I hope you are well.
The past two years have brought quite a bit of upheaval in our lives, but “Thank God”, it looks like things are slowly picking up. And the activities too…
So… Last month, I had to go to Abuja in Nigeria for professional reasons. I had been invited to a training and an annual gathering for African incubators. I was going for a week, and I was excited. It was my first trip outside Cameroon since the crisis, but it was not my first time in Nigeria. My first visit to Nigeria, still in Abuja, dates back to 2017 and I had a wonderful time there, hence the joy of coming back. But with Covid-19, things are clearly not the same, and travel procedures are not so simple. For me, preparing for my trip was not complicated, but for some, it could be a Chinese puzzle. So I will try to give you the travel procedure to make it easier for Cameroonians who want to go to Nigeria.
On our marks, ready? Go!
What you need to know when preparing for your trip is that:
- No visa: Cameroonians (at least those with Cameroonian passports) do not need a visa to go to Nigeria. This is the result of a bilateral agreement between the two countries. So as long as you have your travel documents and your plane ticket, you just have to go through the airport controls.
- The price of the plane ticket: Although Cameroon and Nigeria are neighboring countries, the plane ticket is still quite expensive if you go to Abuja precisely. In 2017, it cost nearly 400,000 Fcfa (about 610 Euros or 720 USD). This year, it was around 500,000 Fcfa. As much to say to you that one pays relatively as much if not more expensive, than if one went to Europe for example.
- No direct flight: If you are traveling from Douala to Abuja or vice versa, be aware that there is no direct flight between the 02 cities. You will always stop over somewhere before arriving in either city depending on which airline you choose. The direct routes are much more: Abuja – Yaounde or Lagos – Douala.
- If you stopover in Lagos, change airport: When choosing your travel company, take a good look at your itinerary. If you are offered a stopover in Lagos, be aware that you will have to change airports once there. This was already the case in 2017, and it still is today. In fact, in Lagos, they have 02 airports: an international airport for international flights and a local airport for domestic flights. So you will have to leave Abuja International Airport, and take a taxi which will drop you off at the local airport. But the 02 airports are not far from each other. In 10 minutes you are there. Personally, I preferred to outsmart that by taking a company that would save me this hassle.
- Covid test: Nigeria is requesting a negative PCR test for Covid-19, valid for up to 72 hours when you enter their soil. The test results must be in the English language.
Basically, these are things to keep in mind once when planning your trip. It used to be pretty simple, but as I told you, with Covid-19 there have been some changes. And these changes mainly revolve around the Covid-19 Test. I have seen some travelers at the airport who were very confused when it came to checks. But the procedure is quite simple.
Traveling with the Covid-19 Test (from Cameroon):
Basically, you should know that for any trip outside Cameroon, you must take your Covid-19 test, and it must be negative. For the purposes of this article, I will limit myself to the procedure for those who reside in Douala. The government has set up an online procedure for making an appointment for the test, which makes things a lot easier. Here are some steps to follow:
- Go to the website of the Regional Delegation of Public Health of the Littoral in the abbreviated form “DRSPL”. I am quoting it to you so that it will help you better keep the website address in mind since that is the acronym that is used. So the DRSPL website is available at: https://www.drspl.net/. (Optional step, you can go directly to step 2, by going directly to the site https://mamalpro.com/acceuil/)
- Once you are on the site, go to the menu bar and click on “Test Request”. When the menu pops up, click on “Outgoing Traveler”. You will be redirected to the website https://mamalpro.com/acceuil/ which is the platform for managing the response to Covid.
It is recommended to make your appointment 72 hours to 48 hours before the day of your trip. Since the PCR test is required, it takes around 24 hours to get the results. Therefore, it should be taken into account in your agenda. For example, I was traveling on a Saturday. I made my appointment for Wednesday, I was scheduled for Thursday. Thursday morning I did my test and Friday night got my results. So Saturday morning, I traveled quietly.
- On the Mamalpro website, carefully read the instructions on the page and create your account. You will then complete a test request form, which will schedule your appointment according to the location closest to the locality you have indicated.
- Once you receive your test request confirmation, it is through this platform your account that you will have the history of your test requests, as well as your results. With the old procedure, which was done directly on the DRSPL website, you had to take care to make a capture or write the number that had been assigned to you. This number was used not only to be received during the test but also to receive the results.
Note that the Covid tests in Cameroon carried out by public authorities are completely FREE. I spent absolutely nothing at the testing center and best of all, I hadn’t even spent more than 20 minutes there. After 10 minutes of waiting, I took my test, and it was over.
Traveling with your Covid-19 Test (for Nigeria):
After receiving your negative results, go to the Nigerian government’s Covid management platform for traveler registration. This platform is put online at: https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng/onboarding/homepage.
- Carefully fill out the various forms (the one on the home page, and the second which will appear later). In addition to your information, you will also be asked for contact and an address in Nigeria, the laboratory where you will do your compulsory Covid test after 07 Days on Nigerian soil or when you leave the country and the results of your Covid test that you may need to download from the site.
- Following this form, you will have to pay for the compulsory exit test. The price of the test varies according to the approved centers. The organization that supported us had already made the arrangements for our tests and had sent us the information to be indicated. So we had to pay 100 USD (about 55,000 FCFA) for this, but some of us got a reduction afterward. So again, it depends on which center you choose to take the test. Personally, I had paid for my Nigeria test online with UBA’s VISA card. But some travelers couldn’t and it didn’t bother. They could pay directly in Nigeria. Since anyway you will still have to take the test before you leave the country.
- Once the form is completed, you will receive some time after confirmation of your registration on the Nigerian government website with your travel authorization and Covid test status and whether it has been paid or not. A QR code will be attached and you will need to present it to the Nigerian authorities. You will need to capture these documents, if possible even print them (that’s even better).
- Return trip: Attention! When you leave Nigeria, you must print your test. We made it to the new Abuja International Airport directly, since that’s where we arrived and left.
Here is! That’s pretty much all you need. I hope this article has helped you prepare for your trip. Since my last trip to Egypt in December 2019, I was already thinking of doing some articles of this kind on my stay. So if you liked this article or the topic interests you, please leave me a comment and share the article with you.
Until then, be well and remember to walk. Not just for your health, but also for exploring the world.
See you soon!