamt of. It’s a thing of pride for some, you ask for directions and instead of admitting they have no idea, they mislead you. It’s best you’re careful with whoever you choose to ask.
Another thing I do is get detailed descriptions, I don’t want an individual to only mention a bank, he should be precise. Is it FCMB, First or Access? The more information the better.
From previous experiences, I’ve put together people that are usually helpful. I ask traders, well dressed individuals, bus conductors or young kids. Okada riders are also good, they know the in-and-out of streets and corners.
#2 Call a Friend
Who wouldn’t like a friend in time of need? When planning a trip to a place I’m unfamiliar with one of my checklists is calling friends that live in the vicinity or have been.
I sometimes contact multiple friends, this gives me the benefit of different directions and tips.
Asides contacting friends before trips, call when you discover you are lost. They are indeed helpful in most cases.
This lady knows the importance of this tip, she seems lost here.
Remember, communication is key.
#3 Use Google Maps
According to Wikipedia, Google Maps is a web mapping service developed by Google (obviously). It offers satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, 360° panoramic views of streets, real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for travelling by foot, car, bicycle and air.
Yes! Google Maps is amazing and those that utilise this app eventually have positive reviews. Statistics prove it’s already a big part of people’s daily lives, they use it to sort their trip affairs.
Once I asked this young man for directions to an estate, he described the gated community and I went through the entrance. The next thing I heard was a dog’s wicked growl, I immediately took to my heels. Apparently, that was someone’s house!
If I had Google Maps, it would show my current location and footpath to the estate. Also street view, distance, landmarks and hints automatically make moving around easier.
Fun Fact: Google Maps displays restaurants, shopping malls, banks etc. near you when you search. The app also suggests the best of these amenities, it shows their operating hours and reviews.
#4 Travel as a Group
I’m not a big fan of this one but some say that being lost alone can be terrifying. In my opinion, a bit of that is true depending on how you look at it.
“Two heads are better than one” – anonymous
It’s advisable to explore these options with friends, problems are resolved at a faster pace. Not to mention that you’re less vulnerable when you move as a group especially as a lady. Don’t mean to sound sexist, you know what I mean.
#5 Identify Landmarks
My dad always made a great deal about spotting landmarks whenever we travelled or went on short trips, this has saved me a lot of times.
What are landmarks?
They are notable natural or man-made features used for navigation. I’ll suggest that they must be recognizable by you, use things you can easily recall.
“in all thy wanderings get wisdom” – anonymous
Again, landmarks shouldn’t necessarily be a big deal. For instance you can identify a bank, shop, parked vehicle, statue, roundabout etc. Don’t forget to look out for colours too.
Also search for street and road signs, they are on the rise in Lagos. You should recall them whenever you think you’re lost.
The Wrap Up
Sincerely, these are a handful of tips but if you ever try them all and nothing appears to be working, I suggest you dump the trip. Retrace your steps as far back as you can remember and head home.
It’s best not to put yourself at risk since there’ll be other days. If you’ve ever been lost in Lagos or anywhere else, please share your story in the comments below.
Until next time.
Don’t forget to have fun and play safe this Easter season.