Nigeria

Nigeria, known as "the Giant of Africa," is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. The country shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. On 1 October 1960, Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom. The official language is English and Naira is the official currency. Nigeria lies between latitudes 4o and 14oN, and longitudes 2° and 15°E. Abuja is the capital of the country while Lagos is the largest city.

Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups, with varying languages and customs, creating a country of rich ethnic diversity. The largest ethnic groups are the Fulani/Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, accounting for 62% of population while the Edo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Ebira, Nupe, Gwari, Itsekiri, Jukun, Urhobo, Igala, Idoma and Tiv comprise 33%; other minorities make up the remaining 5%.

Notable Places to Visit

Chappal Waddi Mountain/Mambilla Plateau

At 2,419 meters, Chappal Waddi is the country's highest point. Located in Taraba State, near the border with Cameroon, the mountain is one of the many that sit atop and around the Mambilla Plateau. This plateau is Nigeria's northern continuation of the Bamenda Highlands of Cameroon. The Mambilla Plateau has an average elevation of about 1,524 metres (5,000 ft) above sea level, leaving it as the highest plateau in Nigeria since no other plateau in Nigeria rivals it in elevation. Some of its villages are situated on hills that must be at least 1, 828 metres (5,997 ft) high above sea level. The highland is home to Nigeria and West Africa's only highland tea plantations. Nigeria's largest game reserves, the Gashaka/Gumpti Game Reserve is found north of the Gang ('Chappal Waddi') Mountain area just on the northern border of the Mambilla Plateau. The Gang Peak is West Africa's highest peak (excluding Cameroon's peaks) and has a rich historical and tourist importance steeped in enthralling Mambilla mythologies and legends. 'Chappal Wadi' is a misnomer for the ancient Gang Peak, whose tradition and historical phenomena have spanned several centuries to date.

Shere Hills

The Jos Plateau is located near the center of Nigeria. It covers 8, 600 km² and is bounded by 300-600 meter escarpments around much of its circumference. With an average altitude of 1, 280 metres, its highest point is at Shere Hills reaching 1, 829 metres. The plateau gives the State its name, Plateau State in which it is found and is itself named for the state's capital, Jos. Important rivers in Plateau state are Kaduna, Gongola, Hadeija and Yobe, which have their source in this place. The Jos Plateau is home to the ancient Nok culture, known for its remarkable terracotta artwork. After the British colonization of Nigeria, Jos Plateau became one of the most important tourist destinations in Nigeria. The Jos Plateau lies in the Nigerian Middle Belt, and even in this region known for cultural diversity, it is unusually diverse. Over 60 ethno-linguistic groups exist on the plateau.

Idanre Hills

Idanre hill is one of the most awesome and beautiful natural landscapes in Ondo State and Nigeria. Added to its beauty which fires human curiosity is the fact that the entire people of Idanre lived on these boulders for almost a millennium. Since emigration downhill in 1923, the topography, vegetation as well as the fauna and flora life have remained undisturbed. There is a special species of tailless animal called Hyrax that lives on the rocks which because of hunting are becoming extinct and there are special monkeys sported near Orosun hills. The site is home to a group of bats and the people hold a unique festival of bats every year. Oke Idanre hill consists of high plain with spectacular valleys interspersed with inselbergs of about 3,000 ft above sea level. Its physical attributes include Owa's Palace, Shrines, Old Court, Belfry, Agbooogun foot print, thunder water (Omi Aopara) and burial mounds and grounds.

Agbokim Waterfall

Located some 17 kilometers from Ikom, Agbokim Waterfalls is not far from the Nigeria-Cameroon border. The waterfall which consists of seven streams, each cascading over steep cliff that provides seven-faced falls, is about 315 kilometers from Calabar. Agbokim waterfall is actually on the Cross River, where it descends in terraces, through the tropical rainforest. The fall is surrounded by lush greenery, valleys and steep hills which are enveloped in a rainbow-like aura. Its freshness is captivating and has aluring serenity.

Gurara Waterfall

Geographically located in Niger State on the road between Suleja and Minna, the waterfalls span 200 meters across with a sheer drop of 30 meters. Gurara river is a large tributary of river Niger and it’s always in full spate during the rainy seasons. Apparently in January the falls are a trickle and visitors can swim in clear pools at the bottom of the falls. Visitors can take a day trip to the gushing Gurara waterfalls – an hour drive out of the city of Abuja. At Gurara, small streams diverted from the main Gurara river run softly around rocks on top of the cliff, converging from scores of tributaries in the narrow rugged pass and dash out from the cliff. Finally, the water, shining under the sun, as beautiful as fireworks, fall into a pond some 20 meters below before returning to tranquility. There are two main streams of waterfalls, but in the rainy season, the whole cliff would be covered with a curtain of waterfalls. To get close to the waterfalls, visitors need to make a daring walk. There is an ongoing plan to turn the waterfall area into a tourism resort and there were already investors showing interest in the project. Construction of a five-star hotel is also on the agenda. Apart from the spectacular view of the waterfall, Gurara is also a pretty good place for bird-watching.

Erin-Ijesha Waterfall

Properly known as Olumirin Waterfall, this body of cascading water in Osun state is not only a site to behold, it’s also one of the wonders of the world. Amazingly, the fall doesn’t look like anything out of this world until the climb of the seven levels to the ascending plains of the waterfalls begins. The view at all the levels is wonderful and the freshness of the water is energizing. However, the last and seventh level is definitely the most intriguing, well that’s for anyone who dares the torturous climb. Obviously, being at these different levels and just basking in the invigorating freshness of the falls is an unforgettable experience, but guess what? The place to be is definitely the seventh level. Why? Not only does it lie at the peak of the falls, it also hosts a settlement where many of its inhabitants have lived for several years. 

Awhum Cave & Waterfall

Awhum waterfall is situated at Amaugwe village of Awhum town in Udi Local Government Area. The waterfall is as a result of massive outcrop of granite rock with water cascading over the top forming a stream. Thirty minutes to 9th Mile, another 30 minutes to Awhum Monastery, and yet another forty-five minutes to the flooded Limestone Caves, all the way from Enugu, the Coal City; this is the trail that leads to the marvellous showers of Awhum Waterfalls. A thirty-minute bike ride from Enugu, capital city Enugu State, Eastern Nigeria, snakes through a stretch of steep sided and picturesque hills which had been dissected in different parts by stream channels and has exposed extensive coal beds at its valley floors. The hills jet to the skies on both sides of the Enugu-9th Mile express road, and with lush carpets of vegetation it enshrouds its slopes and masks its lithologies of sandstone, shale and limestone. The small nodal town of 9th Mile stands at the intersection of Nsukka, Udi and Ezeagwu roads. Retail shops and kiosks of various sizes line the cross junction. The smooth road to Awhum stretches ahead and climbs up a gigantic verdant ridge in the far distance.

Gashaka Gumpti National Park

Gazetted from two game reserves in 1991, the Gashaka Gumpti is Nigeria’s largest national park. The total area covers about 6, 402 km², much of the northern GGNP is savannah. The southern GGNP sector of the park has rugged terrain from about 300 metres (984 ft) up to 2, 419 metres (7,936 ft) at Chappal Waddi, Nigeria’s highest mountain. It is an important water catchment area for the Benue River. There is abundant river flow even during the markedly dry season. Enclaves for local Fulani pastoralists exist within the park boundary that allow for farming and grazing. The Red Faced Lovebird is found here and in the Central African Republic's Bamingui-Bangoran National Park and Biosphere Reserve.

Yankari Games Reserve

Yankari Game Reserve is located about 225km east of the Nigerian city of Jos and it covers an area of 2,244 sq km. With about 550 elephants, this park has the largest elephant population in West Africa. The best time to view the animals is late February to late April. The Wiki Warm Springs is another attraction to visitors. It is located near the park lodge and is about 200m long and 10m wide, containing crystal-clear water at a temperature of around 31 degrees Celsius. Baboons and elephants often come down to the springs. Camping facilities are available. The park also has over 130 wells, all of which have interconnecting shafts sank. The settlement and the wells in the Reserve were once used as a resting place by the trans-atlantic slave traders of the early times. The park also has more than 59 caves located some 7km north east of Wikki camp. Other attractions are the hills, such as Kalban Hill – a flat top hill that enables tourists the opportunity to have a complete view of the park. Kanyo Hill provides a good view of the park and serves as a very beautiful picnic ground. Paliyaram Hill is a popular camp for poachers.

Cross River National Park

Cross River National Park is one of the richest areas of tropical rainforest in West Africa. It is an integral part of the Cross River State rainforest conservation area, located in Boki LGA and spans from Kanyan to the foot of the Obudu plateau with a total land area of 720sqkm of rugged mountain scenery and rolling hills. The Park is home to many localized species of plants and animals which include gorilla, drill, chimpanzee, a gwantibo or golden potto forest elephant, saleginella specie. Baboons, Leopards, Red Foxes, Drill Monkeys, Buffaloes and Elephants are also found there. It also harbours a rich collection of flora and fauna.

Okomu National Park

Located in Ovia South LGA, the park which lies about 50km west of Benin City, Okomu National Park, formerly the Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary, is a forest block within the 1,082 km² Okomu Forest Reserve. The park holds a small fragment of the rich forest that once covered the region, and is the last habitat for many endangered species. Okomu National Park is about 200 km² of wildlife sanctuary, a rainforest ecosystem that is the habitat for many endangered species of flora and fauna. Okomu is a home of forest elephants, buffaloes, red river hogs, chimpanzees, leopards, bush baby, putty nosed guenon, porcupine, pangolins, duikers, antelopes etc. The white throated monkey which is one of the rarest monkeys in the world today is found at the park as well. Butterflies and birds are abundant making it one of the best places for bird watching in Nigeria.

Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary

This Wildlife Sanctuary is under the management of the Cross River State Forestry Commission and home to rare chimpanzees, gorillas and drill monkeys. On Afi Mountain wild drills still survive, with other endangered primates including the most endangered gorilla subspecies, the Cross River gorilla. The rugged massif (1400m) is a critical watershed for dozens of communities. Afi Mountain is listed as an IBA (Important Bird Area) for Nigeria and hosts one of the largest migratory swallow roosts in Africa. Since 1993, the Pandrillus community protection programme has prevailed and made great strides in controlling hunting, in particular developing popular support for protection of “The Big Three” – gorilla, drill and chimpanzee.

Obudu Mountain Resort

Obudu is one of the finest and most magnificent tourist destinations in the world today. Deep in the tropical rain forest of Cross River State, it is an area of idyllic tranquility and enchanting scenery. The resort has a helipad for access by air. At the base of the hills on which the ranch is located lies a newly built world-class water park with state-of-art swimming facilities and water slides for children, teens and adults. The hilltop (cattle ranch) is about 11km of winded road from the base and can be accessed by either the cable-car or the road. The ranch has numerous pleasant mountain-area and country-side views. Obudu has increasingly become popular amongst tourists, adventurers and event planners from all around Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Driving to the resort can be quite exhilarating, especially the last ten kilometres of winding road with its 22 bends, including the famous Devil’s Elbow halfway along. In 2005 a state-of-the-art cable-car was built with 34 cars, each carrying eight people and covering a distance of four kilometres up through the clouds offering inspiring and dramatic vistas of green rolling hills. An annual mountain race holds in November for more energetic people with a cash prize attracting competitors from across Nigeria and internationally. Although Obudu welcomes visitors all year round; the much best time to visit is October to February, when the flowers are in bloom, the sky is clear and the air is cool. Becheve Nature Resort, also in Obudu, is home to 250 different species of migratory birds that have been observed at the ranch at different times throughout the year. Tourists can trek on the 60-kilometre canopy walkway built in the form of a ladder tree house unhindered, for breathtaking views. Tourists will be amazed at the extraordinary diversity of canopy life from such height.

La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort

A 65 acre tranquil paradise located just an hour’s drive from Victoria Island in Lagos State. This resort offers a unique blend of natural environments which include a fresh water lake, accessible mangrove forest, a savannah, extensive sandy beach and the warm Atlantic sea. The resort provides world class accommodation and a variety of activities to ensure an experience like no other. On offer is a unique opportunity to own a luxury 5-star accommodation in Nigeria’s premier beach resort. Luxuriously furnished 3 bed room holiday/investment home with highly cosmopolitan African Decor. Cultural dance displays for guests/residents, fresh palm wine Bar within excellent ocean view, fine dining in elegant restaurants etc. Other activities include hiking, hunting, horse riding, canoeing, ocean water fishing, aqua aerobics, beach volleyball & football, etc.

Ikogosi Warm Spring Resort

In the heart of the small, quiet town of Ikogosi, lies a warm spring which has helped Ikogosi-Ekiti leap to national and international limelight. What is mysterious about the Ikogosi Warm Spring is the fact that, flowing side by side the warm spring, is another spring, a cold one. Experts say such occurrence is a geological wonder and this Ekiti flagship tourist destination is said to be the only one of its kind that has been discovered anywhere in the world. The warm and cold springs of Ikogosi originate from a close proximity, come to a meeting point, and flow onward together with each spring retaining its thermal identity. The warm spring has a temperature of up to 70oC at the source and 37oC after meeting the cold spring. The meeting point of the warm and cold springs is a unique attraction to tourists. Another unique quality of the Ikogosi Warm Spring is its acclaimed curative power. It is widely-believed to have some kind of therapeutic effect which relieves body aches and all sorts of ailments. A lot of tourists visiting the place take advantage of the large warm water swimming pool provided for this purpose and other recreational needs.

Lagos Bar Beach

This is the main beach on Victoria Island, alongside Ahmadu Bello Way and one of the more popular beaches in Lagos, Nigeria. Bar Beach is the main (inner city) beach and runs from the Institute of Oceanography in the west to the Eko Hotel in the east. It is named after the sand bars that characterised the coastline of Lagos, not because of the myriad of bars that run along the beach itself (a popular misconception!). Lagos Bar Beach is the most accessible and most visited beach in Lagos especially during festive periods, but has somewhat lost most of its attractions due to the massive concrete works being done along the coastline. However, those who do not mind its artificiality will still find the environment soothing. Horse riding, swimming, beach football and picnic activities still go on at the beach.

Lekki Beach

It is situated in Lagos and offers a variety of amusements. There are several private beaches in Lekki and an exotic luxurious resort along with the conventional club standards of favorite golf destinations. Lekki Beach Resort offers family-oriented services including exercise rooms, tennis, swimming and health-spa. There you can also dine out, shop or enjoy live music and concerts.

Coconut Beach

This is an ideal coconut beach in Badagry town, Lagos; hence, the name Coconut Beach. It’s located in the west of Lagos. This beach is amazingly beautiful with the coconut trees nearly encircling its entire perimeter as well as scores of shady places for visitors to relax and take in the sweet current of cool breeze along with a feel of smooth, yellow beach sand.

Ibeno Beach

One of the many fine beaches in Nigeria, it’s situated in Akwa Ibom State. It is one of the most outstanding tourist attractions in the state, stretching over 90km of natural white sand along the Atlantic coastline and providing excellent opportunities for water sports. Its all-year-round, un-flooded, clean sand banks beaming with coral reef places it among the top ten soothing and reputable hide-aways in the country.

Calabar Beach

One of the most sparsely inhabited beaches, Calabar Beach is located at the Calabar River. This beach is virtually isolated and provides the luxury of privacy. Flanked on its sides by a swamp, the only access to it is by boat or canoe. It is the best beach for snorkeling and where fabulous aquatic life is seen thriving in their numbers.

Badagry Slave Port

The slave port in Badagry was notorious for the hordes of Africans taken through it. Vlekete slave market was established in 1502 and serves as a meeting point for European slave merchants, African middlemen and slaves brought from hinterlands for auctioning. Vlekete slave market was one of the slave markets in Nigeria and the other was situated in Calabar – the Eyon slave market where slaves were also auctioned. But Vlekete slave market in Badagry was the largest and most populated. The Slave barracoon/cell is a cubic room, 9ft by 9ft, 9ft from the ground level to the roof, sky level window, no ventilation and built with burnt bricks. It happens to be the only existing slave cell out of the cells built by foreign slave merchants. The slave market houses a shrine called Vlekete and here some of the Europeans were tried after the abolition of slave trade. About 18 million people were sold from this market for the 400 years that slavery lasted. Badagry slave route was also known as the point of no return.

National Museum

Established in 1957, National Museum has great collections in archaeology, ethnography and traditional art. Located in Onikan, Lagos, the Museum displays contemporary arts and historical monuments. The main attractions at the museum are the galleries dedicated to brasses from Benin City, Nok Terracottas, etc. Another gallery dedicated to traditional symbols of power contains carved ivory and a royal host of crowns. The museum houses the bullet-riddled car in which the late General Murtala Mohammed was assassinated in 1976. This museum also operates a nonprofit crafts centre, which stocks a good range of batik cloth, woodcarvings and textiles at fixed prices. There’s a fine range of intricately decorated calabashes from across Nigeria. The museum has a small crafts village with woodcarvings and other handicrafts for sale at fixed prices; you might also see a demonstration of adire – cloth-making from Abeokuta.

Dufuna Canoe Site (Africa's Oldest Known Boat - 8,000 Years Old)

The Dufuna canoe was discovered near the region of the River Yobe. The canoe was discovered by a Fulani Herdsman in May 1987, Dufuna village while digging a well. The canoe 'almost black wood' said to be African mahogany, is 'entirely an organic material'. Various radio-carbon tests conducted in laboratories of reputable universities in Europe and America indicate that the canoe is over 8,000 years old, thus making it the oldest in Africa and 3rd oldest in the world. Little is known of the period to which the boat belongs in archeological terms, it is described as an early phase of the later stone-age, which began rather more than 12,000 years ago and ended with the appearance of pottery.

lgbo-Ukwu

An ancient town which has remained an attraction to tourists because of its bronze artifacts. The bronze which was first noticed in 1938 was later excavated by Thurstan Shaw, an English archaelogist. The bronzes which date back to about the 9th century are of high value because of their historic relevance.

 

Notable Events

  • Osun Oshogbo Festival, Osun
  • Argungu Fishing Festival, Kebbi
  • Black Heritage Festival, Lagos
  • The Durbar, Kano, Katsina & Niger
  • Igue (New Yam) Festival, Edo
  • Calabar Carnival, Cross River

 

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