My West African overland trip Part II – Nigeria I

Nigeria Part I

From Abuja to Calabar 

This article is part of a sequence of posts about my experience traveling by bus in West Africa. 

The first city that I visited in Nigeria was Abuja. I knew that I wanted to go from there to Calabar and then to Lagos but I didn’t have any ticket booked. I decided to take some time to check the situation and see if it will be safe to travel by bus or not, as everyone was scaring me about it.

On a Friday night I went to a salsa party in Abuja. I had the contacts of some salseros to meet there. After only 10 minutes talking to one of them (Vincent) I had already made the final decision of going to Calabar by bus, as he told me he was planning to do the same. Amazing! That’s the best thing that could have happened to me: my first West African bus experience is not going to be alone. Then I can see if I could do the next one on my own.

We agreed on the day and we booked the tickets one day before. I was a little bit scared of not finding tickets anymore because it was carnival time in Calabar. But I was flexible with the dates anyway. Fortunately we got the 2 tickets for the bus.

Distance: 701 kms
Duration: From 9:30am till 11pm – Total: 13:30 hrs

Price: 8000 NGN (14.50€)

The 14 seats mini bus from Abuja to Calabar

The official departure time was supposed to be 6:45am. The real departure time was 9:30am. Of course I was at the bus station at 6am. You would ask yourself “What the hell did we do for more than 3 hours there?”

At the waiting area with my friend Damilola Babatunde, who drove me to the bus station

Well…the minibus had only 14 seats and no space at all for our luggages. So they had to figure out how to put 14 suitcases inside the bus. Incredible! They tried to put some in, some out, and then changed it again redistributing the suitcases. Ohhhhh…it was a never ending story. They said no one should enter the bus until his/her own suitcase problem was solved. When they saw that it was impossible to take all 14 suitcases, they brought some plastic bags and told people to put the essentials things in there and use it as a small hand luggage because the big suitcase will be sent a few days later with another bus.

Excuse me????

When I heard this, I took my backpack, jumped as the first one onto the bus and managed to accommodate my backpack in front of my seat even though I had no space for my feet. HA! But this backpack was going with me. For sure!

My backpack in the minibus 😉

I was sitting at the end of the bus where the AC couldn’t reach. I tried to open the window but it was broken. So..let’s enjoy the trip. Lol

As soon as we started moving I relocated my suitcase and had space for my feet. My friend’s suitcase didn’t make it on our trip and arrived 3 days later to Calabar.

The funniest thing is, they had no space for suitcases but they continued collecting people from the street to travel on the bus. I don’t know how but it worked. Lol.

With my friend Vincent on my first bus trip in West Africa

We had “only” a 3 hour delay but no other inconveniences on the road. So I decided to continue my trip in Nigeria alone by road to the other cities that I had planned.

How was my next trip by bus? Check my next article about it 😊

You can check my daily summary of my travel adventures in Africa on my Instagram account.

Enjoy it and stay tuned!

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