Considering going to Nigeria in West Africa? Learn the best time to visit Nigeria overall for excellent weather with little rainfall and lots to do and see in this guide.
If you can’t swing the travel dates during the best time to visit, no worries. We’ll also share the cheapest, least busy, and worst time of year to go in our guide!
Why You Should Visit Nigeria
Nigeria can be an amazing place to visit in Africa. Many people don’t realize just how scenic and diverse this country is in flora and fauna, architecture, culture, and history!
Known as the “Giant of Africa,” Nigeria – technically the Federal Republic of Nigeria – is a large country in West Africa. The nickname refers to the size of the country, which is bigger than Texas, and equally large population.
Here’s a look at why you should visit Nigeria if you get the chance!
The landscapes of Nigeria are a major draw for tourists, who can take in the natural beauty of the desert, rainforest, plains, beaches, and savanna regions.
- On the Gulf of Guinea coast, check out any of Nigeria’s popular sandy beaches like Landmark Beach and Tarkwa Bay Beach in Lagos or Ibeno Beach in Kwa Ibo
- Explore the Yankari National Park in the northeast and Cross River National Park in the south to get an up-close look at the wild side of Nigeria
- Mountains, cascading waterfalls, stone monoliths, and rushing rivers are scattered throughout the country, making it one of the most varied geographic regions in Africa
Be sure to make time to see the massive Zuma Rock here, which towers over 980 feet just outside Abuja (Nigeria’s capital) and is easily recognized as the monolith on the Nigerian 100 naira note.
Nigeria is also home to abundant wildlife, thanks to its diverse and thriving natural areas and parks. You’ll find lions, giraffes, leopards, rhinos, primate species, hippos, and a variety of bird species here.
Nigeria’s cultural roots are diverse, owing to the number of people in the country that hail from other parts of Africa or from countries throughout the rest of the world.
- Over 250 languages – and as many as 400 – are spoken in Nigeria as a result of the cultural mix
- The food in Nigeria also reflects the melting pot culture with influences from Portuguese, Indian, and English flavors
- Sample grilled meats and seafood, couscous and rice, vegetable dishes, soups, and stews spiced with hot peppers. Sweet dishes brim with flavors of local tropical fruits like plantains, coconuts, pineapple, mangoes, and bananas
Historic sites and landmarks throughout the country are also fantastic places to visit. There are ancient castles and palaces as well as 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are worth checking out!
Nigeria is also full of educational museums, monuments, theaters, mosques, cathedrals, and more that can enlighten you during your stay.
With so many reasons to visit, let’s talk about the best time to visit Nigeria for different types of trips.
What’s the Best Time to Visit Nigeria?
- Overall best time to visit: November-March
- Cheapest time to visit: December-March
- Least busy time to visit: March-September
- Worst time to visit: May-July
Nigeria is such a fascinating, immersive place to visit in West Africa. Your experience will largely depend on the time of year you go, so it’s a good idea to figure out the best time to visit Nigeria before you plan a trip.
Overall, the best time to visit Nigeria is during the dry season that runs from November to March. You’ll sidestep the hottest and wettest months of the year while enjoying low hotel rates and the best of the outdoors.
If you’re sticking to a budget, the cheapest time to visit Nigeria is typically from December to March, which includes most of the peak tourism season and promises warm, dry weather.
To avoid crowds, the least busy time to visit may be from March to September. This period represents the start of the rainy season and tourism slows down considerably, shrinking the crowds as a result.
The worst time to visit Nigeria is between May and July, when temperatures can soar to highs over 100F and rainfall is a near-daily occurrence throughout the country.
Keep reading to get a closer look at the different times of year to visit Nigeria for an overall excellent experience, cheap prices, and small crowds. We’ll also highlight the reasons May-July can be the worst time to visit.
Overall Best Time to Visit Nigeria
The best time to visit Nigeria is November to March. You’ll avoid the hottest and rainiest months of the year during this period, but crowds peak from November to January.
The overall best time lines up with the warm, dry season when tourists head to Nigeria in droves. With very little rainfall during this season, the vegetation around Nigeria begins to dry up.
The result is much better visibility for wildlife viewing if you’re coming for a safari or to explore Nigeria’s natural beauty in the national parks.
Temperatures vary quite a bit during this season and it all depends on where you go in the country. One thing all regions have in common is that things gradually get warmer from November to March.
Expect November highs around 88F in Lagos, 91F in Kano, and 95F in Sokoto. By the time March rolls around, highs reach 91F in Lagos, 98F in Kano, and 101F in Sokoto.
Since the peak season occurs from November to January, the months of February and March may be especially nice for a visit with fewer crowds and affordable prices.
Cheapest Time to Visit Nigeria
December to March is the cheapest time to visit Nigeria with low hotel rates. This is unique because it’s part of Nigeria’s peak tourism season.
It’s warm, dry, and inexpensive to stay in Nigerian hotels at this time of year. In most places, peak season coincides with higher prices on everything – but not in Nigeria!
While December to March represents the absolute cheapest time to go, there’s not much of a price difference between this period and the rest of the year.
Nigeria is a very affordable country to visit throughout the year. From December to March, we found rates ranging from $4-$12/night in different cities here.
Compare these average nightly rates to those found from April to November, which tally up to around $5-$13/night.
The cost difference is so negligible that you shouldn’t limit your travel dates based on the price of accommodations. Instead, choose the overall best time to go or aim for the least busy period.
Least Busy Time to Visit Nigeria
The least busy time to visit Nigeria is from March to September, when the rainy season first kicks off and tourist numbers dwindle as a result of the wetter weather with hotter temperatures.
If you visit sometime between March and September, you’ll miss the busy peak season that runs from November to January during the dry season.
By March, crowds in Nigeria are minimal and tourism slows to a near halt as the rainy season begins. Highs in March range from 91F in Lagos to 101F in Sokoto.
Things progressively heat up as the rainfall increases in Nigeria through September. April and May are typically the hottest months of the year here, reaching up to 104F in Sokoto and 101F in Kano.
Rainfall is unavoidable during this part of the year, with monthly totals ranging from 1.8″ in March to 8″ in June (Lagos) and 0.5″ in March to 7″ in August (Kano).
The heat combined with a lot of rain makes Nigeria less pleasant for a visit involving the outdoors or walking through cities, so fewer people come during this time overall.
That can make it a good time to visit if avoiding crowds is your main priority. March might be the best month in this period because it has less rainfall and is very affordable for a stay.
Worst Time to Visit Nigeria
Try to avoid visiting from May to July, which is generally the worst time to visit Nigeria with intense heat and ongoing rainfall getting in the way of outdoor activities and sightseeing.
From May to July, Nigeria is in the peak of its rainy season and experiencing daily deluges that make spending time outdoors difficult.
Dirt roads become muddy and impassable in more rural areas and parks. Deadly flooding (like the Nigeria floods that occurred in June 2022) may pose a problem.
Rainfall and heat differs around the country – remember, Nigeria is a very large country with diverse terrain – but it’s safe to say Nigeria will be hot and wet during this part of the year.
In Lagos, around 5.7″ falls in May with highs around 88F, while Kano sees 1.7″ with 99F highs and Sokoto gets 0.8″ with highs around 102F.
In June, Lagos hits highs of 85F with around 8″ of rain, Kano tallies about 3″ with temperatures hitting 96F, and Sokoto receives 2.3″ of rain with highs around 97F.
In July, those totals reach about 6″ with highs around 82F in Lagos, 5.5″ of rain with 91F highs in Kano, and 91F highs with 5″ of monthly rainfall in Sokoto.
That makes June the peak rainy month during this period for Lagos, while July is the wettest month for Kano and Sokoto. Things get even wetter in August, but the rains begin tapering off by October and November.
Things to Consider
What else should you know about planning a trip to Nigeria? Whether you’re heading there during the best or worst time of year, keep these helpful travel tips in mind.
- Consider safety before planning a trip to Nigeria. Areas of Nigeria may not be safe to visit, according to a current level 3 travel advisory warning “Reconsider travel” issued by the U.S. Department of State. Crime, kidnapping, terrorism, and civil unrest can put travelers at risk. Areas like Kogi, Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, and Kano are some examples of dangerous areas.
- Think about your plans in Nigeria. You may not be planning to spend a lot of time outdoors or strolling through towns and cities to take in the sights and shops, in which case visiting Nigeria during the less busy rainy months may not affect you as much. If you’re hoping to go on safari, try to visit during the dry season for better wildlife viewing.
- You may be able to use U.S. dollars here. There’s a lot of tension and civil unrest surrounding Nigeria’s currency troubles as the country’s citizens run out of cash amid the switch to the eNaira central bank digital currency (CBDC). Thankfully, you should be able to use U.S. dollars at most tourism-centric places, like hotels, some restaurants, and airports.
- English is the official language. In Nigeria, English is the official language and you’ll find that most people here speak the language fluently. Over 200 other languages are spoken here and include Hausa, Igbo, Kanuri, and regional sign languages.
- Stick to the tourist-friendly cities. Popular places for tourists are often safer zones in Nigeria. Places like Lagos, Calabar, Abuja, Ibadan, and Uyo are among the safest cities in Nigeria and make excellent places for tourists to visit. You’ll find beaches, rainforests, and lots of historic sites to check out in these areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes, the questions of other travelers can answer concerns and queries you didn’t think to ask! Here are the most frequently asked questions about the best time to visit Nigeria.
What is the best month to visit Lagos?
The best month to visit Lagos, Nigeria is November due to comfortable but warm weather that’s pretty dry and perfect for outdoor activities and beach days on the coast.
Expect temperatures from 77F to 88F during November in Lagos with a little over an inch of rainfall throughout the month. This is the best time to soak up the sun on Lagos beaches!
What time of year is cheapest to travel to Nigeria?
The cheapest time of year to travel to Nigeria is May to early June and late August to September. These are the periods when you’ll find the lowest international airfare, according to Thrifty Traveler’s flight price data.
Nigeria isn’t usually considered a cheap place to travel to due to the lengthy flight it requires from most countries. Accommodations are very affordable once you’re in the country, however.
Which month is the hottest month in Nigeria?
April is the hottest month of the year in Nigeria, seeing highs that peak around 104F in more arid desert regions.
Even coastal regions like Lagos see warm highs around 90F, while Kano reaches about 101F during the peak heat in April.
Is Nigeria tourist friendly?
Nigerians are known to be friendly to tourists with a welcoming vibe that is far from stand-offish.
But the country as a whole isn’t tourist friendly right now due to increased levels of crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and terrorism that have led to increased travel warnings from the U.S. government.
Can US citizens travel to Nigeria right now?
U.S. citizens can travel to Nigeria right now, but it’s not advised. The country is currently under a level 3 travel advisory from the U.S. Department of State that warns “Reconsider travel.”
The advisory could be reduced to a level 2 or upgraded to a level 4 at any time, so it’s best for travelers to avoid heading to Nigeria at this time.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Nigeria Overall?
Overall, the best time to visit Nigeria is during the dry season from November to March. This period is warm without sweltering heat, sees little rainfall, and is perfect for outdoor activities from the beach to taking a safari.
Within that period, December to March is the perfect time to visit if you want to save a little money. Hotels are cheapest during this period and range from only $4-$12/night!
Visit from March to September if you’re looking to avoid big crowds. You’ll enjoy the quieter, more serene side of Nigeria during this hot and rainy time of year as fewer tourists arrive.
If you can, avoid visiting between May and July, when rainfall is nearly constant in some regions and high temperatures in the upper 90s make it more challenging to spend time outdoors.
No matter when you decide to visit Nigeria, make sure you’re reviewing and considering all travel advisories and safety warnings before you start planning in earnest.
If you decide to head to Nigeria in search of the amazing landscapes, diverse culture, and thriving cities here, stick to the popular tourist areas – like Lagos and the capital, Abuja – to stay safe and ensure a positive visit.