Tourism in Nigeria
Nigeria is a country with spectacular sights, a wide range of fauna and exciting places for vacationing, exploration and sightseeing. Visitors to Nigeria will be thrilled by the marvels of nature that abound in the land, rare, amazing plants and animals. Nature has also endowed Nigeria with many natural resources and with some of the wonders of the natural world, which can be viewed by visitors to those locations.
Nigeria is blessed with tropical rain forests, savannah grasslands, mangrove swamps and the sahel savannah near the Sahara. Among interesting places to visit in Nigeria include Nigeria game reserves, Natural tourist attractions, tourists and vacation sites, walls and ancient buildings and Nigerian festivals.
Parks and game reserves in Nigeria
Yankari Game Reserve
Nigeria has a national game reserve called The Yankari National park which is the premier game reserve in Nigeria. Set up in 1956 and opened to the public in 1962, the main Game –viewing areas of the reserve are open all year round.Yankari town is located around the Gagi River, approximately 1 ½ hours by the road, southeast of Bauchi Town. The beauty and size of the Yankari Game Reserve make it the most popular reserve in Nigeria. The reserve covers 2,058 sq. km. of savanna woodland and is well-stocked with elephant, baboons, waterbucks, bushbuck, oribi, crocodile, hippopotamus, roan antelope, buffalo, & various types of monkeys.
Lions are occasionally spotted as well, despite their natural camouflage. The best time to visit is between November and May, when tourist are likely to see more game since the dense vegetation has dried out and the animals congregate around the rivers.
Cross River National Park
The amazing park was created from two existing forest reserves of Bashi-Okwango and Oban Forest Resveres. It is famous for its unique rain forest vegetation which, according to conservation experts, is some of the richest in Africa. This park contains the last remaining rain forest in Nigeria, which is being preserved with the help of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation.
It has a herd of forest elephants, the white-faced monkey (indigenous to Nigeria only), buffalo, leopards and lowland gorillas, besides over a thousand other animal species. The park has a tropical climate characterized by a rainy season between April and October and a dry season between November and April. The moist green vegetation cover makes the for est an excellent place to see birds and butterflies.
Kainji National Park
This is located in Kwara state, Nigeria and incorporates the Borgu Game Reserve and Zugurma Game Reserve to the southeast in Niger State. The park was established in 1979. The Kainji National Park also contains the Kainji Dam, an artificial lake which covers the town of Old Bussa. Here Mungo Park, the explorer, was said to have come to grief in 1805. Now the lake hides the scene of the accident. The lake is 136 km long and tours of the dam are available on request from the Nigeria Electric Power Authority. Boat trips on the lake can be arranged by the Borgu Game Reserve office at Wawa. To reduce the expense, it is better for several visitors to share the cost. Fishing is allowed on the lake.
The Mambilla Plateau, in the southeast corner of Taraba State, shares a border with Cameroon. A high grassland plateau averaging about 1800 meters, it is scenic, cool and a pleasant change from the heat and humidity of Lagos. Because the roads are still under construction, a sport utility vehicle or jeep is recom mended and visitors should pack essentials, camping equipment and food. As an option, there are a few hotels on the plateau. The Park provides an attractive setting, well worth a visit. Mambilla has cattle ranches, tea plantations and rolling, grassy hills. It is different from the rest of Nigeria with regard to flora and fauna and is home to some rare species of birds and animals, especially at theGashaka-Gumti National Park.
Gashaka-Gumti National Park
This is a vast land of spectacular wilderness (6,000 sq. kin) in the southeast corner of Taraba State Nigeria, adjoin ing theMambilla Plateau. Mostly mountainous, from 457 to 2407 meters, it contains Nigeria’s highest mountain, Chapal Waddi(2409m). It is the most ecologically diverse conservation area in the country and contains swaths of guinea savanna, gallery forest, moist forest, mountain forest and grassland.
Many rivers flow through the park, including the Taraba, a major tributary of the River Benue. A wide variety of animal life can be found, including buffalo, roan ante lope, chimpanzee, colobus monkey, hippopotamus, hyena, giant forest hog, lion and leopard. The park is a birdwatcher’s paradise with a wide variety of species, and there is excellent fishing in the River Kam. The park is best explored on foot and it is possible to hire game guards; guides and porters are available at Serti or in Gashaka village.
Natural Tourist attraction sites in Nigeria
Owu Falls – located in Kwara State of Nigeria, it is the steepest natural waterfall in West Africa and is surrounded by a tropical rainforest in which can be found a wide range of animals and plants not seen in other parts of the world.
Assop Falls – located about 40 miles from Jos city of Nigeria, it is a lovely place for picnicking, swimming and enjoying the grand view of the scenic landscape.
Ikogosi Warm Springs – this is a natural warm spring that flows and mixes with cold water issuing from another spring. This place attracts tourists from all over the world.
Wikki Warm Springs – Deep inside the Nigeria’s Yankari Game Reserve is this warm water spring that stays the same warm temperature day and night.
Niger-Benue Confluence – This is where the Rivers Niger and Benue join at Lokoja. It can be toured on available boats, on canoes or viewed from a closeby hill giving a panoramic view of the confluence.
Tourists and Vacation sites in Nigeria
Obudu Cattle Ranch: The ranch is located in Cross River state of Nigeria and has near temperate climate owing to its location on high hills. Being only 45 miles from the Cameroon border, a tourist can enjoy the countryside of both Nigeria and Cameroon at the same time. The Obudu Plateau is spread over an area of 40 sq. miles. It is 5,200 feet above sea level. The climate is cool and pleasant with no mosquitoes.
The landscape is spectacular, with rolling grasslands, deep-wooded valleys and waterfalls. Iris best to visit Obudu in the dry season since during the rainy season much of the ranch may be covered in mist and low clouds and there are thunderstorms. Between Dec. and Feb. the harmattan is heavy; therefore, the best times for a visit are the end of Oct. to Dec. and March to May before the rainy season.
As a tourist attraction, it has a waterfall, a gorilla habitat which is 13 km from the hotel and is accessible either by vehicle or on foot, where one can take a long, picturesque walk to the camp, and observe gorillas in their natural habitat. andopportunities to see varieties of birds are unparalleled and there is a pleasantly shaded natural swimming pool near the Ranch House. Other activities include: golf, badminton, lawn tennis, squash and horseback riding. The latest attraction at the Obudu Ranch is a cable-car (similar to Europe’s) that runs from the foot of the hill to the top, easing transportation and providing spectacular sceneries.
Kainji Lake Game Reserve: See elephants, lions, hippos and crocodiles in their natural habitats. Also visit the craft shops at Wawa and enjoy the delicate cuisine of the local communities. This game reserve is located in Niger and Kwarastates of Nigeria.
Rock Paintings of Birnin Kudu: Reputed to be thousands of years old, these painting depict the lifestyle of the people that inhabited that area of Jigawa State in Nigeria.
Esie Museum: this museum displays terracotta artifacts and figurines dating from the 13th to the 16th century and shown to be doing various things from dancing to weaving. The Esie Museum is located in Esie town, about 100km from Ilorin in Kwara State.
Nigerian Golf Courses: Nigeria has many golf courses where vacationers can get the best of games surrounded by the grandest views of nature. Golf courses include the IBB Golf Course in Abuja, Lamingo in Jos, and others in Ewekoro,Ikeja, Ilorin, Ibadan and other parts of Nigeria.
Walls and Ancient Buildings in Nigeria
Zaria City Wall, Northern Nigeria
The Zaria City wall perhaps remains the best preserved among the cities of northern Nigeria. The need for defensive walls has disappeared since the occupation by the British of the Western Sudan at the beginning of this century. Moreover, the rains of over 50 wet seasons have battered down the tall mud walls rampant in this part of the country. The walls of Zaria, which circumnavigate the city, are between 14 and 16 kilometers long and are pierced by eight gates. It is an interesting site to behold.
City Wall and Moat, Benin City, Nigeria
These are the most impressive city walls and moats in southern Nigeria. At their highest point, the walls were nine metros high and the moat (ditch) nine metros deep, making a total incline of 18 metros. Unfortunately in the past few years, the walls and moats has been the victim of extensive soil excavation used as a source of building materials.
Foot Bridge, Kaduna, Nigeria
This is an interesting example of indigenous engineering before the advent of roads and railways in Nigeria. The bridge was originally erected by Lord Lugard at Zungeru in 1904 and re-erected in 1954 in the Kaduna Gardens of Northern Nigeria.
Gobirau Minaret, Katsina, Nigeria
This imposing minaret, or tower which originally is said to be some 120 metros tall and which was built of mud and palm timbers, is all that remains of the mosque constructed in Habe times, before the holy wars of Sheik Unman Dan Fodio. Parts of the 15.25-meter tower are thought to be about 250 years old.
Chief Ogiamen’s House, Benin City, Nigeria
This building is protected under the Antiquities Act of 1953 principally because of its architectural eminence as a fine example of Benin traditional architecture. It has an elaborate system of court yards and altars. It is a chief’s house and was probably built before the 1897 British expedition against Benin. The big fire that gutted the city following the British invasion did not affect the building.
Argungu Fishing Festival: Argungu is located in Sokoto state in the North Western part of Nigeria. The fishing festival is famous in which a lake is stocked with fish which are fed until the time of the festival. Individuals go into the lake without the aid of boats and the competition goes to the one with the largest catch. This festival is international and attracts visitors from all over the world.
Argungu Motor Rally: Added as part of the fishing festival, car manufacturers and marketers have organised the annual motor rally in which cars go through an endurance race over country roads. Notable names like Toyota, Mercedes and Peugeot feature in the rally.
Eyo Festival: Eko people of Lagos holds annually and usually culminates in the display of masquerades adorned resplendently in white flowing dresses and hats to match.
Kwa-ghir Festival: A festival of the Tiv people in Benue state of Nigeria, it is a display of traditional masquerades, puppet theatre, some forms of acrobatics, traditional dancing, Nigerian music and sartorial display. A colourful festival indeed, it attracts many people and is accentuated by the friendliness and warm welcome of the Tiv people of Nigeria.
The Durbar Festival: This is usually a festival culminating in a horse race at the behest of an Emir, a traditional ruler. With roots in the Islamic way of life, the Durbar is colourful, exciting and open to all to watch.
Boat Regatta festival: The Izons and other peoples of the Niger Delta Area have festivals that include extremely colourful boat regattas and water races. Canoe races are also a feature and visitors are attracted to these from various parts of the world.
New Yam festival of the Igbos: The new yam festival is rooted in the ancient worship of the gods of the land for a fruitful harvest. Modernised and still as flamboyant as ever, the festival holds around August and features masquerades, Nigerian traditional dances, wrestling competitions and other sporting and gaming events. It is usually a lively event to behold.