Department of Geography and Resource Management (GRM), The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Africa 2010


奈及利亞 (非洲) Nigeria (Africa)

Nigeria (officially The Federal Republic of Nigeria) is a country of extremes, and as indicated in the Lonely Planet, the country is challenging and yet exuberant and indeed; there is nowhere quite like it on the African continent.

Located on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, Nigeria shares land borders with four African countries, they are Republic of Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger respectively. It is the 32nd largest country in the world with the total area amounting to 923,768 km2 (a little more than two times the area of California in the States). There are totally thirty-six states in the country and Abuja is the capital city. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, according to the UN report in 2009, the population is estimated to be 154.7 million. Half of the population is Muslim, followed by Christian and indigenous beliefs.

Landscape in Nigeria is diversifying and fasinating, tropical rainforests can be found in the south, coastal plains are found in both the southwest and the southeast; and in the north, savannas and arid regions are situated. Various landscapes provide different habitats for plants and animals; therefore, it is a center of biodiversity and provides valuable research grounds. The region where the two rivers (River Niger and River Benue) merge into one and form a “Y” shape is the largest topographical region in Nigeria; it is denoted by the alphabet “Y” in the country’s coats of arms.

Map of Nigeria (Source:

Lagos is a port located in southwestern part of Nigera, on the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Guinea and to the west of the Niger River delta. It was the former capital city of Nigeria and the center of administration until Abuja officially became the capital on 12th December 1991. Despite it is no longer the capital, it remains a huge metropolis offering various opportunities (industrial and commercial activities) and thus has the 2nd largest population among the states of Nigeria.

International Airpot of Lagos


Abuja became the capital city of Nigeria in 1991 and it is situated in the geographical centre of Nigeria in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Unlike Lagos, Abuja is a planned city that was started in the 1980s when the government decided to turn it into the new capital. It is now the center of administration.

Capital city – Abuja (Source:

Itinerary and Schedule

In summer of 2010, the Department of Geography and Resource Management (GRM) organized a field trip to Nigeria and this was the first time ever for the Department to choose Africa as destination of field trip. The study group consists of three Professors (Prof. Kwai Cheong CHAU, Prof. Yee LEUNG and Prof. Jiang XU), forty undergraduate students, lead by trip leader Prof. Lawal MARAFA and Miss. Sze Wing CHAN as the trip tutor. The trip lasted for 13 days in total, started from 1st June to 13th June 2010.


Hello Nigeria!



Trip Objectives

As a required in the curriculum, GRM students have to participate in two overseas field trips, which allow them to broaden their horizon and knowledge base through interactiosn with overseas students and scholars under different disciplines. Moreover, field trips provide platforms for students to plan their own study and develop their research skills.

For the Nigeria field trip, the followings serve as the objectives for this particular trip
• To facilitate the exploration of an African destination
• To understand the African landscape and its people
• To have a brief immersion into African culture
• To see the trends and impacts of globalization, climate change, etc.


Academic exchange

Cultural exchange


Study mode

Required readings were recommended and students had attend three pre-departure tutorials, guest speakers were invited to come to share their views and experiences in Nigeria.

Prior to the field trip, students were divided into five groups and each group was assigned with one theme for in-depth investigation and analysis. Students were required to gather information; read relevant articles that related to the assigned topic and hand in their study plan.

During the trip, students were required to pay attention to details and other aspects that will be explained (either by the Professors or tour guides), take notes, take photographs, interview people and get as much information as possible to fulfill their study plan.



Assessments for the students were based on their participation and presentations before as well as during the trip. Students were also required to submit a detailed report after the trip.


Welcome to join us!

Arrive Lagos
Visit Bar Beach in the afternoon for coastal erosion study



Visit the National Open University of Nigeria in the morning
Visit the National Theatre, National Gallery of Art



Visit Lekki Conservation Centre



Visit Badagry Slave Relics Museum
Depart Lagos for Abuja FCT



Trip to Lokoja



Visit Zuma Rock



Visit Nigerian Investment Promotion commission (NIPC) and National Assembly of Nigeria (NASS)



Trip to Yankari



Visit the Yankari Game Reserve



Return from Yankari and Travel to Katsina

School visit

DAY 10


Visit Kano and return to Lagos

DAY 11


Visit the Eko Atlantic City and return to Hong Kong

DAY 12


Student Sharing

Presentations of Students

Broadening our students’ horizon and knowledge base and letting them to learn how to design their own research is an importanat component of this field trip. To achieve the abovementioned objectives, students were divided into groups to gather information and prepare for presentations.

Prior to the trip, students had to gather information from various means (books, journals etc) and each group had to prepare their own study plan.

During the trip, students were encouraged to interact with local people in order to gather more information.Through interviews, lectures and guided tours, information needed could be obtained.

Topic of each group is as follows:

Group A: How far does the current city planning favor tourism development in Nigeria?

Group B: The natural landscape of Nigeria

Group C: Urban Poverty in Lagos – The cause, impacts & suggestions

Group D: Globalization, Urbanization and Urban Poverty

Group E: Evaluating the effectiveness of rail transit as a solution to traffic congestion in Lagos and Abuja

Presentation PowerPoint

During the stay, each group had to present their findings and the group presentation powerpoints are as follows:

Group A: How far does the current city planning favor tourism development in Nigeria?

Group B: Conservation of the natural forest in Nigeria: A case study of the Lekki Conservation Centre

Group C: Urban Poverty in Lagos – The identification and cause

Group D: Impact of globalization in Lagos in fashion, diet and communication

Group E: Evaluating the effectiveness of rail transit as a solution to traffic congestion in Lagos and Abuja

Students presenting their work

Others paying attention to the presentation given

Comments and Afterthoughts of the Students

Cho Kin

To students in Hong Kong, including me, Africa is a continent for journeying and exploration. This summer, a precious and valuable opportunity is offered by the Department to discover the loveliness of this continent, through a trip to Nigeria.

The country, undoubtedly, impressed all the participants of this trip. Interaction with the locals in Nigeria and appreciation of the beauty of Nigeria’s landscape do not only globalized us mentally and physically, but also immersed us into their culture and way of life. Furthermore, through a group project focusing the natural environment in Nigeria, our groupmates have benefited with a comprehensive onsite research in conservation zones in Nigeria, which is a unique and once in a lifetime learning experience.

If a chance is offered to explore the African continent again, there will be no doubt that all of us will grasp the opportunity, as the trip to Nigeria is not only a memorable and unforgettable trip, but also a trip opened our mind to face the dynamic world we have not yet explored and experienced.

Choi Ming Sum

Nigeria, what a place! Africa, what a continent! With the most sincere helps offered from our Nigerian friends, we indeed experienced so much more than that we had ever expected in this land of possibilities. We can proudly conclude that we enjoyed a fruitful summer in 2010!

Cultural shocks present, of course. Yet, through interacting and communicating with the locals, from university students in Lagos to Emirates in Katsina… Have you ever imagined that one day you can greet the Emir in their palace? New insights were brought and mutual understanding towards two different cultures was enhanced. Not only did we understand more about this rising nation, butalso reviewed ourselves through new friends’ eyes, which is one of the most valuable treasure I have gained in this field trip.

This wonderful field trip definitely equipped us with a widened horizon.(No matter what you would never experience being robbed by Baboons once you opened the room door, right? J)I would like to thank Professor Marafa and Tutor Tracy for being well prepared for the field trip. Though emergency always occurred in the most unexpected situations, like the unique “Nigerian Time” and world known traffic jam, they were always able to smooth it out. We did enjoy and learn a lot during this 7-star field trip!

Lau Hong Yee, Katie

“Land of Possibilities,” a banner hung up in the middle of the sky in the vicinity of Lagos airport caught my eyes upon our arrival. I could not agree more with this statement after my short stay in this exotic country.

Every bits and pieces of memories we had still lingers in my mind. It is too unwise to let the once-in-a-lifetime experience fade into hazy memories. The honor to visit the Parliament, the laughter we had with our tour guides, the panic over the chaotic traffic in Lagos, the scream when Baboons went into the hut during our stay in the game reserve, the pride of being protected by four bodyguards (Mobile Police), the hardship of hiking under the hot sun, the astonishment of holding up a 100-years-old tortoise… Last but not least, the warm hospitality of every Nigerian we met. For these, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all Nigerians, Professor Marafa, and Tracy. Without your endeavors, we could never experience different possibilities in Nigeria. When I now look upon the sky, reminiscence of the Nigerian blue sky hits. It is the illimitable sky that possesses the nation’s possibilities.

Lee Lok Yi, Lorraine

It has been a while since the return, but I still remembered the moment when the plane landed in Lagos. All of us cheered and clapped our hands! “Hello Nigeria!”
Our excitement filled the whole aircraft. Perhaps I would not have chance to visit this beautiful country if I did not join this field trip. I understood I am lucky; and I treasured this opportunity to observe more, listen, feel and taste in these days.

In the trip, we were like exploring in the whole country, from Lagos in the southwest, to the north-western cities such as Kano. I learnt more about city planning and development in Lagos and Abuja, capital of Ngeria. I knew more about natural environment in Yankari. Professors taught us a lot in the trip; they gave lectures anytime, anywhere, especially when we were in the coaches moving to other cities! It was my first time to see yam and yam production! Yam is really big and long!

Nigerian people are really nice and passionate. They described their country and culture to us, and they always answer our questions. We had a lot of fun. I loved the food there too! “Land of possibilities”, that was what I saw when we left the airport. This is true. Because it is Nigeria, I had the opportunity to experience dynamic culture. I was not feeling well when we were in Yankari. But I recovered after I joined the traditional dance at culture night!

Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to join the trip! It was indeed unforgettable! I hope I can visit Nigeria again one day!

Thank you very much!