ERIN IJESA WATERFALL, Osun State OJUDE OBA FESTIVAL, Ogun State WIKKI SPRING, Bauchi State
Because of the great diversity of people and culture, Nigeria has distinguished herself over the centuries in the field of arts. Nigerian versatility in the arts is so great that it is generally felt that all African nations should view Nigeria as the principal trustee of the most durable fruits of black artistic genius. It is not precisely known when the first works of Nigerian art reached the outside world, but in 1897, following a British punitive expedition to Benin, over 2,000 Benin bronzes and ivories were shipped to England and later dispersed all over Europe and America. The oldest sculptures found in Nigeria were from the Southern Zaria and Benue areas of central Nigeria. They consist of terracotta figures and figurines made by a people who achieved a high degree of cultural sophistication.
These sculptures, together with other cultural elements, have been named the Nok Culture. Evidence shows the Nok people had knowledge of iron smelting and adorned themselves with tin and stone beads, earrings, nose rings and bracelets. The Nok Culture is dated between 500 B.C. and 200 A.D. The next known phase of Nigerian cultural evolution was Igbo Ukwu bronze casting. Found in the small village of Igbo-
Nigeria's cultural heritage is woven from threads of history and diversity, legend and conquest. Tourists visiting the country will gain insights to a glorious past as well as a promising future, set amid the natural beauty of this diverse country. From rain forests in the south, broad savanna woodlands in the center to a semi-
Tourism is one of the growing sectors of the Nigerian economy. The industry was accorded priority status in 1990 when the National Tourism Policy was launched. The main thrust of Government policy on tourism was to generate foreign exchange earnings, create employment opportunities, and promote rural enterprises and national integration, among other things.
In recognition of the immense contributions of tourism to the national economy, the country's Vision 2010 set year 2005 as the nation's year of tourism. The obvious implication of this development is that tourism policies and programs will now be aimed at making Nigeria the "Ultimate Tourism Destination in Africa".
Nigeria's Appeal To Tourists
Nigeria offers a wide variety of tourist attractions such as extended and roomy river and ocean beaches ideal for swimming and other water sports, unique wildlife, vast tracts of unspoiled nature ranging from tropical forests, magnificent waterfalls, some new rapidly growing cities and climatic conditions in some parts particularly conducive to holidaying. Other attractions include traditional ways of life preserved in local customs; rich and varied handicrafts and other colorful products depicting or illustrative of native arts and lifestyle, and the authentic unsophisticated but friendly attitude of many in the Nigerian population. However, many of these attractions are still largely untapped and even at their raw, undeveloped state, they are still being enjoyed by few outsiders, either very rich visitors in quest of exoticism or adventurous people in search of new challenges and experiences. The lack of required modern infrastructural facilities and in some parts of the country, acute conditions of underdevelopment and poverty can be seen which many potential Nigeria bound tourist may not like to be confronted with. These are impediments to tourism, which the new administration has been tackling since assumption of office. Investors, both foreign and local, are therefore called upon to come and invest in the abundant tourism potentials in the country. The richness and diversity of Nigeria's tourism resources coupled with economic liberalization policies will provide investment opportunities in various areas as follows:
Heritage/Cultural Tourism Resources Development of slave trade relics
Establishment of museums and preservation of monuments
Development of hiking trails and Jeep tracks in the national parks
Development of picnic and camping sites at strategic locations within the trail circuit system in the national parks
Building of tourist lodges
Building of reception centers at Natural/Physical Attractions
Provision of cable bus system to take tourist through the very rugged but scenic terrain of the mountains especially in Kanyang, Obudu and Mambilla Plateau
Construction of lodge cabins for expedition tourist and rangers
Establishment of hotels and resorts near waterfalls, springs, caves and temperate climate areas such as Obudu, jos and Mambila Plateau
Beach Tourism potentials Establishment of boating and sport fishing facilities
Development of water transportation Provision of educational facilities for water skiing and swimming
Establishment of holiday resorts along the coasts.
Development of Amusement parks, entertainment facilities and shopping services
Development of arts and crafts that constitute symbol of the people's cultural values and love for nature.
Some Business Opportunities
Nigeria has attained a high level of good transportation system especially Airline and Road Transportation, investment opportunities are still needed in water recreation transportation and rail services. A multi-
New rail lines are being laid for the first time in over 70 years. The Niger is being dredged from its Delta to Baro.
The hospitality sector of the tourism industry seems to be the most competitive area with the presence of Starwood Hotel Groups, owners of Sheratons, Hilton, Le Meridien, Shangra Lai the Asian Hotel giant in restaurants and many Beach projects. Meanwhile, most of Nigeria's beautiful beach locations are still largely without accommodation facilities, which are good targets for investors.
Like the Europeans and America tour companies invaded the North, South and East Africa by locating tour offices in these regions which enable them to market destinations in their home countries.
Any Company willing to do so for Nigeria will be highly welcome.
Apart from the enormous potentials and investment opportunities in the Nigerian tourism sector, the country's investment climate at present is one of the most favorable in Africa for a number of reasons chief of which are Political Stability and a congenial macro-
The enthronement of a viable democratic system, which guarantees political stability, improves international relations and respect for human rights would in various ways enhance investment opportunities in the country.
The provision of incentives in the 1990 National Tourism Policy were also to enhance private sector participation.
Tourism investment atmosphere in Nigeria is now conducive given the abundant resources available, large market, enthronement of enduring democracy, and a package of incentive put together by government. Foreign investors and other interested individuals should take advantage, of the conducive policy environment and incentives, to invest in the Nigerian tourism industry for sustainability and profitable returns.
Summary of Investment Opportunities In Nigeria
Investment opportunities exist within the following sub-
Beach and Coastal Resort development (Nigeria has over 700km of unpolluted sandy beaches). Conservation and Protection of 8 national parks and over 10 game reserves. Development of hotels and standard restaurants
Transportation: water recreation, package tour services, air and rail services. Development of caves, tunnels, waterfalls and spring waters. Youth hostels, camps and centers Lake and River sport fishing. Scenic and Mountain
Holiday resorts Theme/Amusement parks Conference/Congress Services Conservation and protection of endangered wildlife especially drill monkey, manatee, white throated monkey and pygmy hippo. Heritage, cultural and archaeological sites.
Yankari Game Reserve
The Yankari National Park is the premier game reserve in Nigeria. Yankari Park and Wikki Warm Springs are located around the Gagi River, approximately 1 1/2 hours by road, southeast of Bauchi Town. The beauty and size of the Yankari Game Reserve make it the most popular reserve in Nigeria. Set up in 1956 and opened to the public in 1962, the main game-
The Wikki Warm Springs is one of the best features of the game reserves. Flood-
Other facilities include: Tennis courts, squash courts, a small museum in the reception area plus gas stations with convenience stores at Wikki Camp and Bauchi.
Reservations: It is advisable to make reservations during the holidays and weekends with Easter a particularly busy season. Reservations can be made at Durbar Hotel in Kaduna, Bauchi State House in Lagos and at the Zaranda Hotel in Bauchi. Or call Yankari Game Reserve at (069) 43-
Route: You can travel by road from Lagos to Abuja, where you make an overnight stop, then on to Jos and Bauchi, as it is a 2-
Hotels: Basic accommodations are available in chalets or rondavels. Also available are suites, double rooms and family chalets that include small kitchens. There are many other National Parks besides Yankari, as illustrated on the map. Notable ones include Mambilla, Gumti National Park, Cross River National Park, and Kainji Lake National Park.
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 recommended 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 the Gashaka-
Route: There is a major road to Mambilla from Lagos, Benin City, Onitsha, Enugu, Otukpo, Yandev, Katsina Ala, Wukari, Mutum Biyu, Bali, Serti and Gembu. You can also fly into Yola Airport, then drive a few miles south to Mambilla.
In the dry season, it is possible to drive to the former headquarters at Gashaka village, some 30 km from the entrance gate, where more self-
Cross River National Park
The Cross River National Park was created from two existing forest reserves of Bashi-
The Kainji National Park
This Park, in Kwara State, was established in 1979 and incorporates the Borgu Game Reserve and Zugurma Game Reserve to the southeast in Niger State. The Bourgu sector of the park alone covers an area of about of 3,929 sq. km. of savanna woodland, and Zugurma cover an area of about 1,370 sq. km.The Kainji National Park also contains the Kainji Dam and a major hydro-
The Borgu Sector of Lake Kainji National Park was set up as a Federal Game Reserve and is one of the largest in West Africa. The area was uninhabited and the idea for the park was conceived in 1960. It is in the northern guinea vegetation zone which is characterized by tall grasses and savanna woodland. The park retains a robust animal population including antelope, lion, hippopotamus, buffalo, roan antelope, jackal, baboon, monkey and crocodile. The
park is usually open from December to June, with the best time to visit being the end of the dry season, when the grass has dried out and the animals move closer to the water. Tourists should expect Harmattan (dry wind) from December to mid-
Visitors should call the Wawa Game Warden's office (11 miles from New Bussa) for a briefing and to also reserve a game guide. The entrance to the reserve is approximately 19 miles from Wawa along a laterite road, and the oil river camp is a further 32 miles from the entrance. Many Nigerians and foreigners make day trips to Kainji or pass by it ontheir way to other parts of the country. Despite the provisions at Kainji and New Bussa, hotel accommodation is insufficient to encourage many people to stay for long periods.
The Durbar festival dates back hundreds of years to the time when the Emirate (state) in the north used horses in warfare. During this period, each town, district, and nobility household was expected to contribute a regiment to the defense of the Emirate. Once or twice a year, the Emirate military chiefs invited the various regiments for a Durbar (military parade) for the Emir and his chiefs. During the parade, regiments would showcase their horsemanship, their preparedness for war, and their loyalty to the Emirate. Today, Durbar has become a festival celebrated in honor of visiting Heads of State and at the culmination of the two great Muslim festivals, Id-
The festival begins with each group racing across the square at full gallop, swords glinting in the sun. They pass just few feet away from the Emir, then stop abruptly to salute him with raised swords.
The last and most fierce riders are the Emir's household and regimental guards, the Dogari. After the celebrations, the Emir and his chiefs retire to the palace, and enjoyment of the occasion reigns. This fanfare is intensified by drumming, dancing and singing, with small bands of Fulanis performing shadi, a fascinating sideshow to behold.
Coconut Beach is a beautiful beach in the coastal town of Badagry, west of Lagos. The beach is attractively set in an area surrounded by coconut trees. About 20 miles towards the border of Nigeria and the Republic of Benin, Coconut Beach is accessible through the Lagos-
Bar Beach, also known as Victoria Beach, is the most popular beach among Nigerians. The main beach on Victoria Island is located along Ahmadu Bello Way opposite the Federal Guest House. It is usually crowded with Nigerians on public holidays.
Tarkwa Bay is a sheltered beach along the Lagos harbor. It is accessible by a 'trazan' boa from Maroko or 'fiki' boat from under Falomo Bridge on Victoria Island. This beach provides a pleasant outing with safe swimming conditions, even for small children. Tourists may obtain deck chairs and an awning on the beach, for relaxed, casual comfort. Local yen dots sell delicious pineapples, coconuts and variety of other delightful treats.
This superb beach, at the mouth of the new Calabar River, is about 2 miles long and 500 feet wide, uninhabited savefor a solitary fisherman's hut. The beach is virtually isolated and lends visitors the luxury of privacy in a beautiful setting off the beaten path. Since the beach is flanked by a swamp and can only be reached by boat or canoe, getting there is half the fun and enhances one's fascination with this enchanted locale.
There are several beaches along the Lekki Peninsula, the foremost being Lekki Beach, located a few miles from the city center. Lekki Beach is another of Lagos' attractive beaches and remains popular with foreign tourists. Beach shelters made of palm fronds and umbrellas, available for rent, keep the sun at bay, as well as provide a place to enjoy snacks or refreshments sold by local traders.
Opened in 1989, Eleko is the newest of Lagos' Beaches, down the Lekki Peninsula about 30 miles from Lagos. There are no traders and no distractions on Eleko Beach, just peace and tranquillity, ideal for those seeking privacy.
The Obudu Ranch
The Obudu Ranch is a popular holiday destination for adventurous tourists wishing to explore the remote corners of Nigeria. Situated in the northeast corner of Cross River State, 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-
Gorilla Camp, 13 km from the hotel, 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. Guests may also ride horses or embark on hiking trips into the wild (comfortable shoes and a guide are recommended). Birdwatching here is unparalleled and there is a pleasantly shaded natural swimming pool near the Ranch House. If visitors accept the challenge of a three-
The Ranch Hotel maintains 33 chalets and boasts a friendly staff, superb restaurant and bar, and laundry/dry cleaning services. Chalets provide exquisite comfort with a large sitting room, color TV, VCR, cocktail bar, kitchen & spacious bedroom with double bed. The Ranch Hotel operates 24-
The sights are spectacular on the drive east, through rolling mountains and the dense forest with trees so high their branches form a canopy, shading out the sun entirely. This phenomenon has led to the area being called 'Nigeria's Amazon', and is not to be missed. However, should one prefer to fly, they can do so from any major city to Calabar then proceed by car over the five hour route via Ikom.
Argungu Fishing Festival
This colorful annual festival takes place in Arugungu, a riverside town in Kebbi State, about 64 miles from Sokoto. The leading tourist attraction in the area, the festival originated in Aug. 1934, when the late Sultan Dan Mu'azu made an historic visit. In tribute, a grand fishing festival was organized. Since then, it's become a celebrated yearly event held between Feb. and March. During the festival, hundreds of local men and boys enter the water, armed with large fishnet scoops. They are joined by canoes filled with drummers, plus men rattling huge seed-
Eyo Festival is unique to Lagos area, and it is widely believed that Eyo is the forerunner of the modern day carnival in Brazil. On Eyo Day, the main highway in the heart of the city (from the end of Carter Bridge to Tinubu Square) is closed to traffic, allowing for procession from Idumota to Iga Idunganran. Here, the participants all pay homage to the Oba of Lagos. Eyo festival takes place whenever occasion and tradition demand, but it is usually held as the final burial rites for a highly regarded chief.
The Atilogwu Dance
The Atilogwu dance has been elevated to a dazzling art form, particularly by the Igbos in Anambra State. Atilogwu is a vigorous dance which literally means 'Is this magic?' and combines elements of gymnastics with foot-
The Fulani culture presents a complex system, involving age-
The Fulani culture presents a complex system, involving age-
The National Museum at Onikan, Lagos provides one of the largest collection of art and artifacts in Nigeria. Of great importance to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of African art and the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria, the artifacts in the museum date from 500 BC-
Osun was one of the wives of Sango, the god of Thunder and former king of Oyo. She is widely worshipped in Yorubaland, particularly in the countryside through which the river Osun flows. The water of Osun is said to have the power of making barren women fertile. Her most important sanctuaries are in Oshogbo, which is contracted from 'Oso Igbo', or spirit of the forest, centered around a palace shrine where the chief priest performs rites and rituals.
Kano Dye Pits
The Kano indigo-
Nigeria is a veritable treasure trove of beautiful handmade crafts. Drawing from ancient traditions, Nigerian artisans and finely-