Abuja is one of Nigeria’s most expensive cities. Each year, many prospective tourists bypass the country’s capital due to the high cost of living.
However, once you learn the things to do and the things to avoid, you will discover that there are plenty of ways to keep the costs associated with a trip under control. Abuja does not have to drain your bank account, and it can offer excellent value compared to most major cities in the country.
Follow these insights from Jovago.com, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking portal and you should be fine!
GETTING TO ABUJA
Take the bus.
The cheapest way to get to the city if you live on the eastern or western part of the country is the bus. A one-way ticket can cost less than what you’d pay to fill up your car’s gas tank. For example, an advance-purchase bus ticket for travel from Lagos, to Abuja costs approximately NGN 3,500 versus NGN 5,000 to fill up a 50 liter tank at the average Lagos gas price of NGN 100 a liter (and you will need to fill up more than once for a drive of that distance).
Consider alternate airports.
The price of an airline ticket can vary dramatically depending on which airport you are flying in from. For instance, round-trip flights in August from Owerri to Abuja are valued at NGN 36,219.00 with a popular Nigerian airline, while flights from Asaba to Abuja are NGN 50,942 with the same carrier.
STAYING IN ABUJA
Opt for an Inn or guesthouse.
Guest houses and Inns offer great values compared to nearby hotels, with rooms starting as lows as NGN1,000 per night. For example, you can get a room for two at Zanzibar Hotel on Jovago.com for NGN 2,010 a night; they generally offer amazing rates on accommodations.
Consider hotels in far-out locations.
Finding a hotel or hostel in an area outside the main tourist zones or far from the upscale regions. Hotels in areas like Maitama or Wuse can be quite expensive, with the lowest room available from about N10,000.
However, hotels and guest houses located in remote or outskirt areas, including Kubwa,Mpape and Gwagwalada are relatively cheaper. This might actually be an advantage as transportation around Abuja is quite affordable. Your meal expenses will heavily depend on exactly where you choose to dine.
*Note that prices climb during the peak holiday months, which is another reason to consider coming outside that period.
Transportation is generally cheap in this city and taxis do not charge prices as exorbitant as the one is Lagos or Port Harcourt will. However, you can save some money by taking public transportation (buses) rather than cabs.
If you’re worried about getting lost or ending up on the wrong side of town, use the GPS on your phone or tablet as the city is well planned. Also, you can travel by foot in the town itself, it may be a long walk but its cheaper than all other forms of transportation and you get to see more of the city!
Abuja is famous for its status as the nation’s capital but it is not necessarily a place to visit solely for its cuisine. Excellent food and reasonable prices however are not that hard to find. In fact, the cosmopolitan nature of this city makes it one of the best locations in the country for sampling a variety of dishes on a budget.
Enjoy cheap meals.
There’s plenty of good food to be found for bargain prices. You can get some of Abuja’s best-value dishes in the ethnic areas like Wuse or Garki.
Stay away from restaurants close to the city’s centre, especially Maitama, or you will be paying a lot more than you have to. Street food has really taken off in Abuja, with stalls showcasing dishes from around the country lined at Abuja’s markets. There are lots to choose from and even if you aren’t certain about paying for a meal, you can get a few tasting samples.
Simply walk a little bit further away from the high-end venues or ask locals for good and cheap restaurants.
WHAT TO DO
Stick with free attractions.
Abuja is filled with pleasures that won’t cost you a farthing. Some of the city’s most well-known attractions actually are free. Explore the Abuja Art and Craft Village, attend a service at the Abuja National Cathedral, see the Aso Rock, play a song and picnic at the Millennium Park and much more. Plenty of parks also either free or accept contributions.
Patronize the flea markets.
In Abuja,it is advisable to stay out of the shopping malls if you want to stay within your budget. However, if u must shop, there a lot of high end shopping malls, boutiques and stalls around the city. It is worthwhile to stick with the flea markets or explore Abuja’s main markets including the New Wuse Market, Garki International market andFriday Muslim Market.