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Travelling alone in North Nigeria (jihohin Arewa)

edited December 2013 in - West Africa
What's about safety in the Norh Nigerian states? Can I come alone directly to Kano by plane and then make a backpacker tour over the local villages? 

I want to stay for several days in the classical Hausa environment to enhance my knowledge of Hausa, so I need people who do not speak English. Is it possible?

What abou Boku Haram? Are they really "bad guys" (or do they really exist?) or I can become their friend in case I meet them?

Some years ago I was fond of venomous snakes (I kept them at home). Can I find an area with plenty of them (I do not want to catch them but to see them in natural environment)? What is the best place in the North?


  • Umm...why would you want to travel there by yourself...??? Why not a travel buddy?:)
  • I am afraid that a travel buddy will be a source of English or any other language. But I want my brain to think in Hausa.
  • Jeliba, the northern states of Nigeria really are very dangerous at the moment. I'm not saying it is impossible to travel there but even if you never encounter Boko Haram personally the region has been hit hard by the terrorist group and getting around and finding accommodation might be very difficult. Where are you from? Boko Haram battles against all 'Western' and Christian influences and has frequently targetted foreigners - depending on where you are from and your appearance you may be a target for them. Yes, the group does exist and has been responsible for thousands of well-documented deaths over the past few years. If you are determined to go I think a local guide will be a huge help in keeping you safe and helping you make your way - surely a bilingual guide will also be a big help with learning the language?
  • I am from Ukraine. So, this is absolutely different (Russian or Soviet) civilization and culture compared to the "Western" one. As for the accomodation, I will be quite happy to live in a traditional Nigerian house in the country. May be for the first couple of days aftter the flight I need a hotel. But I don't like 'traditional' (Western-style) hotels where I could be treated and regarded as a 'Western' tourist. 
  • It sounds like you want an adventure and an authentic Nigerian experience so the lack of tourist infrastructure should suit you. My advice would be to hire a local guide (you can institute a Hausa-only rule with him so that it helps your language mission) because that will be the easiest way to find the kind of local accommodation you want and to ensure that you stay away from dangerous areas and situations. Please read up on the situation and all the official travel advice from your own government and the UK Foreign Office, US State Department etc. They offer extensive information on travel advice and risks and what to do to ensure safety which should be a big help. That way you will be going well-informed and prepared. Good luck and enjoy! 
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