Shopping in Lagos is great fun. There are several smart shopping malls – mainly on the islands, where Victoria Island’s Palm Mall is a great place for quality clothes, jewelry, and top end souvenirs. The new Novare Lekki Mall in Sangokedo is the largest mall and everything in it seems super-sized!
It is fun to wander around the colorful markets as you search for souvenirs! The city has the second largest market in Africa – the Balogun – which attracts literally thousands of traders. The Lekki Market, situated near Lekki Beach, is also extremely popular. This market has a wide selection of authentic Nigerian souvenirs including rough-cut precious stones and attractive jewelry. There are alligator and snakeskin bags and shoes and items made from ivory – for those who have no reservations about buying such things. All the prices are high because market traders expect customers to barter – the ‘rule of thumb’ is to knock the price down by 50-70%. It is a good idea, to keep all receipts for the souvenirs you buy in Lagos as customs officials often search luggage of departing visitors.
1. Choose a lovely piece of Adire fabric
This distinctive ‘tie-dye’ fabric originates from Itoku town where there is an annual festival dedicated to Adire! Adire is very cleverly made using three different techniques. The fabric starts off as a piece of plain white fabric and the design is painted on using candle wax (Eleko). Alternatively, small pebbles are tied into the fabric using raffia and this creates a pattern of white circles (Oniko). The third design technique is Alabera which is when the raffia is stitched onto the white cloth in a pattern. Once the pattern has been formed, the fabric is then totally immersed in indigo dye. The fabric is then hung out to dry and then the pieces of wax are peeled away or stones and raffia removed to reveal the pattern. The designs are bold and fun and a length of the fabric can be used for a tablecloth, curtains, throw or worn as a sarong on the beach. It is best to wash the fabric separately in a cool wash before using.
2. Buy a lovely new basket
If you love new cane baskets, you will certainly appreciate the selection of styles and sizes available. Most of them are made in Lagos Meande village and there are some lovely fruit and bread baskets available in a variety of sizes that can be successfully packed in a suitcase case!
3. Treat yourself to a lovely leather item
There is a wide array of leather goods available including handbags, belts, wallets, and purses and these are mainly made in the northern towns of Kano and Kadina where most of the cattle are raised.
4. Choose a lovely sculpture to decorate your home
You will see many different pieces of art in Lagos and buying a beautiful wooden carved sculpture is great for a lasting memory of your visit. Benin City is particularly well known for its sculptures but there is a good selection available in Lagos. The styles of the sculptures vary tremendously as there are more than 250 different ethnic groups in Nigeria. A great selection of sculptures, masks, and paintings can be found in Oyubo Market which is situated 14 kilometers from the center of Lagos.
5. Have fun with an Udu!
This traditionally styled rounded clay pot can be used both as a water jug and a musical instrument if an extra hole is made in the pot before the clay is baked! The Udu makes a low deep sound, but this can be altered by adjusting the way you cover the top hole with your flat hand – it will take some practice!
6. Aran slippers – a very luxurious treat!
Unlike the aran wool found in Scotland, the aran found in Lagos is a beautiful silky velvet material that is colored deep red, purple or a rich shade of brown. The material has always been held in high esteem as a status symbol, so what better than treating someone special to a beautiful pair of gorgeous aran slippers?
Aso Oke is another very special cloth that is handwoven by the Yorubas. It is very expensive and in Lagos is only worn on special occasions such as weddings and funerals.
7. Treat yourself to some excellent rice!
Nigerian Jollof rice is held in high esteem by cooks all over the world and you will find it on sale in many places in Lagos. It really does taste good so it is worth packing a bag or two in your suitcase and cooking it when you get home.
8. Would you like a new mobile or laptop?
Computer Village is the place to go for IT related merchandise and there are computers, laptops, and mobiles available at very competitive prices. Interestingly, most of the sellers double up as repairmen too! Smaller items on sale include computer accessories, phone cases plus a variety of bootleg computer games and software.
9. Grab yourself some great new clothes at amazing prices
If you are looking for stylish clothes, the boutiques in Palm Mall are perfect, but if you are wanting to experience the fun of a market and to buy some clothes at knock-down prices then Yaba Market (Tejuosho Market) in the Yaba district of the city is perfect! There are 300 different stalls, selling jeans, tee-shirts, polo shirts, and accessories as well as smart shirts and even snazzy tuxedos and silk bow ties! Wear flat shoes and just wander – you are bound to find something you like!
10. Enjoy some great Nigerian music
Like the local film industry, the Nigerian music scene is getting noticed worldwide and there is an increasing number of great music sounds being produced by local bands. Music covers most genre with hip hop being the favorite but if you want to be traditional, search out some goje music which is played on a two-string violin!