Nigeria is known for many things: its large population, energetic Afrobeat music, strong vibrant culture and so much more – some of which are negative. However, many might not think of Nigeria as a place to be a tourist, even though it very well is. Nigeria, with its huge territory, changing landscapes and hundreds of ethnic groups, offers many avenues to bask in nature’s breath-taking wonders and cultural attractions.
1. Lekki Conservation Centre
Much different from the “hustle and bustle” aura of Lagos city, Lekki Conservation Centre offers a much needed breath of fresh air, and a lot more in sights and fun experiences. It is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Lagos currently. The expansive 78-acre nature hub is home to the longest canopy walkway in Africa, a bird hide, swamp lookout station, gazebos and family huts, lots of floor (board) games, and ponds. This is definitely a place worth visiting.
2. Abuja National Mosque
The National Mosque in Abuja, the nation’s capital, features a classic Islamic architectural style and was built in 1984. With its gold-plated dome, the mosque is built to stand out from all parts of the city centre and its environs. The magnificent structure is open to the non-Muslim public outside of congregational prayer hours.
3. Nike Art Gallery
Nike Art Gallery houses about 8,000 works from artists all over Africa in a massive five-storey building in Lagos. The eponymous gallery was founded by Nike Davies-Okundaye, an established textile designer and art enthusiast. Art pieces can be bought on site and visitors are often welcomed with renditions of Yoruba traditional dances.With various art mediums such as painting, textiles, sculptures and bead work, Nike Art Gallery offers an experience like none other. And the best part? Entry is free!
4. Oke Idanre
Oke Idanre is a cluster of massive hills located in Ondo, a state in Southwest Nigeria. The UNESCO World Heritage Site tells of the rich history of the people of Idanre as it is the object of many myths in the region. For instance, the unreadable letters on the rock – which no one has been able to decipher since they were first noticed – are believed to be a mysterious handwriting inscribed on the rock. On the hills, one can also find various shrines, buildings, flora and fauna and of course, the Arun River which is believed to be able to heal any sort of illness. To reach the top, visitors have to climb a 3000-ft staircase that was built into the hills.
5. Olumo Rock
Olumo Rock is located in Abeokuta – which literally means “under the rock” – a city in Southwest Nigeria. It is most prominent rock in the city, with a very rich history as it served as shelter for the Egba tribe during the intercity wars in the 19th century. In the rock, you will see many natural tunnels, unusual trees, broken pathways, carvings and so much more. Standing at almost 500 ft above sea level, the rock also gave the Egbas a vantage point that eventually helped them win the war. Fear not! There are elevators on site if you can’t walk that height.
6. Gashaka-Gumti National Park
Nigeria’s largest national park is located in Taraba and Adamawa States in Northeast Nigeria. With its many luscious forests, magnificent valleys and grasslands, the park offers a truly magical experience. The park is home to the African Elephant, hippopotamuses, buffalos, antelopes and other rare animals and plants. It is also home to Chappal Waddi, the highest mountain in Nigeria which stands almost 8,000 ft above sea level.
7. Ikogosi Warm Springs
The Ikogosi Warm Springs are one of the many wonders of the world. These springs, located in Ekiti State of Southwest Nigeria, is a confluence of warm and cold springs which do not mix! An eponymous resort, built around the springs, offers sights of rich vegetation and beautiful landscapes.
8. Kajuru Castle
The Castle is luxury villa which was built by a German expat who lived in Nigeria in the 1980’s. The castle is located in Kajuru Village on the outskirts of Kaduna state in Northern Nigeria. It has a medieval theme, seen clearly through its dungeons and numerous towers with fortified walls. There is an outdoor swimming pool, barbecue spot and sauna on the premises. The castle and its surroundings are definitely a sight for sore eyes.
9. New Afrika Shrine
This one is for the music lovers! New Afrika Shine aka Fela Shrine is an open air entertainment centre in Lagos. The centre was built in honour of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s original Afrika Shine in 2000. Built and managed by Fela’s family, the Shrine offers performances from his sons, Femi and Seun Kuti throughout the week. Other events are also hosted at the centre. Guests are treated to vibrant music performances in an environment that speaks to the soul of Nigeria, and Africa at large.
10. National War Museum, Umuahia
The Museum which was established in 1985 houses the largest collection of memorabilia from the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970). It is located in Abia State in Southeast Nigeria. The specific location was chosen because it was where the “The Voice of Biafra” radio was transmitted from during the war. The Museum’s three galleries feature items used for traditional warfare, weapons and items related to the armed forces of both parties of the war. Outside, there are displays of warships, military aircraft, and the “Ogbunigwe” which were locally produced bombs Biafran soldiers used. The National War Museum does well at telling a painful and heavy history that must be remembered.
Nigeria has a lot more to offer beyond these, but hopefully, this article has convinced you to go exploring the nation’s many wonders and attractions the next time you visit.