It is the first of November, and you know what that means yeah? Holiday season is almost here!.
People have many ways they spend their holidays, some relax with the family at home, some party and some love to travel. If you love to travel, you are very much in my click and as an early holiday gift, I’ve got you a very good pro tip; 10 places you can visit in Nigeria.
Yeah yeah, I know the country is currently seen as unsafe, and recently the internet has been flooded with pictures of Santorini, The Palawan, and Bali… but I have good news for you. You don’t have to go that far to experience the beauty of nature and have a good time; you can do that right here, in Nigeria.
I don’t have a top 10 per se, I only have a top 1. So I’ll give you the load down of the other sites I find fascinating. Follow me.
10. Yankari National Park
First, let me tell you about Yankari National Park (Yankari Games Reserve). Initially created as a game reserve, this park located in the heartland of the West African savanna is a very popular tourist spot in Nigeria. In a country that’s underperforming in tourism and wildlife preservation, this park still holds its own as it has one of the largest elephant herds in West Africa. It is a potluck of wildlife as there are warthogs, buffaloes, lions and a very diverse species of birds. If you are a lover of nature and animals, this park should definitely be on one of your top destinations this holiday season.
9. Okomu National Park
Next is Okomu National Park, also known as the Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary. It is located in the beautiful state of Edo, Benin city to be more precise. What I love about this place is that it is like a southern Yankari national park. As you will also find the tranquil nature of the park and wildlife really soothing. The park is surrounded on all cardinal points by mangrove swamp forest and the Forest-Savanna. Be sure to be intrigued by the bush baby, porcupines, antelopes, amongst other rare life forms.
8. Kajuru Castle
Kajuru Castle is a gem hidden in the beautiful state of Kaduna, in Northern Nigeria. Everything about this place screams European Royalty, styled with a German bias with a hall with suits of armor. You can not miss the live crocodile “music video” vibe. Then the rooms! The rooms!! Dungeon style rooms with a tower guarded by “dragons”, yes actual dragons. The most attractive part of the facility is the open courtyard with a magnificent large swimming pool and pool chairs, plus a barbeque area complete with an outdoor oven. You really have to go there.
7. Ngwo Pine Forest
For this one, we will be going to the state of Enugu. Once you think Enugu, the first thing that comes to mind is the Ngwo Pine Forest located in the Ngwo community. The multiple arrays of pines with the umbrella-like shield it provides, provides a perfect excuse to travel. But it is very wise to visit and tour the site in clusters, as being a lone wolf isn’t really safe. From camping to partying to even photography and videography sessions, Ngwo Pine Forest really, really is a site.
6. Obudu Mountain Resort
This one is sort of a national treasure. Obudu Mountain Resort, a resort of resorts. It is for everyone; groups, individuals, families and loners etc etc.
It is in Cross River state (for those that haven’t heard about it), and is very close to the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. An eye catcher is the cable car network, a must try for you. If you love hiking and mountain climbing and you love the smell of undiluted air, pack your boots, binoculars and camera because this is one trip you won’t forget in a hurry.
5. Awhum Waterfall
Earlier, I said when you think Enugu the first thing that comes to mind is the Ngwo Pine Forest… I wasn’t being entirely truthful.
The first thing you think is actually the Awhum Waterfall. The first waterfall intrudes the cave at about 100m from the entrance, while the second and biggest cascade stands at the far end of the cave. Excited? So am I. Did you know that it has a 300 meter long wall made of Limestone? As a geologist, I find this extremely interesting and that’s why. Wanna know when you’re there? You’ll see a statue of the Virgin Mary above and beneath the caves.
4. The New Afrika Shrine
This spot is dedicated to, in my opinion, the greatest Nigerian artiste of all time – Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Although, his original shrine was burnt to the ground, The New Afrika Shrine was built to honor his memory. If you are a fan of legendary “Abamieda“, you definitely have to come pay your respects and celebrate the G.O.A.T. The New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja is a place to be for total entertainment on Lagos mainland. Run by Femi Kuti (Fela Kuti’s son), this is a great rock temple in Lagos city and the best night to go there is Sunday. You can also smoke if you want to … so go.
3. The Osun-Osogbo Grove
The Osun-Oshogbo grove is a wonderful cultural site. It is a place of worship, dedicated to a goddess, and has a sacred forest, it doesn’t get more traditional than this. Walking around, you will see sculptures and artworks in honor of Osun the goddess and other Yoruba deities. There is this feeling of deep connection to everything you get when there, I know this because I’ve been there. I can’t explain the feeling, you have to experience it yourself.
2. Nok Culture and Art
The, My penultimate favorite site is in somewhere called Jaba LGA in Kaduna. Ignore the underdevelopment of the village, Nok Art is a masterful culture. It has a museum where you see terra-cotta carvings and antiquities. If you want to get a feel of how Nigeria was pre-colonialism, Nok will give you a glimpse into that realm, it really is that surreal. This is certainly for tourists with a huge sense of culture, and not the culture vultures.
1. The Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary
Remember I said I have only one Top site, well… allow me introduce you to The Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary. This one hits home, literally, because it is home for me having been there a lot of times. Oh, It is located at Cross River state.
Everything about the place is euphoric, it is home to a large host of primates including gorillas and chimpanzees, and a bucketload of wildlife. It is the perfect place to be this holiday season. Accommodation there is cheap and you get to see other people hungry for adventure and together you form life long experiences and relationships. That is the miracle of Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary.
So now you know some interesting places to go, comment on which one(s) you are likely to go visit.
light sleeper, heavy dreamer.