Vacations and touring are some of the activities that I love to engage in, mostly because of the relaxing aura and stress free feeling they bring. This article list the top five tourist attractions in Nigeria.
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Nigeria is blessed with distinctive tourist attractions and I find it rather unfortunate that most Nigerians do not take advantage of this and would very much prefer spending their vacations in other countries.
It is one thing to intend to go sightseeing; it is another to know the right and most enjoyable places to go. So, if you are in Nigeria, or plan visiting Nigeria sometime soon, here are my top five tourist attractions to visit in the country, in no particular order.
Top Five Tourist Attractions
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Whispering Palms Resort
Location: Iworo, Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Whispering Palms is one of the tourist attractions near Lagos. Upon my arrival at this resort, I am taken aback by the beautiful scenery and the rural architecture I am now surrounded by. The roads within the resort look fascinating as they are full of palm kernel residue, coconut and palm trees. The environment is so quiet and has a truly exotic ambiance, a huge contrast to the maddening noise of the hectic Lagos metropolis. I stand there taking the view all in and still finding it hard to believe a place as quiet as this exists somewhere in Lagos State. The great outdoor bar, sand beach sit-outs and excellent lagoon view gave me the opportunity to unwind and relax. The hotel is built in a lush green environment by the sea. I enjoyed the night strolls around the expansive facility in my maxi dress.
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Whispering Palms offers biological, seashore and aquatic tourist attractions where people can view some of the animals and birds in its mini zoo. A host of colorful beach umbrellas can be found on the beach front. Speed boats, pedal boats (for exercise), rowing boats can also be found at the water edge. Thatched huts, several mini gardens host various Nigerian carvings and artworks of mythical significance. The carvings include bronze heads of various Yoruba deities (I particularly found the Oduduwa fountain intriguing). How can one forget the mini museum with the historical relics of the slave trade in the country, throughout those dark years on display? I was fascinated by the slave chains and some images of historically important locations in Nigeria.
Also, this leisure and retreat destination hosts quite a number of sports and fitness facilities – a swimming pool, football pitch, massage room, lawn tennis court, basketball court, volleyball court, table tennis, mini golf course among others.
Whispering Palms Resort is definitely one of the top tourist attractions in Nigeria to visit.
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Yankari National Park
Location: Mainamaji Village along Bauchi- Gombe road
I love wildlife, and this tourist centre has that in abundance. Yankari left me in awe! There were the breathtaking natural spring called Wikki warm spring which flows out from a limestone rock. Wikki has a unique and beautiful colour. There is also a safari rides from where one can spot a variety of fascinating wild animals – buffalos, elephants, hippopotamuses, lions, gazelles, bush bucks and monkeys – in their natural habitat. One could also go swimming, sightseeing and hiking, enriching one’s vacation and making the visit unforgettable.
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It is a lovely game reserve with the opportunity to stay overnight. Food served at the restaurant is mainly Nigerian. There is a museum, a bar available and also souvenir shops at the camp selling Nigerian art works.
One important thing, however, is that the best time to sight these animals is around late February to late April. Avoid visiting during the wet season as most of the animals would have migrated to dryer areas. It will be equally impossible for a road car to reach all the places due to the wet soil.
All in all, Yankari is truly a wildlife haven! That is why it falls into my top five tourist attractions in Nigeria.
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Obudu Mountain Resort
Location: Obudu, Obanliku Local Government Area, Cross River
You can never mention tourist attractions in Nigeria without mentioning Obudu. Obodu is one of the best toursit attractions in Nigeria. This is one of the best places to get away to in Nigeria, high up in the Cameroon Mountains. The temperature, weather and serene mountain expanse provide such relaxation that it’s a struggle to leave. The resort welcomes visitors all year round especially during the annual mountain race held in November and the Calabar Carnival in December. The mountain race has a cash prize that attracts competitors from across Nigeria and internationally.
Obudu’s landscapes are truly breathtaking, with clouds rolling into the peaks, valleys and mountains covered in smooth green grass carpeting and truly remarkable sunsets and sunrises. The weather around the resort is usually cold and misty so you had better have a jacket!
The place is positioned among the most beautiful mountain scenery with absolutely striking mountain views, especially from the cable car which runs from the entrance of the resort at the bottom of the mountain up to the ranch resort at the peak. It is claimed to be the world’s longest cable car system.
The African huts give the ranch a safari feel and the Becheve Nature Reserve hosts the canopy bridge built in form of a ladder tree house. There are also sites like Grotto which is a cold water spring and Holy Mountain which is a slave refuge post.
Obudu mountain resort made the top tourist attractions in Nigeria and is highly recommended for those who love country getaways, mountains and nature.
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National War Museum
Location: Ebite Amafor, Isingwu Autonomous Community, Umuahia North Local Government Area, Umuahia.
The reason this made the top tourist attractions in Nigeria is because I am history fanatic. For a first time visitor in Umuahia, finding the museum was quite easy because commercial cars and Keke Napep (tricycles) were easily accessible to transport passengers to the museum. The facility which opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. daily, attracts tourists from within and outside Abia State who pay N100 access fee.
Touring the museum, I saw relics of equipment used during Nigeria’s Civil War. The museum has three main galleries: the Traditional Warfare Gallery, Armed Forces Gallery and Civil War Gallery. Walking round the museum, I saw right through the images about what happened in the past and how the Nigerian-Biafran war was fought. Looking at the pictures and the words used in describing them made it all seem real.
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The gallery shows the great historical battles fought over time and the evolution of the Nigerian army. A part of the museum describes some of the weapons used before the arrival of the “white men”. Another section features pictures of people whose role were active during the civil war. The war museum was set up in Umuahia because of the Voice of Biafra bunker and the Ojukwu bunker. Naval warships, military aircraft, armored tanks and bombs produced locally by Biafra during the Nigerian Civil War are displayed outdoor. These bombs were also known as ogbunigwe.
Visitors come from within and outside the country to see the relics. To some, it is to relive the periods of the war through items on display; for others, it is for study purposes. The rest visit to quench their curiosity. All in all, the museum is an intriguing tourist attraction.
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Location: the Mandara Mountains, Adamawa State
The windy but tranquil atmosphere is why Sukur made it into the top five tourist attractions in Nigeria. Sukur, Africa’s first cultural landscape to receive World Heritage List inscription, has its settlement in two areas. The upper area, where the palace is located, is called Sakur Sama; the other area is Sakur Kasa. The Sakur Kasa consists of simple circular village huts built of clay with roofs of thatch, and with woven floor mats.
The Sukur Cultural Landscape – the palace (Hidi) of the Chief set on a hill, the villages below, the terraced fields, sacred symbols, and the widespread remains of an earlier successful iron industry – is a unique expression of a society with its own spiritual and material culture in Nigeria. The landscape also includes terraces on the farmlands, dry stone structures and stone-paved walkways. Its well-ordered structure and rigorous farming activities are remarkable.
It has certain outstanding features that would be very hard to find anywhere else. These include the use of unique paved pathways. It also include the spiritual content of the terraces and sacred trees that have survived for many centuries.
Found at the foot of the kingdom are two gates of varying sizes. The big gate is for everyone’s use while the smaller one is reserved for the king only. (It is the belief of the Sukur people that the king should not share a passage with commoners.) The king’s gate has a guard who takes care of it and the king’s graveyard. This guard is not at liberty to see the king face-to-face. If this happens, it is believed that a terrible occurrence will befall the king or his people.
Inside the king’s compound exists a small hut for the king to sit in and watch all activities taking place in his territory. Also, there is a shrine known as Medala. It houses a very deep hole where their local wine is poured every year. This is a form of sacrifice in the hope of a good harvest of crops. If the hole is still filled up after a year, it shows a good harvest. For whatever reason the hole is empty after a year, the omen points to a bad harvest.
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The community is made up of mostly farmers, hunters and blacksmiths. The mountain dwellers seem to be living in a primitive era as they go about half-naked. In use is their own locally made coin for buying food and valuable items. The coin is made of a substance found on the mountain. This is melted and shaped in the form of a circle. There is a multipurpose hall where decisions and other issues are discussed. The hall also serves as a courtyard where punishments are meted out to offenders.
Finally, at this exit gate there is a forbidden stone which serves to separate the passage of regular people from that of the king. Anybody touching the stone is believed to soon be afflicted with chickenpox-like rashes that cannot be cured without a sacrifice offered to the gods.
There are so many other details about the kingdom but in all, the Sukur Kingdom is another world entirely and is worth touring. Truly fascinating!
Although Nigeria is home to a host of tourist attractions to try out, these are my personal top five tourist attractions in Nigeria and I hope they turn out to be yours too.
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