Travel: Beam me down, Scotty

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The Independent Travel
FIRST REACTION

It's hot. Very hot.

COUNTRY & REGION

Yobe Province, in the north of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

NATURE OF THE TERRAIN

Dusty, overgrazed savannah of low hills, with scattered villages encompassed by fields of cotton, peanuts, millet and durra.

ALTITUDE

About 300 metres.

NEAREST SETTLEMENT

You are about 20km north-west of Nguru, a modern town of around 15,000 inhabitants, famous for its large saltworks.

POSSIBLE HAZARDS

The death sentence if you are caught importing marijuana (but only 10 years' hard labour for smoking it). Highway hazards include road blocks set up by bandits/policemen/traders, and truck drivers on speed.

USEFUL LANGUAGES

Nigeria's official language is English, although in rural areas Pidgin English is more common. The local ethnic tongue is the Kano dialect of Hausa, a language second only to Swahili in sub-Saharan Africa.

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER

General Sani Abacha seized power in November 1993 and made himself Head of Government; Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces; Minister of Defence; Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council; and Chairman of the Federal Executive Council. Not bad for a squaddie.

LIKELY WEATHER CONDITIONS

Very hot and dry - the temperature may hit 45C at midday.

REASONS FOR HANGING AROUND

Apart from sunbathing, 250km to the south-west is the 1,000-year-old metropolis of Kano, with its ancient indigo dye pits, the stately Emir's Palace, and the brilliant chaos of the Kurmi Market.

GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE

Easier than you might think. Walk 20km to Nguru and catch a train to Kano, eight hours away. From Amino Kano International Airport, Nigeria Airways has direct flights to London on Mondays and Wednesdays.

This week's random co-ordinates chosen by the computer are:

13 7' N 10 18' E

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