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In line with its proximity to the equatorial belt and the Atlantic Ocean, the climate in Nigeria is tropical and the weather wet (which may come as a surprise to expats who associate Africa with only a desperate dryness).
Temperatures are generally high and consistent, and seasons are more aptly characterised by the difference in rainfall than a change in the mercury. For example, in Lagos, average temperatures barely range from 77°F (25°C) to 82°F (28°C). June is the season with peak rains, while January hardly sees any by comparison.
In the south of the country, a coastal region that includes Lagos and the oil-rich area of Port Harcourt, it’s incredibly humid, but it rarely gets hotter than 90°F (32°C). This area is defined by two rainy periods, one short period and one long period. The long rainy season begins in late February or early March and lasts until July. The short rainy season starts in September and runs through October, though rains are not nearly as heavy as in the long season.
Inland and in the north of Nigeria, a large region that includes the capital of Abuja, the weather is incredibly hot, and the skies clear and blue for most of the year. The good news for foreigners moving from more moderate climes is that humidity is much lower than near the coast. Still, expect temperatures that reach from the mid-90s (mid-30s in Celsius) to over 100°F (37°C) during the day, and then anticipate a considerable decline during the evening, down to 72°F (22°C). In this area of Nigeria, the rainy season only starts in June or July and ends in September.
Expats moving to Nigeria would do well to bring light, loose-fitting clothes and, most importantly, an umbrella. In general, one can leave the winter jackets and long underwear behind and pack a favourite swimming costume and a high-SPF sunscreen.
►For more on life as an expat, see our Culture Shock in Nigeria page
Are you an expat living in Nigeria?
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