Nigeria — Weather
Nigeria is a country on the northwestern land mass of the continent of Africa. It is close to the equator so falls entirely in the tropics. It is affected by the Atlantic Ocean weather patterns, although it has a south facing coastline. It borders Lake Chad to the northeast, also affecting weather for the region. There are two rivers that feed into the ocean, converging in the center of the country then heading south, sort of dissecting Nigeria in a ‘Y’ shape. As this waterway grows strength on its journey, it widens out to form one the greatest river deltas in the world.
As a tropical country with this geography, Nigeria experiences four different climate types, which generally differ as you travel from south to north of the country, moving away from the equator. The first is the tropical rainforest climate, and the south of the country will generally see more annual rainfall than elsewhere in Nigeria. Next is tropical savanna, which is drier and affected by the huge African continental landmass. Further north is the tropical dry climate, where vegetation changes and is more desert like. There are some mountains in Nigeria, and here the area experiences a montane micro-climate, which much lower temperatures and different patterns of precipitation.
Since it is a tropical country, there are still only two seasons in Nigeria. The dry season, which lasts from October until April is determined by high temperatures and low humidity, and is affected by warm winds coming from the Sahara Desert to the north. These winds are known locally as ‘harmattan’, and they come into force around December until February. For the other six months of the year the country is in the wet season. Rains start in the south, and then travel northward, with most parts of the country seeing the most rain in May, June, or July. Throughout the year, average temperatures in Nigeria fall between 73°F and 88°F. However, the mercury can rise as high as 110°F during the hottest time of the dry season, and drop to 42°F during the rainy season.
Best Time to Visit Nigeria
Some Nigerian weather can be extremely uncomfortable and dangerous to travel in since the infrastructure isn’t really designed to cope well. August, September, and October should be avoided, wait until the rains have ceased and the land has dried out.
If you are visiting the Yankari National Park, the best time to visit is in the dry season, between October and April, since this is when the vegetation dries and the animals are drawn to the watering holes, providing enhanced wildlife spotting opportunities. It can be possible to visit during the rainy season, although it is best avoided towards the end.
Big cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt don’t really experience a tourist season, so you can expect accommodation prices to remain constant year round. Do be aware of any local festivals though, where you should certainly plan to book hotels in advance. If intending on visiting game reserves or national parks, be aware that they may simply close for the rainy season, so you will need to go when the dry season starts.