GIDAN MAKAMA MUSEUM, Kano State 1ST CHURCH IN NORTHERN NIGERIA, Kaduna State ANCIENT KANO CITY WALL, Kano State
Much has been said and written about Nigeria, its people and culture, economy and politics, that sheds light on the tremendous potential of this African Giant. However, little is known to the outside world about the many exciting tourist attractions available in Nigeria: historic sites nestled amid rivers and rain forests, breathtaking mountain vistas, remote creek villages, miles of pristine beaches and exotic national wildlife reserves. There are also museums, festivals, music and dance, a rich cultural mélange right down to everyday traditional markets. These are just some of the spectacular sights and sensual delights awaiting the traveler to Nigeria.
Nigeria has the largest population of any country in Africa (162.4 million, UN-
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
Nigeria lies entirely within the tropics yet there are wide climactic variations. In general, there are two seasons, dry and wet, throughout Nigeria. Near the coast, the seasons are less sharply defined. Temperatures of over 90°F are common in the north, but near the coast, where the humidity is higher, temperatures seldom climb above that mark. Inland, around the two great rivers, the wet season lasts from April-
Virtually all ethnic groups of Africa are represented in Nigeria, hence the great diversity of her people and culture. The Sudanese, later, other groups such as Shuwa-
Yoruba: In the Southwest, the Yorubas developed complex, powerful city-
Benin: Benin developed into a major kingdom during the same period that Oyo was becoming dominant to the west. Although the people of Benin are primarily Edo, not Yoruba, they share with Ife and Oyo many of the same origins, and there is much evidence of cultural and artistic interchange between the kingdoms. The King (Oba) of Benin was considered semi-
IGBO AND THE DELTA STATES
Many Nigerian cultures did not develop into centralized monarchies. Of these, the Igbos are probably the most remarkable because of the size of their territory and the density of population. Igbo societies were organized in self-
ABEOKUTA means 'under the rock', derived from the Olumo Rock, the town's most famous landmark. Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, lies on the Ogun River amid rugged, rocky hills, offering excellent photo opportunities. Home of adire cloth, Abeokuta has an intriguing array of markets which sell a wide range of exotic goods. Olumo Rock, sacred to the Egba people, is on the east side of the Ogun river. Visitors should engage a guide from the tourist center at the bottom of the rock where one can explore the caves used as sanctuary during the Yoruba civil war. At the rock's summit, visitors can enjoy a tremendous view of Abeokuta and the Ogun River.
BENIN CITY is steeped in history. World-
IBADAN was until recently the largest indigenous African city. Located along the edge of a thickly wooded forest belt, it was called Eba-
LAGOS, on Lagos Island, has been settled since the 15th Century, when Yoruba groups used it as a refuge from outside attacks. It was a trading post between the Benin Kingdom and the Portuguese until the arrival of British traders in the 19th Century, presaging the colonization of the interior. Lagos is divided into several parts, each with its distinctive character. The heart of the city is Lagos Island (Eko), containing most of Nigeria's commercial and administrative headquarters. It is linked to the mainland by three road bridges, and to Ikoyi Island and Victoria Island by road. The latter are mostly residential areas with palatial houses, expansive gardens and five star hotels in a gorgeous setting. Tourist attractions in the city include The National Museum, The National Theater and miles of beautiful beaches (see pages 26 & 27). Finally, Oba's Palace sits majestically on Lagos Island, portions of which are over 200 years old with a newly constructed extension.
ONDO area has many fascinating tourist attractions including the Ikogosi Warm Spring, Idanre Hills, Ipolo-
ONITSHA is the megacity and seaside town of Anambra State, which offers many exciting attractions throughout the area, including the Ogbunike caves, Agulu Lake, Igbo-
ENUGU is the center of the Nigerian coal industry, situated in attractive, hilly country with wide roads and expressways and main arteries leading north, south, east and west. Sites in Enugu include a branch of the National Museum, the Iva Valley Coal Mine Museum (where coal was first mined in 1909), and University of Nigeria faculties. It also boasts one of the best hotels in Nigeria, the Nike Lake Hotel.
OWERRI is predominantly inhabited by the Igbo peopIe. The Igbos are renowned for their music and dancing, especially the colorful masquerades in which the dancers wear elaborate masks. Places of interest include an amusement park, the Nekede Botanical and Zoological Gardens, the Palm Beach Tourist Village at Awomama and the Oguta Lake Holiday Resort, which has recently developed into an international tourist center.
UMUAHIA is home to the National War Museum where relics of the Nigerian civil war are on display, including weapons and fascinating local inventions. Other attractions include the Akwette Blue River Tourist Village and Uwana Beach. Visitors to Akwette will be impressed with its unique weaving industry.
ABAKALIKI is the capital city of the present-
SOUTH SOUTH NIGERIA
CALABAR is an attractive city on the bank of the New Calabar River, near its confluence with the Cross River, which has a long history as the regional port of eastern Nigeria. Residents here trace their ancestors back to Babylon before the time of Christ. First visited by the Portuguese at the end of the 15th Century, CALABAR is also the center from which many missionaries ventured forth in the 19th and 20th centuries, including Mary Slessor, who arrived in Calabar in 1875. Places of interest include the National Museum in the old Residency Building. The building was prefabricated, shipped from Britain and erected atop Consular Hill in 1884, later known as Government Hill. The museum itself is history, a vibrant colonial style citadel commanding superb views of Calabar and the Calabar River. The museum traces the history of Calabar and the surrounding areas in a spacious setting.
PORT HARCOURT is the capital of River State and is the center of the oil industry in Nigeria. It is called "The Garden City" because of its abundance of trees and parks. Now the second most important port in Nigeria, Port Harcourt did not exist before 1913. Nearby are the two historic ports of Bonny and Brass, formerly connected with the slave trade, but which now serve as oil ports and terminals. The town is a good base from which to explore the local creek villages and towns. The local people include the Kalabari and the Igbos, not to mention British, French, American and Dutch, who work in the oil fields.
Sites include the State Museum, which features many examples of local culture including masks and carvings. The Cultural Center on Bonny Street has a stage and auditorium for plays, dancing and a shop where tourists can purchase local handicrafts. The Azumint Blue River sports beautiful clear water with sandy beaches. Tourists can rent canoes for a ride down the river to stop at a beachside picnic site, outfitted with wooden chairs, tables and grills for a pleasant riverside barbecue.
UYO is the capital of Akwa Ibom State, a major oil producing state of Nigeria. The city became a capital of Akwa Ibom State on September 23, 1987 following the creation of Cross River State. Uyo is a fast growing city, as the city has witnessed massive infrastructural growth in the past nine years. Uyo is home to many notable housing districts such as the Ewet Housing Estate, Shelter Afrik, and other estates located in various parts of the city as well as private estates and other residential districts. The city has two major industrial estates including the Itam Industrial Estate. The city of Uyo is notably neat and hospitable to foreigners and its aborigines. Highbrow residential areas in Uyo include the prestigious Ewet Housing Estate, Shelter Afrik, and a host of other choice areas in the city and its environs. The state government plans to construct newer residential districts as well as a central business district within the metropolis.
ORON is in the southeast corner of the Akwa-
ABUJA, in 1976, was selected by the Federal Government to become the new seat of government; and in 1992, the first of four stages of this move to Abuja was launched with most of the senior government officials now in Abuja. Besides being the administrative seat of government, Abuja is a beautiful city surrounded by rolling hills, with ample mountaineering potential. The Gwagwa Hills, near Suleja, the Chukuku Hills, the Agwai Hills and the famous Zuma rocks are just some of the awe-
BIDA is a lively town, famous for its handicrafts and colorful market, and is the principal city of the Nupe people. Bida is famous for its glass beads, cloths, silver and brass work, it's carved 8-
GURARA FALLS is on the Gurara River in Niger State, on the road between Suleja and Minna. Particularly impressive during the rainy season, the falls span 200 meters across with a sheer drop of 30 meters, which creates a dazzling rainbow effect as the water cascades over the top into a cloud of spray below.
ILORIN, an ancient city, is the southernmost point of Fulani expansion and bears characteristics of both north and south. It has often been described as the gateway between the two because of its strategic location, and as a result offers a good base for visiting the surrounding area. Tourist sites in Ilorin include the Mimi's Mosque and residence built in 1831, the first mosque in Ilorin, and the magnificent new Central Mosque, built during the reign of Zul-
OWU FALLS, in Kwara State is the highest and most spectacular natural waterfall in West Africa, at its best during the rainy season. The waterfall cascades 330 feet down an escarpment with rocky outcrops to a pool of ice-
LOKOJA is an historic colonial town. Due to its location at the confluence of the two great rivers, the Niger and Benue, it became the headquarters of the Royal Niger Company in the 19th Century. The headquarters building, still standing, was prefabricated in London and shipped to Nigeria, where it was assembled without using a single nail. Also in Lokoja is the Iron of Liberty, located in the compound of the first primary school in northern Nigeria. Here, many slaves were freed at the end of the slave trade.
MAKURDI is located on the bank of River Benue, one of the two great rivers in Nigeria. For visitors to the area, there is a zoological garden in Makudi and Goven Hills, Ushango Hills and Bassa Hills, and fishing and boating on the Benue River. In Igbor there is the Ikure Wildlife Park.
OKENE is the home of the Igbira, an industrious people renowned for their farming abilities and their beautiful woven cloth. Picturesque Okene, nestled atop several rocky hills, is a fascinating place to visit. The craft of cloth weaving still continues to thrive here and the cloth remains highly-
BAUCHI is an old Hausa town surrounded by an appealing range of rolling hills, is close to both the Yankari Game Reserve, approximately 1½ hours away to the southeast, and the site of the Geji Rock Paintings, located on the Bauchi-
JOS has always been a popular destination for tourists due to its height above sea level (4062 feet). Jos has two golf courses, Rayfield and Plateau, plus a polo club and other sports/entertainment offerings. The National Museum in Jos is one of the best in Nigeria, especially for archaeology and pottery, where many fine examples of Nok heads and artifacts, circa 500 BC -
Lions roam a large enclosure that simulates their natural habitat and visitors will also find elephants, red river hogs, jackals, chimpanzees, crocodiles and numerous other animals to view. The Shere Hills can be seen to the east of Jos and offer a prime view of the city below. Assop Falls is a small waterfall (again, best seen in the rainy season) that could make a pleasant picnic spot on a drive from Jos to Abuja. RIYOM ROCK is a dramatic and photogenic pile of rocks balanced precariously on top of one another, with one resembling a clown's hat, observable from the main Jos-
MAIDUGURI is a handsome, impressive town with broad streets and plentiful trees, presiding over strong traditions and a culture dating back more than 1,000 years. Maiduguri is an ideal place for seeing the Kanuri people, with their fine tribal markings, and the Shuwa women, adorned with plaited hairstyles and flowing gowns.
The BORNO REGION around Maiduguri is one of the most fascinating places in Nigeria. Along the northern borders of the state is Sahel-
The BULATURA OASES are on the western side of Borno State northeast of Nguru. This is the desert in a Hollywood film set: dunes, camels and palm trees around an oasis. The severe beauty of this place offers a special treat to visitors who have yet to experience such a daunting landscape. The oases are also excellent for bird-
YOLA, on the upper reaches of the Benue River, lies in close proximity to some of the most scenic areas of Nigeria, situated along the mountainous border with Cameroon. The Mambilla Plateau (see pages 22 & 23) is within a day's journey from Yola, as are the Shebshi mountains to the south.
The GWOZA HILLS are breathtaking. They are located southeast of Maiduguri, and southeast of the village of Gwoza Valley, along the Cameroon border.
MANDARA MOUNTAINS are also in this area, stretching from south, in the Mambilla, to Mubi in the north. The Mandaras provide some of the most spectacular scenery in all of Africa. Itis suggested that tourists in the area take at least a week to enjoy both the Nigeria and Cameroon sides of these mountains.
KANO CITY, the oldest major city in Sub Saharan Africa, dates back more than a thousand years. For centuries it was one of the most active commercial centers in West Africa. Today, it is Nigeria's third largest city and the largest city in the north. Centrally located, Kano City acts as a terminus for all of northern Nigeria, linked by road and communications with all other major population centers in the region. By virtue of its historic role as trading center between the Sahara, down south to Zaria, Kano remains a living, modern day relic of a rich past.
The Emir's Palace in Kano is the past incarnate with its old stone walls and entrance gate, at the heart of this ancient city, encircled by a wall that extended 17.7km in circumference, with 16 different gates. Close by, the Gidan Makama Museum offers an excellent history of Kano and of the Hausa and Fulani peoples. Kano Central Mosque is one of the largest in Nigeria and, with permission, a visitor may be allowed to ascend one of its towering minarets to gain a spectacular view of the city below.
KADUNA was previously the colonial capital of northern Nigeria. Located on the Kaduna River, the city serves as an important junction, with roads extending in five different directions. Kaduna is a major communications center and industrial base but also a thriving metropolis from which tourists can explore the surrounding countryside. Within Kaduna there is a National Museum on Ali-
KATSINA, the northernmost city in Nigeria, sits on the edge of Sahel and borders the neighboring country of Niger, which has traded with her for centuries. Katsina, one of the old walled Hausa cities, is the capital of Katsina State. The Goborau Minaret, a most picturesque tourist attraction, is the tallest mud-
BIRNIN KEBBI, a centuries old Hausa-
SOKOTO, the center of Islamic activities in Nigeria, is the home of the Sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Muslims in the country. The city stretches with avenues of lush trees and wide roads, appearing like an oasis in a semi-
The Sultan's Palace is a delightful sight, with its lavish architecture and guards in their multicolored regalia. At 9.00 pm on Thursdays, visitors can watch the musicians play the Tambari for the Sultan. Usman dan Fodio, the founder of the present day Hausa-