Nigeria may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of a relaxing tourist destination or an adventurous getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday city life, but it should be! This wonderful country has many attractions and destinations for almost anyone, no matter what kind of tourist you may be!
Keep reading to figure out the top six destinations you should plan to see when thinking about your next vacation trip.
Oguta Lake, Imo state
One of the largest lakes in the country, and the largest natural lake in the state of Imo, Oguta Lake is a beautiful body of water located in the southeastern state of Nigeria. Supposedly originating from a natural depression in the land and having at least four rivers feeding into the lake (the Utu, Awbana, Arashi, and Njaba rivers), it is only about five miles long and one and a half miles in width.
The lake has long played a central role in the lives of the local people. From getting the majority of their protein by fishing to being a place of reverence and worship to Uhamiri, goddess of the lake, there is plenty to do besides admiring the view.
Ibeno Beach, Akwa Ibom state
Many people who holiday in other countries while on vacation are looking for a getaway, and Ibeno Beach can provide just that for those who love the sun and the water. One of the longest beaches in all of Africa and covering an area of close to 470 square miles, this white sand beach provides the perfect place to kick back and relax the day away.
For those who want a little more adventure, there are amenities along with parts of the beach where you can boat or raft, water, and jet ski, or even go for rides on camelback!
Igbo-Ukwu Museum, Anambra state
Most famous for the history of technological advancements in the area, the Igbo-Ukwu museum in Anambra preserves its custody of three notable archaeological sites: Igbo Isaiah, Igbo Richard, and Igbo Jonah.
Items of interest included ceramic pieces and jewelry, various metals including bronze, copper, and iron, on top of a corpse donning seemingly ceremonial regalia.
The most curious part is that artifacts found from these sites included bronze work items indicative of a sophisticated, ancient culture as early as the 9th or 10th century – hundreds of years before any other existing evidence of bronze metallurgy in the same territory.
Yankari National Park, Bauchi state
Originally opened as a game reserve for hunters, the area became Nigeria’s largest national park in 1991 (until Gashaka-Gumti National Park was formed later the same year). There is an educational museum and conservation center, with displays of various taxidermy animals as well as items seized from poachers and evidence of early human settlements.
Naturally, the wild animals are the main attraction of the park, drawing in over 20,000 tourists from over 100 countries to make the park Nigeria’s number one most popular destination in the country (at least in the year 2000). The park boasts a cornucopia of wild flora and fauna, such as African elephants, hippos, lions, buffalo, and baboons, to name just a few of the species.
To top it all off, the park also houses four hot water springs and a single cold water spring!
Sukur Cultural Landscape, Adamawa state
This hilltop settlement is rightfully branded as a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site. It is an ancient site of trade, agriculture, and technology with a surprising amount of documented history dating as far back as the 16th century.
The methods and materials used to build and upkeep the area have not changed significantly for hundreds of years. The dry stone architecture remains a marvel of the long-gone civilization’s technology and its ties to their cultural and societal perceptions.
Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Taraba state
Created from two of the area’s former game reserves and named after two of the oldest settlements in the two states it covers (Gashaka village and Gumti village in the states of Taraba and Adamawa, respectively), the area hosts some of the most spectacular natural vistas in west Africa.
The park spans almost 2600 square miles of Nigeria’s northeastern territory, and as you can imagine, the landscapes are vast and varied. While the park is a year-round tourist attraction that you can stay overnight in, some of the dense rainforests and lush highlands are some of the most remote and unexplored regions of the world.
That being said, there are guided chimp-tracking tours and other experiences to be had thanks to over 100 unique mammal species being documented over censuses. A lot of these tours cover most fees, but you can always keep a little money on hand to tip some of your tour guides.
So, what are you waiting for?
No matter where you decide to spend your time in Nigeria or what you do while you’re there, it’s important to keep money in the form of cash on you. For example, the Gashaka-Gumti National Park requires at least 1500 naira (the official currency of Nigeria) for a one-night stay in the basic accommodations.