For many years whilst driving through the “Third Mainland Bridge” in Lagos, I notice a community built on water. I always asked myself why people lived there and years later I ask why they chose never to leave. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit this community whose name is “MAKOKO” and had my questions answered.

Makoko is a community with over 100,000 people (85% Christians and 15% muslim). This community is a fishing community with men responsible for catching fish whilst women are responsible for smoking and selling fish. The people are mainly from the Ijaw tribe (hence the reason I couldn’t understand the language spoken in Makoko) with some from the Yoruba and Igbo tribe. Makoko consists of 11 communities (6 of which are built on water). The community operates self sufficiently with limited interference from the government with chief being the judicial system. Below is a visual diary of my trip to Makoko (see also my SHORT video diary):





Commerce. Tomatoes anyone? Canoeing is the mode of transport.


Kids learn to swim from the age of 3 


Mother and child

IMG_0183Certificate of chieftancy at the visit to the Chief’s house

IMG_0318A view from the primary school 


The primary school in Makoko which educates 269 people a year


With the Chief’s youngest brother Noah Shamede who is also the Director of the school

IMG_0186Yours truly

How did I organise this trip: I am a member of the Nigerian Field Society, a national organisation made up of volunteers that organise trips across Nigeria. If you are interested in well organised trips, ensure to join the society.

How long was the trip: A 20-30min boat trip from Victoria Island to Makoko. Overall trip was 3 hours long.

What did I enjoy the most: The Q&A with Noah Shamede which gave interesting insights into the community. And seeing Makoko from inward instead from how I viewed it driving on the third mainland bridge.

Travel tips:

  • The heat can be intense so I suggest you take along drinks and snacks
  • Wear a hat to protect you from the heat
  • Wear comfortable shoes like trainers
  • Wear trousers (makes getting in and out of the boat easy)

Hope you enjoyed the write up on Makoko. Share your most memorable site to visit in Nigeria. 


  • Reply
    Thomas Chow
    July 24, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for your story! It’s very intriguing!! Since I’m travelling to Lagos this week, how can I contact you? I’m very interested in join the tour to Makoko community! Appreciate!

    • Reply
      Funke Ogunkoya
      July 24, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Thank you for reading the story and very glad you found the piece intriguing. The tour of Makoko that I went on was organised by the NFS (Nigerian Field Society) who run monthly tours to Makoko. Unfortunately this month’s tour took place last weekend with the next scheduled for Late August. Happy to connect at sassyfunke@gmail.com and help with advise on Lagos!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Hi, I’m planning to visit Makoko primary school but I don’t have any of their contact…. pls How do I contact them.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    Hi. I am planning to visit Makoko. Came across your write-up while carrying out my research. Where can I get the boat ride from VI to makoko

  • Reply
    July 7, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Nice. Im also a member of the NFS. And organise the Makoko trips. The membership is open to all

  • Reply
    February 6, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Good afternoon.

    Your story is so inspiring and motivating. How do I become a member of this group.

    Great work.

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