For all of its well-publicized foibles, Lagos is still a sight to behold. Beneath its rough exterior lies a city perpetually on the verge of either greatness or complete chaos. It’s this dichotomy that makes Lagos such a fascinating destination, especially for those brave souls who seek a different type of adventure. I took to the city streets, and ventured out to Lagos’ suburbs and countryside, in an effort to capture the unique characteristics that makes this oft-maligned metropolis a must-visit destination in West Africa.
Seen here from Ikoyi, street lights reflect off the persistent haze hanging over Lagos, giving the city’s skyline a violet hue.
A vendor carries bottles in pallets atop her head at a street market in the business district of Lagos Island.
A boatman guides a pirogue through one of the dense forest swamps surrounding Lekki Lagoon.
A vendor hawks cucumbers and green tomatoes at a street market on Lagos Island.
When you pair Lagos’ dilapidated, underdeveloped infrastructure with the fact that automobiles are the primary form of transportation for the city’s 21 million residents you end up with a traffic nightmare. Crumbling roads, aggressive driving and non-existent adherence to traffic laws give Africa’s largest city the ignominious distinction of being one of the world’s most dangerous and frustrating places to drive.
The mirror-like surface of a tributary leading to Lekki Lagoon reflects the surrounding landscape. Decomposing vegetation in the river makes the water appear black.
A vibrantly clad woman blends in with the surrounding market as she checks her phone in downtown Lagos.
A sand miner punts his patchwork boat through Lagos Lagoon on his way to manually dredge a portion of the polluted waterway. Sand miners gather enormous loads of sand, one dive at a time, which they later sell as aggregate to concrete manufacturers.
Children peer through a window at visitors to the Brazilian Barracoon in Badagry, a historic site west of Lagos where slaves were imprisoned until being traded for money and goods and shipped abroad.
Senior brokers process the day’s final trades as closing bell nears on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
The sun casts its waning golden light over Five Cowries Creek as it sets over Lagos Island, seen here from Victoria Island.
Check out all the high-resolution shots from my trip to Nigeria in my album on Flickr.