You might just be a foreigner planning to visit Nigeria on a tourist cruise. Or perhaps a Nigerian seeking for the best places to visit in Nigeria on your next holiday trip. Be rest assured that there are enough satisfying and fun places you can visit around Nigeria that you will not forget easily.
So tighten your seat belts, as we take you on a brief tour of the best places to visit in Nigeria on your next fun trip. From beautiful cities, to exciting historical sites and natural wonders. It promises to be an exhilarating experience.
Iconic Cities and Memorable Places: Choice Picks of The Best Places to Visit in Nigeria
Have you ever visited any of the under-mentioned cities and choice locations across Nigeria? Then you are yet to see the best the country has to offer to travelers hoping to enjoy a unique travel experience. We urge you to take mental notes of the following cities, fun spots and historical locations in Nigeria. Taking a tour of such places should leave an indelible mark on your memory.
The Northern States: Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto. Katsina, Borno & Others
Northern Nigeria is occupied by a predominantly Moslem population. Thus Arabic language, customs, and architecture are widely adopted there. Nevertheless, you will see relics of ancient tradition; as well as foreign influences (including West and North African, along with European influences) here and there.
From the Kajuru Castle and the Nok settlements in Kaduna, to the Sukur Cultural landscape in Sokoto. Not to mention the eye-catching 19th-Century architectural designs applied to towering, beautiful mosques all over northern Nigeria. You will see these breathtaking mosques in Kano, Sokoto, Borno, Katsina and other states.
We cannot possibly ignore the carefully-crafted palaces of several Emirs (and other rulers) of Northern Nigeria. The Hausa and Arabic inscriptions and patterns engraved on their walls are masterpieces of art. Palaces of the Shehu of Borno; the Emirs of Zaria, Gombe, Bauchi and Dutse; and the Sultan of Sokoto are just some of them.
Two former palaces were even converted to museums: the Gidan Makama Museum in Kano; and Kanta Museum in Kebbi. Again, the awesome City Walls and Palace Gates of Kano are another wonder to behold.
Plateau State: Jos
Jos is an alluring, ancient tin-mining city with crisp, fresh air; built on a plateau about 1,295 meters above sea level. The Jos plateau has the kind of soil good for growing both local and exotic fruits and vegetables. But there is another thrilling aspect of Jos that is little known to many people. It is a curious sight to behold.
You need to see the LIFE-SIZED ancient traditional homesteads built into the open-air Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture (MOTNA) in Jos. It stands side by side with the Jos National Museum. At MOTNA, you will find life-sized traditional houses and compounds of different ethnic groups in Nigeria. Even the restaurant (named Bight of Benin) is fashioned after the architecture of the Palace of Oba of Bini kingdom.
Taraba State: Mambilla Plateau
Not far from the Jos Plateau is another breathtaking plateau namely the Mambilla Plateau, in Taraba state. The entire landscape of Mambilla plateau and its surroundings is a hiker’s delight. You will find several hilly locations with long winding roads passing through them. It is an area with large patches of grasslands, streams, rivers, waterfalls, and dairy farms and tea farms. Here you will also find the Chappal Wadi, the highest mountain in Nigeria at 7936 feet high.
And before you leave – make sure you visit the Gashaka-Gumti National Park (the largest national park in Nigeria). Within the park and in the surrounding savanna lands, you are sure to see a diversity of wildlife at a safe distance. For eager hikers, the Mambilla plateau is one of the best places to visit in Nigeria all-year round. But the dry season between December and March is the best time of the year for safe hiking. And to catch a good glimpse of wildlife.
Ondo State: Idanre
Idanre town in Ondo State, southwest Nigeria, is one of the oldest known human settlements in the country. It is set on top of hills (around 915 meters above level ground). The town has many ancient relics that hint at how its people lived many centuries ago.
The old Palace of Idanre atop the hill was occupied by 25 kings in succession. Up there, other curious leftovers of antiquity exist. They include a local court, a shrine, a prison, potsherd pavements, and even a long staircase that leads up the hill.
Idanre also plays host to a number of traditional festivals every year. In February, the young men of Idanre embark on an annual bat-hunting festival, which leads them into two caves on the hills. In May, the Orosun festival (celebrating the goddess of fertility) takes place. In October, the god of iron (Ogun) is celebrated.
But the king of all festivals takes place in December – the Ide festival. The paramount ruler (called Owa) goes ahead of a procession to climb up the hills, in order to wear the crown. The crown is only seen once every year.
Lagos State: Lagos
The cosmopolitan city of Lagos is not only the largest commercial city in Africa. It is situated along the West African coast bordering the Atlantic ocean. As such, it is one of the best places in Nigeria to find sunny beaches, resorts, restaurants, and many other fun centers. Some of the notable beaches include the beaches of Badagry; Landmark, Eleko, Elegushi, Bar, Oniru, Alpha, and Tarkwa Bay beaches. You can get yourself a boat or ferry ride around Victoria Island and Lagos Island areas as well.
There are also cultural and historical sites; a nature conservation center; and Nike art gallery (in Lekki). Numerous cinema houses, amusement parks, local and international markets, and several event centers are also in Lagos. The list of fuñ spots in Lagos is almost endless.
For instance, the Lagos Island area is the site of palaces (called Iga) of the traditional ruler or Oba of Lagos. The Eyo masquerades come out every year to pay homage to the Oba in this location. Located nearby are markets, native shrines, and fresh fish sellers.
At the far end of Lagos is another historical location: Badagry. Badagry has long evolved from the transatlantic slave market and port of pre-colonial Nigeria into a famous tourist site. You will find the Badagry Heritage Museum, Brazilian Barracoon, Mobee Slave Relics Museum, and Vleket Slave Market Museum there.
Lagos is also a favored destination to experience the best concerts, festivals, trade fairs, and entertainment shows – particularly around December.
Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, is a well-ordered place suitable for leisure and holiday seekers. You will find many leisure parks, public gardens, and hills across its landscape.
Some of the city’s notable parks include Central Park, Jabi Lake Park, Arttech District, and Magicland Amusement Park. Yet another one, Millennium Park, has Aso Rock (the seat/home of the Presidency) within view from its grounds. These parks are excellent spots for picnics, games, outdoor activities, and dining.
There are broad walkways and boulevards all around for a pleasurable stroll. Individual and group hikers also have an opportunity to climb up the city’s hills every weekend. The famous Nike Art Gallery also opened one of its branches in Abuja; lovers of Nigerian art would not want to miss it.
Cross River State: Calabar
Calabar is an ancient city known for its many British-style colonial houses; as well as its nature and heritage sites. The city also hosts annual Christmas festivals, and a pan-African cultural carnival in December. Again the Leboku Yam festival is held around August or September every year.
Notable nature and heritage sites in and around Calabar include the numerous Ikom monoliths, Obudu Mountain Resort, Agbokim waterfall, Slave History Museum, Cross River National Park, Mary Slessor’s House, and the Afi Mountain Drill Sanctuary.
Some Other Exciting Places to Visit in Nigeria
Time will not permit us to describe several other fun spots, natural wonders and heritage sites across Nigeria. But we urge our readers to also find out and plan towards visiting other exciting locations as the ones listed below.
- Bauchi State: Yankari Game Reserve
- Ogun State: Olumo rock, Olusegun Obasanjo Library, Bilikisu Sungbo’s (Queen of Sheba’s) grave
- Oyo state: Agodi Botanical Gardens
- Osun state: Osun Sacred Grove
- Enugu State: Ngwo pine forests, National Museum of Unity, Center of Memories, Ezeagu Tourist Complex, Awhum caves and waterfalls, Ogbunike caves, Ogba-Ukwu caves and waterfalls
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