Are you an adventurer or a business traveller? It can be pretty awkward being in a new place and finding yourself at odds with their customs and norms. No matter how modern and forward-thinking you are, it is important to familiarise yourself with the basic dos and don’ts of the new place you are visiting. It is a great way to integrate, get accepted and become one with the community, the people and their lifestyle.
If you’ve got your accommodation sorted, as well as your travel itinerary to your destination, a great way to do that is to check a list of hotels in Nigeria to help you with that.
However, you may want to now familiarise yourself with some of the norms or ways of life of the people.
- Yemoji River
If you are visiting the Yemoji River in Ijebu as many tourists tend to do, please do not eat Yellow yam the day before and on the morning of your visit. It is said to incur the wrath of an ancient dwelling snake in the river and anyone who has consumed the yam would be bitten by the snake.
Among the Ikwerre people of Eastern Nigeria who find themselves in Owerri, Imo State, and Port Harcourt, Rivers state it is forbidden to have se.x on the floor especially with an Ikwerre woman. If it must be done on the floor, lay a blanket or something, the ground should not be bare.
In Hausaland, where Shara law is practised, which covers most of Northern Nigeria, you can’t lodge in a hotel with a female companion that is not your legal wife.
No business of theirs if she is your fiancée. As this disclaimer in a hotel in Kano clearly says, sadly single female guests are frowned at and tough luck if you are a female traveling solo and need a place for the night.
In Igbeti, Oyo State it is forbidden to climb the Iyamopo Mountain on the day after the Igbeti Market Day. Climb all you want on other days but not on this day.
The mountain is especially used for religious tourism with church groups going up for prayers on the mountain. Hikers and Adventurers note that visits to the mountain on the day after Igbeti Day are however not allowed.
- Pounded Yam
As much as you may love the local cuisine of Pounded Yam, you cannot pound Yam in Yoruba land when it is nightfall. Pounded yam is usually eaten all at once with no leftovers, and so you may want to refrain from asking your hosts or the hotel room service for pounded yam at night. No one will pound yam for you at night.
- The Left Hand
Nigerian’s generally perceive the left-hand in a negative light. Whether giving or receiving gifts, paying for items, giving food, handshakes, or whatever, the use of the left hand is considered a taboo. People would outrightly reject money handed over with the left hand, no matter how large it is.
- Okete (Bush Meat)
While ‘bush meat’ is a popular delicacy in most parts of Nigeria, and could mean any of several animals hunted down by skilled hunters, Okete (bush meat), is generally not eaten among the Ondo people of Yorubaland. A variety of bush meat includes deer, antelopes, hares, grasscutters, wild hogs among several others
When greeting, in Yoruba land, genuflection is used by younger ones to the elders when greeting. The Hausa’s practice this too. The Igbo’s, however, do not genuflect or prostrate when greeting. Men shake hands and women hug when they greet each other among the Igbos. Same can be said for the rest of the Niger-Delta regions as well.
- The Fulanis
Among the Fulanis, a group found across other countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of Cattle a man has is a sign of his wealth. Also, a young female may also have se.xual relations before marriage with as many men as possible. Chastity isn’t a social construct among the Fulanis.
- Food Rejection
It is also considered rude reject food offered to you by your host. If you are a visitor, you are welcomed with food, across the diverse Nigerian cultures and places.
Rejecting food, no matter how polite you do it is considered rude and unfriendly. If you cannot finish the food, as Nigerians are avowed to serving big heaps on plates for visitors, invite your hosts to eat with you.