By Pelu Awofeso
Late April, I published the first list piece in this series: 12 of Nigeria’s finest visitor attractions.
In this second installment, based on insights from some of Nigeria’s well travelled individuals, I’m letting you in on another batch of travel magnets across the country.
As you would expect, some of these attractions are well known and others not on the travel radar of most travelers in Nigeria, or even international visitors. I am particularly happy to see some of the country’s rich but hardly visited national parks on this list, as well as evocative hills; and there is that celebrated resort on the eastern tip of Lagos.
Now, let’s go on a journey…
- Okomu National Park (Edo State): this park covers a land area of approximately 19,712 hectares (173 sq km) and is situated 40km from Benin-City. It is within a much larger area gazette as Okomu Forest Reserve in the 1930s. By 1985 it had become a wildlife sanctuary; and in 1999, it was officially a national park. Okomu has a rich Rain forest ecosystem and visitors can also expect to see forest elephants, white-throated monkey, chimpanzees, forest buffalo, warthogs, duikers, dwarf crocodile and Mona monkeys, among other game. The Okomu River is perfect for boating and sports fishing.
“The Okomu National Park is unique with in a way that it provides an opportunity for tourists to interact with nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It also offers activities such as tree climbing of about 80m height, bird watching and game viewing among others.” — @motleytravels
2. Kahwang Basalt Rock formation (Plateau State): Described as the “true manifestation of some of nature’s wonders”, this rock formation in Riyom LGA is said to be one of only two of its kind in the world. Stretching along the bank and floor of a river, they were formed from cooling of volcanic lava. In rainy season, a waterfall cascade gently over them.
“The scenery is surreal, and not to be seen anywhere else around the world, except in Iceland and Switzerland. Best time to visit is dry season. — @adedotunajibade
The rocks, made up of beautifully arranged rock tiles of various shapes, are a delight. Others are arranged in cylindrical shape pillars.” — Godwin Goyang
3. La campagne Tropicana (Lagos State): This is one of the best managed private resorts in Nigeria. Located in Ikegun community in Ibeju-Lekki LGA, the 65-acre facility is a bundle of undisturbed nature. Visitors gain access via a boat ride, ensuring that they experience the surrounding mangrove and savanna vegetation; and once on the white-sand beachfront, you’re welcome by a fascinating array of tall palm trees, bamboo beds a busts of clean breeze, not to mention the calming ebb and flow of the Atlantic Ocean. Offering a wide range of water spots, it is ideal for families, honeymooners and weekend getaways.
“I love going to the beach and the beauty of this beach is simply breathtaking. It’s definitely a must visit too.” — @ajalanene
4. Farin Ruwa Waterfalls (Nasarawa State):
“I’m a lover of waterfalls and Farin is the most beautiful I have seen so far in Nigeria. Even though accessibility is a major problem, with proper maintenance and basic facilities the spot will be one of the best destinations in the country.” — @thattokelady
5. Dumi Hills (Bauchi State): Located some 20-minute drive from the city centre.
“The hills always win my heart. I enjoy the sense of calm that washes over me when I’m there. And you get a magnificent view from both top and base of the hill, especially at sunset. Also, it is very easy to hike to the top and there is a fish pond at the base, which amplify the overall beauty.” — @bauchi_friends
6. Old Oyo National Park (Oyo State): this Park in Sepeteri town covers a land area of approximately 2,512 sq km. An ecological, cultural and historical park, best time to visit is the period between December and March, when forest density are thinner and game can be spotted easily. Its fauna population include: Roan antelope, baboon, warthog, Western hartebeest, Patas monkey and Bush-buck, among others. Driving through the 25km buffer zone is a soothing experience; and once inside the park, walking the rocky plains to the caves, through dry river beds, leaves a lasting impression.
“To truly appreciate the beauty & expanse of the Old Oyo National Park (OONP) in Sepeteri town, you will need to get to the top of “Lion’s Cave” as early as 8:30am. The view & feeling you get from here is matchless.” — @travelnextdoorng
“A beautiful place because you will see animals in their natural habitat. A close semblance of what I saw at Nairobi National Park in Kenya.” — @travelfartour
7. Iya Mopo (Igbeti, Oyo State) is a goddess turned into a Hill. Like a new bride, Iya Mopo stands out beautifully at 350m in the village of Igbeti (about from 3 hours Lagos and 5 minutes drive from Old Oyo National Park) known largely for its marble export. Every year on Easter Monday, as a tradition, the locals visit the place en masse to promote tourism.
“Historically, Iya Mopo, is the goddess of women’s professions. In each arm of her statue, she holds a vestige that symbolises the various traditional industries in the country, from pottery to palm oil.” — @naidrenalin.adventures
8. Olumo Rock Complex (Ogun State): Arguably the most famous visitor attraction in Ogun State, Olumo Rock is a place of history. At its highest point, it is 137 metres above sea level; standing there, one gets a bird’s eye view of the old town as far as the eyes can see. Bearing a number of shrines, cavities and caves, it served as a refuge for the Egba people during multiple inter-tribal wars of the 19th century. It is located in Ikija community.
“Olumo Rock is an iconic landmark that played a major role during the Egba war. The beauty of this rock makes it a destination I can visit every other month. The breathtaking view from the top of the rock makes its worthy of the climb.” — @tour2nigeria
9. Sumu Wildlife Park (Bauchi State): Sumu is roughly an hour’s drive from Bauchi. It holds Giraffes, Zebras, Impalas and Wildebeest, and other wildlife indigenous to the region.
“The Sumu wildlife park offers a unique wildlife safari experience. The park boasts of wildlife such as the Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest and Impala amongst others. It’s such an interesting and fulfilling destination for wildlife lovers.” — @motleytravels
“The beauty of the wildlife park is breathtaking and worth experiencing. You can enjoy the hike in the wild and even opt to camp.” — @l3ftai
10. Wase Rock (Plateau State): Found in Wase Town of Wase LGA. Is a lonely massive dome shape granite Inselberg in the midst of a vast plain of the lower Plateau. At the summit of the rock is a seasonal breeding place for the rare White Pelican which is classified among the endangered species of birds. It is also an exciting and adventurous Rock-Climbing spot. — Godwin Goyang
11. Epe Fish Market (Lagos State): Also known as Asade, this is said to be the largest fish market in Lagos, displaying a wide variety of fishes. It is usually busy in the mornings, after fishermen have paddled their boats to the lagoon front and delivered their catch to the womenfolk. An added attraction is seeing different fish species splashing in baskets floating in the shallow waters. Foodstuff and wildlife are also sold in the market. If you’re interested in the local craftsmanship, you may stop over at an adjoining piece of land to observe locals build wooden boats from scratch.
“Here, you can immerse yourself in the best culinary cultural experience of the people of Epe by fishing by the sea, grilling and dining with locals.” — @jubtrip
12. Kainji Lake National Park (Niger State): This is Nigeria’s first ever national park Sitting on a land mass of 5,340 sq km, this park is host to seven (7) major vegetation types spread across its two sectors: Borgu and Zugurma. With such vegetative diversity also comes a rich variety of plant and animal species. The Borgu sector boasts 259 species of plants, 63 species of mammals, 241 species of birds and more than 60 species of fish. There are hills, shrines, museums A cruise on Lake Kainji while bird watching is one of the added pleasures of coming here.
13. Kano Zoo (Kano State): “In Nigeria, finding a properly maintained Zoo is synonymous to finding a white mouse in the city. The same conviction was what I harboured before making the trip down to Kano to see this zoo but I was largely surprised by the amazing experience I had on setting my foot into the facility. Kano Zoo is actually one of the best Zoos I’ve been to in Nigeria till date. The animals unlike many others were looking well fed and happy. The guides too looked really happy about their jobs going by how enthusiastic they were about showing travelers around.” — @nomadic_negro
14. Calabar Sports Club (Cross River State):
“This club wowed me with its deep sense of appreciation for history, artifacts and cultural heritage. There I saw trophies from 1902. As an elite sports contents curator, nothing came close to the joy I derived from seeing and holding such in my hands, given how much disregard I’ve seen many other old clubs show towards keeping archives, records and historical objects.” — @dejimcword
15. The Confluence (Kogi State): “This is in the state capital Lokoja, where Rivers Niger and Benue meet, as seen on Nigeria’s Coat of Arms. The view from the bank is magical. I had to come down, step on the dry land and scoop water with my hand.” — DrRaphael James:
16. Eleyele Lake (Oyo State)
“People don’t know such a big lake exists in Ibadan and they don’t know they can take a canoe ride to see some specific places in Ibadan. The management of the lake also provides life jacket. So it’s a great place to be.” — @thejumokesmiley
17. Kano Gates (Kano State): Kano is one of Nigeria’s most historic cities and its famed walls have been around for a millennium. Their sheer artistry and utility as a physical defense against enemy invasion is what stand these walls apart. Visitors to the city also make it a point of duty to visit the Emir’s palace, the dye-pits and the Gidan Makama Museum.
“The ancient city of Kano is renowned for its equally ancient mud walls, which surround the old city. They had multiple gates, some of which still stand today. The daily lives of people as they steam in and out of the gates, the gates’ historical significance plus the ages (centuries) the gates spent standing are the reasons I love them.” — @bauchi_friends
18. Shere Hills (Plateau State): Shere Hills are one of the defining geographic features of Plateau State. With the peak at over 1,800m above sea level, it is the second highest point in Nigeria (after the Mambila Plateau). It is a 20-minute drive from the capital, Jos.
19. Omu Resort (Lagos State):
“”Omu offers a wide range of fun activities/games (from wild life, water games, rollercoasters and loads of adventure games) that offers you value for money. I will say it’s a spot for too much fun till mama calls and the interesting part is that it is suitable for all ages.” — @erekereng
20. Juju Rock (Kwara State): Juju Rock is in Jebba which means “water is flowing here” and it runs into both Kwara and Niger States. Northern Jebba is regarded as the historical and ancient town. And River Niger flows through the picturesque surroundings. Students of history will know that Scottish explorer Mungo Park was recorded to be the first westerner to travel to the midpoint of river, where he also died after a shipwreck. — @naidrenalin.adventures